Awaken Forest Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translation Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 18 and Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 978-1569700587
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Awaken Forest Vol. #01

One brother + one brother + a confused third party = Incest sandwich?

By Briana Lawrence     October 30, 2009
Release Date: May 20, 2009


Awaken Forest
© Digital Manga Publishing

When your favorite author decides to personally demonstrate his last chapter on you with his brother watching at the door, you should probably find a new favorite author.... unless, of course, if you're into boy on boy on boy.

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Yuna Aoi
Translation: Sachiko Sato
Adaptation: Sachiko Sato

What They Say
Yoshimoto is a rising editor who has a chance meeting with the wheelchair-bound author, Orito Suga, and his brother, Masato, at an industry bash. Masato's sad, yet alluring, smile entices Yoshimoto and leaves a strong impression on him. Shortly after there first encounter, Orito unexpectedly offers the young editor a position and Yoshimoto is asked to move in with him and his brother! Will a connection arise between Yoshimoto and Orito or between Yoshimoto and Masato?

The Review!
Technical:
DMP is very good at presenting covers that appeal to the (eager-to-see-boy’s-doing-it) eye.  The cover is very simple, full of soft colors and gorgeous men that will definitely tempt the yaoi fan into giving this book a try.  The “parental advisory” stamp also hints at these beautiful men doing wonderfully adult things with each other… and yes, they most certainly do.    

The description on the back of the book doesn’t outright tell you that this is an anthology, but there are actually three different couples in this book which gives it three stories. “Awaken Forest” is the main story and the first one in the manga, followed by “Loose Bonds” and ending with “Be With Me ‘Til Morning/Night.”  The characters are the main focus of all of the stories, meaning that they usually take up all of the page space and leave little room for any other surroundings.  There’s usually a small snippet of a door or a car, at least, to show where everything is taking place.  Like a large number of DMP’s books, all of the original kanji is left on the page and translated next to it.  Each story is told in one person’s point of view, their thoughts illustrated in a text box.
   
Content:
Awaken Forest
The title story starts off innocently enough, with our lead character/uke to be -- Yoshimori -- passing out.  Um… oops?  He leads us into a flashback while he’s unconscious, showing how he met the talented writer, Orito Suga, and his brother Masato.  It turns out that Yoshimori is an editor and has the honor of editing Orito’s latest book.  It’s not too surprising when he learns that the book is based on real life events -- Orito‘s injury being caused by Masato, their parents dying, and other tragic events in their lives -- but as Yoshimori begins to unravel the truth he learns that the two brothers are little bit… too close.  Why hello there, incest!  Not only that, but Orito treats Masato worse than last week‘s garbage, making him lick his feet and reminding him that he can’t feel anything in his legs due to his injury.  Wow, what a *bleep**bleep*!

As Yoshimori falls deeper in with the two brothers, him and Masato start to grow closer to each other, much to Orito’s dismay.  He decides to play with Yoshimori and when Masato walks in he actually tells his brother to give him a hand in molesting the poor boy!  Masato goes through with it, but when he’s done he decides that he will no longer listen to his brother and will leave with Yoshimori, especially when he learns that Orito has been faking his injury and can walk.  After that scene, however, is when the story starts to fall flat.  It turns out the last scene of the book is the injured brother setting his mansion on fire -- while he’s still inside -- when his brother leaves him, therefore, its obvious that Orito is going to do the same thing.   He wants Masato to be happy, so he decides to… kill himself?  What?  Don’t try and make him redeemable, book.  Needless to say the story ends with Yoshimori and Masato saving Orito, and Orito accepting the two of them together.  So… we’re going to ignore the incest, the fact that Orito forced Masato to sleep with Yoshimori WHILE HE WATCHED, and the fact that Orito treated his brother like crap AND lied about still being injured just so we can have a neatly packaged happily ever after?  Lame.

Loose Bonds
This is my favorite story in the anthology because its not afraid to have its twisted a-hole remain an a-hole.  The story starts out with a man crying for a man named Ren to save him as he sits alone in the rain, but we’re not quite sure why.  We find out that the man, Aki, and Ren are best friends, and Ren has been there for him since they were children.  Surprisingly -- at least for a boy’s love manga -- the two of them are just friends, at least until Ren tells Aki that he likes him.  Again, surprisingly -- at least for a boy’s love manga -- nothing happens between them at this point.  In fact, Aki has a fiancee.  However, she doesn’t last too long because soon she’s breaking up with him via text message.  Ugh, how juvenile, what ever happened to breaking up face to face? 

Aki runs straight into Ren’s arms in tears and Ren is quick to take advantage, but Aki suffers from that syndrome that most ukes suffer from, “Oh my god I’m making out with my best friend run away!”  Aki ends up running into Shimizu, the guy who use to bully him as a kid and who, coincidentally,  has stolen his fiancee away.  But instead of crying and running away he actually knocks Shimizu out with a blunt object.  No, I’m not kidding.  The crying uke.  Fights back.  And pretty violently, too!  And this series of events show why Aki was crying in the rain before.  Aki runs back into Ren’s arms and the two of them end up together, but there is a huge twist.  It turns out that Ren PAID Shimizu to steal Aki’s fiancee away, and now Ren has Aki all to himself.  And the story ends there, with Aki in Ren’s bed and Ren watching over him with a sinister smirk on his face.  Um… wow, just… wow. 

Be with me til morning/be with me til night
This last story is kinda… meh, but it has a “shouldn’t be pretty” moment between the two lead characters against a desk as the uke holds onto the curtains.  The story itself isn’t really spectacular though.  The main character, Robert, is known for visiting brothels, drinking and having as many women as he can.  That is until Yuuri, one of the family servants, comes along and tries to convince him to leave the brothel since his father is getting angry about it.  Robert agrees to leave if he can have Yuuri instead, and thus their sexual relationship begins.  However, Robert starts to develop feelings for Yuuri, and becomes very jealous whenever Yuuri shows any sort of emotion towards anyone else -- especially since Yuuri claims to not like Robert.  But of course, Yuuri likes him, and of course there is a misunderstanding and Robert forces himself on Yuuri (see above “shouldn’t be pretty” reference).  But in the end they stop being idiots and get together.  Hurray.  No twists, no nothing.  This is kind of a let down considering the other two stories, one which dealt with incest and the other dealing with a rather twisted best friend.  The final story is a short piece that’s told in Yuuri’s point of view as he remembers when he started to fall for Robert.
       
In Summary:
This anthology is… just o.k.  I like where the first story was going, but then it chickened out and instead of addressing the incest, the forced sex, the betrayal Masato felt when he found out his brother could walk, it decided to have its main “villain” try and kill himself and everything else was washed away.  Considering the awful things Orito had done, it should not have been that easy.  Faking an injury is one thing, but making your brother feel like crap and having him sleep with you, THEN making him sleep with his crush in front of you?  Yeah, that can NOT be wrapped up in five pages.  The second story gets a gold sticker in my book for having a surprisingly sinister best friend who seemed to have good intentions until it was revealed that all the bad things that happened to his love interests was actually planned by him the entire time.  Not only that, but this story wasn’t afraid to have the best friend stay a manipulative so and so, therefore, any sort of “happily ever after” had been completely crushed by the last page.  The final story is… not terribly interesting, which is rather disappointing since it’s about a boy and his servant.  At least the sex is (shouldn’t be) pretty?  All and all, this manga is a quick read and in the long run it isn’t too interesting, but the ending of the second story is what did it for me.  Seriously, the guy stabs his bird with pins to get it to never leave its cage, how messed up is that?!

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