Caged Slave Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: C

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  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: C-
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 8.95
  • Pages: 250
  • ISBN: 978-1-56970-734-0
  • Size: Shinsho
  • Orientation: Left to Right
  • Series: Caged Slave

Caged Slave Vol. #01

By Briana Lawrence     August 15, 2008
Release Date: April 08, 2008

Caged Slave
© Digital Manga Publishing

I have a severe weakness for two things: men in suits, and men in suits who know how to use neckties as handcuffs.

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist: Yukio Takamura / An Kanae
Translated by: Misa Kaye
Adapted by: N/A

What They Say
Tsukasa met an unknown man in a hotel lobby and ended up spending a maddening night of pleasure with him. He accepts a second meeting with him again in the same room the following week, despite the fact he doesn't even know his name. Their secret encounters go on that way, and now he finds himself falling in love and is worried that it may not last. Simultaneously, he's scouted by a business-talent head-hunter and receives an interesting work offer. But when he goes to meet them, his new boss is none other than his secret lover!

The Review
So there are two sides to my boy’s love brain: the fangirl and the reviewer.  I try and listen to the reviewer side more, because that side takes the time to look into a book’s plot to see if I will enjoy it.  However, the cover to this book had the fangirl in me completely defeat the reviewer side in a brutal Mortal Kombat style battle, fatality and all.  Tsukasa is on the cover, his hands tied together with a necktie and his shirt slowly being lifted by his mysterious lover.  As if that wasn’t enough, the first page in the book is a beautiful colored picture of the two and Tsukasa is pulling his lover in for a kiss by his tie.  Oh, how the fangirl in me squealed happily.  The reviewer side didn’t stand a chance. 

If this were a full-blown manga, this would be one of those books I would own just so I could flip through it to look at the pictures.  An Kanae does an amazing job with the art.  There aren’t very many pictures in this book, but the few pictures we get focus heavily on the sex between Tsukasa and his mystery man.  There are a few pictures that focus on important plot points (Tsukasa finding out who the mystery man is, Tsukasa being attacked by his ex in the office, ect.), but the art in this book is mainly about the hot sex between the two main characters. 

Sometimes, in a story of any genre, there’s that one description (be it a good one or a bad one) that stands out so much that it stays in your head forever.  This novel has a description that I will never forget, because it’s quite possibly the worst description I’ve read in any story.  Tsukasa having an orgasm is not only described as “pouring honey,” but it’s described as a child peeing in the same sentence.  The last thing I want to think about during a sex scene is a person peeing, especially a child. 

The writing in this novel isn’t terrible, but it’s descriptions like that that make the story less enjoyable to read.  There are also some repetitive descriptions for characters; Takashima’s “jet black” hair and eyes, for example.  There are plot points that are repeated over and over again (Tsukasa’s bad luck with men, the way the company is run, ect.) that really only needed to be said once or twice.  The dialogue is pretty good, but sometimes things are said in the middle of sex scenes that make me giggle (for example, Tsukasa voicing his constant orgasms with “I’m coming… again!”  I couldn’t help but think of a poorly dubbed hentai anime).  The most annoying thing about the novel is when space breaks aren’t used in between paragraphs, so when days or weeks pass it feels too sudden. 

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The story starts with an angsty uke sitting in a bar alone.  He’s just been dumped by his boss who tells him “men are only good for having sex.”  His boss then marries the company president’s daughter, obviously using her to build himself up in the company.  Tsukasa (the uke) is drinking and angsting away, remembering how he tried so hard to like the things his previous lover liked; anal sex, in particular.  Tsukasa remembers how he has never enjoyed doing that with anybody, but he went through with it anyway to keep his lover happy.

Soon, he decides to go home, but before he can he’s entranced by the man who enters and orders drinks.  The mystery man whispers a room number into Tsukasa’s ear, and when Tsukasa goes up to the room he experiences a pleasure unlike any other.  The only drawback is that he never learns the man’s name, but the man does invite him to the room again.  What I like about the story is that after the nameless sex, we get background on Tsukasa and his position in the company.  I like the fact that we didn’t get any important details until after the one night stand.  The one night stand turns into multiple nights of pleasure, and Tsukasa always comes back to room 2703.  He tries to forget about the mystery man and his growing attachment to him, so Tsukasa throws himself into his work.  He learns that he will be getting a new boss who ends up being, drum roll please: THE MYSTERY MAN!  Now that he knows his true identity, Tsukasa fears that the hot sex will end.  Too scared to face reality, Tsukasa never returns to room 2703.

Much to Tsukasa’s surprise, his new boss (Takeshima) wants to continue the relationship.  So it switches from unnamed sex to hot, office sex.  But Takeshima wants more than sex; he’s actually in love with Tsukasa.  But Tsukasa is incredibly insecure (which will easily annoy readers because its repeated over and over again) and Takeshima constantly has to validate his love for the other man.  What the novel does do well, to me, is how we slowly learn about Takeshima after we learn his name.  Before, he was just the guy that Tsukasa slept with, but then he slowly starts to develop into a lover.  We start to see how he feels about Tsukasa and how he wants to treat him well, unlike the other men in Tsukasa’s life.

Things start to take a bad turn for the two lovers when Takeshima goes out of town for business.  While he’s gone, lots of office gossip starts to build up about Takeshima and how he got his new position.  It turns out that he’s the deceased president’s son.  Not only that, but it turns out he’s engaged to be married!  The news makes Tsukasa incredibly depressed and he decides to not come to work at all, much to Takeshima’s horror when he returns from his business trip.  He rushes to Tsukasa and quickly patches things up, letting him know that it’s all a misunderstanding.  The engagement was set up behind Takeshima’s back and he doesn’t want to be engaged at all, he simply wants to be with Tsukasa.  The story ends with the two of them deciding to move in together, living yaoi-tastically ever after.   

Is it too much to ask to want an uke who doesn’t cry when he thinks he’s made his seme the wrong meal?  Especially when said uke isn’t some wangsty teenager, but an adult?  This novel started out pretty hot in the beginning, and I actually thought it was interesting to have a character in a boy’s love novel who didn’t like to have anal sex because it was too painful.  But as Tsukasa and Takeshima’s relationship started to develop into something more than sex they brought along a truckload of insecurities and unnecessary angst.  Granted, starting a relationship that grew from sex is bound to have some insecurities, but to have a grown man near tears because he’s scared that his seme isn’t going to like the dinner he’s prepared for him? 

I know what my problem is with this book: Tsukasa.  I made it through some pretty bad descriptions (honey/pee for an orgasm), and even some overdone details (jet black hair), but I desperately wanted to slap Tsukasa around with a few times with a blunt object.  It got very annoying to read about his constant bad luck with men and his insecurities because of it.  I guess I’m just tired of ukes who always assume the worst.  I’m also tired of ukes who don’t confront their semes about a situation; instead they run off in tears.  Case in point: Tsukasa finding out that Takeshima is engaged through office gossip.  Instead of talking to him and finding out the truth, Tsukasa runs away. 

There are parts of the novel that I liked.  The sex.  The sex.  And… the sex.  Businessmen in boy’s love are my kryptonite, especially businessmen who have hot pictures together that involve chair sex, grabbing the tie kisses, and ties being used as handcuffs.  I also, for the most part, liked the plot.  I liked how it was organized in the beginning, how sex came first then we started to learn a bit more about the characters and their situation.  I especially liked how nothing important was said about the seme until we learned his name.   But when Tsukasa and Takeshima became a real couple the book started to lose all of its good points.  It’s not that I didn’t like them together, I just hated the way Tsukasa reacted to everything.  Sadly, because of his reactions, I liked them better when they were just having sex in room 2703.  The novel is worth the read in the beginning, but in the end it falls flat because of an overly emotional uke. 


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jnager 3/13/2012 9:21:23 AM

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