Yokan Premonition Vol. #01 (Mania.com)

By:Chris Kirby
Review Date: Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, March 30, 2010

If all your fears of 80s Hair Metal bands turned out to be true!

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Makoto Tateno
Translation: Sachiko Sato
Adaptation: Sachiko Sato

What They Say
Akira, a lead vocalist of the popular band Charon, one day asks Sunaga, a famous actor and talented lyrics writer, to write a song for him. Without missing a beat, Sunaga gladly accepts his inquiry - but he demands that Akira pays him with his body!

The Review!

While waiting to perform on stage for a television program, Akira, lead singer of super-popular rock band Charon, walks onto the roof and hears famous actor Hiroya Sunaga singing a song.  This song is the most beautiful, powerful song Akira has ever heard and after the show Sunaga tells Akira that he can have the song to use how he wants…for a price.
The artwork is very detailed when viewing the characters close up but loses almost all detail in wide shots.  The designs of the characters are standard bishonen in that all the men are drawing to be very attractive with no flaws or distinguishing features really.  Looking at the cast, the only way to really tell them apart is by other characters constantly referring to them by name and by the style/length of their hair.  The only exception is Akira; he is drawn to look exactly like a woman.  Honestly, if it wasn’t constantly reminding us that he was a man and heterosexual I would swear that it was a woman.
While in costume and performing live, Akira looks more feminine than usual with fur coats, makeup, and anything else you could imagine.  From an art standpoint however, it isn’t very good.  The backgrounds are practically non-existent and very plain. It is obvious that all focus has been placed on making the cast look as attractive as possible.  Even the page backgrounds outside the panels are misplaced and awkward.  Just about every other page or so, dark muddled roses and other flowers flow through the page to give an air of romanticism that isn’t there.
Back to the story, the price is simply a kiss.  A kiss which Akira rejects but later resigns himself to having sex with Hiroya only to be relieved that it was simply a kiss.  Later, after Akira uses the song for his band but refuses to release it on their CD, performs the song live as a way to provoke Hiroya into pursuing his true passion, music.  Once the song, now titled “Voice”, becomes a huge success; Akira states on live television that Hiroya is the songwriter in a final attempt to make him sing again.  Hiroya becomes furious at this and disappears from the limelight altogether.
Akira returns home one day and finds Hiroya in his apartment, Hiroya then proceeds to beat and violently rape him!  The story up to this point has been extremely bland and boring.  The world isn’t given any detail and the characters do not provide anything for the reader to become invested in.  The only reason the target audience would have to keep reading is hoping that Akira and Hiroya will end up as lovers.  Then Hiroya rapes Akira!!  There is nothing romantic or pleasant about rape, Akira even tries to fight off Hiroya and constantly tells him to stop but Hiroya just keeps on at it, for TWO DAYS!!
Akira’s band mate Maya, who also turns out to be gay and is in love with Akira, later finds Akira’s battered and bruised body and tries to comfort and aid him.  With the tension rising about Hiroya’s past, former lead singer of Nun who’s drummer (Charon’s drummer’s brother) killed himself, Akira decides… that he is in love with Hiroya and meets up with him to have consensual sex!!!
How does anyone find this heartwarming and romantic??  So let me get this straight, this entire story is saying is that if you blackmail someone you are interested in, beat them, and then rape them they will fall in love with you and everything will be hunky dory!!  I call foul!  Akira turns down his two gay band mates’ advances because he is “straight” but finds out he isn’t and loves his attacker!?! All because he really liked a song he heard?
Anyway, the volume rounds off with Akira tricking Hiroya and the remaining members of Nun to perform live and Akira now faces a rival in the rock circuit as Hiroya re-discovers his love for music and decided to reunite with Nun.
In Summary:
Honestly, I am not into Yaoi or any derivative of it.  I approached this book with an open mind because despite its themes or approach to storytelling, a good story is still a good story.  The first volume of Yokan Premonition is anything but. The art work is sufficient but hardly of note while the manner it takes in developing the “romance” is appalling and wholly unbelievable.  The characters simply come across as whiny, spoiled, rich people who have no connection with the real world and are simply focused on their own selfish desires.  While that is probably a realistic take on celebrity, it doesn’t provide any sort of emotional engagement or interest on the readers’ behalf. But aside from its many flaws I found the “find love through rape” idea too much to even consider it slight entertainment.  Sure to please Yaoi fans with low morals and expectations, Yokan Premonition Vol. 1 is throw away at best and psychotic wish fulfillment at worst. 

Mania Grade: D+
Art Rating: C+
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translation Rating: B+
Age Rating: 18 and Up
Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
MSRP: 12.95
Pages: 200
ISBN: 978-1569701607
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Yokan