When Yuuki discovers he has two brothers he didn't know existed, will he be able to live in brotherly harmony with them, or will family secrets drive them apart?
Writer/Artist: Kouko Agawa
Translated by: Melanie Schoen
Adapted by: N/A
What They Say
Orphaned and alone in the world, Yuki is taken in by Masumi and Gai's family. Masumi is sweet and gentlemanly, and Gai is cool and brusque... but what's this?! Gai and Masumi are two celebrity brothers and it looks like they both have feelings for Yuki?!
This release is up to DMP's usual high standards, with a full-color wraparound dustjacket that shows off the coverart nicely. The cover shows off the three brothers sharing a moment of perhaps more than brotherly affection, which manages to look busy despite the stark white background, probably because of the overly ornate font used for the title. The paper isn't the nice, bright white paper that DMP sometimes uses, being thin and almost yellowish, but the art reproduction still manages to be very good, with sharp, clean lines and dark blacks.
All sound effects are translated on the page in a font that closely matches the original. The translation here isn't perfectly smooth, but it certainly gets the job done and I have no real complaints on that score. A few cultural footnotes added in to help clarify a few points were a very nice touch, and much appreciated.
Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
When Yuuki's mother passed away, he was left without anyone willing to take him in, until the grandfather he didn't know he had decreed that Yuuki would join the prestigious Watase family. His grandfather didn't outlive that decision for long enough to meet Yuuki, but his decision still stood, and Watase found himself rather unexpectedly a member of a wealthy family, living in a huge house, and attending a prestigious school. And let's not forget the two half-brothers.
Masumi is only a little older than Yuuki, and is the charming golden prince of their school, head of the student council and admired by the entire student body. This admiration leads to some tough times for Yuuki, when Masumi's fan club decides to haze him out of jealousy. Yuuki handles it better than some BL protagonists, but still ends up getting saved by the prince himself.
Gai is another story entirely. Yuuki's much older brother is a serious businessman, with a stern and uncompromising attitude that's led his company to success despite his relatively young age. But even at home his harsh facade doesn't slip much, and Yuuki is almost scared by his harsh intensity. But there are signs that there might be some human vulnerabilities under that harsh exterior, and Yuuki finds himself thinking and doing the unthinkable.
When Masumi falls for Yuuki, Yuuki falls for Gai, and Gai refuses to admit that there might be real emotions inside his brittle shell, the love triangle that forms may tear these three brothers apart. It all becomes too much for Yuuki, who decides to set out on his own and make his own way in the world. As old family secrets come to light, pride seems to be the only thing standing in the way of their happiness.
With more by-the-book plot twists than your average pretzel, this could have been really, really bad - or at least painfully trite. But, somehow, the three main characters were interesting enough that the flaws in the story managed to add character or charm or something that kept me interested long after I felt like I should have been rolling my eyes and laughing. It's heavy on the over-the-top melodrama, so much so that it ends up being almost a strange absurdist comedy.
And, honestly, it was kind of nice to see Yuuki fall for Gai rather than Masumi. In a lot of ways, Masumi is the perfect BL partner, beautiful and perfect. But I've got a weakness for stern but emotionally immature men in suits, so having the story focus more on him definitely made this more readable for me. Anyone looking to take this book seriously should stay away. If you're in the mood for a slightly campy melodrama that manages to be more than the sum of its cliches, this is a great book to read while kicked back on a hot summer afternoon.