Desire (aka: Yabai Kimochi) Vol. #01 -

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Mania Grade: A

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 184
  • ISBN: 1569709793
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Desire (aka: Yabai Kimochi) Vol. #01

By Patricia Beard     October 24, 2006
Release Date: January 01, 2006

Desire (aka: Yabai Kimochi) Vol.#01
© Digital Manga Publishing

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Mari Kazumi / Yukine Honami
Translated by:Kumiko Yuasa
Adapted by:

What They Say
Love without Sex or Sex without what High School student Toru has to weigh in his mind. A quiet and shy member of the school's art club, Toru is quite a contrast to his best friend Ryoji, who is a handsome, loud and brash jock. Toru has harbored a crush on Ryoji for the longest time but hasn't confessed his feeling for fear of rejection. But from out of the blue, Ryoji suddenly admits that he gets "aroused" whenever he looks at Toru. Ryoji proposes that he and Toru sleep together. Though appalled at the thought of just having casual sex, Toru's attraction toward Ryoji makes the proposition enticing nevertheless. Will Toru's secret desire for Ryoji compel him to accept his friend's sexual overtures?

The Review
Nosebleed Rating 0.5/5
Any tissue required will be used to daub the eyes.

Strangely satisfying story of a nice young man in love with a jerk.

This is another attractive volume from DMP. This dust-jacketed volume depicts Toru and Ryoji in a casual pose and the artwork is that of the of Japanese version. The back cover shows an insert of Ryoji, arm around Toru, with Toru looking out to the viewer. There is an inner flap profile of the mangaka, free talks from Kazumi and Honami, and a special additional episode. There is a parental advisory sticker (removable) on the front cover.

Honami's style is a good match for this sensitive and honest story. Her line is delicate and deliberate at the same time. People have referred to this style as "sketchy". It's anything but sketchy. I was very impressed with her variation of line weight and her use of white space within the line to create a wispy or ephemeral effect. This is so suitable for an emotion driven story such as this. What seems to be a simple style renders complex emotion in facial and body expression with facility.

SFX are all translated. Since this is a work with little elaborate background art, DMP replaced certain SFX with translations whenever the artwork would not be affected. In those areas where artwork would need to be modified, SFX "subtitles" were inserted in an unobtrusive font near the originals. I don't mind the inconsistency within a single work. I think it's an acceptable compromise. There are no honorifics per se. However, there is an odd use of "Mr." with the name of a sempai.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
"I wonder why... When I look at you...I get turned on." Poor Toru! Ryoji isn't being arch in his statement, he really does wonder why. And for Toru, this is the beginning of a lot of inner turmoil. Ryoji is a very straight jock with lots of girlfriends with whom he has casual sexual relationships. Toru, a longtime friend of Ryoji, realizes that what he is feeling about Ryoji is love. He is unsure about how to proceed for fear of losing any relationship with Ryoji should Ryoji be offended by the idea of a homosexual relationship that is other than experimental. Ryoji continues to press Toru to sleep with him, mostly because he wants to see if the Toru he sees when in climax with his girlfriends is Toru in reality. Toru wants no part of this.

In spite of feeling that Ryoji considers sexual relations between them just a game, Toru agrees to be Ryoji's lover for one time only. However, the relationship continues because of Ryoji's forcefulness and Toru's inability to refuse him. Toru is oppressed by the feeling that he is only Ryoji's toy, yet he can't get away from the relationship. His angst is so great that he confides in the president of the art club, the handsome, talented, and sensitive "Mr." Kashiwazaki. Kashiwazaki sempai suggests that Toru go out with him, for appearances sake only, to convince Ryoji that Toru no longer wants to be involved with him. Although it is difficult for him, Toru persuades Ryoji that he is serious about Kashiwazaki. Eventually Ryoji no longer pursues Toru for sex, and Toru and Ryoji resume their friendship, although it's somewhat strained.

Continuing under the ruse of a relationship with Kashiwazaki sempai, Toru finds the distance from Ryoji that allows him to gain insight into his own feelings. After some wise words from Kashiwazaki sempai, Toru finds the way to express what he feels, honestly and directly, to Ryoji.

Although there is a parental advisory "explicit content" sticker on the cover, the sex scenes in this work are hardly explicit in style or tone. There is no erotic or salacious intent to the acts depicted. While it's possible to exclude these scenes, the crux of the problem for Toru is this relationship, so it makes sense that these scenes are part of the narrative. We learn much more about these characters seeing them in bed, and in knowing directly what they talk about in bed, rather than being told about it. However, the rating is there because the scenes exist, not because of the tenor or intent of the content. If I had to put an MPAA rating on it, I'd go with somewhere from NC-17 to R.

DMP makes mention on its website that "Desire" had been nominated for a YALSA (Young Adults Library Service Award) for 2004 in the "Gay, Lesbian and Transgendered" category. "Young Adult" for YALSA means a young person 13 to 18 years of age. It's good to know that YALSA recognized the merits of this work for the age group it was intended to reach in spite of the guidance sticker. Unfortunately, with American mores as they are, DMP was correct in setting this as an 18+ title.

While "Desire" has some characteristics that can be described as stereotypical for the genre (heartless seme, sweet, emotional uke), the realistic depiction of what one experiences when one takes a chance on loving another person sets Desire apart. We can all identify with Toru regardless of the gender of our love interest. The questions Toru asks himself are questions that anyone who has fallen in love has asked; "Does the person love me?", "Am I being used?", "Will I be hurt?"

This is recommended for all BL fans, especially those new to the genre. A very good example of the high soap opera, affective style that BL can attain, all without overdoing it with respect to sexually explicit graphics. This style, coupled with an honest and well-realized story, delivers the goods. Knowing what you will know of Toru's emotional journey, try to remain dry-eyed when Toru finally says to Ryoji, "I realized that I can't forget you...unless I share my feelings with you. I have to experience heartbreak, otherwise I can't move on." Toru has matured and won a victory over his indecision and depression. Somewhat melodramatic, but still good. Really.


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