A Gentlemen's Kiss Vol. #01 - Mania.com



Anime/Manga Review

Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translation Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 18+
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 9781569705810
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left

A Gentlemen's Kiss Vol. #01

By Danielle Van Gorder     November 04, 2008
Release Date: August 12, 2008


A Gentlemen's Kiss Vol. #1
© Digital Manga Publishing

With a love triangle featuring yakuza in suits and a host, secrets, blackmail, and competing organizations, what's not to love?

 Creative Talent:
Writer/Artist: Shinri Fuwa
Translation: Sachiko Sato
Adaptation: Sachiko Sato

What They Say:
businessman Touji Karasuma. A resourceful man who will do whatever it takes to succeed, Touji is in fact the noble son of the rival company competing with Homura. If anyone were to find out, it would mean war between the groups! But can the two keep their rendezvous secret?

What They Say:

Packaging:

This book has DMP's standard large trim size and full color dust jacket.  The paper and print quality are both very nice, with sharp lines and dark blacks.  The cover has a shot of the two main characters in suits against a plain white background that was enough to pique my interest in the book.

Art:

The art here is interesting, bold and very assured, with a distinctive style that manages to be both familiar and unique.  There's a lot of visual shorthand in some pages, but when detail is called for, Fuwa delivers.  Her panel layouts are interesting and varied, and her character designs are refreshingly distinct. 

Text/SFX:

All sound effects are subtitled on the page in a font similar to the original.  The translation flows smoothly without any notable rough spots.

Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):

When Homura and Touji first met in school, they didn't realize how much they had in common.  But they hit it off anyway, and when they were reunited several years later, ended up in a relationship together.  Only then did they discover that not only were they both sucessful business men, but that the other was the heir to a rival yakuza group, and that their relationship could destroy not only their futures, but the futures of their families as well.

Still, while Homura hasn't actually told Touji that he loves him, it's still the truth, and neither one is willing to give up the relationship despite the amount of work it takes to even get the chance to see each other.  As if this wasn't conflict enough, when Homura moves into a place of his own to give the two more opportunities to be together, someone discovers them there together.  Kyoya is the number one host at a club Homura manages, and has quite the crush on his boss.  Homura brushes him off, but that doesn't satisfy Touji.

His investigation turns up Kyoya's weaknesses, giving Touji the chance to promote his business and remove a potential rival at the same time.  Understandably, Homura doesn't take the whole situation well, and it shows him an unfamiliar side of Touji that he's not entirely comfortable with.  When Touji's father falls ill and someone starts blackmailing Homura, things between them get even more complicated.

Comments:

With hot yakuza in business suits, it was really hard to see how this could go wrong.  Happily, it didn't, and managed to tell a compelling and complex love story.  The cliches are fairly thick on the ground, but they're executed well enough that it's less of a bug and more of a feature, a new spin on an old story.  If I had any complaint it's that the characterization isn't as strong as it could be - it's there, but it's fairly subtle in some ways, rewarding a careful reader who likes to read between the lines.  The bonus chapter at the end was an especially nice treat, putting a slightly different spin on everything that had come before, which is always a neat trick when a writer manages to pull it off.

If this story sounds at all tempting to you, pick it up - there are better books out there, yes, but there are also much worse.  This is a solid and well written piece with plenty of twists, and a strong enough hook to have me wishing the second book was already in-hand.  Recommended.

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