Judged, The Vol. #01 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: DramaQueen L.L.C
  • MSRP: 12.99
  • Pages: 202
  • ISBN: 978-1-1933809-18-2
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Judged, The Vol. #01

By Patricia Beard     October 11, 2006
Release Date: July 01, 2006

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Akira Honma
Translated by:Libby Maxim
Adapted by:

What They Say
Public Prosecutor Kyou Segiura is pursuing an investigation of government corruption involving a young parliamentarian named Tatsuki Toudou. The meeting between the two ambitious young men results in an unintended consequence that neither had been prepared for. In this standoff between the enforcer and the lawmaker, there is a past that binds them together. And it is the strength and weakness of the past that will determine the outcome of their duel.

The Review
Nosebleed Rating: 1/5 Sexual scenes are not many, and not explicit, but they are there, so no young'uns, please. There is non-consensual sex. This could raise or lower your rating depending on personal taste.

BL with a plot!

It's difficult to fault Drama Queen in the presentation department. The print quality of their volumes is exceptional and, in this book, with sections of high contrast of dark and light along with heavy tone use, the quality shows. There is no muddiness, no moiré patterns.

The dust jacket of this volume has the same artwork as that of the Japanese release. The cover artwork is a preponderance of grays with the Diet building positioned lower center. Flanking the Diet are Kyou and Tatsuki. The back cover displays a small print of the inside color page, an image of Matsuda sensei and Suzaki sensei of the "White Phantom" stories.

There is an Afterword by the author, translation notes, and a five page preview of "Virtuoso di Amore" by Uki Ogasawara.

Homma draws handsome, manly men. Even the weakest uke in this series looks like an adult male. No purported 18 year-old looking 10 years old.

Character designs are distinctive and the mangaka has a talent for imbuing her characters with a wide range of emotion that comes across on the page. This is a manga that is not dialog heavy, it's no Death Note, so pictures count. The ability to convey emotional narrative graphically contributes to success of this short form. Every picture does tell a story here.

The mangaka does provide fairly detailed backgrounds to provide a sense of place in constantly shifting scenes. Tone is used for background providing visual complexity to underscore emotional state.

The SFX are few and all are translated, none of the translated SFX obscure or alter artwork. The use of honorifics is maintained, and appears to be used consistently and appropriately. The only negative I find with this Drama Queen volume is three text errors for which there is no excuse.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
"The Judged" is a volume comprised of three short stories.

The first story is two chapters involving prosecutors of the Tokyo Prosecutor Special Investigations Unit and the office of Parliamentary member Tatsuki Toudou. Tatsuki's obsession with Kyou's abandonment of him during their days in an orphanage drives him to pursue Kyou through any means possible, including using Kyou's sister. Tatsuki shows all the traits of the cruel seme, but is it love or a desire for revenge that motivates him? Kyou, for his part, is guilty for abandoning Tatsuki. He feels that he is responsible for making Tatsuki the way he is. While these feelings do not impair his ability to do his job, they do lead the principled and kindly Kyou to take more abuse from Tatsuki than he should. Tatsuki's secretary, "Hachiko", a discarded lover, has betrayed Tatsuki to the prosecutor's office, which is only part of his plan to force Tatsuki to return to him. Tatsuki and Kyou do resolve their conflict but not without pain.

"Spring Haze" is the second story involving the Prosecutor's office, with the pairing of Kyou's boss, Shimada, and Tatsuki's secretary, "Hachiko". Under the guise of interrogating "Hachiko" in jail, the persistent Shimada gives "Hachiko" a reason to live.

The "White Phantom" stories finish out the volume. This is the mangaka's debut work about two doctors. The macho Matsuda sensei discovers that Suzaki sensei, golden boy surgeon, provides sexual favors to Professor Kawamoto. Confrontations with Suzaki on professional issues follow, and Matsuda sensei discovers the reasons for Suzaki's relationship with Kawamoto.

BL with no high schoolers, host clubbers or porn stars!

I really enjoyed the stories involving the Prosecutor's Office. It was refreshing to read a completely serious work full of complex emotion. And one that had a plot! And while I enjoyed the Tatsuki x Kyou pairing, I have a soft spot for Shimada x "Hachiko". Such a sweet story! I hope the mangaka will produce more in this series; she certainly left room to do so.

I have to admit that the "White Phantom" stories don't do it for me. While I like Matsuda sensei's character type (Dee from "Fake"), I couldn't stand Suzaki sensei (cold and dead fish, such a zero), and don't understand the attraction. And I did laugh at Matsuda sensei's "I can't believe this...I'm a man, you're a man, and we're kissing and having sex." Aw, c'mon. Well, it is Honma's debut work.


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