Prime Minister's Secret Diplomacy Vol. #01 -

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  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: 801 Media
  • MSRP: 15.95
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 9781934129159
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Prime Minister's Secret Diplomacy

Prime Minister's Secret Diplomacy Vol. #01

By Patricia Beard     April 02, 2008
Release Date: January 30, 2008

Prime Minister's Secret Diplomacy Vol.#01
© 801 Media

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Youka Nitta
Translated by:Melanie Schoen
Adapted by:N/A

What They Say
Rumor has it that the Japanese minister to Thailand is a beauty who is able to coax even the most stubborn politicians out of their secrets after one night of passion. While Yoshinaga's face is a sight to behold, his genius and his gift for political maneuvering, rather than his prowess in bed, have helped him to ascend to the higher spheres of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at an early age. As for Shiraishi, the prestige of his family as well as his dedication to his job has also led him to an early career in diplomacy.

But underneath Yoshinaga's beautiful facade lies a terrible secret. When Shiraishi catches him kissing another man in a bar, Shiraishi is put in a difficult position. Yoshinaga is engaged to his sister and any scandal would not only hurt Shiraishi's family, but also Japan's foreign policy. Also, not one to leave to much power in the hands of other people, Yoshinaga seduces Shiraishi in bed, so he can't reveal his secrets without implicating himself.

The Review
In this beautiful and engrossing volume, 801Media delivers the goods - a title that distinguishes itself in both presentation and story.

801Media has been paying attention to its competition. This is a gorgeous volume, similar in size to previous 801Media efforts. It's beautifully printed with double color inserts, portraits of Yoshinaga and Shiraishi, at both front and back of the book. These full colors pages are immediately accessible; 801Media has opted to devote to the front and back flaps to reprinting that part of the color page that would have been hidden by the flap. Open the book and the entire color page is on display. Very impressive.

It's not often one finds a cover that so aptly describes the personalities of the characters inside. Shiraishi is shown standing, extending a protective arm around a sitting Yoshinaga. Yoshinaga, for all his elegant and upright demeanor, gives away his louche self with slouching posture and legs open wide for any invitation.

There's no mistaking Youka Nitta's distinctive style. Her men are beautiful and elegant, very long and lean, and her depiction of the nude male body never disappoints. As in previous works, she has shown these bodies in imaginative and original ways that emphasize the eroticism in her work.

All sfx are translated. Since the background of this story involves diplomatic missions, where address and courtesies are important, one would expect honorifics to be maintained, and they are. Terms specific to Japanese diplomatic organization are kept with definition provided discreetly on the page.

Other than a word or two for which more appropriate English words would have improved the readability, the dialog reads well.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Shiraishi Tomohiro is a young man from a very prominent and influential diplomatic family ready to embark on a foreign ministry career. He had been hoping to be assigned to China since all of his studies had centered on Chinese language and culture. However, his over-protective father has intervened with his assignment to Thailand, where he will work with Yoshinaga Koushi, a handsome young minister who has been able to rise through the ranks through demonstration of skills in negotiation. Yoshinaga's engagement to Shiraishi's sister, a shrewd move for any young man wanting to rise in the foreign service, makes Yoshinaga's position unassailable. Yoshinaga has won everything he has wanted; it's up to him to lose it.

This is exactly what Shiraishi thinks, when in a bar having a few drinks with some employees of the mission, he sees icy, calculating Yoshinaga exploring his trashy side - dressed down and looking to get picked up by one of the local guys. Shiraishi, ever mindful of the dignity of the embassy and of his family, especially his sister, sweeps Yoshinaga out of the bar before he is recognized by embassy staff. Later at his apartment, Shiraishi lectures Yoshinaga, much to Yoshinaga's amusement. Yoshinaga assures Shiraishi's silence about the evening's activities though a kiss that neither can admit without penalty.

Unfortunately, this kiss only increases Shiraishi's fascination with Yoshinaga. Shiraishi constantly sees evidence of Yoshinaga's skill at the negotiation table, yet Yoshinaga's suspicious, clandestine diplomatic meetings have Shiraishi wondering if the rumors about a "hip-thrust" negotiator are true. He confronts Yoshinaga with these rumors, and in doing so, commits himself honestly, emotionally and romantically to Yoshinaga, who doesn't respond in kind. They become lovers, but all the trust and care are on Shiraishi's side. Even when Shiraishi confronts Yoshinaga's real secret, Yoshinaga will concede nothing. He spurns Shiraishi's sincere efforts to help him, and continues to put Shiraishi to the test at every opportunity, especially concerning the upcoming marriage, which Yoshinaga has no intention of foregoing. Shiraishi's devotion to Yoshinaga forces Shiraishi into some surprising compromises.

Is it possible for these two to have a relationship between equals or is Yoshinaga's ability to predict most people's actions and orchestrate outcomes make Shiraishi only a pawn? Can neophyte negotiator Shiraishi be able to best the man who, so far in their relationship, got all and gave nothing? This the scenario that Youka Nitta leaves us with until the next volume.

This is a wonderful volume. Not only does it look fantastic, it has a great story with a background that's more than a drawing of an embassy in a panel. Youka Nitta shows the reader the diplomatic skills that allowed Yoshinaga to make his name as a minister. She did her homework and it enriches this story line. The requirements and rigors of diplomatic life are as much a character here as any of the principals.

In so many BL volumes, characterization gets reduced to type - know a few things about a character and you know the rest. Not here. In Minister Yoshinaga, Youka Nitta presents a man, detached, manipulative, and distant, who knows the give-and-take of a negotiation table, yet cannot concede anything on a personal level, even when confronted with his deepest secret. Not exactly the traits of a "bottom", are they? Much as Shiraishi cannot pin this man down, neither can the reader. The things that move him are a mystery from beginning to end.

This volume does not disappoint in the sexual depiction area. No one draws a sexier, more erotic male body than Youka Nitta. While there is not a lot of sexual activity in this volume, what is here is original and selective, erotic not vulgar. She delivers more content in a few panels than many other mangaka can do in a few pages.

In the afterword, Youka Nitta tells that she spent almost four years producing this single volume, and after spending so much time with Yoshinaga and Shiraishi, she feels they're old friends. She's also going to continue the series beyond the intended single volume. I can't wait.


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jnager 3/13/2012 5:02:57 PM

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