Writer/Artist:Barbara Katagiri / Sakuya Fuji
Translated by:Translation by Design
What They Say
Down-on-his-luck Yakuza member Tatsurou Yamamoto needs to cough up eight million in two days - or else! His last hope is a loan from wealthy businessman Yoshiaki Sagami. But Sagami is using the debt for his own nefarious scheme -to have a tied-up Tatsurou in his bed at last. Tatsurou has no choice but to agree to Sagami's terms. But is he really unwilling to have Sagami on top of him? And can Sagami be satisfied with whetting his appetite for Tatsurou just once a month?
The cover artwork nicely summarizes this relationship. Tatsurou, he of the leopard-print shirt, is enthusiastically embraced by the sartorially correct Sagami, all of this on a bed of bills. The only flaw in this attractive cover is the title font. It's too ornate - the title isn't immediately apparent or distinct. This seems to pose more of a problem on the spine than on the cover. Inside there is color plate of Tatsurou being manhandled by Sagami, a two-page afterword by the author and nine pages of advertisements for other DMP books and merchandise.
There are ten drawings by Sakuya Fujii interspersed throughout the book in addition to her fine cover and inside plate artwork. Fujii's angular style suits the adult, masculine characters very well and her designs suit the characters they represent in a style readers will find familiar and comfortable.
The introduction of June's novel series was a disappointment for many in that the readability of many of the novels was hampered by stodgy translation, grammatical errors and poor source materials (translators and adaptors were not the whole problem here). No one expects Trollope or Galsworthy out of these works, but the early releases were often a trial to read due to the poor pacing and clumsy narratives. No such problem with Sleeping with Money. Reading is a breeze and if there are grammatical or spelling errors, they weren't noticed.
There's nothing like getting to the "good" part of a BL novel only to find it marred by some eye-rolling descriptions; they take you right out of the moment. In Sleeping with Money, sexual acts and situations are described clearly and without undue verbal ornamentation or cliche.
Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Much like the mafia, the yakuza have taken on legitimate jobs. The Hinodegumi gang, of which Tatsurou is a lower level boss, has as its largest client the finance company, Lovely, which uses Hinodegumi as its collection agency.
Tatsurou is sent to collect a debt from an old man in Tatsurou's old neighborhood. For some reason, he cannot bring himself to lean on the old man to get the money and winds upon a bar pouring out his woes to a well dressed stranger. After listening to his story, the stranger asks to see the note, whereupon he takes out a cigarette lighter and burns it. As Tatsurou soon finds out, the stranger is Yoshiaki Sagami, just returned from New York, in line to inherit Lovely, and currently working in the Kantou branch. Sagami's solution to Tatsurou's problem is a loan for which a certain amount must be paid each month - or Tatsurou must pay with his body! Tatsurou is not as hard-bitten as he would appear and his general lack of luck seems to always favor Sagami in pursuit of the alternate payment of the debt. Tatsurou seems to be a failure as a yakuza. Why does Sagami always seem to be there when Tatsurou needs help?
There is difficult to review without giving too much away, and there are no real surprises after about sixty pages into the book. This is journey to romance of two people from very different backgrounds -one who had nursed romantic feelings for years and one who held nothing but resentment for those same years. In as much as Sagami might seem more of a softy, he does have a shrewd and calculating side and is rather cruel to Tatsurou when he feels he has been betrayed. Tatsurou is rather tender-hearted under those flashy clothes as his treatment of Uchida, the old debtor, shows. This is a nice match-up of characters types and how they develop.
Sagima's wooing of Tatsurou, even with its explicitness, is sweet and satisfying. In spite of Tatsurou's verbal objections, there isn't really any non-con here. (Tatsurou may not initially like the deal he's made, but he keeps his word. Later on, he holds money back from Sagima!)
Sleeping With Money feels complete, there isn't anything that we need to revisit with this couple. However, it is a book that I would reread and this is indeed a compliment.