Funny, energetic and sexy stories comprise the majority here. But be warned! Two of the stories have a kink factor and may not be for some readers. (Yipes! Hope that was non-toxic - and capped!)
Writer/Artist: Kiriko Fuwa
Translated by: Leona Wong
Adapted by: N/A
What They Say
Koutaro is a carefree young temp worker, while Asahi is seven years older and an elite salaryman. Due to Asahi's busy schedule, the two men can only be together for two weekends every month. One day, Koutarou accidentally breaks Asahi's glasses. For the first time, he gets the see Asahi looking vulnerable, and he realizes that the glasses are something his lover needs "so much that he can't live on normally without them." Koutarou wishes he could be that important to Asahi...
801 Media certainly publishes an attractive book. With its smaller trim size from the standard June publication, 801 Media books boast additional color pages and a high quality paper that supports the quality printing inside, with only a few occasions where the darks were poorly contrasted. The color insert for this volume is the artwork of Koutarou and Asahi that is reproduced on the back cover. The usual advertisements found in 801Media and June are included here, as well as an afterword by the author.
Kiriko Fuwa's art has an energy that matches that of her characters and she endows them with a variety of expressions, so important for the humor and shifts of mood that occur in these well-paced stories. Fuwa also has a large repertoire of character types and design, no confusing anybody here. Panels are conservatively placed and tone adeptly applied to let the energy of the characters come through without overwhelming them or the page.
Test reads well with no obvious errors or clumsiness. Sfx are translated next to the originals.
Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Weekend Lovers is a volume of well-crafted short stories, mostly light and humorous, centering around what Fuwa calls her "silly characters".
The "Weekend Lovers" series of stories (Weekend Lovers, Selfish Weekend Lovers and Selfish Weekend Lovers Extra) is about Koutarou, the aspiring chef, and his older lover, the sedate and sober salaryman, Asahi. The core of the stories revolve around the usual misunderstanding - Koutarou makes assumption about the relationship between the very hard-working Asahi and a co-worker thanks to some gossiping workers in Asahi's building.
The two stories that close out the volume present lively and surprising lovers in unusual situations. In "Right of Passage, Road to Love", a high school student has transferred to a rural school where his blazer stands out among the old fashioned uniforms the students wear. He is disturbed to be called out by some geta-clad guys and expects the worst, only to find that the Boss Momota is not the type of person he expected. And in "Servant and Service", Miki-kun has lost at mahjong with the master of the house and now has to perform his duties dressed as a maid. He takes this on good-naturedly to the great delight of the master and the female servants. But what about the effect on Kiriya san, the serious, no-nonsense butler?
Sandwiched between these sweet and comic entries are two stories that are more serious and sexually adventurous. "Fragments of Glass and Dark Water" is about a man and his daydreams of sexual humiliation. The theme of humiliation returns in "Cage", where Fuyumura and Miyamoto, employee and manager, share an uneasy relationship. While Miyamoto trains his subordinate in the duties of the office, positions change when the job is desire and lust. A misunderstanding leads to hurtful behavior that is intended to hide inner pain and anguish.
Weekend Lovers is definitely a roller coaster ride in terms of tone and mood.
The light-hearted and playful Koutarou-Asahi series of stories opens the volume. The plot isn't breaking any new ground here, but it's not the originality of the stories that shine - it's the wonderful characterization of Koutarou. He's like a huge, friendly puppy, a real sweetie when it comes to Asahi, and his personality almost bounds off the page. Asahi is no wilting and whining uke either. He may be dignified and reserved, but he knows when to put these things aside in his relationship with Koutarou. This is a loving couple that is just plain enjoyable to read about. And Fuwa doesn't neglect some small surprises here, either.
"Fragments of Glass and Dark Water" and "Cage" are two darker stories, both of which contain non-consensual and sadomasochistic elements. In "Fragments", which has a full title much too ominous and creepy for the actual story that is told, Fuwa really shows that she knows how to tell a story - the pacing and the revelations are spot on. One may not like the content, but it's a well-done story and to say more would take away the edge.
I can certainly understand Fuwa's after word comment about the challenge presented with what she refers to as her "serious" stories. In "Cage", the relationship of Fuyumura and Miyamoto is BL trope - two somewhat disconnected lovers who, after an episode in which one of the lovers is dominated, humiliated, and sexually debased, fall into passionate commitment to each other. This is the type of story that will never work if real world standards are applied to it; it can only be truly examined in the context of the norms of BL. And for Fuwa, the challenge is in taking this well-known formula of dominance and submission and creating a story that is satisfying to read, that explains and justifies how she chooses to tell it. And to be able to tell it. We often think about the challenge of reading certain material without thinking of the challenge that lies in producing the material. Fuwa has created a very readable, complete narrative in which deviant sexual expression matches inner turmoil; the confusion of contempt, of love, of betrayal, of gratitude, almost existing simultaneously, a confusion that finally explodes into abusive behavior . As with "Fragments", this story will not be for everyone.
On the upswing, the volume closes with two very light, silly and sexy stories. These are fun and much appreciated after the heavier goings-on of the previous story.
As expected in an 801Media title, sex is more graphic. There are full-frontal scenes, orifices exposed, and bodily fluids expressed. Fuwa is not reticent in the depiction of these, there are no flowery explosions or coy figure placements. That doesn't mean she isn't selective. Fuwa is frank and direct and her art is in service to the story.