top 10 (oops, 25) yaoi manga, part 3

among yaoi’s best, part 3 of 5

punch-up-2-asuka

Punch Up by Kano Shiuko

In our previous two installments we sampled ten manga by eight skilled mangaka, most of whom have significant bodies of work worth exploring in depth:

top 10 (oops, 25) yaoi manga, part 1  

  1. Nitta Youka,
  2. Yamane Ayano,
  3. Shimizu Yuki, and
  4. Yoneda Kou

top 10 (oops, 25) yaoi manga, part 2

  1. Sadahiro Mika,
  2. Asou Kai,
  3. Kano Shiuko, and
  4. Takanaga Hinako,

And today… four more new friends to play with!


on this page…

…you’ll find this list’s manga and moods #11-15:

  1. Koi Cha no Osahou (Tea for Two) by Sakuragi Yaya
  2. Himegoto Asobi (Hide and Seek) by Sakuragi Yaya
  3. Totally Captivated by Yoo Ha Jin
  4. Dog Style by Motoni Modoru
  5. Katekyo! (Private Teacher) by Moegi Yuu

Already read all of these? Skip to the next page: top 10 (oops, 25) yaoi manga, part 4 of 5


11-12. Koi Cha no Osahou (Tea for Two)   ~  Himegoto Asobi (Hide and Seek) – Sakuragi Yaya

11. Koi Cha no Osahou (Tea for Two) (2003)

Tea for Two by Sakuragi Yaya

Koi Cha no Osahou by Sakuragi Yaya

Mood:

  1. Today I don’t want anything too serious or heavy.
  2. A schoolboy story, but one that’s more fun than sweet. Yes, a playful feeling would be good.
  3. I’d like a story that’s long enough that I can really dig in and spend some time with the characters and their relationship.
  4. I don’t need the stimulation of something that’s super-graphic or sex-focused, but I do want it to be more than shounen-ai.
  5. No noncon, please, although a somewhat reluctant uke who protests a bit is okay, as long as we know he doesn’t really mean it.
  6. I think I’ll take manga and/or drama CD’s today.

Story: Tokumaru, a straight, overly energetic jock who has a tendency to accidentally break things (all the time) is dragged to the tea ceremony club by his sister, who is tired of things being broken. She wants the club’s president, heir to a tea ceremony family, to re-educate, or perhaps domesticate, her brother. Tokumaru catches the eye of the gay president, and we’re off to yaoi-land.

Koi Cha no Osahou by Sakuragi Yaya

Koi Cha no Osahou by Sakuragi Yaya (drama CD)

My experience: While this is a schoolboy story, it isn’t a typical one, because the boys’ lives and plans for the future are at the center as much as their romance is, and Sakuragi-sensei used schoolboy formulas creatively enough to make them fun. I also like that the humor in Koi Cha no Osahou really stands out. Despite the playfulness, though, Sakuragi-sensei managed to tell a story with serious consideration of these boys’ future, leaving me feeling satisfied.

Mangaka: When Sakuragi Yaya publishes a new story, I jump at the opportunity to read it. She draws angularly beautiful characters; her art style is all her own and easy to spot. When she starts a new series, I cross my fingers that it will be at least four volumes long, because she is strongest when writing multi-volume stories. Koi Cha no Osahou is followed by two excellent side-story series (the second of those is the title below).

Purchasing: You’re out of luck. Tea for Two was published by Blu, which seems to have gone out of business in 2011. All four volumes are out of print.

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12. Himegoto Asobi (Hide and Seek) (2011)

Himegoto Asobi by Sakuragi Yaya

Himegoto Asobi by Sakuragi Yaya

Mood:

  1. My appetite for schoolboy stories sated, now I’m interested in a grown up story.
  2. How about two adults who have made unsuccessful choices in the past and developed some bad habits in relationships. This time around they won’t be able to fall back on the naive optimism of a teenager.
  3. Let’s have a nice strong contrast, like a bleached-blonde shopkeeper and stuffy-looking pediatrician.
  4. Bring on a story with a wicked sense of humor and awesome graphic sex.
  5. Give it to me wholesome, consensual, and wildly enthusiastic — I don’t want to hear any, “No, not there!” today.
  6. Oh, and how about an uke who can stand as an equal alongside his seme.
  7. If he’s got a bit of edgy cynicism, that’ll also work.
  8. I’ll even take a slice of non-cliche parenting on the side.

Story: Tanihara, a delightful side character from the series Yume Musubi, Koi Musubi (the series between Koi Cha no Osahou and Himegoto Asobi), takes center stage. The owner of a neighborhood sweets, snacks, and cigarette shop (I have no idea what the term for that would be), Tanihara appears to be raising his young stepdaughter, but it’s often hard to say who exactly is taking care of whom. One day he has a new customer, a stoic, serious man who buys little plastic toys that seem rather at odds with his appearance. Their paths cross again, and before you know it…

Himegoto Asobi by Sakuragi Yaya

Himegoto Asobi by Sakuragi Yaya

My experience: I ab-so-lutely loved Tanihara in the middle series, Yume Musubi, Koi Musubi, and I was thrilled when he came back as the central character of his own story. Tanihara does things his own way and goes at his own pace, which tends to make him surprising and fresh. The chemistry between him and the new neighborhood pediatrician is fiery. My one and only complaint about the series is that it’s just three volumes long. I would have happily continued hanging out with these guys awhile longer. No, a lot longer.

Mangaka: (see above) Sakuragi Yaya’s drawing and storytelling continue to evolve and mature, and here her art is even more angular and languid than in Tea for Two. Her characters manage to be handsome and sexy without feeling like over-pretty dolls; her art style very appealing and unmistakeable. Sakuragi-sensei’s focus on two adults who have already had successes and serious failures in life allows her to explore more grown up themes than in the first two series in this universe (even though Tankhara is often rather like a big kid).

Purchasing: Sakuragi-sensei just finished writing/drawing Himegoto Asobi this year, and all three volumes are being released by SubBLime, under the title Hide and Seek. I own the two that have been released and am chomping at the bit for the third. Grab ‘em while you can.

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13. Totally Captivated (2005) – Yoo Ha Jin

totally captivated 3

Totally Captivated by Yoo Ha Jin

Mood:

  1. I enjoyed the stand-up uke from before, and I’d like another.
  2. But let’s take it one step further — how about a long-time seme who’s suddenly being herded into the role of uke? There’s a nice natural conflict for you.
  3. Heavy noncon would take the fun out of that, so let’s skip it.
  4. However, some intense reluctance could be stimulating.
  5. Today I’d like to take a short hop from Japan to Korea.
  6. Even if that means repeatedly reminding my poor brain to read the pretty pictures from left to right, I’m willing to make the sacrifice.
  7. Today I’ll take my yaoi-ness in emotions and relationship; I don’t need to really see the sex, because I’m willing to use my imagination to fill in the suggested details.
  8. It would be okay to have drama CD’s, but I’m unlikely to listen to them, since they’re in Korean (and I’m studying Japanese).

Story: Ewon Jung, a poor college student, did his last boyfriend wrong, which somehow resulted in his becoming the lackey to the frightening Korean equivalent of a yakuza loan shark. Mookyul, said loan shark, is model-handsome, smart, remarkably successful for his young age, and content having Ewon under his thumb. However, when antagonism turns to attraction, well, that’s just opening a big, fat can of worms, isn’t it?

totally captivated 2

Totally Captivated by Yoo Ha Jin

My experience: Totally Captivated was another one of the first series I read. Love and Korean gangsters: what’s not to like? The relationship between cautious Ewon and overbearing Mookyul kept me engaged throughout, and the seme-seme tension is compelling; unlike the few other yaoi where where it turns up, it isn’t played for laughs. Unfortunately, I wasn’t impressed with the subsequent side stories; Ewon and Mookyul’s dynamic seems to become a parody of itself. The best of those, I guess, is Mr. Sangchul’s Diary.

Mangaka: This is actually Yoo Ha Jin’s only yaoi manga that I’m aware of, at least that’s been scanlated into English. Her art is loose and sketchy-feeling, but it’s expressive, a little bit in line with what I think of as the Korean manhwa style, but not too much (so I still like it). Throughout the six volumes, Yoo Ha Jin maintains a coherent story arc that encompasses both the relationship between the two main characters and the internal politics of the mafia-like organization Mookyul works for.

Purchasing: Of the 6 volumes published by Netcomics, most are still in print (except vol. 6); I own all six. Netcomics has the ebook chapter by chapter, or you can by the hard copy (and side stories) from Amazon, among others.

hop back up to the manga list


14. Dog Style (2005) – Motoni Modoru

Dog Style by Modoni Motoru

Dog Style by Motoni Modoru

Mood:

  1. I’m feeling wild and wooly, and I’d like my yaoi to feel the same.
  2. I’d like a high school adventure, with a couple of kids who are very rough around the edges and a story that has a deep dark streak running through it.
  3. Bring on plenty of drama, even melodrama.
  4. I’ll take characters who can quickly switch from fighting in the streets to running through them belly laughing.
  5. I can take the intensity of noncon, but not between the main characters, please.
  6. I don’t need pretty or sentimental, but the pure, impulsive feelings of adolescence will work for me today — sometimes they’re refreshing.
  7. Moderately graphic sex is enough for today.

Story: Teru and Miki, both delinquents but not friends, are in love with people who don’t love them back. One day they discover that they both use the same abandoned building as a place to get away from the stress and disappointments of their everyday lives. A tenuous bond forms…

Dog Style by Motoni Modoru

Dog Style by Motoni Modoru

My experience: Even though this is a high school delinquent story that shares many elements with other yaoi, it doesn’t feel cliched. In fact, Motoni-sensei’s willingness to take things to a darker place than most schoolboy yaoi gives the story a rich depth of emotion. Overall, her blend of laughter, darkness, wildness, and romance balances out well. I think I was also drawn to this piece because I just really like these types of “my pace” characters.

Mangaka: In truth, I am not a big fan of Motoni Modoru’s other work. In fact, I hate some of it with a passion. However, she lightens up enough in Dog Style that I am able to enjoy her. Her art is rough and sometimes downright unattractive, but it matches these similarly rough kids and their not-pretty lives. Building the story over three volumes allowed her to develop a strong arc for the relationship’s and characters’ development.

Purchasing: The hard copy was published by Kitty Media and is now out of print, but the 3 volumes are now available through SuBLime as very affordable ebooks.

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15. Katekyo! (Private Teacher!) (2008) – Moegi Yuu

katekyo2

Katekyo! by Moegi Yuu

Mood:

  1. Okay, so long as it’s pretty enough, hot enough, and graphic enough, I’d be interested in another schoolboy story.
  2. Let’s have a mix of wicked and sweet.
  3. I’m in the mood for a charmingly selfish and mildly sadistic seme with a younger, ridiculously innocent and naive uke. I’m kind of a sucker for that pairing.
  4. Even though I say sadistic, I mean it in the teasing sense; I’m not looking for dark today, just playful.
  5. Let’s take the high school cliche of the tutor and his student and have some fun with it.
  6. Forget not-very-graphic sex; I want hot, wild, intense, graphic details!
  7. And make it consensual, so I don’t have to feel at all conflicted and can just straight up enjoy the skin-to-skin.
  8. As far as art, bring on the it-almost-hurts-my-eyes beautiful.
  9. Drama CD’s for the entire four volumes would be cool, too.

Story: Rintarou is a high school third year (senior), and his four-years-older tutor, Kaede, is more than he can handle — he teases, flirts with, and generally confuses poor little naive Rintarou. When Kaede’s cousin turns up and makes a serious play for Rintarou, well, you can guess where that leads, right?

Katekyo! by Moegi Yuu

Katekyo! by Moegi Yuu

My experience: Moegi-sensei’s generous use of humor makes this a light, fun read, and, let’s face it, it’s entertaining to watch a seme struggle emotionally instead of just living the macho cliche of being overconfident and in control all the time. When I’m looking for an easy read that will make me laugh and give me plenty o’that graphic love scene stimulation, this is my go-to story.

Mangaka: This is Moegi Yuu’s strongest story by far. Her others feel like a pale reflection of it, although I like the spinoff Koitomo!?  Her art is lovely and lickable (and lots of licking happens), and she draws some of the of the most graphic, sweet, hot sex scenes around.

Purchasing: Published in English by Juné as Private Teacher!, in hard copy only. Currently, volumes 2-4 appear to be in print. I recommend both the books and drama CD’s.

hop back up to the manga list


So that takes us just past the halfway mark in this list of 25 manga titles and 21 mangakas.  Schoolboys, Korean yakuza, pediatricians, university students, shopkeepers, and tutors… did you find someone to suit your mood?

I’m glad you came along to play! Next time around, I predict I’ll be in the mood for some excellent stories by Ougi Yuzuha, Miyamoto Kano, Hamada Shouko, and Fujiyama Hyouta. I hope you’ll join me then for the top 10 (oops, 25) yaoi, part 4, coming to a blog near you soon.

Or, if you’d rather, you can skip ahead to the top 10 (oops, 25) yaoi, part 5, featuring our final six mangakas: Ike Reibun, Yamamoto Kotetsuko, Kawai Touko, Sakyo Aya, and Tachibana Benio (with artist Takarai Rihito)

Totally Captivated by Yoo Ha Jin

Totally Captivated by Yoo Ha Jin

4 thoughts on “top 10 (oops, 25) yaoi manga, part 3

  1. Pingback: top 10 (oops, 25) yaoi manga, part 2 | the joy of yaoi

  2. When I saw you were writing about a Sakuragi Yaya title, I was hoping it would be Koicha. It’s my favorite of hers, possibly my favorite BL title.

    Oh, and I own all four manga volumes. XD

    Like

    • Aaaaaaaaaaaaargh!
      Okay, so now that I have my Koicha ownership jealousy out of the way (tries to soothe self by stroking copies of Yume Musubi, Koi Musubi and Himegoto Asobi)…
      Yes, Koicha was one of the stories that sucked me completely into this yaoi world in which I now live — the dynamics between those two boys balances the funny and sweet in ways that really do me in. I’ve been thrilled that the subsequent series have been just as good. Sakuragi Yaya is just too awesome.

      Like

  3. Pingback: top 10 yaoi manga: the best gentle schoolboy stories | the joy of yaoi

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