top 10 (oops, 25) yaoi manga, part 4

welcome back to the tour!

Sorenari ni Shinken Nandesu by Asou Kai

Sorenari ni Shinken Nandesu by Asou Kai

Today our manga span the years from the mid-90’s to hot-off-the-presses 2014. We have hosts, college students, novelists, even anti-terrorist agents. Five more titles to add to the “yaoi’s got something good for any mood you’re in” list.

If you haven’t seen them already, check out the first three installments, featuring manga by:

Himegoto Asobi by Sakuragi Yaya

Himegoto Asobi by Sakuragi Yaya

 

 

 

 

Well then, let’s move on to the main event, with episode number four, ne?


on this page…

…you’ll find this list’s manga and moods #16-20 (links take you directly to the individual entries):

  1. Leopardo Hakusho by Ougi Yuzuha
  2. Rules by Miyamoto Kano
  3. Calling by Miyamoto Kano
  4. Yume no Kodomo by Hamada Shouko
  5. Dear Green: Hitomi no Ounowa by Fujiyama Hyouta

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


16. Leopardo Hakusho (2008) – Ougi Yuzuha

Leopard Hakusho by Ougi Yuzuha

Leopard Hakusho by Ougi Yuzuha

Mood:

  1. I’m looking for some excitement, something intense, a twisted romance.
  2. Today I can handle noncon, and I’m all for some forceful, graphic sex.
  3. On the kinky side is good, too.
  4. I really do like hosts, so let’s go back to the world of host clubs and powerful, egotistical men of questionable morality.
  5. I want multiple volumes, and I’m okay if we switch midstream to a second, tangentially related couple.
  6. It’s also okay if the story is still ongoing and there are multiple volumes still yet to be scanlated.
  7. I’d like to request a combination of manga and drama CD’s, please.

Story: Cynical, straight host Aya, believes in himself and money, and he takes the women he woos for fools. When he’s approached by rich, handsome, insanely confident Shingyouji, who asks to buy him for 24 hours, Aya is sure he can take the upper hand and play Shingyougi just like his other clients. Yeah, right. Let’s see how that works out for him, shall we?

leopard hakusho 1

Leopard Hakusho by Ougi Yuzuha

My experience: Leopard Hakusho features deeply-flawed characters who fall a bit (sometimes a lot) on the obnoxious side, yet I was quickly hooked on them. I really enjoy the twisted dynamics between the men in both couples, partly because they are so grandly unrealistic that they end up being much, much larger than life.

Mangaka: Ougi Yuzuha serves it up wild. I’m a fan of quite a few of her manga and had a hard time deciding which to put here. Leopard Hakusho won by a hair. Her art is a little loose and sketchy, but the backgrounds are photo-realistic, full of appealing detail, and her characters’ features are striking. Ougi-sensei’s sense of humor particularly shines through with the second couple in this series.

Purchasing: Leopard Hakusho is 7 volumes in and still ongoing. It’s unlicensed in English and has been scanlated through volume 3.

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17-18. Rules  ~  Calling – Miyamoto Kano

Rules by Miyamoto Kano

Rules by Miyamoto Kano

17. Rules/Hydra (2003)

Hydra by Miyamoto Kano

Hydra by Miyamoto Kano

Mood:

  1. Today I’m looking for a lengthy saga, a somewhat dark soap opera permeated with unrequited-love-angst.
  2. To really pull it off, the story will require a large cast of characters, young men weaving in and out of each other’s lives.
  3. I don’t need too much sex, nor overly graphic (but don’t leave it out!).
  4. Generally consensual is fine.
  5. If the boys’ morality is sometimes, um, flexible… and their lives aren’t exactly pretty, that’s okay.
  6. Today I won’t be bothered by a challenging reading process: moving from one published volume to a doujinshi to a different volume; I can handle that, and even if I end up reading chapters somewhat out of order (because in a not-always-linearly-published story, that’s almost guaranteed), I can roll with it.
  7. This time around, I don’t need a drama CD; the manga is enough.
Hydra by Miyamoto Kano

Hydra by Miyamoto Kano

Story: It feels kind of ridiculous trying to give a summary of these stories. Rules is Miyamoto-sensei’s most sprawling universe, with a number of boys who wander in and out of each other’s lives, many of whom meet in high school, but she follows their messy love lives for quite a few years. This is a full on soap opera of frequently changing partners and relationships, sometimes without an easily identifiable “main pairing” to follow.

There are two primary stories, Rules and Hydra (plus part of the one-shot collection Lovers and Souls), each standing somewhat on its own, yet sharing important characters. As prequels, you can read Hydra or Lovers and Souls as stand alone stories, but I wouldn’t read Rules without reading the other two first; the background of events and emotional background really does matter.

My experience: Sometimes reading Miyamoto-sensei is challenging for me, because I have a limited tolerance for angst. However, I do read her because she gives her characters depth, doesn’t take their problems lightly, and tends to be surprising, which is a relief after reading a pile of formulaic yaoi. Even her art has a mature feeling about it.

Mangaka: Miyamoto Kano gives good soap opera and likes a generous dose of bitter with her sweet. She writes mature stories for an older yaoi crowd, even when her characters are in high school (but most of her characters tend to be adults).

Purchasing: This series is unlicensed; its scanlator is defunct, but all the chapters can be found easily enough online. You may want to check Manga Updates for the order of chapters.

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18. Calling (2006)

Calling by Miyamoto Kano

Calling by Miyamoto Kano

Mood:

  1. I’m still craving Miyamoto-sensei’s style, but maybe just a little less angst.
  2. However, this time I’d like to read a story with a central driving plot, maybe a cop- or detective-style story, perhaps something that will have a post-9/11 feel.
  3. I’d still like it to be a substantial ensemble piece, one that will give me many characters and pairings to cheer on.
  4. A bit more sex would be fun.
  5. I’m okay with just a manga again.
Calling by Miyamoto Kano

Calling by Miyamoto Kano

Story: The Japanese government has just established a new counterterrorism organization. It has begun recruiting and training agents, and for some strange reason they almost all seem to be gay or bi (oops, maybe that’s because this is a yaoi?). The training is intense, keeping so many secrets is difficult, and there’s an active terrorist organization on the loose. Sounds like a pretty good setup, ne?

As with Rules/Hydra, this story is a blend of published volumes and doujinshi, and you may have a hard time finding all of them, much less in order. However, I’m of the biased opinion that it’s worth the effort, because some of the doujinshi expand on my favorite couple.

My experience: Unlike Rules/Hydra, Calling is one of the Miyamoto-sensei titles that I get the urge to re-read at regular intervals. That probably says more about me than about this title being better, though. I’m a sucker for cop-type stories, and the anti-terrorist unit angle really hooked me. I’m also somewhat fonder of these couples; they seem to have a bit more romance, but I think others might argue that point. During the first story arc, Miyamoto-sensei also hits you with one of those I’ll-tell-you-the-ending-of-the-whole-series-at-the-start moments, which gives the entire reading experience a sense of urgency that definitely upped my emotional investment.

Calling by Miyamoto Kano

Calling by Miyamoto Kano

Mangaka: (see above, first) Miyamoto-sensei started Calling about three years after Rules/Hydra, and it shows in her art and storytelling: they are even more attractive here. Since her work is often slice of life, it’s fun seeing her write a story that’s a bit outside of her normal fare.

Purchasing: Calling is three volumes plus doujinshi, all unlicensed; the scanlator, Liquid Passion is inactive.

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19. Yume no Kodomo (1995) – Hamada Shouko

Yume no Kodomo by

Yume no Kodomo by Hamada Shouko

Mood:

  1. Okay (deep breath), I can do it. If the story’s good enough, today I can make my way through 1990’s manga art. But man, it really better be worth it.
  2. After all is said and done, what I want today is to feel the warmth of a straightforward but not too predictable romance.
  3. I’m looking for something consensual and slow, with a pairing that’s a bit inappropriate age-wise, but irresistible.
  4. I’m willing to tolerate said slow pace, but only if the characters’ dance is genuinely interesting, so make the story long enough and complex enough to draw me in and keep me satisfied. How does six volumes sound?
  5. I don’t need very explicit sex scenes or even a lot of them; just set them up to nicely stimulate my imagination.
  6. Oh, and please keep any noncon to a minimum.
  7. To entertain me a bit on the side, toss a fujoshi character into the mix.
  8. I suppose that for today I’ll make do with just a manga.

Story: Youji, a high school kid with a sis-con, doesn’t like sis’ friend Ren, an author. At all. So, as you might imagine, Youji’s completely the opposite of thrilled when his sister informs him that he’s going to be living with Ren while she flies off to New York to pursue her modeling career. Youji also has a girlfriend. Unlike most yaoi, the question of who he wants to be with and the effect his decision will have on that girl are both given careful consideration, which is refreshing. On the other side of the relationship, as an adult and Youji’s sister’s best friend, Ren has his own set of struggles.

YumenoKodomo3

Yume no Kodomo by Hamada Shouko

My experience: Frankly, I don’t like the art style in this story. It’s not poorly done; I just don’t like 1990’s manga art. However, the story itself is so good that I’ve read it a number of times, despite the art (for me, that’s a big deal). I like the complexity of this story between a young, fresh high school kid and a rather jaded adult. It’s also interesting to see a fully realized female character playing an important role in the story (without causing me to resent her). Even though the romance is fairly slow, the rich sub-plots keep the journey interesting.

Mangaka: Hamada Shouko published her first yaoi in 1990, both in manga and light novels, but almost none of it has been scanlated/translated… which is a shame. Since this story is so strong, I’d like to see what else she’s done. However, Hamada-sensei seems to specialize in Josei, so aside from her 40 volume light novel series (tagged both as shoujo and yaoi), she only actually has a few yaoi manga.

Purchasing: This six volume story is unlicensed but fully scanlated. Biblo Eros, the scanlator is no longer active.

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20. Dear Green: Hitomi no Ounowa (2005) – Fujiyama Hyouta

Dear Green by Fujiyama Hyouta

Dear Green: Hitomi no Ounowa by Fujiyama Hyouta

Mood:

  1. I’m still in the mood for a long, character-driven story, but this time, how about young men just stepping into adulthood?
  2. If it could pull off a friends-to-lovers scenario without making me roll my eyes, I’d be thrilled.
  3. I am looking for a quiet, patient, and consensual slice of life that follows them as they take baby steps towards whatever future awaits them.
  4. This time around, a lack of truly graphic sex is okay.
  5. What I really want is the warmth and satisfaction of being involved with the characters.
  6. Down-to-earth would be good, so the leads should be normal people with normal sources of income, and normal daily lives.
  7. I’m fine with just the manga.

Story: First of all, this story’s title is not Dear Green (by the same author); this is Dear Green: Hitomi no Ounowa. Why does it matter? As illogical as it may seem, the plainly titled DG is the sequel to DGHO, and it’s weak. Not awful, but definitely weak. So please do make sure you read the right one, else you’ll be disappointed.

Well, now that that’s taken care of…

Dear Green: Hitomi no Ounowa by Fujiyama Hyouta

Dear Green: Hitomi no Ounowa by Fujiyama Hyouta

Outomi and Yukari have been friends since high school, brought together by a girl who was best friend to one and girlfriend to the other. After high school, the two moved to Tokyo and kept in touch, seeing each other occasionally, as Outomi made his way through college and Yukari dropped out to pursue his dreams of opening a coffee shop. Girlfriends came and went, while their relationship seemed to be significantly more stable and important. Given that this is a yaoi, hmmm… what might that mean?

My experience: I enjoy the quiet, gentle pacing of this story and the way that Fujiyama-sensei pulls off a straight-up slice of life without ever letting it get boring. And, even though she asks you to be somewhat patient, she doesn’t make you wait too, too long for things to start happening; that balance works for me.

Mangaka: Fujiyama Hyouta has a fairly large body of work, and she specializes in slice of life, consensual, not overly explicit or sex-focused stories. She has a number of two to three volume stories, which allow her to develop her characters and plots enough to really draw the audience in, but even her single volumes tend to present well-developed stories and characters. Fujiyama-sensei’s signature art style is rather unique, with sort of spiky mop-head characters with pretty faces, and I find it attractive.

Purchasing: DGHO is 3 volumes and unlicensed; the scanlator, Bliss, is inactive.

hop back up to the manga list


heading into the final stretch

In our next (and final) episode of the top 10 (oops, 25) yaoi, part 5, join me for the last five manga on the list, written by our final five mangakas: Ike Reibun, Yamamoto Kotetsuko, Kawai Touko, Sakyo Aya, and Tachibana Benio (with artist Takarai Rihito).

Thanks for coming to play, and hope to see you next time!

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

  1. Pingback: top 10 (oops, 25) yaoi manga, part 3 | the joy of yaoi

    • I’m so glad to hear that! Thank you for reading it and for taking the time to comment. The 5th and final post on this list will go up on the 26th (there’s one other post between now and then).

      I’d love to hear what you end up enjoying (or hating) later on down the road. Yaoi is such a varied genre — it’s interesting to find out what people end up finding fun or icky or boring or…

      Like

  2. Pingback: The Calling by Miyamoto Kano | MangaKast - A PodCast of All Things Manga

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