“ Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing / Author: Yamada Yugi / Genre: Manga „
Katsuhiro's childhood memories stretch back to memories of his scholarly grandfather's collection of foreign books. His grandfather's collection attracted many students who came to peruse and borrow tomes, and this left a lasting impression on his young mind. So much so, that when he came of age, he went on an exchange to the Czech Republic to study, and returning home to Japan to open a book store after graduation. When a small Japanese publisher decides to publish a classic Czech novel, he is unexpectedly thrown together with a former university classmate who is in charge of the project. Masafumi is just as startled that the young translator he has been referred to is his former classmate. Luckily, Katsuhiro and Masafumi got along without incident in the past, so as long as Masafumi helps mind the shop while Katsuhiro works on the translation, everything will go well. Though issues with the publication of the novel arise, these two formerly casual acquaintances find themselves enjoying each others company more and more. But just how far does the interest lie?
The cover is not smutty with a bishielicious sort of hotness that cries "BUY ME!". In fact, her characters are not delicately bodied creatures of BL fancy at all. Nor are her main characters teenagers, but grown men working at real jobs, and they are not super rich nor ridiculously handsome in a powerfully male sort of way a la Yamane Ayano or Nitta Youka. So what's the appeal? If you have not read Yamada Yugi yet, this is a question you may very well ask. The answer is quite simple. Her art is not unappealing in its own way and her characters are realistic so quite easy to relate to. Her uke are not lithe breastless with bits androgynous substitutes for girls, but definitely guys, though not macho. Her characters always have three dimensional personalities, complete with individual quirks that make them seem all the more real, and the situations they find themselves in are often funny yet true to life.
This manga is no exception. With its offbeat setting of a small neighbourhood book store, you certainly don't expect excitement, but nonetheless the temperature definitely rises. Slowly but surely the tension and heat builds until it boils over in a natural progression, as the diffident book store owner reveals hidden , long locked away passion, and the gruff and not so socially affable editor discovers a soft side to himself where Katsuhiro is concerned. Throw in a ne'er do well uncle, a rival translator who forgets when he has borrowed books, a young boy who sneaks in to look at a photo collection of a certain celebrity, and another child who tries to con himself a lower price for all his manga needs whenever he sees the clueless Masafumi minding the store, and you have the sort of tale that is not just a romance, but a humorously wry look at everyday neighbourhood life.
Not only does the plot and character development shine with such attention to detail, but the sex scenes here fairly sizzle. Rated an 18+ for good reason, there is more than enough to satisfy the causal BL reader looking for it, while at the same time it having true purpose. Having read her Close the Last Door, this title helps cement her place as one of my favourite BL mangaka, and I hope to see many more of her works licensed in English. This title is newly available as a paperback under Digital Manga's June manga imprint. I'd like to thank DMP for providing me with my review copy.