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Today's Ulterior Motives - Sakuya Fujii

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Genre: Graphic Novels / Comics / Author: Sakuya Fujii / Edition: illustrated edition / Paperback / 200 Pages / Book is published 2008-07-08 by Digital Manga Publishing

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      14.11.2010 14:34
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      The Casting Couch has never been so funny.

      Sanari Jonouchi is taking a well deserved break at an up-scale onsen. As the enormously successful playwright and producer for the popular theatre troupe Saiho, he is usually quite busy either penning a new play or overseeing the production of the current one. In between , and sometimes during, he likes nothing more than to escape to the relaxing hot waters of country onsen. This time around, he had even booked his own private outdoor bath. At lest , it was supposed to be private, as unexpectedly, his bath is already occupied. The invading young man is good looking and apparently in deep emotional distress. In fact, he is crying and ...trying to drown himself? Stepping in to stop the tragedy from unfolding, he makes an interesting discovery. The young man is , or rather was, an aspiring actor. But Makoto Aizawa gave up his dream of treading the boards to become a salaryman to please his beloved, who changed her mind about marrying him after all. Makoto's trip to the onsen was supposed to be a romantic get away with her, but here he is alone, and dreamless. But Jonouchi is sees an opportunity. Here he is, alone, a playwright and producer, and there he is, single, good looking, and an aspiring actor. Time to open up his casting couch...to help the kid out of course!

      Fuji Sakuya's offering is a gentle romantic comedy that takes the theatre and BL's clichés and serves them up in a creamy confection (pun intended). Jonouchi is most definitely a lech and Makoto is quite the hapless ingénue that falls within his snare. The story goes past the act of seduction however, as Jonouchi and Makoto each discover that they are falling into love. With the onsen and theatre setting, we get some entertaining scenery for their shenanigans, and of course, to meet would be professional and personal rivals. Just how far Jonouchi is willing to go to have Makoto is pretty far indeed, especially as a playwright/producer with flamboyant theatrical tastes that he uses for maximum personal gain (as well as that of the box office). It's wonderfully funny, and I quite liked the way the expressions subtly indicated theatrical capricious mood changes. You could literally see the subtle "tell" on Jonouchi's face that the naïve Makoto would miss when he was being conned by Jonouchi for personal gratification. Makoto's looks of dismay were laugh out loud funny as for an actor, he is not that good at hiding his real feelings. Of course, his naivete also puts him at risk of jealous former lovers of Jonouchi's and fellow troupe members who resent his rising star, so we get a bit of depth to the storyline as the threads all converge.

      The story doesn't just end here at this volume however, as there is a second volume in which Jonouchi and a rival lock horns professionally and privately with Makoto in the middle. I certainly would advise getting volume 1 and 2 together to get full enjoyment of the story, as it is lightweight enough that you won't feel full until you consume the whole course. Just suspend your disbelief that a straight man who has just been jilted would let an older man molest him without resistance in true unsuspecting uke style, and you'll be all set for a few hours of untaxing entertainment.

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