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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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10/26/2008 Archived Entry: "Yaoi review: Yakuza in Love vol. 3"

Yakuza in Love, vol. 3
Story and art by Shiuko Kano
Published by Deux Press
ISBN-10:  1934496316
ISBN-13:  9781934496312

Review by Jilly Gee

Is it too cliché if I start with, "The exciting conclusion to the yakuza boys love story by Shiuko Kano"?  Hrm, but it is exciting and it is a conclusion.  Chihiro, letting his emotions obscure his common sense, goes charging off on his own to rescue Junki while the clearheaded Sakiya and manager Iwaki make more organized plans.  Sakiya, out of a combination of love for Aoi and knowing his true nature, doesn't allow him to participate, which of course means Aoi moves on his own anyway and gets into trouble himself.  Being locked up with the Don as company means he gets to have that much-needed heart-to-heart with his cousin, but will that selfish man really listen?

The comedy the first volume starts out being is mostly left behind in the final chapters as Aoi has matured, his love for Sakiya has grown and vice versa.  They have a couple of fluffy moments of their own, but these last two chapters are really about resolving the yakuza rivalry and Aoi coming into his own.  Yep, two chapters, which take up about half the graphic novel, which means the rest of the book contains (in its own words) "hardcore content and ridiculous parodies".  Of those five side stories, only two are "ridiculous parodies", the other three expanding on the relationships of the two couples in Yakuza in Love.

"Boys Game" is an alternate ending done in adventure game, visual novel style, the author showing readers which choices are made to go to the next scene.  "Put it in" is not one of the choices, but what is available leads to a small, but hilarious S&M scene.  "The Animal's Banquet" could still canonically fit into the series despite being a "ridiculous parody" (that contains "hardcore content").  Less than ten pages, it's short and sweet and contains nothing but smut, which the main couple didn't get nearly enough of in the actual chapters and was very welcome in these extras.  "Let's Go Get A Blood Test!" and "Merry Christmas!" are more serious stories that deal with the aftermath of Chihiro's attempted rescue of Junki and their try at a sexual and romantic relationship.  There's some comedy, with Junki's outrageous, sex-deprived expressions and Chihiro's frightened ones, but there's also a fair bit of angst, Chihiro worrying Azuma, and Junki worrying about Chihiro staying faithful.  Not exactly a satisfying conclusion to their relationship with all those things up in the air, but that's the way life is sometimes.  "Pride" doesn't go as deep into Sakiya and Aoi's relationship as the extras do with Chihiro and Junki's, but there's really no need to since these two seem to have an almost perfect romance, always trusting, always protecting.  This chapter brings things full circle, comparing the two Aoi's and Sakiya realizing that he should treat them differently.

The hardcore sex some people look for in yaoi is almost non-existent in main story, and even when there is action of that nature, the important organs are covered or are just simply not there.  Not true for the crop of side stories, as all of them with the exception of "Pride" contain hot, sweaty activity with "manhoods" in all their glory.  So there are:  an exciting yakuza storyline with shoot-outs and hostage-taking that doesn't show gratuitous or gross violence, one couple to show readers a fluffy romance, one couple to show readers an angsty one, emotional realizations for both couples, and Shiuko Kano's finely toned guys.  All of these things are to my liking and had my heart racing and my face blushing at various parts of my pleasure reading; I would have liked just a bit more drama for Aoi and Sakiya and less for Chihiro and Junki, but not everything in the world can go the way I want it to.

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