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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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11/08/2008 Entry: "Yaoi review: Sweet Regard"

Sweet Regard
Story and art by Juji Fusa
Published by Juné, imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
ISBN-10:  156970564X
ISBN-13:  9781569705643

Review by Jilly Gee

Kohei only had one person that he ever cared for in his life:  his younger sister, Chieko.  When she gets married and leaves the house, he is comedically angry; when she dies in a car accident, he is heartbroken.  He is not alone, however, as he shares his pain with with his brother-in-law, Shingo.  Despite Kohei's high strung personality, despite the fact that Shingo was the one that stole Chieko away from him, the two get along quite well together.  Shingo has an easy-going personality, able to take all of Kohei's yelling with a smile on his face.  So it is that even when Shingo confesses and Kohei doesn't reciprocate, they still spend their time together comfortably.

Of course, it's boys love, so things don't end just like that.  Shingo continues to pursue his brother-in-law and Kohei continues to resist, but his resolve seems to be getting thinner, to the point of breaking.  He doesn't easily give in, however; after all, not only are they both guys, but Shingo was his deceased sister's husband.  The advancement of their relationship moves at a comfortable pace, the initial shock of the confession and then coming to terms with the confession on both sides, the delicate "will they, won't they" dance, and finally the culmination of Kohei's doubts and his guilt all get equal attention in Sweet Regard.  Because of this equality, the story is a rather even mixture between comedy, drama, and romance; comedy in the form of Kohei's interactions, drama in the form of Kohei's inner turmoil and the taboo-ness of his relationship with his brother-in-law, and romance in the sweetness between the two of them.

Sweet Regard, for the most part, is a tender, somewhat melancholy love story that will sometimes make a person's throat restrict, but not so sorrowful that the tears will actually flow.  The scattered humor make the readers feel at ease at the right parts and make what would otherwise be one big angst-fest very bearable and almost pleasant, delaying, if not preventing, the cloud of guilt that hangs over the couple.

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