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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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03/24/2008 Archived Entry: "Yaoi review: Don't Say Any More, Darling"

Don't Say Any More, Darling
By Fumi Yoshinaga
Published by the Juné Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc

Review by Ryes

Don't Say Any More, Darling has all that you can expect from Yoshinaga and with a lot of variety. The last half of the book is not yaoi, so it can serve as a sort of sampler for readers interested in Yoshinaga but are afraid of explicit content. As has been said many times before, Yoshinaga has a way with story-telling that makes the stories stay with you hours after you finish reading.

The first story "Don't Say Any More, Darling" is about Tadashi, a "hack lyricist," and Kouhei, Tadashi's friend who has to check on Tadashi every so often so Tadashi doesn't starve. Kouhei is annoyed by the fact that Tadashi, who is gay, hits on him every time he comes around. But what can he do? Tadashi is hopeless and fails at writing lyrics and getting jobs; he would probably die without Kouhei's daily food delivery.

"My Eternal Sweetheart" is one of the unusual stories in the collection. Arthur suffers from a disease that requires him to stay locked up inside a house with an android for a servant. His body cannot immunize itself if it encounters any kind of virus or bacteria. He cannot step outside or come into contact with any other people. He develops an urge one day to have sex and begs his brother Mr. Ruffwood to build him the ideal sexaroid. Soon he becomes bored and requests another one, and another one. But he can never be satisfied with these androids, who look and age like humans, but are not.

In "Fairyland," a man wanders around the city looking for any sign of other people. He finds a boy who might be responsible for everyone's disappearance.

In "One May Day," a middle-aged man loses his wife and meets another woman completely different from her. One day, on impulse, he proposes to her.

The collection ends with "Pianist." Takayuki, a once famous pianist, is now an unknown face. Satisfied with his success in his teenage years, he practiced playing less and less, and soon his fingers couldn't remember how to produce the beautiful music that once came to him easily. So he wonders about Ryoichi, the teenage boy he sees outside every day who looks at Takayuki like he has something to say to him.

This is the second anthology I've read by Yoshinaga and it just confirms the fact that her short stories are as compelling as her longer ones. One of the things I love about Yoshinaga's style is its distinctiveness. No one pulls off facial expressions like Yoshinaga and illustrates with strokes as deft as hers. Her style is very spare, not just in her art, but also in her characters' dialogues. But despite that, the dialogues remain rich and her characters colorful. There is not a single character who conforms to a stereotype and with this anthology, every story has an unexpected ending.

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