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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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05/07/2008 Archived Entry: "Yaoi Review: Red"

Story and Art by Sanae Rokuya
Published by Juné, imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
ISBN-10: 1-56970-714-6
ISBN-13: 978-1-56970-714-2

Review by Linda Yau

Red was an unusual story that I am surprise to say that I cannot find a similar comparison in bl with. The most similar in plot concept I would say that would resemble this is Seirei no Moribito. However their only similarity is of princes running away from their royal identities. The stark difference is the age of the princes, the bodyguard, and the fact that Red is a shonen-ai graphic novel. I hope this review wonít sound as off putting as I seem to make it appear to be and I actually read this book in an hourís commute.

The reason why I sound so perplexed, is because of three reasons. This is one of several times I have experienced reading historical Japan graphic novels. This is first time I read Sanae Rokuya-senseiís works and lastly because of my perplexity in finding as similar title to compare this bl-graphic novel to. Red is the mangakaís second book being translated; the other being The King of Debt that Kris had written an earlier review.

I first encountered this book, when I was intrigued by the blurb of a prince being singled out by an assassin. The back panel also shows an image of the five main characters to know about. Listed and described from left to right in order of not confusing people: Kaho/Fu a man with secrets, Jiei the foreinger, Yasuharu the prince, Yasuda the police officer, and Yoichi the subject/follower.

In a nutshell this is what the blurb said of the story- Yasuharu who does not want to be heir to throne had run away from the palace to lead an anonymous life as a man name Taichi. One day though, he saves the life of a foreigner named Jiei. When asked why he came to this country where foreigners are automatically killed on sight, Jiei replies that he has came to assassinate Yasuharu. What follows in the story was of Yasuharu deciding what to do with his life and a budding love story between the assassin and himself. Because from the moment that Jiei declares his intention to kill Yasuharu, Jiei for some reason keeps on kissing him.

The story of Red spans the entire book and there is an amusing small parody afterward with a small note from the mangaka. I would say that this book is perfect for readers who are starting out with reading bl-theme novels and like to read stories about conspiracies. On a very personal note, looking at Jiei with his scars was quite strange, but then looking at him with a turban on, reminded me faintly of The Red King Ė Shuri from Basara.

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