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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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05/08/2008 Archived Entry: "Yaoi review: The Prime Minister's Secret Diplomacy 1"

The Prime Minister's Secret Diplomacy, Volume 1
By Youka Nitta
Published by 801 Media

Review by Ryes

The Prime Minister's Secret Diplomacy is one of Youka Nitta's latest works and it is awesome, just like her other works! I really didn't expect any less from one of the great yaoi triumvirates (i.e. Youka Nitta, Ayano Yamane, Kazuma Kodaka).

Koushi Yoshinaga is a celebrated diplomat from Japan and his skills can't be matched. Just recently, he became engaged to Michiko Shiraishi, the daughter of one of the most influential diplomats in Japan. Tomohiro Shiraishi, Michiko's brother is assigned as a translator and his work brings him in contact with Yoshinaga. But Tomohiro finds out secrets about Yoshinaga that could ruin both Yoshinaga's career and his engagement with Tomohiro's sister.

Secret Diplomacy bears some surface resemblances to her earlier works, but the core of it is very different. Like Embracing Love and The Sound of My Voice, the uke in Secret Diplomacy is older than the seme, but that's where it ends. Minister Yoshinaga is not all smiles and closeted like Yumi from Sound of My Voice and he's not thoughtful and introspective like Iwaki from Embracing Love. Yoshinaga is shrewd and a great actor and liar. He knows how to manipulate others into doing what he wants and he has a way with words that helps him get top positions like the one he has now. He's also not ashamed about his sexuality. He goes out clubbing and doesn't deny it when Tomohiro confronts him about it. Yoshinaga is the type of character that defies the weepy, sensitive personality mold that ukes are cast into.

Tomohiro is also a very distinctive character. He does have morals... on the surface, but he doesn't seem to have any qualms overcoming them. As much as he fights his attraction to his future brother-in-law, his actions don't really reflect his intentions. Tomohiro is very driven by emotions and he acts out on gut feelings. More like a less-talk-more-action kind of person. If he thinks Yoshinaga is up to no good, he'll track him down and berate him. Even the sexual relationship between himself and Yoshinaga was initiated by Tomohiro. All in all, I really like his type of take-action character. He might be quick to words and action, but his intentions have always been good, even if the results aren't what he wants.

The overall feel of Secret Diplomacy is not like your usual Nitta work. This doesn't have anything to do with the entertainment industry and while ministers and diplomats are still public figures, the dynamics are a lot more different. This manga is certainly much more serious than Nitta's other works, and it's filled with secrets and political intrigues. A lot more is at stake if these secrets are found out. Yoshinaga and Tomohiro can't be open about their feelings because of the need to protect Yoshinaga's image and the fact that Yoshinaga is engaged to Tomohiro's sister. Those aren't the only issues that plague their relationship. Yoshinaga is full of mystery and Tomohiro feels like he's only known a small part of who the minister is. Yoshinaga constantly throws Tomohiro off balance with his unpredictable actions, but Tomohiro himself responds in ways that Yoshinaga doesn't expect. I really like their relationship and the way they play off of each other. Those two are one of the most intense and complicated pairings Nitta has ever created.

The Prime Minister's Secret Diplomacy is bound to become a classic and a series that's not to be missed! Volume 1 has just established Yoshinaga and Tomohiro's relationship and I'm tuning in to the second volume to see where they take things.

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