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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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08/09/2008 Archived Entry: "Yaoi Review: Tough Love Baby"

Tough Love Baby
Story and Art: Shiuko Kano
Published by Deux Press
ISBN-10: 1934496111
ISBN-13: 978-1934496114

Review by Kris

Review originally appeared at Manic About Manga at Check it out!

Shiuko Kano-sama (notice how I've changed her honorific from -sensei to -sama) is the queen of sexy, real, crass men. I have truly been ruined. I will never find myself a man now, because hers are just too hot for words.

Tough Love Baby follows two different couples. Yoshino Kakei left his hometown three years ago, but decided to come back. Years before, Yoshino had fallen in love with his girlfriendís younger brother, Sachi. Once recognizing these feelings he didnít think it fair to Keiko and Sachi to stick around. Now that heís back little did he know that the young boy heís fallen in love with is living next door. It seems now, however, that sweet little Sachi is now a thug and treats Yoshino with contempt. Yoshino blames himself for Sachiís current bad behavior and wonders what he can do to remedy the situation. Keiko informs Yoshino that when Yoshino left the first time it really screwed Sachi up but if he leaves again who knows what will happen to Sachiís fragile psyche. He may look like a tough guy on the outside, but heís just a hopeless kid on the inside.

Our other couple involves Taketora, one of Sachiís closest friends. It also turns out that Taketora is in love with Sachi. He canít stand the fact that Yoshino has shown up on the scene once again and figures that Yoshino will hurt Sachi again. We know that Yoshino wonít let that happen; so reluctantly Taketora gives up. Waiting for Taketora is his admirer, Sora. Sora is a couple years younger than Taketora, but boy is he persistent. Can Soraís cheerful disposition cheer up Taketora? Will Taketora be able to find love again through Sora?

You can definitely tell that this is one of Kano-samaís earlier works. The cover has her trademark gorgeous recognizable style, but on the inside the art is a bit less like what Iím used to. With this being Kano-sama you know that there will be fist fights, blood, drama, and comedy. This has its humorous moments, but itís a bit more serious. It is sweet that Yoshino has named his pet cat Sachi, after his beloved. In other reviews Iíve checked out some say that they would have rather seen a Sachi and Taketora pairing, but I donít think that would really work. Sora is adorable with his oversized uniform, but a few years in the future he hits his growth spurt and has actually grown taller than Taketora. I much prefer that pairing. I have a couple issues but nothing catastrophic. Iím not to wild about the art style in this volume. I have to say Iím a bigger fan of her later style. This book may be called Tough Love Baby but the guys arenít really all that tough. They just seem to be your run of the mill rebellious teenagers. The cover, on the other hand, is gorgeous. I would expect nothing less.

This is a Deux Press release. Deux Press may not have all the bells and whistles like other publishers, but they do a great job with their titles. They let the stories shine by choosing to keep extras to a minimum. I recommend this title to fans of Shiuko Kano-sama and to those who might want to check her out. She tends to be on the explicit side of yaoi so by starting out on a title like Tough Love Baby might be the way to go. Just be aware that the art style isnít up to the amazing work that you can see nowadays from her. The story is pretty solid so if you can just get absorbed into the story quickly, you wonít be wasting your time, I promise.

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