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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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10/13/2008 Archived Entry: "Yaoi Review: One Night Lesson"

One Night Lesson
Story and Art by Ryo Takagi
Published by the Juné Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
ISBN-10: 1-56970-566-6
ISBN-13: 978-1-56970-566-7

Review by I-hsiu Lin

Excerpt from the back of the book. "In One Night Lesson, author Ryo Takagi crafts a sweet collection of stories with one thing in common: a sometimes humorous view of the uncertainty, misunderstanding and pain that can accompany budding relationships." That sentenced summed up the theme of the stories very well but 'misunderstandings' is oversimplifying the interactions that the characters go through.

In the first story, 'One Shot', Takara is Kairi's model. Since Kairi's gaze is upon him all day, Takara has to be extra careful so that his own gaze doesn't betray the feelings that he has harboring inside: that he has fallen for the photographer. But reigning in his feelings also puts an unnatural feel on the photos. "I want to take a photo of the inner you." One wonders when Takara will give in and confess or when Kairi will finally take a step forward. Then there is the appearance of another photographer…

'Half Position" and "Half Position 2" is a two parter about Sakura Nogami and Ryu Saezaki. Rivals at school, Saezaki is always number 2 to Nogami and Nogami doesn't let him forget it. But one night in the park, Nogami pushes Saezaki down. "Will you have sex with me?" Surprised into a promise, Saezaki is quickly drawn to his rival, coming to understand a bit more about his life and the circumstances surrounding his confession.

Chihiro Asou is entering an all-male music school. His friends sent him off with the idea that all the guys in the school will be gay and will surely attack him. Chihiro brushed it off but soon found that it is true! At least everyone is gay for his roommate, second year student, Ren Sakurazawa. Exuding pheromones and machismo through his pores, Ren can't help but attract his classmates' attention although he claims not to be attracted in turn. He sought the protection and company of Chihiro, but his presence is starting to confuse the underclassman. Is it merely pheromones or is he starting to fall for Ren?

Takagi is wonderful in weaving humor and sex together in her stories. Nothing is too complicated or serious. The second story has elements of seriousness whilst learning about Nogami's background. However, the drama never overshadows the humor and pull of the story which is something I always enjoyed about Takagi's works. The last story, "Fake Lesson" is all about the statement "I am not gay!"…a claim that is quite weak in a BL story. It is especially funny since Chihiro constantly declares that he is sexually different from the rest of the male population although his thoughts and feelings are undeniably drawn to Ren. At the end, all the characters come together in a hilarious short called "Extra Mixed Manga". Takagi herself steps forward with an afterword about her stories which is always nice to know about the background of stories from the creator.

Khris has also posted a wonderful review of this book of which I agree with wholeheartedly.

From the view of production values, Juné manga books are larger than other publishing companies. They recreated the Japanese version nicely and the dust jacket features a 4 panel extra of the couple from "Fake Lesson" in the back flap.

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