Monday, July 12, 2010

Manga Monday: Yellow

Yellow Omnibus Edition (Volume 1)
Makoto Tateno

The popular yaoi manga Yellow has been published in an omnibus format from Digital Manga Publishing, in a nice new appealing package with larger pages and extra content, like character profiles and more color pages. There will be two omnibus volumes released, each collecting two of the four original volumes.

Yellow follows two hot 22-year-old guys, partners in the drug-snatching business. One is gay, one is straight. The term "yellow" refers to a yellow traffic light, which means caution and warns of risk, and is supposed to be a metaphor for their line of work, as well as their relationship. Goh is gay, and has expert lock-picking abilities that make him an asset to Taki, his straight partner whom he loves. Goh isn't shy about his feelings either. He blatantly throws himself at Taki, who lives in the same apartment with him. Taki is adept at working with electronics and computers, and has exceptional fighting skills. And he also loves Goh, but is not interested in sleeping with men, so he has a real dilemma; Although as the book goes along, he wonders about that aspect of himself, and the boundaries between them start to blur. I don't usually like the whole gay-guy-pursuing-the-straight-guy scenario. As a gay man myself, I find it a little insulting and shameful. But I have to admit that it kind of works here. Tateno is sensitive enough not to make Goh look like a predator. When Taki is under the influence, Goh doesn't touch him, only wanting Taki if he's willing. And Taki usually responds to Goh's advances by holding a gun to him, a funny little ongoing touch that runs through the book. It's still a little disturbing to me however, but not enough to hinder my enjoyment of the story, which is pretty well done. And hot. I don't find yaoi too sexy really, as it's more a romance written for a female audience, but Tateno writes some pretty sensual scenes, and knows exactly how to build tension, both of the sexual kind and action-wise. A lot of the cases that the duo find themselves on, hunting hidden drugs for clients, involve them getting beat up and solving puzzles, but it's mostly about seduction. If it's a woman, Taki gets to use his mad skills. If it's a gay guy, it's Goh (and a surprisingly disproportionate amount of the villains they must seduce are gay twinks). Yellow has a fun action premise overall that lends itself surprisingly well to the yaoi tale told here. The art is clear and paced nicely, with some pretty intense scenes of sexual situations. It really is a lot more erotic than most yaoi out there. The whole package, actually, is pretty superior to the yaoi that I've sampled. It's not surprising that the publisher decided to highlight this title from their yaoi library, as it has plenty going for it.

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