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Saturday, 20 February 2010

The Moon and Sandals (as part of LGBT history month)

It's LGBT history month in the UK.  To celebrate, we thought we'd recommend some books featuring positive portrayals of Lesbian. Gay, Bisexual, Trans people.  To see books we've featured in the past, go here and scroll through the entries.
On with the review...


Writer and Artist: Fumi Yoshinaga

What's it about?
This is a Yaoi title.  Yaoi means boys love and is the name given to manga about male couples.  Yaoi can be explicitly about sex, or can be more about the relationship side of things.  Some of it can be a coming out narrative, some of it can just be two men getting it on.  A lot of it is written by women, for women.  The female equivalent is called Yuri.

As for this particular Yaoi book, this is a classic romance story of first love and first relationships.  Kobayashi is a student with a crush on newly graduated teacher Mr Ida.  Kobayashi finally plucks up the courage to confess his feelings to Ida, and ends this proclamation with a kiss.  Unfortunately, things do not run smoothly as Ida's ex arrives back on the scene.  All is not lost for Kobayashi as he gets to know student Narumi.  Narumi is cute but a loner, he reluctantly agrees to tutor Kobayashi in return for lunch.  Feelings develop but bring back painful memories and the budding relationship could go either way.

This title does contain some sex, but it's not particularly explicit and a lot is left to the imagination.  However, I have labelled the post mature readers because I don't think it's particularly suitable for young teens or children. 

What's good about it?
It's adorable.  Kobayashi is quite brazen and is a good focal point for the story to revolve around.  We have a heartwarming tale full of the bumbling teenage awkwardness and determination.  Because of the situations the characters find themselves in it's also quite funny.

It's not too sexually explicit (depending on your point of view this could be a good or a bad thing), it is more about the romance and emotions of the moment.  We see flashbacks to the characters earlier experiences in love and see how they negotiate the tricky territories of love rivals and teenage egos.

Being a yaoi title, everyone is fairly good looking.

What's bad about it?
The story sometimes flashes back and forth between different times and places, which can be a bit confusing.  It's not enough to throw the reader completely off track but it may require a couple of repeat readings to make sense of the panels.

What's the art like?
This being a Yaoi title, all the male characters are pretty.  Usually they are drawn fairly straightforwardly, but in moments of extreme emotion the faces become caricatures, in order that the emotions be emphasised.

Art taken direct from the publisher's website.

Other information
Price: £12.95
ISBN: 156970824X

You are unlikely to find yaoi titles in mainstream bookshops, as the sexual content is incompatible with a genre still widely (and incorrectly) considered suitable only for children.  Because of this, you will be best off buying yaoi titles either direct from the publisher, amazon, ebay or British online distributors such as United Publications* and Anime Online.

*I apologise for pointing you somewhere with such a horrendous and sexist image on the frontpage.  the reason this link is included is because if you do decide to try and track down some yaoi, unless you live in Japan, you're probably going to need as many sources as possible.

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