SUBLIME MANGA (Libre) – @SuBLimeManga
MANGAKA: Yonezou Nekota – @yonekozoh
TRANSLATION: Adrienne Beck
LETTERS: NRP Studios
EDITOR: Jennifer LeBlanc
ISBN: 978-1-4215-8869-8; paperback (June 2016); Rated “M” for “Mature”
308pp, B&W, $16.99 U.S., $19.99 CAN, £10.99 UK
Don't Be Cruel is a yaoi manga from popular mangaka, Yonezou Nekota. Yaoi manga is a subset of boys' love (or BL) manga, which depicts amorous situations between male romantic leads. Yaoi manga usually features explicit depictions of sex between those male leads. Don't Be Cruel focuses on a playboy who forces a studious classmate into a sexual relationship.
SuBLime Manga is making Don't Be Cruel available in a 2-in-1 omnibus edition in both print and digital formats. 2-in-1 editions combine two graphic novels in a single paperback volume.
Don't Be Cruel 2-in-1 Edition, Vol. 1 finds Takahashi Nemugasa forced against a fence. Who has backed Nemugasa into a corner? It's Hideyuki Maya, the tall, dark, and handsome school playboy. Why has Maya put Nemugasa in such a vulnerable position?
Nemugasa attends school on a scholarship, and while his grades are generally good, a recent academic setback has put him in danger of loosing that scholarship. In an act of desperation, Nemugasa cheats, but Maya catches him. Now, Maya wants Nemugasa to report to his apartment twice a week for sex. Nemugasa submits, but Maya never seems to get enough. The real problem is this: can a sexual relationship built on blackmail be something more?
[This volume includes the bonus story, “The Morning After They Became Lovers,” and some bonus illustrations.]
In its first chapter, the Don't Be Cruel yaoi manga comes across as nothing more than a pornographic comic book. It is neither erotic nor romantic, offering a parade of oral and anal penetration shots and also depictions of the penis in various stages of erection.
This changes when author Yonezou Nekota introduces two characters into the story, both are cousins of Hideyuki Maya. There is Akira, a tutor and graduate student at K University. Next is Jutta, who is also Akira's brother. Akira acts as a dark and handsome, wise sage counterpoint to the tom-catting Maya. Jutta is the uke comic relief who openly flirts with Nemugasa and obviously wants to be in a relationship with him.
The addition of these two characters creates romantic entanglements such as the love triangle and jealousy. Nekota starts forcing her leads, Nemugasa and Maya, to work on their relationship and to even fight for their love. Suddenly, the recreational sex fades and romance takes center stage, as Nekota offers her readers a front row seat to the evolution of a BL couple from sexual coercion to struggling young love.
Don't Be Cruel is thoroughly enjoyable, especially as one goes deeper into the narrative. Personally, I reached a point where it was hard for me to stop reading. I am assuming that there is more of this series coming, and there should be. Don't be cruel, Nekota-san.
Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"
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