Cross Game

Welcome to Kuriousity

News, reviews and features with a focus on manga, self-published works and a Canadian perspective. Enjoy fulfilling your Kuriousity!

SITE RETIRED - Thank you for the years of support and readership!

Reviews

Review: YAOI, Anthology of Boys’ Love Stories (Vol. 01)


Author/Artists: Various
Publisher: YaoiPress
Rating: 18+
Released: March 2007

Synopsis: “This is brand new anthology series of Boys Love. First, prisoners of a medieval circus unite against their wicked ringmaster. Then a tale of forbidden love between members or two rival gangs in modern Tokyo. The final tale is of a boy who escapes his sadistic hillbilly captors, and recovers from their torture with the help of a romantically vulnerable cop. The best Global Yaoi talent comes together for this steamy yaoi anthology.”

Continuing a strong new trend of original yaois created by fans and artists outside of Japan, Yaoi Anthology is a unique and varied collection of short stories. Written and drawn by the usual teams we’ve come to recognize from Yaoi Press, you’ll find few surprises here but some things do manage to find a way to stand out.

“The Price of Freedom” is the first story of the book. Set in a fantasy world, it stars demons as the main characters, following the trouble life of an incubus thrown into circus-slavery. The story is interesting in that it’s certainly not a plot that has been recycled a million times over and the addition of fantasy elements always adds a new twist to any story. The pacing is fairly good and for what it is, one can’t really complain as to the seemingly abrupt, somewhat rushed feeling ending as this story fits perfectly into the definition of a yaoi. The art is consistent and the length of the story itself takes up a full one-third of the book.

Second comes a considerable shorter story called “Gang Love”. Suitably named, it follows two delinquents who, after having sex while inmates in juvenile reform school, meet years later as members of opposing gangs. Reuniting, they find themselves on the run from their gangs for socializing with one another, and in the end decide to run away together. Short, to the point and yet again aims to remind us that in yaoi, sex means both solid conviction and a happy ending. While the line art is consistent, the screen toning is inconsistent from the beginning and end. I rather liked the patchier look the beginning had but it stands out too strongly from the toning in the second half.

Lastly we have my personal favorite, “Deliverance”. A more twisted story, it follows a boy kidnapped after the death of his parents in a car accident where he and another boy are kept as ‘dogs’ to satisfy the whims of their captors. Upon escaping, the boy finds himself in the loving care of a police officer. The story is, of course, short and leaves little time for any real depth of character; however, what we are given is a strong cast of unique individuals with their own self-shaping back-stories, fueled even further with being shown characters’ inner thoughts through certain situations. It is especially interesting with the boy, Aden, as through he lines of logic, we get a glimpse into the trauma and conditioning afflicted upon the young victim. The art is strong and I would say the best in the book. While the artist, like all those in this book, are clearly continuing their own personal development, certain aspects of the art in “Deliverance”, in particular the faces, show a strong sense of style and artist maturity. Unlike the other stories, the ‘bad guys’ are actually faced in the climax of the story and a certain level of resolution is found for the characters.

Overall the stories themselves are worth a read as they are interesting and don’t take a whole lot of time to get through, giving you a full story in a neat package. However, I feel they fell victim to a less than great publishing set-up. Not only were pages printed in the wrong order (two pages switched in the first story), but the lack of proper selection between the stories left it feeling muddled. Reading the description on the book when I picked it up also didn’t impress me, grammatically painful. It has been added up top as the synopsis. I also found three stories hardly enough to make up a decent sized anthology. I do not think this book is worth the price charged; however, I do not believe this to be the fault of the artists involved.

All of Yaoi Press’s books are generally the same size and I think this causes several such problems. Completely unrelated stories are tacked onto the end of their full-length stories to make them longer, sometimes even leaving one story scattered over several volumes of different books. Artists like those showcased in this first of several Yaoi anthologies I think would benefit much more from being part of a larger collection, not one cheaply thrown together book; one which leaves me at least not very keen on spending that much money to get the next one. Yaoi Press obviously has many talented people working with them. I think their long stories should be kept alone in their publication or at least exclusive to the artist/artists. The idea of a Yaoi anthology is a great one, especially with so many short stories in their possession. However, this one greatly fell short of my expectations. We need thicker books and more for our money than three, a real collection, not this thrown together mess of leftovers.

Written March 14, 2007 by Lissa Pattillo
Book purchased online from YaoiPress

About the Author:

Lissa Pattillo is the owner and editor of Kuriousity.ca. Residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia she takes great joy in collecting all manners of manga genres, regretting that there's never enough time in the day to review or share them all. Along with reviews, Lissa is responsible for all the news postings to the website and works full time as a web and graphic designer.



Kuriousity does not condone or support the illegal distribution of manga online.
See an ad here linking to a scanlation website? Please let us know!

Leave a Reply

Take me back to the top!