Manga-ka: Yuki Shimizu
Rating: Mature (18+)
Released: February 2008
Synopsis: “Delve into the past as we find out more about the Aoe household! The Aoe brothers are doing pretty well for themselves these days, but hidden in their past are a slew of dark secrets. Kiichi and Haruomi seem like a caring couple, but what forces brought them together many years ago?”
Love Mode, volume eight, is a look back at the pasts of some of the story’s most relevant characters. Readers are taken back to the teenage years of Aoe Reiji and his older brother, the doctor Aoe Kiichi, as well as the childhood of Kiichi’s housekeeper and lover, Haruomi. Through tragic events, the characters are brought together and experience anguish at the hands of Reiji and Kiichi’s abusive father, setting the stepping-stones for their personalities and lifestyles later in life.
This was a really informative volume of this intensive character drama, albeit a pretty dark one. Haruomi’s past is revealed, from his unintended birth to being abandoned by his mother. Unfortunate circumstances then put him the service of Kiichi and Reiji’s father, a twisted man who will do anything (and anyone) he pleases. The games the man plays with his own children is definately no laughing matter either.
There’s no denying that this eighth volume of Love Mode is one of the series’ darkest. Sure others have their less than positive situations, but in this volume characters are at their lowest and most often not by their own doing. It’s a feat to wonder how these characters survive to become the adults that we, the readers, have gotten so accustomed to. But the signs are already there to see and I have complete faith in Yuki Shimizu to answer all questions and address all concerns of these men’s’ lives until we’re satisfied. Also be warned, it’s the first volume to have such a cliffhanger ending so I recommend having volume nine ready to go!
Yuki Shimizu’s art isn’t what one could call especially eye-catching and I fear it’s probably the number one reason that a lot people won’t give this wonderfully written yaoi a chance. While the style doesn’t have the greatest grasp at anatomy and often people appear too similar, I still find the characters expressive and I like the way the artist lays out the art and the poses and angle she chooses to nicely tell the story. I think the two work well together and the story allows a person to really begin enjoying the art, as opposed to the other way around as I’d say is more common.
Overall, it’s another enthralling book of Love Mode. I love following this woven web of characters through their trials in life and volume eight was no exception. I’m sad to think that the series will soon be coming to a close at volume eleven but I’m certainly going to keep enjoying it in the meantime.