Manga-ka: Est Em
Publisher: Deux Press
Rating: Teen (18+)
Released: May 2008
Synopsis: “A stylish, tempestuous dance of anguish and passion. Seduce Me After the Show contains seven short stories which take place within the artistic worlds of dance, painting and music. Overall themes focus on the dichotomy of hope & despair as well as the relationship between pleasure and longing. Devastated by the death of his world famous dancer mother, Theo Gallardo abandons his own dancing cateer to become an actor and co-stars in a film with popular Hollywood idol Darren Fergus.”
Seduce Me After the Show is a collection of seven short stories. Numerous positive reviews prompted me to pick this title up, and though I did find it a nice overall read, ultimately for me its greatest failing was not living up to its community hype.
My favourite story in the book was one of the shorter ones, a story about a young man who had given up painting until he finds inspiration in a fellow artist. It’s a charming story with some subtle yet effective character interaction. I also enjoyed a two-part story involving a pair of twins, but my love for it was slightly tarnished by the predictability.
The book’s title story was an attractive piece as well because of the strength of emotion the manga-ka is able to portray. This is especially evident during the first few pages, when a man’s stage performance goes on despite the anguishing news of his mother’s death. The lead character feels especially rounded as a character and the interaction between him and a man he partners with for work, builds itself up to be a refreshingly portrayed relationship of sorts.
Est Em’s art isn’t much on its own but paired with the stories it portrays, becomes a much more attractive part of the book. I loved the sharp contrasts of black and white, with tones carefully chosen and not overused. It all comes together for a look that’s certainly much different than your usual yaoi fare and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I also admire Est Em for not shying away from portrayals of different characters types, from old and wrinkled, sharp and attractive (without losing their masculinity) to decidedly average.
This is my second book by Deux and I continue to appreciate their recent approach to their books. I really like their simple design work on the exterior, the sparse quality of the layout working especially well for this title. The interior translation was fluid and I didn’t come across any notable errors in the grammar or spelling. The pages do have an off-beige look to them which somehow managed to cause my eyes grief but the print work was still sharp and clean. The binding is also really nice, tight binding to the spine but the pages are loose and easy to turn. A far cry from their earlier books and thank goodness for that!
By this point, it doesn’t seem like I had much on the negative side to say for this book, and in honesty, that’s very true. But in retrospect this book left so little an impression on me, I nearly regretted purchasing it. It’s nice, but overall, I have to say Seduce Me After the Show made for a rather dull reading experience that fell short of being as potent as intended. I give it kudos for being different than the usual saturation of yaoi stereotypes out there, but past that it remains as little more to me than a book that arrived amidst high expectations and ultimately failed to deliver.