Manga-ka: Makoto Tateno
Rating: Mature (18+)
Released: December 2008
Synopsis: “Sweet young Kai and the doctor Maria shared a bond that they thought no one could destroy… until Maria’s brutal murder tore her from Kai’s arms forever. Now, Kai wanders the pitch-black streets of the inner city – searching for the man who stole Maria’s life. With both a mysterious electronic freqency and a strange, powerful man named Lahti shadowing his every move, Kai must slay his new-found enemies… or fall prey to their desires!”
After the murder of his girlfriend, Maria, Kei finds himself drawn to a dangerous city renowned for its warring rival gangs. Determined to get close to one such gang, and inparticular one man within it, Kai makes a bold move in requesting to be bodyguard to the powerful Lahti. Once inside this circle, however, some deadly wheels start turning as assasins target Lahti and Kai finds himself defending the one person whose life he seeks to take in vengeance.
Boys’ love wise, Blue Sheep Reverie doesn’t have a whole lot to offer fans but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t present much to anticipate. There’s a one-time fling, a regret that it was only a one-time fling and some ambigious interaction that’s likely prelude to some more intimates later. Fans of Makoto Tateno will find her artwork familiar, toting the willowy-haired pretty boys and their wistful stares into space. I enjoyed some of her action rendering but felt that some parts didn’t have as much detail as they required (are they fighting with a string of pearls?).
While there might not be much man on man action, the book doesn’t hold back with some other firey dramatics to keep things going. Rival gang wars and a target on Lahti’s head make for lots of dangerous situations. Watching him teach Kai the specifics of fighting and how to better take a life is both interesting and methodical, with a healthy dash of inter-group politics regarding a group’s mysterious ‘Four Kings’. Some of the book’s most climatic moments will be undoubtedly predicted by some readers, putting a little damper on the tension, but the emotional effect on the characters is enough to make even the most cookie-cutter moments at least a little stirring.
Though this first volume of Blue Sheep Reverie may not live up to the expectations of some boys’ love fans looking for more action between the sheets than on the streets, its semi-futuristic plot line of gangs, murder and survival are really what make it a book worth reading. Amidst the dead-girlfriend angst and a world that could stand to be fleshed out more than its explored, its a story that’s still tailored to a boys’ love audience, and seems keen on catering to it, but one that doesn’t lean on the boys’ love like a crutch. Even if the main plot points are predictable (and I got a serious woman-are-the-enemy vibe), I still anticipate volume two to see where Kai’s newly carved paths will take him, and he and Lahti can survive it.