Manga-ka: Jun Mayama
Publisher: June (DMP)
Rating: Mature (18+)
Release Date: March 2009
Synopsis: “Yasuie runs the Kiryuuin Detective Agency in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Nichome neighborhood. With no clients and no money, it’s a constant struggle just to live and pay the rent. For the past seven years, Yasuie’s assistant and partner Yoshiyuki has been willing to suffer through all the good and bad times with him – even considering Yasuie’s playful advances, which approach sexual harassment – but life has a way of changing things. Faced with his family’s ultimatum, Yoshiyuki must choose between a penniless future with Yasuie and a more traditional lifestyle. Can Yasuie convince Yoshiyuki to stay with him? Even if Yasuie does confess the true reason he brought Yoshiyuki into the detective business, will it be enough to change his partner’s mind?”
Yasuie and Yoshiyuki follow a long line of other yaoi characters that run a detective business, though their occupation isn’t a big part of the plot as they do very little detective work. They could be astronauts-in-training and it still wouldn’t affect the story all that much.
The two men have been working together for seven years. In that time there’s been a lot of sexual tension and teasing, but they haven’t gone any further than Yasuie occasionally groping Yoshiyuki. Then one day Yoshiyuki receives news that his father has fallen ill. Yoshiyuki was adopted and felt left out in the cold when his adopted parents had a biological child, but with his parents now reaching out to him, Yoshiyuki has a chance to become part of the family again.
The downside is that his family wants him to go to a marriage interview and meet a potential bride. This makes Yoshiyuki re-evaluate his relationship with Yasuie and it becomes even more complicated when Yasuie makes his thoughts on the matter known.
Live for Love raises some interesting issues about having to pick between love and family. It would be easy for the writer to make Yoshiyuki’s family unlikeable, but instead she makes them into sympathetic characters. In fact, I found the relationship between Yoshiyuki and his family more interesting than the one between him and Yasuie, even though the second one has a lot more pages dedicated to it.
This might be because while I learned a lot about Yoshiyuki, Yasuie remains little more than a happy-go-lucky, horny but nice guy. Their relationship is a bit hard for me to swallow, largely because there’s a scene of forced sex in the book (one of the characters even openly calls it rape). I don’t have a problem seeing rape depicted in manga, I just like it when the characters’ reactions to it makes sense.
Another thing that didn’t help the sex scenes is the art. The last thing you want to be thinking about when reading the steamy parts is “Wow, his head is at an odd angle on his shoulders,” or “Those are freakishly large hands.” While it’s not a constant issue, the anatomy is off often enough that it’s a distraction.
If you’re looking for a good yaoi detective story, I’d recommend Fake or Yellow over this. But if you’ve already read those and are just looking for something new, then you might want to give Live for Love a try.