Manga-ka: Yamimaru Enjin
Rating: Mature (18+)
Release Date: February 2009
Synopsis: “Cruel fate claims the lives of former boxer Moriya and former yakuza Watase off the edge of a busy freeway overpass. But the end for these two is just the beginning. Rescued from “ground zero” by a mysterious alien woman with magical powers, Moriya and Watase find themselves trapped in a world almost like the one they left – yet completely different! Appeasing the whims of their alien overseer seems to be the only hope Moriya and Watase ever have of returning to their former lives. Will the time traveling events Moriya and Watase find themselves in bring them closer together… or will they alter the past so much, it dooms any hope for a relationship?!”
This one-shot yaoi manga throws a sci-fi monkey wrench into the usual boy-meets-boy story. Watase and Moriya are saved from certain death by a female alien who needs their help. The alien wants the two men to go back to Earth and collect human energy. For Watase, that means basically becoming a vampire and sucking the blood of virgins. Moriya on the other hand, must collect seman by sucking off men.
If this set-up wasn’t strange enough, they are also sent back in time to the same day over and over, February 18, 1998. This date has a special significance for Watase, as it’s around the time a friend of his, Akutsu, died. Watase decides that he must try and prevent Akutsu’s death. Moriya meanwhile has started to develop feelings for Watase and can’t help but feel a little jealous. But for Watase’s sake, Moriya decides to try and help him change the past.
The story works best when it doesn’t take itself too seriously. There’s a lot of humour in the first chapter which unfortunately disappears over the course of the book. The book also shines when it’s showcasing the love triangle between Moriya, Watase, and his friend Akutsu. While the characters are good, the sci-fi elements distracted me from them. I wish the manga-ka could have found a way to tell this story without involving time-travel or aliens (well, maybe one or the other, but not both).
The art isn’t anything to write home about, but the boys are pretty enough. Yamimaru Enjin does a good job with expressions and posture. It’s easy to tell yakuza Watase from present nice-guy Watase just from the expression on his face.
The Way to Heaven is different from a lot of yaoi out there, but I don’t think those different elements work to well. However if you are a yaoi fan first and a sci-fi fan second, then this is still worth checking out for how the main relationship is built up over the course of the book.
Review written June 11, 2009 by Shannon Fay
Book provided by Digital Manga for review purposes