June Manga/DMP Yaoi 1: Almost Crying, Time Lag, Yellow, Little Butterfly, Il Gatto Sul G

Digital Manga Publishing was kind enough to send me a variety of their titles to sample. Here’s some brief reactions to some of their yaoi titles, many published under their June imprint.

I should say upfront that I don’t consider myself a fan of the genre. I don’t understand the appeal, so it’s to be taken for granted that these titles are a hard sell for me. I tried to approach them with an open mind, and I appreciated the chance to try a variety of examples. Fans of yaoi may see something else in them.

Almost Crying cover
Almost Crying
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Almost Crying — A bad choice for a first start, since this title seems aimed at a specialty audience that I don’t want to think about. In the various short stories it contains, boys who look like children (although supposedly in high school) fall in love with their supervisor or an adoptive brother or some other older figure, and they call their crushes “mister” or “sir”. In one particularly creepy tale, a boy falls in love with a younger boy who looks just like his favorite (girl) doll. Disturbing.

Time Lag — I think this is more shonen-ai than yaoi, since there’s a lack of physical affection shown. (Same goes for the above, too, except for one page of merman sex jokes.) The school setting of this one seemed more interesting to me, except I thought all of the characters looked too much alike, so I kept confusing who was who.

There’s a photographer with a crush on a track star, and the photographer’s editor makes a play for him to distract him when he’s turned down by the runner. The plot isn’t the point, though — instead, there’s lots of internal monologues about longing and emotional confusion. The “time lag” of the title refers to a letter delivered three years later that creates an artifical misunderstanding that’s easily resolved. I found it boring.

Yellow Book 1 cover
Yellow Book 1
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Yellow Book 1 — Goh and Taki are roommates because they share a job, that of drug courier. Goh’s gay and Taki’s straight, but the reader quickly gets the idea that, as with any “will they or won’t they” pairing, it’s only a matter of time until the two admit their feelings for each other and fall into bed together.

The title comes from the symbol of a yellow light, meaning “proceed but with caution”. If looked at closely, the art can be a bit less than polished, but it’s got attitude to carry it through. I like that there’s more to this series than just the attraction between the two; there’s story to ground the characters and round them out. There’s also a lot of teasing between the two; if they were male/female, it’d be Moonlighting or a similar mystery/romance. Easily best of the bunch.

Little Butterfly Book 1 cover
Little Butterfly Book 1
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Little Butterfly Book 1 — A schoolboy makes friends with the class outcast, a boy with a troubled family situation, and they develop a relationship. A very quick read, slight and forgettable.

Il Gatto Sul G Book 1 cover
Il Gatto Sul G Book 1
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Il Gatto Sul G Book 1 — A soft-hearted guy, the kind who brings home stray cats, adopts a bleeding boy from the street who turns out to be a famous violinist with a split personality. I’m told that this kind of story is quite common in the yaoi genre, throwing the characters together in a situation where they start with a bond of sympathy and indebtedness.

In this case, the older kid helps the high schooler stand up to the authority figures around him who already know what he’s supposed to turn out to be. He can’t resist feeling like he’s helping to heal the obviously damaged younger boy. I like the soft watercolor cover and the thick white paper pages (instead of the typical newsprint), but the story didn’t keep my attention. It just felt too generic and predictable.

All of these titles are bigger than the usual manga digest and have slipcovers. All are priced at $12.95 each.

8 Comments

  1. [...] Yaoi worth reading? Johanna, who admits she’s not a yaoi fan, samples the latest crop from DMP’s June imprint. [...]

  2. I really agreed with the reviews that you have made of the books. The reviews that you have made helped me to decided what books of this bunch that I wanted to buy. Thx a lot!

  3. I’m so glad you’ve found them helpful — thank you for letting me know!

  4. [...] Continuing my sampling of Digital Manga’s titles. As I said before, I’m not a yaoi fan. I’ve read a couple of books in that genre that I’ve liked, but most of it leaves me cold. Please keep in mind that those looking for that type of story may see different things in these books. [...]

  5. I loved Little Butterfly and Yellow. I am a huge yaoi fangirl I will check out the others.

  6. I have been miffed at a few of June’s titles, since they seem to censor (quite badly, I might add) out a few parts.

  7. [...] Takanaga also wrote Little Butterfly. [...]

  8. [...] in the ocean. He takes pity on him and invites him in for a meal and a shower. This is a typical adoption-style storyline common to yaoi. It’s obvious from early on that Haruya is going to help the boy overcome his [...]

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