by Hinako Takanaga
published by Tokyopop; $12.99 US
It’s a really great feeling as a reviewer when you get a copy of something you wouldn’t otherwise have tried and you wind up liking it. That’s what happened to me with You Will Fall in Love, a boys’ love title from Blu, Tokyopop’s yaoi imprint.
One of the things I appreciated about this stand-alone volume was that it was primarily a love story. I don’t object to sex in my comics, but the politics of sex in many yaoi titles that I’ve sampled involve too much force or unequal roles for my taste. This one has minimal sex scenes, with more emphasis on the relationships. (And in this one, when a character says, “No!”, it’s listened to.)
And boy, the relationships were interesting! Haru gave up archery four years ago, although he was quite a good competitor, because of his crush on teammate Reiichiro. Haru thought such a love was forbidden and something to feel guilty about, which makes it all the more difficult when Haru winds up teaching at the school Tsukasa, Reiichiro’s younger brother, attends. It seems that Tsukasa had his own crush on Haru, only he’s not embarrassed by his feelings.
Haru’s inability to shoot because of his discomfort with himself contrasts nicely with the way Tsukasa’s acceptance gives him more skill, stemming from his centered personality. Not only is there a question of which brother Haru should pick, but there’s a bigger picture of how to believe in oneself, with the younger generation showing the way. Tsukasa’s determination extends beyond archery competitions, while Haru’s skill will only return when he quits thinking of his love as “wickedness” and reacquires the tranquility of spirit the art demands.
The sport of archery provides for striking undertones. On the one hand, all the visuals of shafts striking circular targets make me giggle inappropriately. On the other, it’s an elegant way to draw beautiful men striking a pose, as they draw back their bows. The scene early on where Haru coaches Tsukasa, almost against his will, to slowly “pull back with your whole body… Don’t rush… Hold it…” is both erotic and a testament to the character’s love of the sport, where he has to help someone improve even though he’d rather not be involved.
About the only quibble with the book I have is this: I was surprised that no one was upset that a teacher was dating his student. Maybe that’s so common in fiction of this type that it’s taken for granted.
Hinako Takanaga also wrote Little Butterfly. (A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the publisher.)