You Will Fall in Love

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.

You Will Fall in Love cover
You Will Fall in Love
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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.)

9 Comments

  1. That kind of relationship is not only common in boys’ love, it’s pretty common in Japanese fiction/culture all around. One of my favorite manga, Maison Ikkoku, featured a woman who had married her high school teacher (and no one batted an eye).

    The age of consent is strikingly low in Japan, as I recall, so I suppose it’s to be expected.

  2. I’m glad you reviewed this, because it *does* sound interesting, and I have such a hard time finding yaoi titles I enjoy. I think what draws me to this especially (besides the fact that it sounds like the sex is all consensual) is that it seems like the character who is portrayed as healthy is the one who has accepted his sexuality. Something that has bothered me in some BL manga is a feeling that we’re supposed to accept that there is something essentially inferior about homosexual love (this bothered me in “Shout out Loud,” for instance), and that we as the *reader* are meant to feel more like the character here, Haru, and view love between two men as, at best, a guilty pleasure.

  3. Good reminder, Katie. I guess it seems different to me when it happened in the past than when I’m watching it play out.

    Melinda: I’m glad you found it helpful. I was pleasantly surprised myself. And I didn’t even talk about how pleasing it was that people actually talked to each other about how they were feeling!

  4. [...] Ed Sizemore recommends vol. 14 of Tail of the Moon Johanna Draper Carlson is pleased to discover You Will Fall in Love. Johanna also posts some brief reviews of new Viz titles. While everyone else was arguing about [...]

  5. If you only enjoy a few Yaoi books from time to time, I recommend you should read another manga by this artist, “The Devil’s Secret”. You can really find equality with her characters, and even in her short stories, her characters stand out much more than another random short-story collection. The characters in “Devil’s Secret” resonated with me, and I remembered who they were after finishing it.

    Not all Yaoi is worth your time and money, but I would say a few sweet stories by Hinako Takanaga will not turn you off Yaoi. Her stories aren’t too sweet, with just enough erotic edge.

    P.S. If you sign up to get more review copies from Yaoi publishers, you won’t have to buy any books ;)

  6. I used to be on some yaoi review lists, but I don’t think they liked it when I called one of them a “child rape fantasy“.

    Who publishes Devil’s Secret?

  7. Oh, that could be right. I guess they don’t appreciate honesty. Holly over at Active Anime always gets advanced copies because she always says good things for every single title, which is misleading.

    Devil’s Secret is published by 801 Media.

  8. [...] You Will Fall in Love, which I first became aware of thanks to Johanna Draper Carlson’s very thoughtful review at the beginning of the month. Her review is really right on, and there isn’t much I can add [...]

  9. [...] previously seen in You Will Fall in Love, returns in this yaoi sequel. You Will Drown in Love [...]

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