Deux Yaoi: A Sampling — Kiss All the Boys, Take Me to Heaven, Two of Hearts

Two of Hearts cover

Two of Hearts

by Kano Miyamoto

Haruya, a formerly acclaimed novelist, is in a slump. He lives by the coast and pays the bills by writing magazine articles. He and his editor are also sleeping together.

Two of Hearts cover

One day, he spies a teenager trying to wash his clothes 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 fear of being touched, the boy will inspire him to great writing, and the two will fall in love. It’s getting there in Two of Hearts that’s the appeal for fans of this genre.

Personally, I prefer love stories with more equality between the participants, but there’s lots of caring on view here as each gives the other something they needed. And Haruya has the excuse of being, as he says, “not a very responsible adult.” He’s also cute, with his glasses and rumpled black hair. (He sort of reminds me of Bernard Black.)

Take Me to Heaven

by Nase Yamato

Take Me to Heaven is cute and funny. High school student Fumiya (who looks young for his age) sees ghosts, which freak him out. He lives next door to a Buddhist temple, and Shogo, the son of the priest, is his best friend. Shogo’s tall and popular, but he’s also the only one able to reassure Fumiya and make the ghosts go away.

Take Me to Heaven cover

I haven’t seen many yaoi with horror overtones, and while some of the ghosts are creepy, I appreciated the way the whole thing is handled in a light-hearted fashion. Fumiya and Shogo have plenty to bring them together, so I found their relationship plausible. Watching it develop was both entertaining and believable, lightened with touches of comedy.

There are several flashbacks to them growing up together as kids, which are adorable. I appreciated the way the artist could handle that as well as touching consideration and mutilated ghosts.

Kiss All the Boys

by Shiuko Kano

Tetsuo draws porn comics but has a problem: he’s impotent. To complicate things, he had a son when he was 17. The kid is now 15 and has moved in with him. Tetsuo’s editor is also his best friend and the brother of his child’s mother.

I liked the comedy involved in this premise, where nothing is taken too seriously, although I did sometimes have trouble determining which character was speaking.

Kiss All the Boys cover

Tetsuo finds out his son is gay when he sees the kind of porn manga he reads. One of them is called “Take Me in the Mushroom Fields”, and the drawings of the fungus look like something else entirely. I thought the sense of humor about Kiss All the Boys‘s own genre was refreshing.

Tetsuo finally gets a hint of his real inclination when he has an anonymous hand-job encounter with someone who turns out to be his new neighbor. It’s a kind of conservation of character, where everyone winds up being connected in more than one way to provide plenty of reasons to keep having them interact with each other.

In this book, guys keep pushing each other to the floor and trying to grab each other’s organs. It’s hilarious, because it cuts right to the chase. There are two more books in the series if you like this one.

Additional Titles

I’m told the following additional Deux yaoi titles that I haven’t had a chance to read are highly recommended:

Seduce Me After the Show, by Est Em, a collection of five stories about love among performers. She has also written Red Blinds the Foolish.

Future Lovers, by Saika Kunieda, a touching romance about a man who thinks he wants the typical wife-and-kids life, only to fall in love with another man.

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