by Fumi Yoshinaga
published by Digital Manga; $12.95 US
Well, that’s quite a switch. It’s as though someone said, “Ok, you’ve established all the characters, with their relationships and believable motivations, in book one. Now let’s just have them boink a lot.”
Seriously, this volume, in contrast to the first, has lots of sex. It’s as though the twin points of appeal of yaoi manga were split into two different volumes. The last one got the love, while this one is all about the physical. Perhaps related is the length of the stories here. They’re much shorter, some barely more than incidents.
It’s nice to see the couples still together, as they face new milestones in their lives, but there does seem to be a sameness in the “someone gets good news and has hot sex with their lover to celebrate” story structure. Then, in between, there’s a cute school story in which Naru-chan (who had a crush on a schoolboy who turned out to be gay) is taken out to eat by some classmates to make her feel better. Kind of a different mood, but I don’t mind a piece about how reassuring eating good food can be. I did wish that there were some notes about what all the different dishes were, since they’re untranslated Japanese. With its combination of food and sex, this is what some readers wished Antique Bakery could have been.
I very much liked one of the first images in the book. Yoshinaga introduces her cast by having the four men, in suits, walk in line across the page. It demonstrates through contrast their styles and body language, and it also reminded me vaguely of the cover of Abbey Road. I also appreciated how several of the stories dealt with how the men came out to co-workers. (The publisher provided a review copy.)