by Shoko Hidaka
published by SuBLime Manga; $12.99 US
SuBLime Manga prints yaoi and boys’ love titles, and although almost all of their books are Mature rated, the actual amount of sexual content can vary widely among stories. Blue Morning turns out to be one of the books in the “not very much physical contact” category, which was fine by me, since I’d rather read about the emotions and relationships than watch scenes of the act. (However, please note: the one sex scene can be read as non-consensual, although the actual motivations are impressively complex and multi-faceted.) Blue Morning is a historical story of a young man attempting to grow into his inheritance.
Ten-year-old Akihito finds himself the heir to a highly ranked and prominent family. His only guide is the young and well-respected Katsuragi, the butler with his own secrets. He’s handsome, mysterious, and has an answer to any problem. He’s firmly committed to shaping Akihito into a man who can advance the family’s rank, but no one knows why.
As Akihito grows up, pleasing his mentor and father figure becomes more important to him, and his desire to make Katsuragi proud of him transforms into more complicated emotions. The art is detailed in its figures and expressions, as well as background and setting, allowing the reader to sink into the era portrayed and its attractive men.
There are more questions than answers provided in this volume, which some readers may find frustrating. However, those who enjoy the foreign atmosphere of the near past, a time when rules provided constraints that made relationships more risky, will enjoy the mystery. (The publisher provided a review copy.)