Quick reviews of vol. 2’s: Yakuza in Love and Cy-Believers

Yakuza in LoveYakuza In Love, vol. 2: This book cruises along mainly on the strength of its crack-tastic premise and the variety of males presented for our delectation. Whether you like ‘em big and solid, young and willowy, or fashionable and foppish, Yakuza In Love has something for everyone. The plot is convoluted and almost beside the point: There are secrets from the past, betrayals, beatings, and most of all, a bunch of lonely gangsters who are just looking for love. The art focuses on the men, with plenty of gesture and close-ups of tortured faces. Backgrounds are simple to nonexistent, while clothes and tats are attended to with loving detail. Although the manga is rated 18+, and there are some explicit (though anatomically unlikely) sex scenes, all dicks are tucked discreetly out of sight or vanish into a rosy glow. Not surprisingly, given the theme, some of the sex is mixed with violence, and the final story, about a high school boy who tries to save a classmate from a relationship with a married man, is kind of creepy. Overall, it’s OK if you don’t take it too seriously.

Cy-BelieversCy-Believers, vol. 2: This is not just a reverse harem comedy, it turns the whole genre upside down. Our heroine, Rui, is determined to keep her computer club, the Cy-Believers, going, with the help of a pair of bishi computer geeks. Yes, bishi computer geeks. In this volume, Rui’s overly controlling ex-fiance, Natori, puts on a wig and glasses and fools Rui, if no one else; the hunky head of the anime club comes dashing into the picture (and is promptly sedated); and Rui’s mysterious father, who looks like he’s about 17, appears and scatters plot exposition everywhere he goes. The sempai girls who were my favorite characters in the first volume drop out of the club, but Rui persuades the Boys Lost Love Quilting Club to join up. Rui appears clueless most of the time, but her personality starts to emerge toward the end of the volume, as do the outlines of a real plot. Shioko Mizuki’s expressive art is easy to take, and the print quality of this volume is better than the last, which had wispy, disappearing lines. To be honest, this is a borderline book that is probably most interesting to younger readers, to whom the politics of school clubs and cliques will seem more immediate. When the sempai girls quit, I was ready to put it down, but I’m glad I didn’t, as Mizuki’s zany humor does keep it interesting.

These reviews are based on complimentary copies supplied by the publishers.

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  1. danielle leigh says

    I think what makes Cy-Believers so very strange is that it doesn’t seem to know how strange it is. Most manga with “hijinks” know that they are pulling hijinks. Cy-Believers thinks it makes sense, which makes it probably the crack-iest thing I’ve read in ages.