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Truly Kindly by Fumi Yoshinaga

Truly Kindly

by Fumi Yoshinaga

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As always, Fumi Yoshinaga is brilliant in this collection of short stories, each one of which is original, poignant and gorgeously drawn, although some will make you laugh or grin, while other may make you cry or feel a little sad for the characters.

The volume contains seven one-shots, only the last two of which are connected in some way and forming a prologue/introduction of sorts to 'Lovers in the Night'. The tone of the stories is as varied as the settings, ranging from pre-Revolutionary France to modern day Japan and several things in between. ( )
  misura | Sep 21, 2008 |
I’ve been trying to read all of Yoshinaga Fumi's titles translated in English, even the less popular ones. She’s one of my favourite yaoi mangakas. Truly Kindly is a collection of her shorter works. The stories vary in location from Seattle to historical Japan to revolution-era France, the latter being a setting that Yoshinaga Fumi is famous for in her other works such as Gerard et Jacques and Lovers in the Night.

The stories themselves are so varied that it’s hard to get a feel for the entire collection. Some pieces were pleasant but not too memorable such as “A Today Completely Different from Yesterday” and “Pandora.” I wasn’t bowled over by “A Butler’s Proper Place” either, which is part of the Lovers in the Night universe. Also, there were a few spots where I thought the translation was iffy, like the story in historical Japan where one man called his lover “babe.” But that’s not the mangaka’s fault (I hope). If only judging by these stories I’d be tempted to give Truly Kindly a decent but mediocre rating. However, then you get to the titular “Truly Kindly” and “Chinoiserie” with its short spinoff “A Day in the Life of an Aristocrat”, and my opinion changes.

“Truly Kindly” started out fairly average but threw a curveball at the end that I totally wasn’t expecting. I love it for challenging my expectations of yaoi stereotypes and people in general. “Chinoiserie” and “A Day in the Life of an Aristocrat” were lovely and melancholy and utterly realistic in displaying class relations. All three stories I’ve mentioned are the sadder ones of the collection but their sense of quiet tragedy make them stand out. There’s a lot of unnecessary fluff in yaoi and I’m happy that Yoshinaga Fumi knows how to venture out of traditional territory.

Overall, Truly Kindly is an uneven anthology. Some of its stories I’ll only ever read once but a few are solid treasures. ( )
1 vote veevoxvoom | Jun 17, 2008 |
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