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Dry Heat by Yugi Yamada
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Dry Heat

by Yugi Yamada

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Yugi Yamada was one of the few BL mangaka that had consistently entertained, if not impressed me with her work, so I was very excited to see a new title by her translated here. Unfortunately, it seems Dry Heat has broken the streak. It's got a lot of the usual yaoi tropes, which actually isn't unusual for Yamada's manga, but it doesn't have the things that usually help her stories rise above the others like it.

In particular, psychological believability took a big hit on this one for me. The main character is frequently and spontaneously nearly raped by his love interest, in a way that seems is supposed to show he cares about him. It's practically the only thing he does to the main whenever he comes around him. No scenes showing them interacting and hinting to us how deeply he cares or showing us why they make a good couple—just lots and lots of nonconsensual almost-sex. I've never been able to buy the common yaoi logic of rape=obsession/need=love, and this story really didn't do anything to make it work better for me than it ever has before.

Worse yet, the main character doesn't even react to these incidents. Whether it be from his love interest or from another male side character he doesn't even have an interest in, when they force themselves upon him he protests, but after he goes about his business as usual, neither holding his attackers' actions particularly against them in later interactions, or questioning much his own sexuality. Even by the end when the sex was clearly consensual, it still felt more like the main character was going along with what his love interest wanted just to please someone he cared about and felt responsible for, rather than like he had any actual passion himself. His psychological movement from thinking of the other character as a kid and old friend to someone he loves romantically and has sexual feelings for is glossed over entirely.

Instead of showing that, there's a lot of business with story about the love interest dropping out of school and why and learning about his life situation and a side plot involving another character that sort of mirrors the mains' situation. But when the characters never act in a convincing way in their relationship, it's hard to care about all that anyway. Compared to other yaoi, this manga is perhaps a bit above average with the amount of plot and back story and characters it juggles. But I don't really enjoy the average yaoi manga, and compared to other works by Yamada I've read, this really doesn't compare. ( )
  narwhaltortellini | Sep 9, 2010 |
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