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Kissing (Yaoi) by Teiko Sasaki

Kissing (Yaoi)

by Teiko Sasaki

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Haru has always admired his best friend, Kazushi. Kazushi has always been a hard worker and ever since they entered college together, Kazushi seemed to take on workaholic tendencies. However, both Haru and Kazushi made every effort to stay close and even planned to celebrate their 22nd birthdays together (since they were born three days apart). When Haru discovers Kazushi has a secret love he can't stop bugging him until Kazushi reveals his secret, but it isn't at all what Haru expects. Kazushi professes his love to Haru. Now Haru is confused, not wanting to lose his best friend, but also not knowing how to react to the astonishing revelation.

This is one of the very first yaoi manga I ever purchased and as such am very fond of the story. I really do like the whole "friends becoming more" themes, although I think if Kazushi hadn't been so forward, Haru never would have had feelings beyond friendship for him. One of the first things that struck me about the artwork is I kept thinking how much Kazushi reminded me of Aerosmith's Steven Tyler. It's just the way he's drawn so right off the bat I was very amused.

I guess plot-wise this is a pretty standard manga story of two friends becoming something more with the taller, darker man coming on strong and the smaller lighter man being a bit overwhelmed and confused. But, since this was one of my first I can't say it is a plot I, personally, was familiar with and I did find it enjoyable. The only thing that struck me as a little odd is that the side character, Minota, seemed like he should have had a more important part than that of an observer, almost as though his character was an idea that never was completely developed by the manga-ka.

This is certainly a story I'd have no problem recommending to those interested in the yaoi genre and looking for a "starter" manga to try out. ( )
  Jenson_AKA_DL | Jul 14, 2008 |
Kissing is one of those 'childhood friends and one of them confesses and the other doesn't know how to react' kind of stories. I think this one's trying for a slightly more mature angle since instead of having the main character/uke obviously just as in love as the seme and supposedly just not realizing it yet, the main here really doesn't feel anything romantic toward their friend, at least at first. Thus the manga tries to make itself focus on a story of how the two friends try to keep their friendship despite the uncomfortable feelings that have sprung up within it.

But the attempt doesn't really succeed. The biggest problem is probably that this struggle is only consistently kept up by the main character. The other flip flops unbelievably, at some times being a kind friend repairing their friendship, but then often at the peak of these moments and/or at the most insensitive of times suddenly making a sexual advance unabashedly. I could certainly buy that despite the seme's desire to respect his friend and keep their friendship, he is having difficulty suppressing his hope that his friend may eventually return his feelings, or containing his desire to express his feelings now that he has finally confessed, but the manner and timing of the seme's advances are the manner and timing of an insensitive, thoughtless jerk.

The result was a sort of emotional blackmail. The expected 'climax' where the uke has to chose between either breaking off relations entirely or becoming lovers is not one reached because both have earnestly tried to keep the friendship and it has not worked, but because the seme has purposefully driven the relationship this way, to a certain extent probably knowing the uke will not be able to part with him.

But that's what I get from thinking about the characters actions and why they irritated me. Without my tendency to over analyze everything, I'd probably just find it dull and slightly irritating. Semes who subtly emotionally manipulate the ukes they are trying to seduce are nothing new to yaoi, after all. Even if those don't irritate you, though, I still do think this is an extremely generic offering. The art is kind of pretty, but it's a very forgettable read. ( )
  narwhaltortellini | Jun 2, 2008 |
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