Reviews written by Ridz
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Very touching (not in that way, you perv)
I think this OVA was pretty solid. A misunderstanding occurs between an understandably jealous Ranmaru and a piss-drunk Enjouji, which results in Ranmaru storming off and Enjouji going off to find him. Along the way, the two of them reminisce on past turning points in their relationship.
I think it's particularly cute how Enjouji somehow ends up going to all of the places Ranmaru went to, only he's always too late.
I appreciated the plot in this OVA and the way that scenes from the past were weaved together with the present day. Ranmaru's worries and fears regarding the future of their relationship and the question of whether separation is inevitable when the time comes to marry are realistic and raw. I appreciated both parties' thoughts on that issue.
As for the misunderstanding, I must say the twist in there threw me off guard! XD
The artwork is beautiful in this one, especially since the clothing and hairstyles don't seem as dated as in the first two OVAs. Blissfully, there are no shiny pastels during the more intimate moments.
I give this one four stars since the yaoi content was really, really light. I was sorely disappointed. Don't dangle smexy guys in front of fangirls only to not throw us a bone! (Did you see what I just did there?) It probably deserves 4.5 stars, to be fair.
The story is, in a word, heartwarming. Highly recommended.
I found out about this series when I heard people comparing it to the likes of Ai no Kusabi (and some misguided individuals said it was even better than AnK). Know that this story is a tragedy, and that there is rape and castration. If that kind of stuff bothers you, then don't bother watching. It'll really disturb you.
I think the summary is pretty spot-on as to the plot of the story. I'm a super mecha fan so I was looking forward to watching this one, but actual mecha goodness is not that plentiful.
Despite the OVA being pretty short, the progression between Leonard and Jonathan's relationship was well-paced and totally plausible.
So now, let's talk rape.
I'm not squeamish towards things like rape in yaoi, and this one didn't knock me off my chair either, but I figured I'd delve into it a little in case you're on the fence as to whether or not you should watch this. The rapist fellow is morbidly obese, which is something I've never seen elsewhere in yaoi. I mean, props to them for being a little more realistic (your rapist is not always going to be a remotely good-looking fellow in good shape), but the guy is ugly as f***. The actual act itself is so...detached and depraved that I think that's what makes it a bit difficult to watch. This isn't one of those, "Ah, I hate this but why does it feel so good?" type of scenarios. This is literally, "Oh god, make it stop, kill me please, this is horrible, please someone, anyone, HELP" type of scenarios. Cringe-inducing.
I found the infamous castration scene a little comical.
What's commendable however is how realistic Leonard's fate is. This isn't a matter of defacing your superiors and tossing your hair over your shoulders with a smirk and an, "I showed you. Don't you ever touch him again," kind of thing. Nope, this is more like a, "Yep. I just screwed myself over big time." Morbidly obese guy may be a sick bastard, but revenge is simply a matter of pulling rank. I think everyone knew what was going to result from Leonard's actions, and that's what makes it all so tragic. Could it really have ended any other way?
The smex is quite detailed, especially for an older OVA. I agree with the other reviewer who commented on how distracting Jonathan's blush is. I neither love nor loathe bara, but I appreciate that these certainly look like the bodies of soldiers (morbidly obese guy aside). And the smex between Jonathan and Leonard is truly bittersweet and passionate.
The ending hurts, but it wasn't a tear-inducer for me. You feel for them, but I really wish I could have seen more of the events leading up to Leonard's ultimate fate.
I'm not sure if this series would have been better had it continued. When I saw the preview for the second OVA (shown at the end of the first), it seemed completely unrelated to the first OVA.
Ultimately, this series is ok. Although this endeavor in storytelling was admirable, it feels a little lacking when it comes to connecting plot with emotion.
An entertaining romp through the first two chapter
I liked this one.
I thought it was funny, cute yet smexy at the same time. I hadn't read the series before, so I watched the OVA first, went back and read the first volume, and then came back and watched it again.
I must say it's a pretty faithful representation of the first two chapters of the story. It feels like it's been pulled directly from the pages of the manga, with countless identical scenes that are brought to life through the magic of animation.
Like the summary says, this is one of those stories where a gay guy likes a straight guy and suffers from the pangs of unrequited love. However, the characters are far too interesting to simply write it off like that. Morinaga has been holding onto this crush for 5 years, and though it seems pretty pure, there's no denying that he's a guy with desires (and not of the "let's hold hands and walk in the sunset" kind). To make matters worse, he works in a lab daily with the object of his affection! The abusive homophobe Tatsumi is a fun character, and very convincing as the reluctant uke. I shouldn't even say reluctant. He's pissed as hell to be quite honest ("I'll make you regret ever being born,") and doesn't lose any of his manliness even during...*ahem*...but the escapades between the two are a lot of fun to watch. Both of these guys are idiotic in an incredibly endearing way.
The way the OVA ends feels a bit awkward. I found myself thinking, "That's it?" But then I realized that chronicling the upcoming events would be better served in a second OVA.
As for the smex, some of y'all will likely be disappointed. Though the original manga wasn't that explicit to begin with, the OVA shows nothing--everything's either blocked by a leg or conveniently just out of the view of the camera (I'm looking at *you,* thrusting fingers). Don't get me wrong, it's hot for sure, but it definitely could have been a bit more...liberal, per se.
The art is smooth and gorgeous, the more "serious" scenes particularly lovely. This story is pretty high on humor so expect some different art styles in here. All in all, well worth the watch, even if you haven't read the manga yet.
Good for fans of the manga, meh for the rest of us
I remember when I first heard about Okane ga Nai many, many moons ago. Fans would gush about the storyline and their love for the characters and the art and whatever. I never bothered to check it out though, but recently on a whim I watched the OVAs.
I think this is one of those stories that you either love or hate. It certainly isn't original by any means. Uke gets sold off as a sex slave to pay the debt of his ungrateful family. Gets bought by a rough seme who falls in love with him. Uke struggles with the fact that he's prostituting himself and yet has ~growing feelings for the seme who's raping him. Blah blah blah.
Ayase is the type of uke that I hate the most, so take that into account when you're reading this review. The weak, supremely girly types that spout off "I'm a boy!" unconvincingly. And of course, the idiotic kind that can't bring themselves to hate family, no matter what kind of crap they pull. I have absolutely no sympathy for him, because he seems like a caricature of a person. Kanou is amusing but again, a caricature.
The animation is fine, shiny, but fluffy and girly with happy pastel backgrounds during smex.
If you're unfamiliar with the series, I'd say watch it and move on to get it out of your system. You may as well go through the experience once.
The Textbook Definition of PWP
This is for the rating across all 3 OVAs--> Boku no Pico, PicoxChico, PicoxCoCoxChico
Starting with Boku no Pico, the story deals with effeminate little uke Pico who develops a purely sexual relationship with an older man Tamotsu (Mokkun). After a few sexual encounters and finally their first bonk, Pico wants to know what he means to Mokkun (seriously, are there any kids that would ask this question?). Unsatisfied with the answer, or lack thereof, he runs off and cuts off his girly hair to give himself a more boyish look. He and Mokkun eventually reconcile, and the bonking resumes.
I think I just gave that story more plot than it actually has.
Next, we have PicoxChico, which brings along a new character, a little kid named Chico who looks slightly less effeminate than Pico. During the summer the two of them end up meeting and becoming friends, hanging out, and oh yeah, bonking. To be precise, Pico introduces Chico to the world of carnal pleasures. It is interesting to note that Mokkun is nowhere to be found in this or the third OVA, and Pico has once again reverted to his original girly appearance. Pico and Chico switch roles back and forth in this one, though Pico remains the primary uke. Cross-dressing occurs, courtesy of a closet full of fetish apparel stocked by Chico's sister.
Completely pointless story.
The third title is PicoxCoCoxChico, which introduces a third character, CoCo, who is somehow even more effeminate than Pico, waist-length hair included. I think the storywriters tried to make this one a little more interesting, as Pico and Chico meet CoCo, who happens to the be soul of Tokyo. Mind you, that doesn't mean this one has a plot either. Basically, Pico bonks CoCo, experiences some public pleasuring by CoCo, later sees Chico bonking CoCo, feels bad about it, CoCo notices, runs away, Pico and Chico find him (I was about to type "her") and then a 3s occurs. The whole CoCo being the soul of Tokyo thing feels like a complete afterthought and just serves to confuse things even further if you actually try and make any significance out of it. Stick with treating this one as a PWP as well as you'll be fine.
Now then, the art is gorgeous. Girly boys aside, it's unquestionably graphic (this is good) albeit pixellated (this is bad). Like all PWP-type stories though, these OVAs are highly unsatisfying and simply chock-full of eye candy. I can't say watch it for the plot, because there is none, but if you can sit through the stupidity, at least you'll be rewarded with some worthwhile visuals.
Punks, Cops, and Adorable Pets!
"He was just an obnoxious cop, then he saved my life, and now he's my unrequited love..."
Punk kid Jurouta manages to turn his life around after a run-in with Detective Andou, who is injured in the process of saving him. Years later now working as a vet, despite his feelings of gratitude, Jurouta is still weighed down by the guilt of causing Andou-san's injury. Add to this the pang of unrequited love and the addition of the annoying little Takemura who pops up and conflict ensues!
All of the characters are pretty badass (Takemura...maybe XD), and very likable (again Takemura...maybe XD). Both the seme and uke look like adults should, and the smex is most definitely hot.
Naono-sensei's one of those mangaka that, when she adds in certain traits like a lost limb or blindness, it never feels exploitative or gratuitous. This story is no exception, as Andou's injury is perfectly plausible but doesn't detract from the overall storyline. This oneshot, at its core, is about emotion. Love, guilt, jealousy, self-loathing and regret. Definitely worth the read.
Last updated: August 09, 2010
Top 10 Reviewer
Confession is my favorite oneshot of all time.
Covetous You & Insensible Me is a wonderful collection of oneshots by Naono-sensei. It also contains my favorite oneshot ever in the history of mankind, Confession. Let's begin!
Covetous You & Insensible Me--this one is probably my least favorite in this anthology, which isn't to say it's bad, but it's just not my particular style. Kai is the dutiful older brother to a gaggle of endless siblings who is suffering from empty nest syndrome now that his youngest sibling has left to go to college. He's the kindhearted uke in this pairing, but at the same time he's the competent older brother. Lance is the stereotypical ~dazzling foreigner who decides to make Kai his next prey, but ends up falling for him more than he thought he would. Lance is the supremely jealous type, and also happens to play the seme in this pair. I liked Kai's characterization, but didn't care for Lance at all. Also, the age difference in this one is kind of weird. (Kai is exactly twice Lance's age.) This might be ok if Lance was actually taller than Kai (you ever notice how that manages to compensate?), but he isn't. In any case, don't let this first chapter deter from reading the rest, which are far superior.
Lost on a Moonless Dawn (also known as Lost in the Darkness Before Dawn) + The Night He Escaped Death--These two are historical, detailing the relationship between Tatsumi, special police force officer-turned-sword for hire, and Kagura, robber turned-"ordinary townsman". TNHED is actually the prequel to LOAMD, although the latter comes first in the ordering of the chapters. In any case, I like this story because both men are strong, capable characters and I like learning how their feelings for each other developed-->develops. There's also some role-switching, hehe. As for the smex-factor, it's hot as hell, as expected from Naono-sensei.
And now...for my reviewing pleasure...
Confession--On the surface, this story seems pretty plain. Businessman Shimizu agrees to buy Matsumi, a boy in need of money prostituting himself. As the two struggle with the boundaries established in a client-based relationship, the way that their feelings for each other and the way the story itself develops is just...beautiful. In a short oneshot, I managed to really start caring for these two, praying that things would work out for them (haha sounds dramatic, I know). I don't want to say too much but I wholeheartedly recommend that you read it and savor the emotional roller-coaster.
All in all, a wonderful set of stories well worth your reading time!
Top 10 Reviewer
Setting the bar for student/teacher stories
Ougi-sensei has a style of art that is an acquired taste. For me, I personally like it, so I have no problem giving it 5 stars. It's different from Naono Bohra or Asami Toujou or others, but it has its own distinction. Please don't let the art alone deter you.
This story really tugs on my heart strings. There's some about the uke Yuka that is so endearing. He looks like the stereotypical girly uke, but he's level-headed, mature, and truly adorable. He keeps a positive attitude despite all of the hardships he faces, but it doesn't feel like a front and it certainly isn't effortless (as we find out the day he goes to Kamakura).
Gotou-sensei's struggle to keep a professional relationship isn't so much one of "I need to restrain my desire for him" (at least in the beginning) but more a question of how involved does he want to get into his student's personal life. Arrogant but kind-hearted in a somewhat aloof manner, I particularly liked his character.
This is not your typical student/teacher story because both parties recognize the boundaries that they are approaching (and ultimately do cross). Although the cover art may suggest so, this isn't a fluffy story, but one that's highly emotional with unexpected twists.
This is one of those stories where the mundane everyday feel of the ending is very much welcome. One of my favorites and a must-read.
Last updated: August 09, 2010
Top 10 Reviewer
From the everyday to the otherworldly
This is one of Naono-sensei's top works in my opinion. Each story is thoroughly captivating with interesting characters.
1. Denki deals with the physical insecurities of two high school students, Kouza and Touru. Though they appear to be polar opposites, they start a friendship and surprisingly get along very well. Touru's interesting little trait is that, after having been struck by lightening, his body carries a strong (painful!) electric charge. But why is it that Kouza is the only one that seems to be getting shocked?
2. Dakishimetakunai is about a salaryman who gets fired and finds himself hired as the housekeeper of a successful businessman's apartment. This story focuses on the relationship between the characters and the question of how deep are their feelings for each other? There's a mild surprise at the end. It's a mellow, satisfying story.
3. Yokubou no Riyuu is worth reading just for the cute little Grandpa character. Particularly noteworthy in this story is that the delicate-looking uke has the ability to easily coldcock the seme. Unrealistic but cute story.
4 and 5. An enjoyable roller-coaster ride following a Shinigami and a young man that's been trained as an assassin from a young age. After taking so many lives, it's natural that the assassin would have to pay for his sins, but is it possible that his punishment could be the greatest gift he's ever received?
As always, Naono-sensei's artwork is superb, with shading and definition bar-none.
Last updated: August 09, 2010
Top 10 Reviewer
Good, but not one of Naono-sensei's best
This is one of Naono-sensei's simpler anthologies. No fantastical elements or detailed mysteries, but a series of slice-of-life stories (you know, if your life was that of a host or something.) The plot in these stories revolves more around the characters' relationships more than anything else.
Ch. 1 deals with pint-sized rice-shop owner Kawada and bumbling thief/starving student Mori. The theme of this story would be insecurity, I suppose. It's cute and fluffy. I have an issue with Kawada's size though. I mean, that's just laughably teeny!
Ch. 2 and 3 are my favorites of the series. These chappies focus on Mori's coworker Mitsuo and his vicious boss Eito-san, who also has been his caretaker since Mitsuo was a child. Rape warning in this one, but the resulting aftermath is interesting and certainly something different. ("Even though it's playing out like my worst nightmare...I still feel happy somehow...") To clarify, this is not one of those rape=love things.
Chapters 4 and 5, to be honest, are fluffy but entirely forgettable. 4 is about two cousins, 5 is about an uncle and a nephew. 4 is pretty run-of-the-mill. 5 has a bit of a twist, but one that you were entirely expecting.
I'd say read through the first three chapters for sure. Naono-sensei's skill with shading, movement, and emotion are top-notch as always.
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