Earlier this spring 801 Media, Inc., sister company to DMP Books (and publisher of lots of yaoi under the JUNE MANGA imprint) began to release their books. Comprised of seemingly more raunchy yaoi action and with a higher price-per-book to make you pay dearly for your filthy, filth porn, I honestly haven’t heard much about the line as a whole. I decided to take matters into my own hands (heh) and so I present to you three short reviews of 801 Media’s first wave of books:

affair.jpgAFFAIR, by Shioku Kano. 200 pages, $15.95, ISBN: 9781934129050
AFFAIR has the dubious honour of provoking the following question from me, 20 pages in: “Is this translation just incredibly bad, or is it nearly-unreadable in the original with excellent translation?” A collection of various yaoi cliches, the dialogue is punctuated with a series of statements that border on non-sequitors through each story. A convoluted mess, saved from the trash by some thoroughly dirty artwork. It can’t be good if I have to force myself to finish the pornography.

bondz.jpgBOND(Z), by Toko Kawai. 192 pages, $15.95, ISBN: 9781934129005
The first story in this single-creator anthology, about two straight best friends who end up fucking in a restroom while their girlfriends are back at the table in a restaurant, is both surprisingly hot and really well drawn. BOND(Z) is actually a collection of short stories so it isn’t JUST straight dudes in a washroom (they like to fuck lots of places), but that is the lead (and longest) story, and it’s really, really well put together. The other shorts are surprisingly strong as well, and if you like the yaoi for either the dirty bits or the romance, this one is an essential purchase. Bonus: Surprisingly strong depiction of homosexual desire.

ichigenme-1.jpgICHIGENME VOL 1: The First Class Is Civil Law…, by Fumi Yoshinaga. 240 pages, $15.95, ISBN: 9781934129012
I’d really been looking forward to this one, another “dirty” yaoi title from 801 Media but created by ANTIQUE BAKERY’s Fumi Yoshinaga. I really loved Bakery, which isn’t yaoi (or even dirty for that matter), and the idea of Yoshinaga doing something more ‘explicitly’ gay was really appealing. My expectations were surpassed by the deft handling of this ‘coming out’ story, set in a Japanese law school. The art and storytelling remain as strong as ever, though part of the charm of Bakery is the maniacal attention to detail in the depiction of the food, something the author is robbed of doing in this story. But I actually came away feeling like I’d learned something about Japanese law school, showing that Yoshinaga knows just how much information to include to keep the setting feeling real, while not obscuring the characters at all. These reluctant lovers, following their dreams and denying their urges… It’s a great little romance novel. There’s nothing particularly graphic though, at least nothing that you wouldn’t see in much tamer yaoi releases, I can only assume it heats up in later volumes. Fans of Bakery and FAKE will enjoy the will-they, won’t-they relationship. I’m looking forward to volume two.

Just for fairness’ sake, I’ll try and review some filthy hentai for Simon Jones soon too. Although “Wow, she really fucked her brother good this time around!” is probably going to bring the wrong sort of hits to my site.

- Christopher


3 Comments on “3 Quick Yaoi Reviews from 801 Media”

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  1. David Welsh says:

    Chris, have you been reading Yoshinaga’s Flower of Life? It’s absolutely hilarious.

  2. Journalista - the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » June 28, 2007: Captain America’s shelf life says:

    [...] Three yaoi reviews from Christopher Butcher. [...]

  3. Pauline Zed says:

    Drat. I love Yoshinaga, so I’m really going to have to try Ichigenme. And maybe even Antique Bakery finally. And then I shall have to admit you were right to recommend the latter. (BTW, I blogged that rec, ’cause it was pretty funny, and Don keeps saying I should send you the link. So here it is: http://przed.livejournal.com/129868.html)

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