Take Me To Heaven by Nase Yamato Manga Review

Title:  Take Me to Heaven

Author:  Nase Yamato

Publisher: Deux

ISBN:  9781934496510

May Contain Spoilers

Fumiya has a little problem  He can see ghosts, and it freaks him out.  Ever since his family moved, he’s been cursed with the ability to see spirits.  It seems that his room, which faces a graveyard, is like Grand Central Station for ghosts.  Only his friend, Shogo, can save him from the spirits that haunt Fumiya.

This was a cute story that’s a little light in the boys love department.  I felt a little sorry for the panic stricken Fumiya.  He’s haunted by spirits all the time, and when they’re not chastising him for being so poor at math, they are giving him terrible body odor that repeated baths just can’t get rid of.  He’s an extremely anxious guy, and if it wasn’t for Shogo, he’s probably have succumbed to a heart attack years before.

Shogo is the son of a monk, but he doesn’t want anything to do with sutras or piety.  He’s always reluctant to chant Fumiya’s ghosts away, but he eventually gives in to the other boy’s misery.  Though he pretends not to care and teases Fumiya mercilessly, he is very protective of his friend. 

Fumiya hates anything to do with ghosts, but Shogo forces him to join Yukichi’s Occult Research Club.  Yukichi loves anything to do with spirits and the occult, and when he finds out that Fumiya can see ghosts, he begs him to join his club.  Fumiya resists, but Shogo insists, because of all of the cute girls in the club.  This sets Fumiya up for all kinds of encounters with restless spirits, and also causes a touch of jealousy when he sees Shogo surrounded by all of those fawning girls.  He didn’t nee to worry, though, because Shogo only has eyes for Fumiya, and everybody knows it.

Take Me To Heaven is humorous and the characters and the situations they find themselves in keeps the amusement level high. 

Grade: B

Rated for Mature

Review copy provided by Deux

[PR]Deux Press picks up Cigarette Kisses

Here’s some great news for BL fans -

Deux Press picks up Cigarette Kisses

Deux Press, the yaoi imprint of Aurora Publishing, has picked up the title Cigarette Kisses by Nase Yamato. Originally, Boysenberry Books, the yaoi imprint of Broccoli Books, was to release this title. However, with Broccoli Books shutting down, the title will be dropped from their list. Lucky for all of the Nase Yamato fans, Deux Press (who is already releasing her Take Me to Heaven in January 2009) was able to acquire the rights to the title, and fans can expect the manga to be released sometime in the second half of 2009.

For more information, visit http://www.deux-press.com

Future Lovers by Saika Kunieda Manga Review

Title:  Future Lovers

Author: Saika Kunieda

Publisher: Deux

ISBN: 9781934496350

May Contain Spoilers

Kento Kumagaya is a simple man, with a simple wish for happiness.  He just wants to have a happy family. A doting wife, loving children, and his grandparents, all living together and chasing after domestic bliss.  When Akira Kazuki blows into his life like a typhoon, Kento has some serious thinking to do.  Akira is beautiful, carefree, and gay, and a single night with him has shaken Kento’s dreams of the future.  Can he still find his happiness, in a slightly altered form?

I loved this book.  It’s funny and sweet, and shows that love can transform your dreams of the future.  After being dumped by his candidate for the ideal housewife, Kento drinks himself into a stupor and ends up in Akira’s bed.  Imagine his shock when Akira begins to have his way with him.  Imagine his dismay when he begins to enjoy himself so much that he loses control.  Imagine going to work on Monday, and learning that Akira is the new teacher at his school!  So much for forgetting all about that little indiscretion.

Kento and Akira are total opposites, and every encounter is marked with humor and an awkward tension.  As Kento learns more about Akira, his expectations for the future shifts and evolves, as well as his idea of what will make him happy.  Under pressure to produce grandchildren for the grandparents who raised him, Kento is at first resistant to this riot of emotions rampaging within him.  Like a bull in a china shop, he smashes through one cherished wish of the future after another, and his thoughts always turn back to Akira.  This is a couple that you want to see work out their differences. 

Also contains the short story, “Winter Rabbit”  about Shu, a college student in Tokyo, and Minaru, who was abandoned by his mother and raised by Shu’s parents.  When Shu’s pulse starts to pound whenever Minaru is near, he decides some distance is  needed between them, and so he heads off to college.  Two years pass, and his mother calls him, concerned about Minaru.  Shu races home, and he and Minaru must work through their feelings for one another.  It was a sweet romance, but it just didn’t hold a candle to the title chapters.

Grade: A

Rated for Mature

Review copy provided by Deux

Kiss All the Boys Vol 3 by Shiuko Kano Manga Review

Title:  Kiss All the Boys Vol 3

Author:  Shiuko Kano

Publisher: Deux

ISBN:  9781934496459

May Contain Spoilers

Yay! The series finale for the book featuring some of the most dysfunctional people in BL manga has arrived, and it didn’t disappoint.  Now that Tetsuo is fully functional again, thanks to Momoyama, he can’t keep thoughts of Tama out of his head.  So what if his son is in love with Tama?  Tetsuo has it bad for the kid, and he just can’t get over his infatuation for his son’s best friend.  How is Haruka going to react when he learns that his rival for Tama’s affections is his own father?

After accepting the fact that he’s no longer attracted to women, Tetsuo is plagued by wet dreams starring Tama.  When Tama catches him in the act of a little self-fulfillment, Tetsuo can’t hold back any longer, and the two are soon entwined in a passionate embrace – which Haruka walks in on.  Doh!  As if relations between the father and son weren’t rocky enough already!  Now dad’s gone and stolen the guy he loves right out from under him. 

I felt sorry for Haruka, because this kid is carrying around a lot of baggage.  He believes that he’s the product of a loveless affair, and that loving someone else will give some purpose to his life.  Never mind that Tama has never given any indication that he’s even remotely attracted to his friend.  Haruka was someone who is so caught up in his own feelings that he doesn’t have a thought to spare about anybody else’s.  Poor kid!  Thank goodness he has that hot Kazama to offer up a shoulder to cry on.

The change in Tetsuo once he’s discovered love was a surprise to several people that he knows.  Noguchi’s reaction was the best, as his assistant almost collapses in a fit of shock when Tetsuo gives him his pay, and it’s more than he was expecting.  Tetsuo’s even a little contrite about how he treated Momoyama.  And he is beside himself when Haruka runs off – never thought that day would come.

The swift pacing kept me glued to this book, and I didn’t put it down until I reached the last page.  It remained funny and frenzied all the way to the end, with eye-pleasing art and extremely  attractive character designs.  I’m sorry that this title has come to an end.

Also includes the bonus story “Summertime Accomplices.”

Kiss All the Boys Vol 3 will be in bookstores Oct 29

Grade:  B+

Rated for Mature

Review copy provided by Deux

Maid in Heaven by Hisami Shimada Manga Review

Title: Maid in Heaven

Author:  Hisami Shimada

Publisher: Deux

ISBN: 9781934496336

May Contain Spoilers

When Midori’s granny throws out her back, she refuses to stay home and get well.  In order to make her stay off her feet and rest, Midori offers to fill in for her at her job.  His grandmother is a maid for a wealthy businessman, and her employer won’t drink anyone’s tea but hers.  Midori is in for a rude awakening as the sullen master, Asagi, expects him to be at his beck and call, dressed in a maid’s uniform.  After Asagi can’t seem to keep his hands to himself, will Midori service his every desire?

Hah!  This was a cute romp through Asagi’s mansion, as the clumsy Midori is determined to help out his ailing grandmother.  What he ends up doing is breaking dishes and ruining curtains, but that doesn’t keep him down for long.  No!  Midori does have one skill that Asagi grudgingly admits to liking – the boy sure can brew a cup of tea.  And from this simple accomplishment, love quickly brews!  Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

Midori is almost sent packing by the young Asagi when he offers to fill in for his grandmother, but Midori convinces him to give him a chance to prove himself.  The high school senior drops out of school so he can devote himself to his new job tasks, and he even accepts the required uniform with good graces.  Though Asagi is cold and stern, Midori soon falls for him.  After Asagi’s father died, the young man was forced to give up school and take over the family business.  Working all the time to provide for his little brother doesn’t leave him with much extra time, and he’s forgotten how to enjoy himself.  That’s where Midori comes in.

Midori and Asagi are the same age, and Midori slowly wears away at Asagi’s frosty outer shell.  Then these guys have another problem – being left alone to express the depth of their passions for one another.  The running joke is the untimely interruption of their displays of affection, which leave Asagi roaring with frustration.  He stomps about, cranky, as his brother and the domestic help keep getting in the way of his fulfillment.  How can this guy be expected to concentrate on work with his bedroom door being flung open every night by some thoughtless interloper?  Better question – why hasn’t he had a lock installed yet??

Grade: B+

Rated for Mature

Review copy provided by Deux

Kiss All the Boys Vol 2 by Shiuko Kano Manga Review

Title:  Kiss All the Boys Vol 2

Author:  Shiuko Kano

Publisher: Deux

ISBN: 9781934496268

May Contain Spoilers

My, my, my! What a tangled web the characters in this series weave! Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with all of the starts and stops, as hearts are broken and friendships shattered, all at the uttering of a few simple words.

When Michiro finally whispers to Tetsuo that he loves him, he thought that his friend of fifteen years was sleeping and wouldn’t hear him.  Urged on by Momoyama, the new nutcase in Tetsuo’s life, Michiro is feeling threatened and begins to worry that the younger man will somehow steal his love away.  Since Tetsuo is such a head-case, that shouldn’t have been an issue.  Tetsuo is so hysterically out of touch with his feelings that it is no wonder that he is well on the path to utter despair.  He is suffering from what seems to be terminal writer’s block, leaving his career as the author of many o’porn comic in doubt, and he has managed to alienate almost everyone in his life.  Oh, yeah, and he’s impotent, leaving him feeling like less than a man. Good work, dude.

Poor Michiro!  Not only has he fallen in love with a prick, but he’s chosen a vindictive prick at that.  Sinking into self-righteous indignation that his best friend would confess his love to him, Tetsuo strikes out at him, sleeping with Momoyama to get back at him.  So now he’s trampled on Momoyama’s hopes and dreams as well.  What a cold and callous guy.

Kiss All the Boys builds on its foundation of convoluted relationships, adding more humorous situations to the mix.  Haruka is crushed when he learns about his uncle’s feelings for his father, shocked that Michiro hadn’t confided in him.  This guy is the center of his universe, and he didn’t think enough of him to share his little secret with him.  As to questioning his uncle’s taste in potential partners,  let’s just say that he’s dumbfounded.  Haruka can’t believe that Michiro has such awful taste in men.  Frankly, neither can I.

This title provides a good laugh, showcasing high energy comedy and very attractive art.  

Grade: B+

Rated for Mature

Review copy provided by Deux

Ruff Love by Tamaki Kirishima Manga Review

Title:  Ruff Love

Author:  Tamaki Kirishima

Publisher:  Deux

ISBN:  9781934496411

May Contain Spoilers

Taketora is an unsuccessful writer, making ends meet by working at his uncle’s bar.  A loner, he has no attachments to anyone, and lives a boring, solitary life, which is reflected in his tedious writing.  When the half-dog, half-boy Shiba appears in his backyard, Taketora might have just found a reason to be happy.  The reincarnation of his grandfather’s beloved pet, Shiba has wished to be reborn so he could repay his debt to Taketora’s grandpa.  With his former master dead, Shiba vows to make Taketora happy, instead.  Who could possibly resist such loving attention?

How can you not get caught up in the cuteness of Ruff Love?  Shiba is such a sweetie, wishing to be reincarnated so he can pay back his debt to his beloved master.  When he discovers that Takeyuki has died, he’s broken-hearted.  He wanted so badly to pay back the man who was so kind to him, who was there for him as he drew his last breath, petting him until he died.  Not content to leave the debt unpaid, he impulsively decides to serve Taketora, Takeyuki’s grandson, instead. 

Taketora is one of those guys that you can’t help but feel sorry for.  He’s going nowhere in life, he’s never had a close relationship with anyone, and he’s not the happiest guy on the planet.  He longs to be a writer, but, like his life, his writing lacks emotion.  Stir in one klutzy dog-boy, and maybe things will start looking up. 

When Shiba crawls out of his doggy grave, transformed into an adorable young man with puppy ears and a fluffy tail, Taketora is stunned.  Being the nice guy he is, he allows this overly cheerful, high energy creature to move in.  Shiba just wants to make him happy, but all he ends up doing is making a big mess.  He can’t do anything right, try as he might, and so instead of Shiba taking care of Taketora, Taketora ends up taking care of Shiba. 

Taketora quickly grows accustomed to having someone around the house, and can’t help but fall in love with the loyal Shiba.  Their domestic bliss is short lived, however, when the surly Atakasuki, another reincarnated dog, appears to wreck havoc.  Atakasuki didn’t have a happy previous life, and he was betrayed by his former master.  How can two love-birds find any time for themselves with a grumpy guy like him moping around all the time?

Ruff Love offers up a fun mix of characters and situations, managing to be humorous and melodramatic in equal parts.  Taketora is coaxed from his shell, finding a new joy in both his writing and his life.  Atakasuki learns that not all humans are liars, and Shiba, though he continues to strive for perfection, remains a klutz to the end.  It’s a good thing that Taketora doesn’t mind cleaning up after him.

Grade: B

Rated for Mature 18+

Review copy provided by Deux

Oh My God! Vol 1 by Natsuho Shino Manga Review

Title: Oh My God! Vol 1

Author:  Natsuho Shino

Publisher: Deux

ISBN:  9781934496244

May Contain Spoilers

What is a boy to do when his peaceful life is disrupted by a very annoying and very troublesome god?  Yuto gets to find out when he accidentally breaks the seal that has been keeping Jade the prisoner of an ancient sword in the family shed.  Yuto comes from a long line of sorcerers, though nobody in his family has any powers what so ever.  They are a bunch of fakes, and his grandpa earns a living scamming people into believing that he’s the real deal.  When Jade appears, Yuto’s got his hands full trying to deal with an amnesiac god with an unpredictable personality.

This was a very cute book. Good natured Yuto is resigned to helping out his grandfather in the family business.  Too bad nobody actually has any powers anymore!  Yuto earns his allowance by writing prayer cards and doing odd jobs, knowing that everything his grandfather does is a sham.  When he’s sent to fetch something from the shed, he knocks over a sword, breaking the seal that one of his ancestors placed on it.  Out pops a very cranky god.  Because he seems rather harmless, and he can’t even remember his own name, Yuto starts calling him Jade, and viola! The family has a new freeloader to deal with.

I felt a little sorry for Jade.  Here’s a powerful being who can’t even remember what his power is!  He can’t remember his name, or anything about his past.  He is mysteriously drawn to Yuto, however, so he decides to hang around the Hikami household for a while.  Good thing he does, because Yuto seems to attract spirits to him, and Jade is constantly having to rescuing him from them.  Jade’s like a little boy – he’s enthusiastic, impulsive, and quick to lose his temper.  He constantly grumbles when the Hikami’s put him to work, cleaning the house, sending him out shopping, or having him rid the home of spirits.  Poor guy is so overworked, and all he gets out of it is something to eat.

Yuto is a great character – he takes everything in stride, never loses his sense of humor, and he’s very kind.  Why else would he feel sorry for the terrible god who his ancestor was forced to seal away?  He can be a bit impatient with Jade when all the god wants to do is make him happy, but considering what a clingy whiner he can be, I don’t really blame him.  Yuto is kind of a question mark, too, because it’s obvious that he has some kind of power – nobody else seems to be able to recognize it, though, other than Jade.

There wasn’t much in the way of romance here, and though it’s obvious that Jade really likes Yuto, Yuto hardly pays him any mind at all.  Instead, Jade is like a big puppy dog, following Yuto around and begging for a pat on the head.  This was a fun comedy, and perhaps the romantic developments will strengthen in the next volume. 

Grade: B

Rated for Older Teen 16+

Review copy provided by Deux