Saturday, February 9, 2013

Yaoi Review: PUNCH UP! Volume 3

SUBLIME – @SuBLimeManga

TRANSLATION: Adrienne Beck
LETTERING: Joanna Estep
COVER: Shiuko Kano with Shawn Carrico
ISBN: 978-1-4215-4354-3; paperback (January 2013); Rated “M” for “Mature”
202pp, B&W, $12.99 U.S., $14.99 CAN, £8.99 UK

A prolific, female Japanese manga creator, Shiuko Kano is known for her boys’ love and yaoi titles, such as the “Steppin’ Stone” series and Play Boy Blues. Punch Up! is a yaoi manga series from Shiuko Kano. The series focuses on Maki Motoharu, an unpredictable architect, and his boyfriend, Kouta Ohki, a 19-year-old, foul-mouthed, young ironworker who has fashion model looks. Yaoi manga is a subset of boys’ love manga (BL) and features explicit depictions of sex between male characters.

At the beginning of Punch Up! Volume 3 (Acts 7 to 9), Motoharu’s career as an architect is soaring. But he isn’t completely happy because he is jealous of Kouta. Yuya Fukazu, the man who took Kouta’s virginity, is back in the picture. Motoharu thinks that he is finding Fukazu in Kouta’s presence too often. Motoharu’s suspicions create hard feelings between him and Kouta, as well as making Kouta unsure about himself and also depressed. Kouta finds himself desperate to prove his love.

Then, a terrible accident occurs. A 15-year-old close to them returns. And Kiyoto Ohki, Kouta’s transgender brother, arrives.

The Punch Up! yaoi manga is a conflict-driven narrative. The love is real. The sex is hot. However, love and sex come with conflicts between lovers; even friends and colleagues squabble. I don’t want to give away the big turn-of-events that happens in this volume, but conflict and love become entwined more than ever. It’s good character drama, although it also seems a bit stretched too far in some places.

The best sex scenes happen in a bonus story, “Maki Motoharu’s Recreation Special.” The story starts off as a hand-made, drawn-in-a-tablet comic created by Kouta. Talk about explicit – male genitalia and orifices don’t get the shadowy-blurry art treatment. This is definitely a behind-the-counter / backroom edition. Readers looking for intense romance and explicit depictions of gay sex will want to Punch Up! Enjoy!


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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