Book 602: Don’t Be Cruel (#1 & #2) – Yonezou Nekota

Similar to Tableau Numéro 20, I found this on Grace’s Books Without Any Pictures. This one, however, is much more sexually explicit than the other. It jumps in pretty quick with hands down pants and what is basically a rape scene within the first 20-30 pages.

I’m not sure how much I liked it because of this change and the subject matter. If I’m honest, I think I prefer the non-explicit sexual tension and love that was portrayed in Tableau Numéro 20 versus this explicit blackmail. I was honestly surprised the library had this after I started reading it. It was in the general “Graphic Novels” section and not teen, so maybe that’s how they don’t get in too much trouble?

Don’t get me wrong, I felt it was an interesting story, but I’m just not sure about the origin of the story. I learned more about yaoi, thanks to the little asides the author included, including more about tops and bottoms, seme and uke (Wikipedia link), and how apparently it’s supposed to be a pretty clear binary, but that this author felt the need to blur the lines. It actually made me think about the South Park episode about Tweek x Craig(Wikipedia link) and they actually do a decent job of explaining yaoi (and hilariously say that the Japanese get to decide who gets to be gay.

For the rest of the story, I felt Nekota did a great job of developing the relationship between Maya and Nemugasa. They both seem to be realistic flawed teenage boys trying to make the most they can out of school and life. There are glimpses at their friends outside of the relationships and a bit of Maya’s family, but in general the story focuses mostly on their developing relationship. What was really interesting to me was the simultaneous development of their friendship and relationship. I’m looking forward to finding out where the relationship goes. I don’t think I’ll read the full series, but I’ll read as many as our local library has.

Recommendation: I did enjoy the book, it definitely wasn’t something I should read on public transportation. I actually did start it and then when it got to the more explicit parts I had to put it back in my bag. And even with all of my reservations about it, I did pick up Don’t Be Cruel (#3 & #4) to see where the story goes now that it’s actually and clearly defined as consensual. There seem to be quite a few in the series, but this is the last one our local library has.


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