“'I’ve killed a woman.' The overbearing voice on the phone was that of a high school classmate named mitsuo ichikawa. Buried memories from the past resurface within the heart of a man who carries the same name, Mitsuo Ichikawa. Events drag him right back into the passions of the past. The two reunite as accomplices, yet their relationship as master and servant slowly changes into something different…"
Last fall Anime News Network revealed it was going to be taking Asumiko Nakamura's dark BL drama "Double Mints" to the live action silver screen. They have now since released movies stills and teasers of their cast. The characters have really started to take shape from their uniquely stylized 2D forms into the ruggedly handsome Mitsuo Ichikawas portrayed by Shunsuke Tanaka and Yasushi Fuchigami.
Asumiko Nakamura was interviewed about her now second work being made into the film and was quoted:
"When they first approached me about the movie deal, I tried not to get my hopes up too high because I knew deals like this fall through all the time. However, thanks to the hard work of the the cast, crew, and staff, it became a reality. I also thought it would be difficult to get serious actors to be a part of the film, but we were able to acquire such a talented, passionate cast; we were so fortunate and privileged. And our great director--I sent over so many nitpicky corrections to the script, and the director never got sick of me, and always responded to me with such strong conviction. I think my readers will be very pleased with this movie. I really hope they enjoy it."
Director Yasushi Okifumi has truly embraced this emotional tale of murder, passion, and psychological disarray into what may be the BL world's darkest live action yet.
Desirable Swimming Boys does what it does very successfully. And what it does is boys doing boys. This is a lovely, smutty little romp that fails in its cursory attempt at psychological tension, but delivers in spades elsewhere. The story follows swim team members addressing their sexual obsessions in all sorts of complicated and counterproductive ways. Finally, a tall and dark deus ex machina turns this “love” triangle into a rectangle and brings our group to its symmetrical and rather moist climax. It is all highly enjoyable.
Here we find a very nice array of fetishes and tags, from rape to incest to group sex. While there is censorship, the filth level is still plenty above average. The art is good. The toning is blocky and very liberally applied, and there are some noticeable instances of Yaoi Anatomy Syndrome, but really nothing distracting. I was very impressed with the expressiveness of the faces, which are really beautifully and effectively rendered, and of course the aforementioned anatomical shortcomings are nowhere to be found in the sex scenes. Panel layout is frenetic but flows very intuitively, creating a complimentary feeling to the emotional tone of the story. Composition in general is tightly pulled in, so there is very little background to speak of.
What elevated this volume from one I was glad I had been able to enjoy one afternoon to one I was glad I own is the bonus story, Untitled. This one shot is really beautiful and I look forward to revisiting it. Untitled takes place in a single room in a vaguely dystopian context, where we watch as the routine of the lone character, a sex worker whose entire world is the plain room with the two-way mirror in which he lives and works, is interrupted. Each page floats on an offset border of lace screentone, deepening the effect of the decadence we feel from the world outside the room, and contrasting garishly with the stark minimalism of the panels. The common thread between Desirable Swimming Boys and Untitled is definitely their considerable explicitness, and I’m glad they’re in the same volume.
Overall, as long as what you’re looking for is a very high smut-to-story ratio, this book is a winner and I definitely recommend it!
Review By: Dot Ringo
"The Imperial Army’s Love Academy" was very disappointing. In keeping with Mizukami’s general style, this is a very smutty piece of hard shota, set within an historical context. All of this is well and good if that’s what you’re looking for, and Mizukami is a champion at it. Where Love Academy breaks down, however, is its attempt to have a plot. What we have here is a threadbare framework of what attempts to be story, character, and relationships, attempting to support a porno, by an artist who is very good at the porno thing.
The arc of the “romance” at work here is definitely cringeworthy, and this is by yaoi standards. Unhealthy relationships are nothing new, unexpected, or even necessarily objectionable in our genre, but this one really takes the cake. We watch an adult, Onizuka, not only prey relentlessly on a child in a sexual sense, but also break him down on a personal, petty level. The child, Yamato, becomes more and more isolated until rather abruptly coming to “love” Onizuka. Handled more competently this could make for an interesting psychological story, but it’s all played totally genuine and without nuance, so the resulting relationship seems tacked on, absurd, and boring. In addition, it’s a bit offensive the way Yamato’s pain seems to dry up suddenly along with the last of his personal boundaries and the self respect he has doggedly clung to throughout the story. Again, I realize this is nothing at all unusual, but in the case of Love Academy, this trope is especially poorly handled.
Love Academy essentially opens with our hero Yamato, an underdeveloped teenager, being raped by his adult superior officer in a pitch black room. This is the first of several highly explicit and well rendered sex scenes, which are hot despite censorship. This is where Mizukami Sensei really shines; In the depiction of young boys being brutalized. Their style is very unique and quite lovely, one can tell Mizukami’s work immediately. The characters have interesting features, though there is one mustache that needs to be killed with fire, and if you look at some crowd scenes everyone’s identical. This is not the only time Mizukami has used a vaguely period military setting. The world building in this book is generally unsuccessful, though the uniforms are very nicely rendered, as are the human forms in general, and the toning is great. Visually this is a very good work.
Overall I can’t recommend The Imperial Army’s Love Academy. Yaoi fans have high levels of patience for ridiculous relationships and terrible plots, but in the case of this book the “story” is actually bad enough to negate the good things about it.
Review By: Dot Ringo
Brothers Kei and Shinobu are both part of their school’s swim team. One day, while pining after his brother, Shinobu is approached by the team’s star swimmer, Kuji, and sent for a wild ride. Kuji uses Shinobu’s body in any way he pleases anytime and anywhere. Shinobu has had enough, but allows his torment to continue in order to protect his brother.
As Shinobu and Kuji start to become close, Kei reveals his own love for Kuji along with another startling surprise. Meanwhile, a new student enters the swim team and begins to form a bond with Kei. Can this new swimmer replace Kuji in Kei’s heart or will the love triangle continue?
"The Imperial Army's Love Academy" tells the story of Yamato's journey through military school during World War II. The story starts out very silly with Yamato soon becoming the prey of captain Onizuka's uniform fetish. Like many of Mizukami's works, the beginning storyline is highly sexualized and comedic. As the story progresses, however, it begins to have deeper character developments and an actual romance. The reader is left with a genuine feeling of love felt between the two main characters.
If a historical, smutty romance is your thing, then this is the title for you!