Icon by Mariko Nekono has an interesting premise - Akito Shinoyama is a detective whose wife died in mysterious circumstances five years earlier, and the case has never been solved. In present day, Akito solves difficult cases with the help of his brother in law, Toma, whom he took under his wing after his wife's death. Toma has supernatural abilities that help him locate missing people, but he can only use his powers if he's in pain. Since he and Akito have developed a romantic relationship, Akito is reluctant to let Toma assist him with his work as it comes with a great cost.
right? And it probably is if you like completely messed up relationships and characters who turn out to have horrible secrets. I couldn't bring myself to enjoy the manga one bit. Toma is unhealthily obsessed with Akito and their relationship is one of the most unbalanced I've seen in BL, and that says a lot. Neither character is sympathetic in any way, even after we learn more about them as people. In fact, they get progressively worse.
There is almost no effort put into the crimes the characters solve, and instead it's all about sex, angst and the puzzle pieces of Akito's wife's death coming together. I feel I must warn that if the premise made you expect really hardcore sex where Akito hurts Toma to activate his powers, there's nothing of the sort. The creepiness of this manga is entirely elsewhere, but I think it's pretty well handled. Some of you are probably already thinking that you know exactly who killed Akito's wife and why based on things I've said in this review, but the manga has a few interesting twists in store in that department.
I don't know if this is supposed to be a serious horror manga or some kind of bizarre comedy. There are moments where the characters turn into super deformed versions of themselves to act cute, and one page later we might be seeing messed up abuse. I've read other works by the mangaka - My Honey Express is one of my favourite BL titles ever - so reading this was quite a surreal experience.
The art is really nice, and there's a lot of detail in the sex scenes. If you want to read a BL manga that is creepy in ways other than one character raping the other, I absolutely recommend this. If you want sympathetic characters to root for, stay away.