Laid-back and somewhat absent-mindedly seductive umbrella craftsman Shiro (sans loincloth) and hot-blooded officer Kojiro, who stands against all things undisciplined, get involved in a bloody and erotic thrill-ride in an off-kilter town. This action packed jack-of-all-trades will have you swooning at its sexiness and leave you more addicted than opium! Tsujiki Nao's very first collection of works!
In a quirky, fantastical-historical Japan, Yamada is a policeman who considers himself a missionary of good citizenship. He gets so bogged down with helping ladies carry home their groceries, that he forgets his real police duties, like solving murder cases. So when he meets Shiro, a young man who lives like a slob, can't cook, and hates to wear clothes, he quickly takes the guy under his wing. First order of business? Get the guy to put on some underwear.
I'll get it out of the way now in case it's an issue for anyone: it's scanlated by a group that does
"borderline BL." It has nothing in it where you can say "See, these males are romantically attracted to each other." In fact, our male leads are obviously interested in women. But there's lots of eye candy in there for those yaoi fans who like to make inferences out of everything.
What's most notable on the surface about this series, is that it's so….stylish. Everything about it carries a very distinctive and unique stylishness. I almost feel ashamed to say this, but it's dripping in sexiness. The main characters, and even lots of the side ones, are amazingly hot-looking. And they show a lot of skin. When the summary says it "will have you swooning at its sexiness and leave you more addicted than opium!" they weren't kidding.
But, ahem, lets move on to more worthy topics of discussion.
The storyline plays out as a series of police cases that Yamada comes across. Some crime or incident happens, and Shiro usually ends up helping solve the case. Along the way, we get lots of drama and action, and occasional mild horror, and a little comedy. Despite the genre, there are a lot of female characters. And there are quite a lot of good ones, and they are all drawn well, and have good depth. I have to say this, because it seems so many BL/borderline BL series have poorly done and annoying females.
The art is very unique. It's like a light sketch that was then richly inked. You won't see any of those bishies with cookie-cutter faces drawn from mostly straight lines. And it's not mostly white space like you see in most for-girls manga. This is organic art, sketchy, yet fluid and full of curves. And the guys actually have muscles. They don't have blank chests and arms. There's actual accentuations on the bodies, and they look like they really have ribs. The only beef I have with the anatomy, is that some of the characters (two in particular) have incredible gymnastic abilities, and yet are practically toothpick thin. And Shiro's waist is more of a girl's than a guy's. Can a male seriously jut his hips out like that? But then, this is manga…
The story setting is fascinating. It's a fantastical, quirky, historical setting, perhaps 100 years ago. The town is mostly traditional, with police who wear western uniforms. And then there are the ninja-wannabes who don all kinds of fantastic gear which gives the fighters a slightly sci-fi look. (The setting sort of reminded me of "Mononoke," with it's richly decorated quirkiness.) Shiro is a paper craftsman (or rather, paper artist) who makes umbrellas and all sorts of fantastical things. We tromp over curved bridges, and past tumble-down buildings stacked into the city's hillsides. Even the panels help convey this quirky mood, since lots of them have curved or circular edges.
The characters are fairly good, though the series has only had a few chapters released (yet those chapters are pretty long). We have Yamada and Shiro, who play out their tensions. There's the staff on the police force, which includes Yamada's "blood brother." There is our bad guy of sorts, Botan. And there's the many interesting characters of all ages who show up in the police cases, and contribute a lot of the story's drama.
Shiro is probably the most interesting character so far. Despite all of Yamada's training, he'd still love to fling off all his clothes, and prance about town. Or laze about. Shiro is like a big cat. He does what he wants when he wants with little regard for what others expect of him. And he can flop down on the ground wherever he happens be, and stretch and squirm around, since his back and limbs are so flexible. And Shiro is always revealing something unexpected (in more than one way....). And we get a glimpse of his suitably tragic past.
Yamada of course is a straightforward guy, and pretty ordinary except for his intense passion to do good. But he'll even risk his life for it, and is quite strong in his own right. He likes to have fun, and occasionally takes revenge on Shiro when he's been a bad boy. He has a great fondness for cats, which may help explain his interest in Shiro.
Botan is our nemesis character. Even though he seems like a danger to Shiro, Shiro still feels pity for him. Although we don't know all the connections between them, we know that they were acquaintances in the past. It will be interesting to see what exactly their complicated relationship was. Botan is one of our ninjas, and his getup is quite interesting. He wears various braces to hold several sets of knives, and an arm-guard which can conceal a stabbing knife and a gun. Whew. Steam-punk enthusiasts might be particularly interested in the designs.
This story is ideal for female readers who like a sexy story with a slightly mature atmosphere. There's some mildly horrific things related to the crimes that we come across, but it's nothing too much for an older teen. The drama is engaging. And it's not all about young people. There's lots of older people in the story too, giving it a nice dimensionality. The setting is fascinating and rich, and has lots to look forward to. And lots of hot guys…and their hip thrusts.
This is a manga that will have you checking for updates constantly. For the art, characters, and story.
Story: So far it seems to be episodic with an over arcing plot line following the adventures (and pasts) of an umbrella salesman named Shiro and a policeman named Kojiro, in a place that seems reminiscent of Meiji era Japan. I say seems because the only way I can really describe the setting is steampunk, Japan-style. The author also seems to love huge plot twists, and pulls them off in a way that makes it actually believable, which is quite fun. Though there is a main
plotline, the development of the relationships between the characters (aka bromances) also plays quite a large role.
Art: The art is fantastical and so very detailed, when I started it, the surroundings immediately reminded me of Howl's bedroom (from Howl's Moving Castle). For her first work, it sure doesn't look like it. You will have no difficulties telling the characters apart, each is drawn with their own quirks and intricacies (though you may not be able to tell gender at first sight for some). Also, they are often drawn in accidentally (deliberately) sexy positions, often with little clothing, depending on the character (haha, it's basically ecchi with men). But that's okay, because even if you're not into guys you can admire the very proportional human bodies.
Characters: The personalities of the characters remind me of the atmosphere they have been drawn into. She has created beautiful and intricate, but also deep and understandable people. They all have their own motivations, flaws, and odd habits (which are my personal favorite). Many of said motivations are not revealed until later on (and some still haven't been) but that's part of the reason I read on, not just to see more (mostly) naked men, but also for their development and why they are the people they have become.
Disclaimers: If you were hoping for rival-like tension between the mc's, that's not really what's there, it dissolves into friendship after basically the first chapter. Also, though one of the genres is shoujo, that does not mean that there is any female-male romance, or romance at all for that matter (some one-sided stuff here and there). I believe that this category is more because of it's "target" audience and the atmosphere it gives off. There are very few recurring women in this manga as well, especially for the number of recurring characters there are; I can only think of one off the top of my head. Oh, and of course if mostly naked men in *somewhat* to *very* sexual/sensual/suggestive positions every chapter bothers you immensely, even though there's no actual romance (though there is plentiful material for interpretive fanfiction), and hardcore bromance puts you off, then sorry, I guess you won't be able to enjoy the art and plot.
However, if none of the above bothers you and awesome art and crazy-ass cool plots are your thing, then please enjoy! (it's enjoyable ;) )
although i personally do not particularly enjoy coming back to read this manga each time it updates, mainly because of its plot, i feel like this is very re-readable manga.
the plot mainly consists of various cases that shiro and the officer get involved in, and are presented in a way that i have learned not to try to solve the case as i read along because at the end i'll always be wrong (it was the vase this whole time!) most of these cases include what i would describe as really messed up scenarios and situations, but because of the ridiculousness of how these
situations are presented, i continue to fail to take any of them seriously. in all honestly, they dont really seem believable
sometimes some significant(?) characters are thrown in in order to some spice, or to help shiro have a flashback to something in his past, but since the bits and pieces of real, tangible plot and character development are outweighed by plenty of filler cases, when its actually time to advance the plot and actually get somewhere, there isnt much to get hype or upset about. so we get some facts about what might be going on, but it really doesnt seem to connect. but it still makes you want to keep reading somehow
however, the art is the one definitely good thing about this manga. if you like skinny pretty boys, thats great! read this manga and joy the art and even the plot if you can.
If you like beautiful artwork, pretty guys, comedy, action & bloodshed. Latch on to this series like a rabid dog. The artwork is completely gorgeous - the centerfolds & covers blow me away every time.
Along with glorious eye candy, the story & content is very interesting. It goes over things like caste systems, mental illness, brutality, sexuality & much more. This is also one of the first series I've read where male characters who are very feminine are actual total bad asses. They not only have strength & skill in things such as fighting - but also are able to control people emotionally to
handle a situation or get what they want. It's a nice combination of comedy, human darkness, gore, and action. It sets up a charade of what you think is going to happen, then it's something you never even expected, or it even twists further the lie.
It's very entertaining & while it does have a story line, it breaks off into side stories (that aren't fillers, amen hallelujah), which give you a feel of the characters backgrounds, emotions & traits. That being said, I'm not wanting to murder myself over a never ending story that draws out until i'm 85 & close to death. Each chapter combines to become this good ol' ball of awesome (aka a captivating complex story).
Regardless of gender, this manga provides a lil bit of everything for people to enjoy. Definitely worth a read!