Serge Battour is the son of a French viscount and a Romani prostitute, and despite his kind nature and academic talent, is shunned by his family and his peers due to the color of his skin. He begins to attend Lacombrade Academy, his father's alma mater, in the hopes that there he will find a place to belong.
Gilbert Cocteau is, like Serge, the orphaned son of a wealthy family, and is infamous at Lacombrade for his beautiful and delicate appearance, lack of dedication to schoolwork, and habit of prostituting himself to other students. He has no intention to connect with any of his classmates, instead devoting himself to his uncle Auguste.
Due to a shortage of living space, Serge and Gilbert become roommates even though Gilbert's antisocial nature has in the past made it impossible for him to room with anybody. Serge, being sociable and idealistic, is determined to be friends with Gilbert; Gilbert is only interested in either being able to manipulate Serge or push him away entirely. To the surprise of both of the boys, however, the two eventually form a deep, albeit generally dismal, bond that leads to a romantic connection.
Kaze to Ki no Uta is a mature manga, not because of the sexual themes, but because of how emotional the characters and the feelings they posses. This manga is beautiful, the complexity of the characters, the drawings, and the overall theme...is breathtaking. I realize that many people aren't into BoyLove (BL), but I highly recommend this manga. It demonstrates the emotional struggles of young men, suppressing their desires, as well as the battles that 14 year old Gilbert possess of a new found sexuality. This contains all the bad stuff and wraps it in a neat little bow. It doesn't glorify rape, murder, homosexuality,
.....just presents it. It stands out awkwardly on how realistic the manga goes in depth, all the while remaining an interesting story. It contains many, many things that will turn peoples' noses up, but if you look past it, you will see something that horrifies yet, intrigues you.
This story follows a 14 year old Serge and his adventures at a Catholic school. He rooms with a boy, Gilbert, who sells his body in return for favors (such as homework, higher grades, money,). "Everything happens for a reason" is one quote that represents every character. Serge has to deal with his new found homosexuality, and the lewed nature of Gilbert. The art style is different, and may not appeal to everyone (this was one of the first yaoi of all time).
It contains many, many adult themes, and highly recommend it. There is no direct sex in it, but it shows the psychotic nature of us human beings. Why do I recommend it? Because it's realistic, something many people miss about manga in general. It is a short read, but it will leave a long lasting impression, wether it be good or bad is up to you.
I have rather mixed feelings about this series. I can understand why so many people give it a high rating. It's certainly well-written, and well-crafted. But I find it very disturbing. Apparently, it was the first full-blown shounen-ai series. And it isn't shy in that respect.
It's set in France circa 1900, at a posh boys' school. Serge, a mixed-race boy, manages to attend, but is looked down on because of his ancestry. Also at this school is Gilbert, a beautiful, free-spirited boy who trades sexual favors with the older students for things like homework. It turns out that Serge is assigned to be Gilbert's
roommate. And it looks like Gilbert might have a more than ordinary interest in Serge...
The characters are quite good. Though they are often defined or motivated by revenge, jealousy, abuse, control, sadism, fear, or anger. For the most part, all the characters are complex, and interesting. Particularly, we follow the mysterious and tragic Gilbert, and discover his background.
If there were an underlying theme to this story, it might be that "suffering breeds suffering." Initially, when we see a character act a certain way (such as Gilbert flirting) we assume it's just their personality. But then eventually we are shown why they act like that. It's because they were a victim of someone once. And their victimizer in turn was someone who had been victimized himself in the past. And the cycle of pain continues.
So it's not trying to be a shallow "let's just see some BL" series. But it is BL...and very much so. Serious BL fans would probably revel in the very, very long sexual scenes. And the shotacon. The pedophilia was what REALLY bothered me.
I'll read shounen-ai when the story is good (and in this case it was) but I gloss over any sex. (I don't care for sex scenes, whether yaoi, yuri, or straight.) And in this case many of the scenes would go on for pages and pages.... And the adult-child scenes made me feel really uncomfortable.
On another note, the art quite good. It's old-school shoujo, but it has a light, breezy quality. And sparkles abound. Everything is well-drawn and detailed, and the atmospheres, whether indoor or outdoor, are perfect. I could almost feel like I was there.
So while this series is a true drama instead of shallow BL fluff, it has a lot of heavy, hard-core, mature content.