Sakura-gari is a Taishou Era romantic story, ten years in the making. It centers around the 16-year-old Tagami Masataka as he aims to find his place in life. While attempting to start prep school as a rounin, he encounters Saiki Souma, the son of a distinguished noble of the Saiki Koushyaku family, and becomes part of the Saiki household.
This is absolutely good. Likely the best yaoi manga I've ever read, well partly because I just can't bear nonsensical plot, characters and effortless art many can find in most yaoi manga.
Plot is very intense and dramatic, dealing with the ugliest part of individuals in terms of relationships all the while being coated with realism. It is a tragedy, a matter of sin and forgiveness, torture and comfort. Sex are not there to be drooled over, it is mostly very heart-wrenching and emotional. This storytelling is well planned, straight to the point and smooth.
Art is hands down gorgeous. 10 years in the making, they say.
I don't read much of Watase sensei's work, but after Imadoki, Aya, Alice 19th and Fushigi Yuugi I may say that this is her best work. Details are there, very intricate, but not overpowering. Empty panels are there in the right space. Emotions are there, properly channeled. Characters are beautifully drawn (Personally my heart melts seeing Masataka smile, something I rarely experience in 2D world,) bodies proportional, and fashion lovely. Also the scenery, buildings, vehicles... I can go on and on saying how well she put history into her drawings.
Characters are no less intense, their dialogs spoken with meaning. Their development are wonderful. Through traumatic experiences, the way they seek for advice and face the cruel world (yeah this phrase's clichee,) are something worth seeing. It isn't sweet nor happy, they're unfortunate, but they deal with it.
Despite description and reviews, this manga is really romantic in the meaning which are not find today; if there is a word 'love' there, then it really means it. Hard to describe, strong enough to be felt. However after reading there's a chance you'll feel totally depressed, most people wouldn't like it, but this is a good hint that this manga is THAT good. I find it quite impossible to cut reading in the middle of the story, since it haunts my mind. If you're mature enough to open your mind and swallow the best part of this series (which is big,) I can't recommend this enough.
I'm sorry. Yuu Watase wrote what? That's right. She wrote yaoi. A shoujo yaoi. How does that work? (To be honest, I was confused.)
Story: Sakura Gari really is a gem. It's the first yaoi I've found in a really long time that wasn't ridiculous and oversexed with no plot to speak of whatsoever and unrealistic characters who scream out "No! Please stop!" while having sex but really want it in return (Because no means yes, obviously). There was a story here that had me reading it into the wee hours of the morning and had me thinking what a sick, twisted little thing throughout
most of the story only to be suddenly thrown off the horse and have the waterworks turned on full blast. Because we live in a world of forgiveness, where humans show just how willing they are to love and let go.
It's obvious from that teeny little paragraph right there, that if you're looking for hot, sweaty sex between guys that can't seem to not be attracted to each other and can't seem to not do it with each other in every chapter because there isn't any thing else to do in the plot, that this really isn't the manga for you. I've read plenty of Watase-san's other works and I was seriously surprised to learn that she had published a new piece, that was mystery and twisted in my opinion but that was yaoi! I mean all I knew that she had done was shoujo and mostly about sort-of-magical girls.
Either way, this story was intriguing but also a bit graphic. I don't want to push anyone any from it, but to be brief, I believe that there should be a bit of a warning on it. Does anyone wish to mention that there is constant rape, abuse and torture present throughout the volumes? Even if it only happens when people talk about it? For some people, this may be to much for you to bear, but in the end it's something that makes the story so harshly beautiful. I believe it speaks to the harsh reality that people refuse to face every day. It's used for the purpose of the plot of the story and I believe that in the end, if you can bear through the scenes, that aren't pages upon pages long, than you will find yourself flying through it to see how it will end which I was so moved by.
Art: If you've read Watase Yuu's work before than there's no need to explain. There's nothing new here and I've never particularly cared for her work but there's nothing wrong with it either. It's clean in my opinion.
Character: I truly found these characters enjoyable. Development happens particularly only between the two main characters, but that's to be expected. They are the focus of this very short series. I believe that Tagami is a very likeable character and you'll find it very hard not to find his situation...difficult and sad and moving. Souma is a difficult character to work through in the beginning in my opinion. But just as compelling and just as heart-breaking. I really loved these two in the end.
Enjoyment: Overall, I truly enjoyed reading this. I mean, I stayed up for four hours through the night just to finish it because I had to know how it would end. And in the end I was emotional. The entire time, I was thinking this is nothing like Watase-san's other work. NOTHING like it at all. Where in the hell did this come from? But I kept on reading because I had to believe that somewhere, something good had to come of it. Through the pain and the sadness, people are forgiving creatures and I had forgotten that.
I will never regret reading this manga, and I highly recommend it.
I'm very fond of Yuu watase's work but I have to say this is the first time I have mixed feelings about it.
Though it's clearly a Yaoi manga the characters are pretty "fucked up" XD .
I shall try to explain why without trying to "spoil"
It is well known that in Yaoi either to characters agree from the beginning their feelings for each other or that someone just force his way downon someone else and then that "victim" get's hooked up with his "lover".
Or in other words it is just raping.
These patterns are very predictable and unfortunately yuu watase has used the last
I believe it is wrong to approve raping by using the excuse that the rapist himself got raped in the past or did have some other bad experience THUS it's ok for him to rape others or to have other undesirable behaviour.
As for the characters background and their wicked personalities that was the only thing that made it up for the story.
Only at the end you will get to know the characters more btw.
Yuu watase tried a new direction with this story by making this story more mature and dark and close to reality but in my opinion I think she should keep doing what she's best at ..drawing shojo stories where her art comes to it's right !
If you don't like nudity ,yaoi .slaughtering and you're against raping then I would recommend you to try something else!
It can be quite boring to finish reading this ...the only interesting thing is the background of characters which you get to know almost at the end of the story.
If i have to describe it in one word, I say its, INTENSE.
not your typical yaoi manga. it has some DEEP, VERY DEEP story which mess up your feelings.
If you are a reader of yaoi or shounen ai genres, you can tell the difference in this manga. the story itself is pretty messed up but it has that ART that lets you finished reading it while having that "ominous" feeling the entire time.
I recommend it if you are an open reader and not so sensitive since this has some very sensitive issues in it and i might shock
you if you are not really prepared for it. LOL