Under Grand Hotel is the inmate's name for a prison in the US. Sen is a Japanese guy who has been imprisoned after killing his lover's husband. Sword Fish is the leader of the prison. Sen needs Sword's protection, but can a love story work in a prison?
Being an yaoi fan for a while now i've read from everything: good, bad, awful, a complete pain... and guess what? now i can add ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL GORGEOUS GREAT manga to my categories, because this one, my friend you don't wanna miss.
Story: Great!!! i don't give a 10 to this manga because it's lightly cliché: we've seen the strong guy and the weak guy falling, as well as one being protected by the other.. But don't worry, you won't complain here:D
The art, i'm not a big fan of the art in mangas, as long as there are faces, legs, arms, and everything that's
normal, i think it's ok. At least there was a change of visuals with portraying an Afro guy:D
Characters: Loved every single one of them:D The SEME, the UKE/SEME (thank god they didn't put a super girly uke in here) the relations between them, the other prisoners..i really don't want to spoil the fun here, so everything was perfect:D
Overall, i need to pay attention to the fact that i was completely enchanted with this manga, and may not realise some flaws, i'm not saying there were any, but i gotta be more sctrit right' people are reading this:D SO I GIVE IT A 9.
and i finish this review saying that these series made me look into the work of the mangaka, and definitely gave the fun and enjoyment that i couldn't get froM yaoi in a long time:D
I have been reading yaoi for around two or three years now . i LOOOVE all kinds of yaoi, hardcore, softcore, anything with BL. I've read so many yaoi titles, I cant even remember them all , but out of ALL of them ?
this has got to be the most satisfying, amazing, flabbergastingly, cute, yet sexy and perfect yaoi ive read . i VERY highly recomend this to ANYONE who loves yaoi.
Although it is quite hardcore , the art is so beautiful, you cant miss it .
And pluss, its multiracial ! woo ! you dont see that often in manga !
I would give this a story a 9.8/10,so basically a 10.
I usually don't read yaoi mangas with so much roughness into them, but UGH's story line is just too awesome to leave!! I read this story straight through, without breaks. Every volume has a new interesting touch to them, and of course, you never know what to expect. It's a very exhilarating story that you just can't pass.
The characters are of course, 10/10, why, you'd have to check it yourself. Art is on the same level and of course, my enjoyment of this whole story is definitely a 10/10. If your are into BL as
much as I am and are up to a new change of pace, Under Grand Hotel is a great manga to read and pass time.
I am starting to realize that the good, meaningful yaoi are the incredibly tragic ones. The sex and romance in between is always unrealistically great in these cruel worlds, but hey. Something has to go right.
Mainstream yaoi has many cliche flaws. It's often unrealistic, undeveloped, puts too much into the cardboard cut-out seme/uke relationships, despite often being by-and-for women, can by misogynistic, and maybe most often of all, people's sexuality changes in the stories. That's not how it happens, and most of us know that. That's not how it happens at all. If/when it does, which it again, typically doesn't, it's typically a female anyway.
I'm a little bit torn with Under Grand Hotel. It flies right over all the other common pitfalls, and walks right into the last. My other favorite yaoi, Kyuuso wa Cheese no Yume o Miru, had a romance between a straight man and a gay man, and that was the point, that they could never be happy together as a couple, but they could also never leave each other and be happy apart from each other. It brought into question the very definition of love, what types of love there are, etc.
With this manga, both characters were or are straight, and are very much not once things get going. If there had to be a change (for this plot, there did), it was done plausibly. I'm torn about it being done at all, but there were reasons given other than 'Well, he's just so hot and this is just so perfect.' The reasons might just make it worse for some people. (It involved mostly nasty things happening, plus woman deprivation, etc.) It worked very, very well for the story. Just don't assume it applies in real life, and it should be alright.
Among both the yaoi genre and manga in general, this story excels. It was about a relationship, and nothing but the relationship, and yet it was entirely gripping, getting into murder, rape, lies, drug dealing, and lose-lose dilemmas. The sex scenes didn't mean there wasn't a fascinating plot. The plot and sex were not separate, either, they came together as the same thing. There were few characters, but the ones that were there were fleshed out, especially the main two. I was happy to see an interracial relationship - in manga! It was almost too good to be true. You could make a case for the author having somewhat accidentally intended to play off of Sword's black skin as part of his initial 'bad gangster' image, but he was much deeper than that ultimately, and all the villains are white, so, there's nothing truly racist here. Sword is meant to be loved and cherished by the readers, so fear not.
Sen and his innocence are convincingly done, and not in a weak or overly uke-ish way. He was actually a very strong and dirty character himself, all things considered. In ways, stronger than Sword. Meanwhile, Sword is clearly the seme here, and yet... Things happen.
I have to say how amazing the development is through the three volumes. If you look at the brutal place it started and the warped-but-sweet place it gets to... It's amazing.
The story begins with absolutely no love, and ends with something that is maybe warped, maybe dark, but definitely true. The development to get there is great, and feels very real. They have communication problems and misunderstandings, but there's never a time when you can angrily think that if one just explained, everything would be fixed. There's always a reason the misunderstandings aren't fixed. Like "Kyuuso wa Cheese...", it made me think about the nature of 'love'. It made me think about variations on moral dilemmas I can honestly say I never once thought of. I was gripped every moment, wondering about and doubting things along with Sen.
Many stories have questions about what you'd do to protect someone, but UGH takes this to especially odd levels.
I'm not sure I could pull out a main theme from this story, but it definitely brought up questions. Its point wasn't to delve into those questions or give them answers, but it kind of did anyway, just by having these unique situations.
The end was amazing. (Impression spoilers this paragraph)There are two ways to interpret it, and I'm not sure which side I'm on. It's a valid question. Most people seem to be settled on one side, and yet, if you pay attention to something someone said, it can still be taken the other way. I liked its vagueness.
This is yet another story that had me smile and tear up.
The art is fantastic, not because it's on another skill level from other mangaka, but because the characters are truly varied and different looking, with an acceptable variety of face expressions for each of them.
This is a very brutal, hardcore story, and yet it possessed a more genuine love story than many stories intended to focus on a 'sweet romance'. (Still a better love story than Twi- *shot*) Clearly, there are some very, very significant relationship issues. I am not condoning any character's behavior by calling the love genuine. Almost all of them are or can be cruel, manipulative, and willing to murder/rape/get others to murder and rape for them.
That's the point.
It's about human loneliness and sin, and, in your darkest time, looking for a fellow beating heart through all of it. It's about being connected by your shadows. It's about looking recognizing and loving a fellow, flawed, human being.
Oh, and the sex was /fabulous/. No point elaborating, but to me, it really was. Despite all the deep things I have said about it, if you just want some hardcore, steamy prison sex, it can definitely be found here as well.
Even for those who would be interested in reading this in the first place, this is still kinda brutal. It's about prison, and what happens there. There are a lot of gang-ups, and even a certain broom handle used in a certain way. True to life, b**** is used as a condescending term, while b****** is what is said when someone takes power over them and they're not happy about it.
Not the intention, but it is a real cultural occurrence that infuriates me and should infuriate everyone. Realism, I guess.
Overall, this is one of my top favorite yaoi, and probably one of my top favorite manga in general.