Set in ancient Japan, involving many explicit steamy sex scenes. Shirou and his little brother are captured by bandits, and he is given two options: become the leader's sex toy, or watch his brother die. (And just wait 'til his brother grows up...sexy boy...) Unlike some other hardcore yaoi, this story *does* have a plot and can be rather sweet and sad at certain moments.
First of all, the artwork in this is intoxicating, beautiful and consistent. The sword fighting action is definitely some of the best also I've seen in yaoi, reminiscent of Ruroni Kenshin.
I would never ever classify this as a beginner yaoi. The theme is heavy, with scenes involving rape, bdsm and non-com sex with underage person, plus the genitalia is more clearly drawn and "after effects" are very explicit.
The storyline grips you from the very beginning, the situation occurring is not at all unusual to what happened in middle ages in many countries, both consentual and non: the young hostage taken by a bandit
king or rival warlord is forced to be the sexual slave of the captors.
For those who like "light" themed or humorous yaoi or shounen-ai, they will likely be offended or horrified. For the reader who likes more serious and mature reading, this is perfect.
This story was quite good, it is about young man who is sent by his family to become a monk (quite wealth feudal lord from the way they acted). But, things get difficult when his much younger brother shows up crying at the same time bandits do. What is a older brother to do, try and save the younger one of course! But, things go array when his younger doesn't get far enough away in time and it captured by the one of the bandits and their leader. The leader finds the elder brother fascinating and want him for himself so he offers him a
deal...his submission for his younger brother's safety. But, this is just the start of the tale. From then on it picks up pace. The only reason I gave the story a 7 and not an 8 was because there was a part in the story that was confusing. I know that it was probably meant to be for shock value to the readers. But, to not know what is going on for about 3 to 4 for pages is a little much for me. Other than that the author did an amazing job putting so much in this story and making it all work.
Now some may disagree but I found the art to be very beautiful. I don't think the author used it throughout, but I could definitely feel the use of the new software that some of the manga artist are using. It gives the pictures more depth and more perception. So the art reminded me a lot of the manga Crimson Cross (just the art, nothing more).
The characters are unique. Like the main character, the elder brother who ended up having to play "uke" to the bandit lord. He is not your cookie cutter "uke", he is neither weak, girly looking, nor putting his heart in anyone's hands but his brother's. Whom he is doing all this for to protect. The other characters are the same, nothing quite fits into any mold that you might try to find and this is makes them so interesting to read. It's to bad they didn't take this magna further, but at least they didn't leave it with an ep! Like some do. But, it does remind me of Deeper Eye's Kyo without the yaoi of course.
It was a fascinating read, especially since I love the feudal era, but really that is a backdrop. I wouldn't even consider it a character except for the superstition of the era does affect our main characters life since his birth. There are a few moments in the manga were you might laugh, but they are few and far between. Mostly, if you were actually "in" the manga, you would be locked in a world with no light, and where no hope enters. The only thing keeping you going is your will to survive and the love of your brother (and it is purely platonic love for those who are interested). While it is full of is sadness, tragedy, pain, and suffering, but it is definitely worth it to read; so you can experience all those emotions packed into a one-shot so well it is hard to describe with words. But, then again, isn't art suppose to reflect life?
I will say one word that described my reading of this manga "cathartic." Artist are by nature emotional people, we put out emotions into what we do. So another artist can feel the emotions come off another artist work more than a natural reader. Making the reading experience that more intense, no matter the emotion. But, no matter what emotion you are left with, even artist, it should always be inspirational. That someone could put that much of themselves into an art form, which manga is, and share it with the world says a lot for the author as a person and an artist. Maybe that is another reason I enjoyed this one so much is because I connected with this author more I have with some of the other ones. Plus, by profile say "I walk alone..." If you read the manga you will find the significance between me and one of the characters. So this is in no way a spoiler because you won't know who I am talking about or what unless you read the manga.
I think I have covered just about everything that can be said on this manga so my last request would be just to read it! I really do not think that you will be disappointed, but instead rather delighted. I hope this helped...and please do read it...One more thing this is not for the squeamish or those who do not like YAOI (boy x boy) because this has some VERY mature content. Don't say I didn't warn you...!!!!