The story follows Jeremy, who is sexually abused by his stepfather. Mentally disturbed by this, Jeremy goes down a path of murder; however, he accidentally finds himself the murderer not only of his stepfather, but also his own mother.
Soon his stepbrother Ian begins to suspect him as well as discover the twisted truth about his own father.
Zankoku na Kami ga Shihai Suru. "A Cruel God Reigns," in English.
Some call this a "Boys' Love" series. But that's a lie. Because there is no love. This is not a fluffy bunny shounen-ai or yaoi. This is a chilling, horrifyingly realistic story of long-term sexual abuse. It is the life inside a nightmare.
Never has my blood boiled so much in anger while reading a manga. Greg, the man who came from abroad to marry Jeremy's widowed mother isn't just interested in her. He's also interested in Jeremy. A two-for-the-price-of-one marriage. He says he loves Sandra wholeheartedly. And he tells Jeremy that he loves just as much: he tells him as he rapes him.
Jeremy's sense of intimacy is shattered, and sex is now a dirty thing. He is shocked and dismayed when his girlfriend tells him that his way of kissing has become strange. When she wants to have sex, he is frightened, and afraid of the touch of skin.
And he has no one to turn to for help. His girlfriend would feel betrayed if she knew he'd been intimate with another person, and an older man at that. Sandra, his mother, has several screws loose. She is very mentally fragile, and had attempted suicide several times in the past. She has no skill in reading people's moods, and is utterly selfish. There is no way he can tell her that her adored husband is having nightly trysts in her son's room. Greg also holds her over Jeremy's head, threatening to tell her about their "relationship" if he tries to protest or run away.
Greg takes Jeremy and Sandra from their home in New England to his mansion in Britain, where live his two younger sons, he being a widower. As Sandra continues to smile and enjoy the happy illusion that all is well, Jeremy begins to have suspicions that Greg's former wife was murdered. People are hiding something. Could Sandra also be in danger?
As I said, this series made me very mad. Not mad at the author. Mad at Greg. At Sandra. At Greg's son Ian who doesn't put two and two together. At the woman who knows what is going on but does not stop it. Angry about this terrible situation that this boy is being forced into. I want to smack Greg, and kill him slowly, excruciatingly. He is a monster. He is insane. And the story feels all too horribly realistic. The tone feels very real. Sexual abuse by parents and step-parents happens all too often. I felt like I was watching real events being enacted. I felt sick.
The abuse is not depicted graphically, thankfully. But you can see enough to make a good guess what's going on. The shock, fear and helplessness comes through vividly. What I wouldn't give to see Greg with his cruel hands locked in a prison forever, and Jeremy taken somewhere where he can be safe, and never threatened again.
This is an older story, which began publication in 1993, by Hagio Moto, considered one of the "Founding Mothers" of the Boys' Love genre, and author of the 1974 work "Heart of Thomas." The art style is a little bit old-school, but not very. I'm very picky about my art, and detest a lot of the older shoujo styles, but hers I like. It is very expressive, and the characters have variety and…well, character. Also, because of her roots in early shounen-ai, may explain why she is careful to craft a good story, unlike most modern yaois, which have unrealistic settings, stereotypical characters, and are all about idealized sex.
The characters are all exceptionally-made. Jeremy is just a normal boy. He has a girlfriend, is attached to and protective of his mother as his only family member, and does things normal boys do. After his crushing experiences, he reacts as a person can be expected to. Sandra is a high-strung woman (who doesn't deserve her son) and has the immaturity of a young girl who dreams of a romantic prince coming to sweep her off her feet. And she constantly makes inferences about people, accusing them, something high-strung people really do. And her demands cause people around her to try to keep her happy, and keep her mind at peace. Greg is a filthy old pedophile, who can finagle anyone into doing anything, lying to himself, saying that what he does is "true love." He is one of those awful people who would do the world a favor by dying, yet they still life prosperous lives, leaving a wake of tragedy behind them.
I had heard of this manga a lot before I tried reading it. I generally don't read yaois, and I after reading the synopsis I thought it would be graphic and gratuitous and all about giving sadistic yaoi fans a "high." But I am glad to say I had sadly underestimated it.
This is a good story. A very good story. But it is very cruel. It won't make you very happy--if it does, something is wrong with you. But it is good. Good in the way anything is when it presents an excellently-crafted story, believable characters, and a high tone of realism. I think anyone who is a fan of good manga will appreciate this. read more
I've been itching to write this for a long time by now.
Zankoku na Kami ga Shihai Suru is a catching story about a high school boy trying to cope with his stepfather regularly abusing him. He's suffering, running away, crying and losing it, then he faces it and solves his problem only to find another one. He is constantly giving up and trying to vanish, then being forced to live and try again.
It's not 'BL' as such, but certainly a piece full of love, desire, overlooking, suffering and regret.
This manga started in 1993. That is a year before I was even born, so of course the art is not as fancy as in some newer ones. If you give this up because of it, I pity you. It's not bad at all once you get used to it.
The characters are beautifully pictured with real personalities, combining both good and bad traits. Sometimes the characters are lost and looking for help, sometimes they fight and face the reality. Everyone is unique and I have the feeling that even those of peripheral importance are strong individuals.
I laughed, I cried, I was completely drawn in the story. I wasn't feeling bored even once. This manga is just brilliant.
To sum it up, I love this manga. I found it when I was looking for something psychological - and it may actually be the best manga I've ever read. It's a masterpiece.
However, I would recommend it only to those who are able to understand the meaning of being wounded and can accept that sometimes, wounded people do stupid nonsense when trying to forget the pain. read more
This is one of the earliest BL mangas out there, I believe, and you can definitely see the striking differences between the shounen-ai emerging 30 years ago compared to today. The visuals especially are different. Boys look like boys (kind of. Still have bambi eyes, still hairless. And Ian, who appears a bit later, is a definite bishonen.) There is a nice amount background and not a lot of skimping on the characters' details.
What struck me most about this manga was how disturbingly realistic it is. The abused protagonist is not a helpless creature. He's just a normal boy with normal friends and a normal life, and barely realizes it when his world is turned upside down. You can really see him progress down the path of insanity too, as the manipulative stepfather continually gives Jeremy the illusion that he is free, when really he's practically digging his own grave. The story is a bit slow in progression, but I think that's for the best, because it emphasizes that pedophilia doesn't just magically appear and you can spot it like that. It's skillfully hidden, starts from the smallest thing and spirals into a living hell.
The sex scenes show very little, but the theme is definitely disturbing enough in itself. The author doesn't try to make it hot, but she definitely conveys the emotion behind it very well.
Warning, there's still a lot that needs to be scanlated and its age does not make it the most popular manga. While it's a good read, it might be said that anything you might wish to happen in to the characters will be a long time coming.read more
The artwork is really eye-catching at times, great detail, very beautiful and distinct. A dramatic story that really grabs you from the very first pages. I come across this manga by accident, and was so glad I did.
It's a detailed story although the page count isn't high, a lot of info is discussed for a manga and things go on. It is a continuing series, so I will look forward to reading more from this writer.