|Tenshi no tsumeato by Takaoka Mizumi and illustrated by Nara Chiharu
||[Aug. 11th, 2008|08:58 pm]
Tenshi no tsumeato by Takaoka Mizumi and illustrated by Nara Chiharu is melodrama that mostly doesn’t work because it’s too low-key, except at the very end. It’s about the son of a yakuza boss and a self-made man, an entrepreneur with several (or is it many?) restaurants and bars. They became friends in high school, didn’t see each other for 10 years, met again as adults, and now hang out...Sort of. Son of yakuza boss really wants to live a normal life but can’t, thanks to his family background. So he comes over to one of his friend’s establishments and grouses. There’s also the added complication that son of yakuza is in love with his friend. His friend knows it (and the son knows that his friend knows) but pretends not to (and the son pretends to not know that his friend knows but pretends not to).
This is NOT a very good book, yet I can't help but admit that I really enjoyed it. A bang-up ending (or at least an ending that really hits my moe points) can make up for quite a lot of bad. XD;
The son of yakuza has been dealt a pretty crappy hand in life. He’s just not cut out for being a yakuza, yet normal society won’t accept him. He couldn’t get a job with any respectable company, so he ends up working at the company of a friend of his father’s (a fact he hadn’t known until his first day at work…It had shocked and demoralized him for a while there). He can’t even be useful by providing an alliance by marrying the daughter of someone important because he’s gay. His situation feels more like a “geez, it sucks to be you” kind of a thing than a “oh how tragic!” situation, more out-and-out pathetic than beautifully poignant. He seems resigned and rather crushed by life. His only lifeline is his friend, even though that relationship is a source of angst in and of itself since he’s hopelessly in love with his friend. Also, he has a young lover who adores him but whom he can’t adore back...since he loves his friend.
Things only get worse for son of yakuza. He’s forced to take time off from work, and made to feel pretty unnecessary in the process (he’s called into the boss’s office and told, your father asked that you spend time at home, you don’t have to come in for a while, in fact you can leave right now, we can totally manage without you). When he does go home his father announces that he’s arranged a marriage for his son. Son protests that he’s gay and can’t marry (he came out when his father tried to marry him off before), but his father tells him the other party understands. He wants his son to marry the daughter of another clan head who’d married but was returned because she was pregnant with some other guy’s baby. Son tries to get father to disown him since he’s completely useless to the clan, but the father ignores his request and plans on going ahead with the marriage. On top of that, son finds out his adoring young lover actually works for the clan! He decides he needs to drink at one of his friend’s establishments. The friend shows up (alerted by one of the staff) and they talk. Son is so depressed and desperate he actually asks friend to fuck him…the thing he’s always wanted but never had the courage to come out and say. Friend says no. Son leaves, utterly dejected.
One of the most interesting things about this book is the friend’s POV. He’s severe and exacting (which is how he’s succeeded), yet has a soft spot for pathetic types (his mother, his younger brother—who is the main character in another book that this book is a spin-off from—, the yakuza son). When we see the situation of the son through the friend’s eyes, things look a lot more tragic in the melodramatic vein. He acutely senses the pathos of son’s situation and rages internally at how the yakuza keep beating the son down. He keeps up his “strictly friends” posture because he wants to be a constant in son’s life…Even if it’s a constant that causes son pain and angst. He is fiercely protective in a bizarre way—I love how he tells off an employee (with whom he has an interesting relationship) who’d overheard the conversation and chides him for not giving his friend the comfort he sought…The son looked like he was about to cry. The friend tells his employee that the son would never cry because he knows it’s pointless. No one can understand how crappy things are for the son!
In any case, friend feels crappy about the whole situation, but then he feels even worse when he’s attacked by a masked man. Son comes by his place when he hears about the attack. Friend first is brusque with him (why’d you bother coming to see me?) then keeps him from leaving. They end up having sex (I really can't remember how things led to sex, but frankly, I don't it really matters in these kinds of stories. Anything can lead to sex, after all!). Friend tells son that he’s going to regret it, and son responds that he knows. But he wants it so badly…
Sex! With injured man! And a very enthusiastic uke! I am so sick of supposedly experienced guys turning into blushing virgins or becoming awkward and ashamed when they finally sleep with the man they love. Unlike those worthless ukes, son revels in the joy of finally having sex with the guy he’s been in love with forever. He leaves right afterwards. Out on the street he is confronted by his ex-lover. He thinks ex-lover is trailing him on clan orders, but ex-lover just wants to talk to son. He may have approached son because he was told to, but he’d fallen in love with son! Friend comes out and tells ex-lover to get lost. Ex-lover falling in love with the man he'd basically betrayed from the very first is simply him failing to stay objective. Friend notices injuries on ex-lover similar to those he’d given his assailant. Ex-lover gets angry, blaming friend for making son unhappy. Friend scoffs at ex-lover. Why didn’t ex-lover take son and run away if he was so in love with son? Ex-lover loses it and attacks friend again, but son jumps in front and is stabbed instead.
The thoughts and words that come out of a brain in shock are quite amusing. Son first thinks how it’s kind of nice that he was stabbed because he’s never ever seen friend so frantic before. He then starts babbling. First he says he’d like to die like this, in friend’s arms. Then he could be reborn as someone else. He'd never want to be born into his family, as himself. This prompts “warm drops of something” to fall on him…Hmm…tears, maybe? In any case, son goes on to say he’d like to be a beautiful woman, then when he pursued friend maybe friend would actually love him back. He confesses that he wishes friend had nabbed him and run off years ago. Friend points out that he, son, could’ve done the nabbing. Son sees friend’s point, but comments that they’d probably only end up in hell before he blacks out.
Son wakes up in the hospital room, rather amazed he’s still alive. Friend is there, quite adamant that he wasn’t ever going to let son die on him. Son tells friend about the wonderful dream he’d been having just before he woke up. Back in high school, son had once kissed friend while friend was sleeping on the roof. (Friend had actually been awake at the time but had pretended to be asleep.) In son’s dream friend had woken up and had asked son to go with him, and they’d run off together. Son starts to cry as he tells friend how happy he felt gazing at the sea with friend. He feels ashamed at his tears, but friend grips son’s hands to keep him from covering his face and tells him that he should cry, that it isn’t shameful. Son jokes that if friend keeps acting this way he’ll jump him. Friend comments that he should jump son first, and kisses son. Son cries some more at his dream having become reality.
The epilogue has the friend’s younger brother and his boyfriend going around taking care of business for the friend, who has left everything behind and eloped with son. The boyfriend (who has never gotten along with friend) expresses admiration for the guts it takes to throw everything away for love, especially when you’re not that young (friend and son are 30).
Sorry I didn't use names, but I wrote this up at work in an attempt to stay awake. I also skipped more details than usual since I didn't have the book with me to consult like I usually do. XD;
Kirishima = friend
Senoo = son of yakuza
It'd probably be a better story if it was, oh, half as long. I just like the end. Melodrama and schmaltz to the max! Faux deathbed confessions! Elopement! I also like how Kirishima's consideration for Senoo kept him from responding to Senoo's feelings (well, in addition to his own self-denial) since he wanted to live up to Senoo's expectation of him (which meant that Kirishima would never respond to Senoo's feelings). I liked how Senoo was an average guy caught up in a tragic situation. He's too weak to try to break free, yet not weak enough to be a completely helpless victim. Instead he survives and holds on (like a cockroach) so that he can hang around his unrequited love.
I didn't realize I'd read the first book with the younger brother and his boyfriend, Tenshi no naku yoru, until I looked up this book on amazon and saw the cover of the first book. OMG, that first book sucked hard. The younger brother's motivations and reactions were so inexplicable I had a hard time caring. He grabbed seme off the streets and wanted to train him to be...a gentlemen or something. Somehow or another they have sex, and after that seme fucks uke mercilessly. Things came to a head and of course resolved with the two as real lovers. Or something like that. It all seemed very pointless to me. *shrugs* In any case, I prefer this book much more (and I like the title better). There's apparently a third book in the series, about a guy from the first book who took care of Kirishima's younger brother and his gay romance. Haven't read it, not sure I want to.
Senoo kissing Kirishima as he sleeps.
Teenage-delinquent-wannabe Senoo (he was out of control for a while there since society tended to reject him for who his father was) and working-his-way-through-life Kirishima when they first meet (I don't remember if they'd met in school already or were in different classes and only knew of each other. In any case, this is their first memorable meeting.)
I think this is Kirishima, his younger brother and the younger brother's boyfriend...Kirishima is the severe-looking one.
Senoo grousing about things to Kirishima.
Senoo seeing his young lover talking to the young boss of the clan...
Kirishima refusing fuck Senoo.
Kirishima fucking Senoo.
(Obviously he needed to be hit to realize what he was missing out on. Hot sex! With the guy you so obviously care about even though you sort of deny it!)
Kirishima kissing Senoo in the hospital room.