||[Sep. 8th, 2008|08:21 pm]
Ashita, kare no beddo de. by Umetarou is rather ugly to look at but it was such a satisfying story I was able to overlook the art. It's about a young man who wakes up early every morning to go to a coffee shop to gaze at a salaryman who likes to take a short nap. The young man and his friend who works at the coffee shop have nicknamed the salaryman "sleeping beauty." The young man has very little confidence in himself because he's had so many bad past experiences--no man he's fallen for had ever taken him and his feelings seriously, always treating him like a fling. The salaryman is straight and a bit dense when it comes to the human heart. Got a bit of angst but the young man is so determined to be upbeat it's never too much. Frankly, it's a bit sad to see how resigned he is under his cheerful exterior. So cliched yet so satisfying...especially since I just read a book about another guy who's had rather bad experiences, but this one took a different route just as conventional but much much more irritating.
Aikagi by Asahi Konoha and illustrated by Momoyama Kei is about a ice queen working in...er...the ministry that overseas trading in Japan. He's given up on love and all relationships after some bad experiences and has decided to focus all of his energy on work. An old flame shows up and tries to rekindle things, but they are interrupted by ice queen's boss. Boss man (good looking and talented) uses his newfound knowledge to force ice queen to have sex with him. Most of the book is taken up with boss man being really mean to ice queen in bed, while ice queen is driven wild with pleasure and filled with regret and self-loathing for his sluttitude. Turns out the ice queen loves to be dominated and humiliated and subjugated in bed, but otherwise he just wants to be treated normally. Unfortunately his old lovers had always ended up treating him as badly out of bed as in bed, so ice queen eventually decided that sex and love wasn't worth it. Of course, it turns out that boss man a) treated ice queen so badly in bed because he realized that's what turned ice queen on, b) boss man had used the encounter with the old flame to "at least have ice queen's body" since he'd been wanting him since they'd first met, and c) boss man tried to keep ice queen from meeting old flame at all because old flame was working for a company that was under investigation by the ministry. So of course they are happy together in their D/S relationship at the end. The ice queen did the cliched "why can't I hate him even though he's done such unforgivable things to me?" faux-angst for most of the book and of course rolled over and spread his legs as soon as it comes out boss man "loves" him. Ugh.
I only connect the two stories because the main characters are both traumatized by how old lovers had (mis)treated them, but damn are they different. I kind of liked the whole idea of a character who is turned on by being dominated by nature because that kind of thing rarely happens (seems like most guys end up becoming used to such treatment only after extensive abuse throughout the book), but I was disappointed that his finding of a guy who can give him what he needs in and out of bed had to be through NCS and misunderstanding rather than a slow coming together--even an initial rape followed by building of relationship would've been so much better.