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kyoudai by maruki bunge: does not totally suck [Sep. 8th, 2009|10:29 pm]
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Kyoudai, written and illustrated by Maruki Bunge (Yes, same person did both! Too bad I really don't like her art...), is in many ways a very tired tale of obsessive brotherly incest. Older brother is introverted and quiet, younger brother is outgoing, likable, good-looking, smart, athletic, etc. Older brother is a high school teacher, younger brother is a famous actor and model. Something really bad happened between the two of them years ago that cemented the riff that had been growing between them for years. One day the younger brother Ryouji comes over to older brother Yuu's apartment because he's being stalked by some chick, and stays there. This is very distressing to Yuu because a) he fears and loathes Ryouji, b) he thinks Ryouji despises him, and c) he's deathly afraid that the people around him will find out that he's related to Ryouji and cause a ruckus. But he lets Ryouji stay, and things are very tense. Ryouji acts like a normal younger brother, but Yuu is constantly flinching away. Eventually, Ryouji snaps. He'd wanted to repair their relationship, but Yuu just can't trust Ryouji. So Ryouji will just take things to the worst place possible. He forces himself on Yuu. The very bad incident many years ago was, of course, sex assault. But it wasn't just a one-time rape. Noooo, nothing that simple. Instead Ryouji had sexually tormented Yuu almost every night for, oh, about nine months before Yuu moved out (this was when Yuu was in college). The sexual torment did not, oddly, include anal or oral sex. There was all kinds of other degrading and weird shit, though. I was appalled at the excessive nature of the very bad incident, especially since it happened in their parents house WITH THEIR PARENTS LIVING THERE. And the parents had never found out. (Are they deaf or something?)

In any case, I wanted to talk about this book mostly because I thought the resolution was rather interesting. After the sex commences, they reach equilibrium. It steadies them, and they actually talk to each other...Though only during sex. What changes things for a final time, though, is an incident involving two of Yuu's students. He'd been watching the two interact with some concern because there was something odd happening between them for a while. He'd tried talking to the one he thought was the victim, but he didn't really know what was going on. He finally finds out when he learns that one of them had jumped off a four story building. The one he'd thought was bullying the other one. He'd already known they were childhood friends, but what he learns from talking to the one who'd jumped off the building (whom I will call A) is that he felt very responsible for taking care of his childhood friend (B). B had been abused by his father as a child and was very introverted and totally the type to be bullied. A is popular and the star of his sports team. But things got weird between them and an odd dynamic of power tug-of-war that included threatening each other with various secrets developed. In the end, though, it was A trying to reach out to B. B couldn't trust A, so he told him to prove himself by jumping off the building. Which A did. The whole business wakes Yuu up. He sees a lot of himself and Ryouji in the two. He realizes that Ryouji had simply been seeking him, and when Yuu had kept denying even a friendly brotherly relationship (they'd been very close when young, until Yuu became jealous of Ryouji and mostly ignored him) Ryouji had stewed. And then had erupted. Ryouji had tried to reach out again when he'd bummed over at Yuu's place, but Yuu's continual rejection pushed Ryouji over the edge again. Yuu accepts that he'd been full of jealousy and spite and that the two had fallen off the straight and narrow, but that in the end he cares for his brother. He shows his new feelings to Ryouji, and they live happily ever after.

Yeah, it's cliched. And Yuu is not a very sympathetic character (typically past trauma can help make an annoying uke more sympathetic, but the sexual torment was so excessive and silly it was hard to take seriously). Ryouji is such a typical younger brother seme I felt sorry for him. Please, give him *some* originality? Besides his weird taste in sexual torment, that is. But I liked that the issue with Yuu's students, which had been very integral to the book from the beginning, provides the shock and the insight to see his own messed up relationship in a new light. You know, instead of his brother's magical healing cock or whatever.

Title: A good person

Panel 1:
Yuu (at right): My younger brother's over at my place...He's an ultra-sadist.
Anjou (at left, co-worker and friend of Yuu's, also kind of interested in Yuu but has no chance because Yuu is clueless): You can come over to my place any time.
Yuu: Yeah, I'd like to go.
Anjou: Okay, then come.
Yuu: Nah, never mind.

Panel 2:
Yuu: There may be bullying going on in my class...
Anjou: You should watch what happens for a while.
Yuu: You'd be able to handle it. Me, not so much...
Anjou: Now that's not true...

Panel 3:
Ryouji: You like this, don't you? Hm?
Yuu: Ah, no, uuhh...
creaking and clattering
Anjou: Please keep it down. And why does Ryouji-kun talk like a dirty old man?

Panel 4:
Anjou: Are you okay? I'm concerned about you...
Yuu: Everything's fine with me.
Anjou: Really...

He's a good person, BUT he just can't get any payoff.

The comic above totally summarizes a bunch of scenes in the book so well. Yes, Ryouji and Yuu have sex when Anjou is crashed on Yuu's couch after having drunk too much. Of course he didn't stay asleep for long once the noisy sex started. XD;

The mini-Ryouji lovingly hugging the mini-Yuu is very cute as well.

[User Picture]From: modorenai
2009-09-11 10:59 am (UTC)
You know, instead of his brother's magical healing cock or whatever.

THIS is why I love reading your reviews so much. Your snarky comments make reading about these bad bl novels so much fun. XD
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: insaneneko
2009-09-12 08:53 am (UTC)
*laughs* Glad you enjoy my disgust. ^^;
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)