Say Please explores the strain of private emotions on the professional lives of two very different young men.
Sakura is a dedicated high school teacher employed at a Catholic all Girls’ school. The combination of professional priorities with the underlying secret of his sexual preferences has left little space for building relationships outside of work.
The story begins on a stormy night when Sakura resorts to paying the young host Ryoichi to serve his carnal desires.
As the pair continue their contractual connection, they soon come discover that the distinction between being a client or a lover becomes harder for them both to define.
A Bird at Sea, A Door in the Sky
The side story in this collection features the tale of an isolated youth as he struggles to protect his future from the dark secrets of his past. As Ryu endeavours to escape the terrible gravity of his own guilt and the gossip of his classmates, he finds respite and hope in a chance encounter with an exotic stranger.
Say Please presents a typical boys' love scenario, a stoic professional who must risk it all to acknowledge his emotions while the young lover in tow is forced bare with these painful indecisions. The elements of their lives clash, causing cracks to appear across the once impenetrable masculine façade, making use of the classic teacher archetype that is so irresistible in boys' love.
It takes a skilled author the make such commonplace fare rise above the generic and to her credit, Miyamoto makes a concerted effort towards accomplishing this. In the end what counts in this genre is the intensity of the reader's emotional connection to the characters and how skilfully the writer can ensnare her readers' hearts.
The art is unusual and while not particularly to my own taste, it has a flair that is both natural and flows with vitality. Sakura, in particular, is drawn with sensitivity and Miyamoto makes use of his silent expressions to punctuate the development of the story and to involve us in the intensity of his character. It works. While Ryoichi is a typical uke reduced to crybabyish mess by their relationship, Sakura's character maintains some attractive integrity in spite of all the contrary behaviour.
The development is pleasing, the sex scenes, while not overwhelmingly erotic, are intense and heartfelt, infusing them with both purpose and poignancy.
The mix of stories in the book and in the inclusion of A Bird at Sea, A Door in the Sky makes for a generous read in a one shot volume with plenty of scope for enticing the majority of yaoi readers, particularly those with a penchant for a little pain and angst.