The whims of fate and fortune have dealt Ichimura Aoi a wild hand. As his grandfather once said "With a face like that, you've got a snowball's chance in hell of finding a decent job". Soaring to high status within Hanagumi clan with remarkable speed, Aoi is the perfect image of the Yakuza elite. His threatening demeanour is enhanced by a disfiguring scar that acts as a free advertisement of a violent past. But appearances can be deceptive for Aoi is, in truth, just a shy guy with dumb luck.
When he assumes the coveted position of apprentice to the Sakiya Yuji, the clan's second in command – he begins to learn a whole new level of loyalty and devotion to the Hanagumi family.
Following hot on the heels of reading Kiss All the Boys, I was already fondly familiar with Shiuko Kano's style and comedic candour. I picked up Yakuza in Love with eager anticipation of another yet another turbulent tryst spread lavishly across the pages of this boys' love classic.
The title precedes Kiss All the Boys and while it does show, Yakuza in Love holds all the sultry charm of her more recent accomplishments. The brash beauty of her designs meld perfectly with the mobster genre, glorifying that icon fusion of glamour and grit, synonymous with the fantasy of organised crime. Lithe bishōnen bodies are embellished with elegant inks, burning lust is meted out with the confidence and efficiency of a professional hit in a parody of pulp, cut with Kano's customary blend of heat and humour.
Kano has a unique talent for exploiting the attraction of the taciturn façade of masculinity by undermining it with her comedic characterisation that is both irresistibly charming and erotic. Highly recommended to BL junkies everywhere!