Tuesday, 13 May 2014

REVIEW FOR THE GANGSTER AND THE SAMURAI (YAOI REVIEW)


The Gangster and the Samurai
Released By: Seishin Ink
Writer and Artist: Katsura and Yuramei
Cover Art: Katsura and Yuramei
Release Date: Out now
Reviewed By: Sandra Scholes

Blurb:
Fate is a fickle thing, fortune a double edged sword.

"Being born into wealth and privilege may be the dream of most, but a fat, friendless child with no company but his books will find that money brings no real comfort. I was such a child and came quickly to the conclusion that to endure the mundane is not compulsory when one can retreat to one's thoughts and live the life of a samurai. I chose my own path. An existence of honour and adventure which I shared with my beloved fellow warrior, Hyung. Even I, at times, thought him to be a figment of my imagination, so when he appeared as a flesh and blood man in the offices of the Yakuza organisation, the Tatakai-gumi, my world was turned upside down."

Kanno Sakamoto is a renaissance man. Homosexual, archer, swordsman, gardener, chef, pianist, gangster and fantasist — here he tells his own story. A dark, often humorous and sometimes challenging tale of love, lust and murder which is not for the faint of heart.

Review: 
Kanno Sakamoto is a man of all trades who, after an awful childhood which Katsura and Yuramei go into great detail about realises his life is not what he wishes, and instead fantasises about a life he wanted most of all. He sees this as choosing his own path in life, and at least he also sees it as he found love inside this dream of his. Being a homosexual male isn't something many would comment on in mixed company, but he is content to be in love and loved by his fellow warrior, Hyung. In all of this readers might find it hard to know whether or not the real world is actually his fantasy. As Kanno is the samurai, it is obvious that Hyung is the gangster, or at least it appears that way. After meeting Hyung in the Yakuza organisation, he falls for him instantly, but his love is full of loss, angst and inner loathing, the ingredients that make an excellent yaoi.

As yaoi is primarily known for being about graphic novels, this is a refreshing change and runs along the lines of the text based novels Loose Id and Yaoi Press write. This is written from the first person, and as such allows Kanno to invent his own life from his own point of view regardless of reality and the boredom it presents. Here the story has all the ingredients that make yaoi novels so engaging and interesting to read. There is the angst, the drama surrounding who Kanno really is, Hyung's place in his life, the tears, the anger and also the sexual attraction between the two men. This novel is out to shock in ways I can't describe, but one thing is for sure, this novel will be the start of a new branch of yaoi novels and it has been a long time coming. Katsura and Yuramei are a writer and artist team to watch out for.