Gerard and Jacques

September 1, 2006 at 3:59 am Leave a comment

Gerard & Jaques is by Fumi Yohinaga, the writer of Antique Bakery, which of course meant there was no way I wasn’t buying this. 

series_cover_11.jpgThe guy at the comic store and I had a discussion about the characters on the cover before I read it.  (Gerard has the eye patch, Jacques is the black haired one.)  We agreed that the pirate was intent on ravishing the younger guy, who’s expression is wonderful.  He totally isn’t going along with the seduction.  After reading the relatively innocent Antique Bakery, I was expecting something along the same lines here, but was very, very wrong!  This book earns the “M” rating, mostly from scenes at the beginning of the story. 

Gerard (who is not a pirate, btw) and Jacques meet after the younger man is sold to a brothel in order to pay off his family’s debts.  Gerard is his first customer, and after coming up against Jacques’ pride and scornful manner, decides to make him regret being an aristocrat.  (The next scene in the book is where the explicit content label on the cover comes into effect.)  At the end of the evening, Gerard offers to buy off Jacques’ contract and challenges the young man to prove he’s not completely useless by making his way in the world without selling his body.  The next morning, he’s shocked to discover that the new houseboy his butler has hired is none other than Jacques! 

At this point in a regular yaoi book I would have expected the rest of the story to be constant seductions and protestations, but I was surprised to see that it actually focuses more on developing a real friendship between the two men.  Gerard occupies himself with a new prostitute, and Jacques loses himself in learning to be a good servant and working his way through his new master’s library.  There are still hints of sexual tension, but it’s not really the focus – they spend more time on Jacques learning about class equality than romance.  The last part of the volume has two chapters telling the story of Gerard in his youth, the woman he was in love with and how he came to hate the aristocracy. 

The art is much like what you see on the cover (if you’ve read Antique Bakery, then know the art isn’t any different – and if you haven’t read it, you should). There’s no very explicit nudity in the book (there’s a mix of conveniently placed legs, shirt tails and hands with glimpses underneath – it’s not really pushed too far) though it’s not quite the whited out/shadowy type nudity they show in some yaoi books.  I think what “shocked” me more was the language.  At least, I found it to be relatively unexpected.  Gerard is quite frank and literal when he’s speaking to Jacques about sex and doesn’t really soften his language much. 

All in all, two thumbs up and I’m very much looking forward to volume 2, which is coming in December. 

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Entry filed under: manga.

Hot Gimmick novel! Whining narrowly averted…

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