Adult Swim: Secret Agent Time (Part one)

>> Sunday, March 19, 2017

A reminder for those of you who haven't been here in a while: "Adult swim" is the tagline for my yaoi reviews, i.e. boys love manga. If it's not your thing, I will do others as well, but this is one of my favorite topics right now.

As I slowly ratchet back up to weekly blog posts, I thought I'd hit on some of the mangas I've read by mangakas I don't have but one manga from but that I consider keepers worth reading over and over. And, among that list, I've a few where espionage that intrigued me. For some reason, they tend to be eccentric, and this first one is no exception.

It's called Silence by Akiyama Koito and it has three separate stories only marginally connected to each other. Despite the fact that none of them are quite like anything else I've read, OR each other,  I find each one charming in its own way.

In the first, Rebirth, a British secret agent (Zenji) resigns from the agency as he has a virulent blood virus that is eating him from the inside out, which is not so unusual except that it usually kills in a matter of days but he's had it over a month. Turns out, his body is special and heals and protects him enough that it's fought off the disease. He runs into a very very pretty young man (Madoka) who is being chased and asks for his help, offering him a fortune in return.

Unsurprisingly, the Madoka has no money but claims to be able to heal Zenji using a magic where he puts his hands directly into a another person's body. Zenji scoffs, thinking it's just a way for Madoka to offer himself up for sex but doesn't look forward to dying alone so says he'll be satisfied if Madoka just stays with him until he dies. Madoka is fascinated with Zenji's resilient body, feeling it up at every opportunity as they reveal a tragic backstory for Zenji and hint that Madoka's is hardly happier. Of course, that leads to lots of sex because,well, yaoi. Just about the time Zenji is "inexplicably" feeling better, they find out, well, no more spoilers. The pieces all fall together as we yaoi lovers have come to expect, including their pasts.

In the second story, (Bet/Bed/Bed), we have less a story and more a charming situation brimming with humor as one of Zenji's coworkers[Millie] (who has a thing for Zenji) is literally losing himself in his virtual reality to the point he nearly dies of malnutrition. His long-time friend [Theo] (who is tied to the underworld), and who very much has a thing for Millie  breaks in (again - this has apparently happened many times) and revives him with kiss-administered energy drinks and food he brought with him. Millie is not particularly grateful, even when Theo tries to convince him to run away with him to a life of crime via a bet a la Princess Bride. There are two other unrelated episodes where it's not clear if Millie is sadistically teasing him for entertainment or if Theo is just too cautious to take the hint and make it a real relationship. Millie definitely has the upper hand. Also, Theo is REALLY gorgeous.

[In real life, I like to think I'm not readily swayed by physical beauty but, I have to say, if I'm going to read manga, there's no reason why I shouldn't like they way they look.]

The third story is Silence with the only connection I saw to the other stories that it involves another person (Shion) with the healing(ish) gifts Madoka had, except he's not really good at healing and is using them as hit man where he sticks his hand in a man's brain and, like, squishes it. Seems pretty effective. [There is a hint that Madoka might be his long lost younger brother]. When he's clearing out a rival's HQ, he stumbles across the mute young man (Luca), who was used as a much abused sex toy including being beaten at that very moment. Shion spares Luca and encourages him to run away, but the boy has been effectively a slave since infancy and is just picked up by Shion's clean up crew. Shion defends him and is awarded Luca's fate, but has no intention of abusing him (and doesn't). Shion discovers, when he pulls out a rusted relic from one of the items used to torture Luca, that he can understand Luca telepathically even though Luca can't talk. We also see that his attempts at healing cause Shion a good deal of damage.

Luca wants to repay what he sees as Shion's kindness and offers himself up but Shion isn't interested in using him. Instead, Luca does his best at cooking and cleaning, though he tends to do more damage than not. A confrontation with one of Shion's enemies (in the same group) while Shion's on travel ends with Luca more than willing to offer up his life if it will help Shion, while Shion's clients are threatening Luca in order to control Shion. In the end, it's Shion who risks his life to save Luca from his injuries and his internal demons and Luca who works to give some of that life back. Really, it's pretty damn touching and the extra where they try to contact each other via phone (when Luca is clumsy and mute) is hilarious.
So, why did I enjoy this so much? Well, for one thing, there was a line of humor through the whole thing that wasn't overbearing or silly, subtle but everywhere. For another, though there are three full story arcs in this one volume, none felt rushed or incomplete and the characterizations were drawn quickly and surely so that I was almost immediately captivated. And, as a hopeless romantic, people who care about other people more than themselves makes me giddy with delight. Yet, with that common theme (and no rape by a protagonist, yay!), the mangaka managed to make three stories that captured my imagination, charmed me and intrigued me. Not bad for a single volume.


Post a Comment

Blog Makeover by LadyJava Creations