Friday, April 8, 2011

Blue Sheep Reverie, Volume 1 Review

Blue Sheep Reverie, Volume 1  
Author:  Makoto Tateno
Publisher:  Digital Manga Publishing
American release date:  December 30, 2008
Format/Genre/Length: Emanga/Yaoi/192 pages (also available in paperback)
Publisher/Industry Age Rating:  Mature/Adult Content
Overall Personal Rating:  A-
Similar series or titles to check out:  Yellow, Hero Heel

Searching for the killer of his beloved Maria and hoping to solve the mystery of her death, Kai Kouda seeks out Lahti Bara, known leader of the Sarte group, one of two groups who control the city with no name.  He auditions to be his bodyguard by attempting to "kill" him, and ends up being shot for his efforts - but not before he sees the ring on Lahti's finger - the same blue stone which adorned the ring that Maria always wore!  Kai wakens to find himself in the Satre home, being cared for by the head of the kitchen - now he's right in the thick of things!


When Judd introduces himself to Kai as Lahti's bodyguard, Kai figures that he isn't needed - but that isn't necessarily the case, as Lahti is actually calling for Kai.  On the way to the boss, Judd gives the kid some background about the rivalry between the Sarte group and the Mynah group, and Kai learns that Lahti's nickname is  "Steel Lahti" - and he is one of the "four kings" of Sarte.  Kai is given a test - if he survives being attacked by four of Lahti's men, he's in - and he makes it!

Kai had met Maria two years before, when she wandered into his town.  She was a doctor, and helped to treat the wounded, including Kai.  They'd fallen in love, but one day Kai had come home to discover her dead body - and he'd vowed not to rest until he found the person or persons responsible for her death!  Even now, every time he thinks about her, he gets an ache in his head . . .  He wonders if Lahti is the one that killed her, as he has her ring - he must get a closer look at it!  Which becomes even more possible when he learns that Lahti is gay!

Kai is sent on his first escort mission to protect Lahti.  The Sarte computers have picked up some strange signals, and they have tracked down where the transmissions seem to be coming from.  As they near the building in question, Kai's head begins to ache again, and just in time, he notices the wrecking ball that has mysteriously begun to operate itself, and pushes Lahti to safety!  It seems that this has become a common phenomenon lately - machines going haywire!   Kai gets into it with some strange thugs, and when one overpowers him, it's Lahti to the rescue, which is when Kai notices that Lahti's eyes are the same blue as Maria's.  Lahti makes Kai his personal bodyguard, keeping him by his side and training him - a rather unprecedented move for him, as he's never felt the need for one before.

When Kai expresses anxiety over Lahti's safety, his boss offers to let him sleep in his room - in his bed.    Meanwhile the members of Mynah are plotting with a mysterious woman named Bihaan to overthrow Sarte, according to plans which she has already put into action.  After making love, as Lahti sleeps, Kai attempts to get a closer look at his ring.  But Lahti catches him - and proves to him that it isn't the one he seeks, he knows no Maria - and now his trust in Kai is destroyed!

Kai has learned what he sought to know, but for some reason, he finds he has no wish to leave, despite Lahti refusing to have anything to do with him.  The machinations of Mynah continue.  Another monkeywrench is thrown into the game by the arrival of an old childhood friend of Kai's - a girl named Sada - who only wishes to take him back with her!  Kai is confused, and Lahti is colder than ever.  What is a guy to do?

Another great Makoto Tateno selection, in a similar vein to other of her works.  What's a bit different for this boys love genre is the main character Kai having a love for a woman.  That is just something you don't generally find in a yaoi, so it set me to wondering.  I won't reveal my speculations or whether they were correct or not, you'll have to make your own.  Tateno is great at setting up this sort of relationship - where her protags ride a rollercoaster of emotions that run the gamut from love to distrust to hate to eveything else in between.  You never know where they are going to stand in relation to one another; all you can do is watch helplessly and hope that everything works out for the best, cause of course you're rooting for the lovers to stay in love and end up with their well-deserved HEA.  Naturally, that isn't going to happen in the first volume, or what's the point in continuing?  There are some interesting parameters being set up here, which should lead to more discord and confusion in future volumes.

When Lahti shakes off Kai and enters dangerous Mynah territory alone, old truths will be revealed, as well as old ghosts, and Kai will have to decide what - and who - is important to him, and resolve these feelings for Lahti which refuse to go away; this was something he hadn't bargained for, not at all.  There is a certain resemblance between the characters in various of Tateno's works, but it isn't a bad thing, it just means she has her own recognizable style.  I enjoyed reading the first volume and look forward to more of the same from this most excellent mangaka.

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