Finally the yaoi gods have heard my pleas and have released a Taishi Zaou title in the U.S. My copy of Living for Tomorrow, from DMP’s new Doki Doki, was welcomed into the house with much celebrating. (Well, on my part. The dogs and the husband didn’t care. Their loss.) Though many books in the Doki Doki line are going to be rated 16+ and be a little tamer in content, Living for Tomorrow is not one of those titles, even though the boys in this one are of high school age.
Tasuku is a karate student with a lot of talent. Unfortunately he regularly uses that talent to beat the snot out of his childhood friend Ryouta. The reason for that is to hide that he is really madly in love with Ryouta. The bizarre twist comes when Tasuku finds out that his late mother was an ageman (“ah-gay-man,” pun more than likely intended), a woman who brings good fortune to men. Strange people start showing up, hoping that Tasuku has gained his mother’s powers. Now that Tasuku has something to offer Ryouta, will he be able to resist offering himself to his friend, body and soul?
Good-hearted silliness abounds in this one-volume story. The characters are distinct individuals, even the pseudo-bad guys. The most interesting character to me is Tasuku. Technically he’s the uke, but there’s nothing submissive or delicate about him. He is more than able to protect himself physically and, as the sex scenes show, Tasuku is the definition of “topping from the bottom.” Ryouta is more of a clueless idiot, but in a good-hearted jock kind of way. He’s not as fully formed, but he’s a terrific companion for Tasuku. Rounding out the mix is their friend, confidante, and romantic advisor, Katsuyama. He is the voice of reason for both of them, even when he doesn’t want to be. Even the bad guys aren’t really that bad. They help end the story on an up note, while also poking gentle fun at the yaoi “attack/rescue” cliché.
If you’ve never seen Zaou’s art, then you have missed out on a real treat. Her boys are delicately beautiful, but she draws them with a strong, sure line that gives them depth and realism. The boys have slanting eyes that appear almost fairy-like in the way they magically draw you into their owners’ thoughts. And just to keep the beauty and otherworldliness from being too much, Zaou also has a deft hand for drawing humor, pacing it just right and knowing just when to add her cute little chibis. Her sound effects are living, breathing parts of her artwork, as are her voice-overs, making the art seem less cluttered and more seamless.
The titles in the Doki Doki line are being released in a smaller format, more like DMP’s 801 Media titles, but, like all of the DMP titles now, without book jackets. The cover is bright and eye-catching, the Doki Doki label adding to the appeal, but not being overly pink and flowery. The translation is solid and, even with the smaller format, the pages are clear and easy to read. Having looked over some other Doki Doki titles, I have to say that I’m pleased with the quality of the new line.
As you can tell, I’m a fan of Zaou’s work. Yes, there’s a good amount of crack in here, but Zaou has a terrific way with humor. If you love the silliness and the pretties of the Princess Princess series (written by Zaou under her shojo pen name Mikiyo Tsuda and published by DMP), then you’ll love Living for Tomorrow. Go pick it up and hopefully you’ll soon be as big a fangirl as I am.
NOTE: This review was previously posted at an old blog of mine, Fujoshi Librarian.
Living for Tomorrow
DMP/Doki Doki, 2009