WARNING: This is an explicit yaoi series featuring depictions of sexual intercourse, rape, S&M, and violence. It is for adult readers and adult library collections only.

You’re My Loveprize in the Viewfinder, simply referred to as the Finder Series, is manga artist Yamane Ayano’s most popular boys love series in Japan as well as in the United States. The series is set mostly in Tokyo as Akihito Takaba, a young and ambitious freelance photojournalist, finds himself wrapped up in the dark and dangerous world of the ruthless crime lord Ryiuchi Asami. The Finder in the title refers to Takaba’s camera lens.

In volume one, Target in the Finder, Takaba gets too close to Asami’s world while taking photos of a corrupt politician during a drug deal. In order to teach the young man a lesson, Asami arranges to have him kidnapped, and later drugs and brutally rapes him.

This is the beginning of a dark and twisted relationship between the two men. Akihito’s youthful resiliency, his guts, and determination pique Asami’s curiosity and lust. The powerful man becomes determined to make Takaba his, body and soul. The series pushes every yaoi hot button and doesn’t step too far out outside of standard plot devices, but still manages to stay exciting. It’s not groundbreaking writing, but Yamane knows what her fans like and dishes it out to them in tantalizing volumes, often ending chapters with character-in-peril cliffhangers.

Volumes one through four cover the establishment of Asami and Akahito’s wary relationship and the introduction of the main antagonist of the Hong Kong story arc: Fei Long Liu, a rival Chinese crime boss. Fei Long and Asami have a complicated relationship and their history is the main plot of volume two, Cage in the Viewfinder.

After their initial encounter, Asami treats Akahito sort of like a feral cat that must be captured and tamed. Akahito, for the most part, brushes off the sexual assault and abuse and goes about his business—which, unfortunately, keeps bringing him into contact with Asami. The younger man cannot deny his growing, unspoken attraction to Asami and the dangerous life he leads.

In a plot involving a stolen data disk, Fei Long’s men grab Akahito. Fei Long, nurturing a grudge against Asami, decides to amuse himself by drugging and raping Akahito. Asami has to stage a rescue to regain Akahito, who gets pulled from the frying pan and back into the fire. (If you want to know how many times one man can be kidnapped and raped, if it’s Takaba Akihito, it’s A LOT.) The biggest story arc of the series begins when Fei Long rapes Akahito (again), shoots Asami, and kidnaps Akahito (again), this time taking him to Hong Kong to try to lure Asami onto Fei Long’s home turf.

The problematic first sexual encounter and the ongoing rape needs to be acknowledged. It’s something I’ve had to get my head around as a yaoi fan. Rape is my least favorite trope but I won’t deny that I am a huge fan of this series—in spite of it, rather than because of it.

The pair do grow and change over the course of the series. Asami is forced to allow Akahito to pursue his dangerous career and assignments while facing the fact that the young man represents a real weakness for him and makes a convenient target for his enemies.

Finder is a dark, adult manga. The main plots are complex and include violence and criminal activity. Asami is an unrepentant criminal, which makes him a lot of enemies. He’s comfortable wielding power and using it to keep track of Akihito. This is not a relationship on equal footing, which leads to a lot of soul-searching for Akihito. The darker aspects of the story are relieved by comedic short-story extras included in the volumes.

Yamane’s artwork is consistently good. Her characters are sexy and compelling. While her men are beautiful, they are definitely masculine, but with delicately characteristic manga features. This series has some well-drawn action sequences, and most of the violence and shootings are fairly sanitized. Not so with the sex scenes; they are explicitly detailed and high quality for the genre—the US versions are not censored (with the odd exception of drug use in one of the short stories).

Yamane doesn’t skimp on the backgrounds or details. Finder remains extremely popular due to the high quality of her artwork and writing, and is still being serialized in Japan. Translations and releases in English have taken more than 15 years, in part due to publisher bankruptcy and Yamane’s health problems. Biblios released the first three volumes in English under the Be Beautiful imprint from 2002-2005, but went bankrupt in 2007. Libre Publishing then acquired the licenses and continues publishing the series in Japan in the bi-monthly Be-Boy Gold magazine. Digital Manga Publishing acquired the English license from Libre in 2010 and released the series under its Juné yaoi imprint.  Volume seven hit #1 on the NYT bestseller list in 2015. After Juné printed editions of volumes one through seven, it announced in 2016 that their licensing agreement with Libre was ending, leaving the future of the English releases in doubt (and on a plot cliffhanger).

Thankfully, Viz Media quickly negotiated the English license for the series and decided to not only continue by releasing volume eight, but to go all-in with a new edition re-release. Viz’s boys love label, SubLime, is responsible for the deluxe editions, which include new art and more modern, improved English translations. I have read (and own) both the Juné and SuBLime editions of the series. Some volumes are better than others. Volume one establishes the main characters and their relationships but is disappointingly short. There are three other non-Finder short stories included in this volume. They lack the powerful storytelling of Finder and are mainly filler.

The subsequent volumes delve more into the overall arc but are also are packed with extra Finder short stories (including an internationally notorious short set in a Japanese hot spring.) The Asami, Akahito, and Fei Long triangle has enough tension on its own to fuel the plot, but when Yamane adds Russian gangsters and crazed stalkers into the mix, the story gets exciting.

Finder is currently available in deluxe digital and print editions through volume eight. Volume nine, My Heart Races with You in My Viewfinder, was just released in Japan. No date is set for an English version release in the United States.

Finder Deluxe Edition, vols. 1-4
by Ayano Yamane
Art by Ayano Yamane
Vol. 1 ISBN: 9781421593050
Vol. 2 ISBN: 9781421593067
Vol. 3 ISBN: 9781421593074
Vol. 4 ISBN: 9781421593081
SuBLime, 2017
Publisher Age Rating: 18+

  • Lisa P.

    | She/Her Library Associate in Youth Services


    Lisa is a library professional and part-time comic shop employee in Central Wisconsin.

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