Liquor & Cigarettes is the latest Boys Love (BL) title by artist and writer Ranmaru Zariya. Unlike Zariya’s supernatural BL series, Coyote, Liquor & Cigarettes is a sweet, romantic one-shot. Despite it’s vice-ridden title, Liquor & Cigarettes is a sweet, friends-to-lovers plot between two childhood friends.

In a vaguely Italian small town, Theo and Camilo run small shops across the street from each other. Theo inherited the liquor store from his parents and Camilo took over the tobacco shop from his parents when they retired. The attractive young men see each other every day.

The openly bisexual Camilo flirts with the naive Theo. Theo has feelings that he can’t quite admit to and a low tolerance for alcohol (a problem when you’re expected to drink as part of your career!). When Theo is pushed into entering a drinking contest for the upcoming grape harvest festival, he’s determined to do well and asks Camilo to help him build up his tolerance. In return, Camilo asks Theo to consider a trial run in dating a man—specifically, him.

It’s a slow, sexy dance with Theo coming to terms with his feelings. Theo becomes more open and honest the more he drinks, but Camilo never takes advantage (a refreshing relief from dubiously consensual encounters in BL works).

These are popular tropes within the BL genre but they are done with stunning artistic style. Besides Coyote and Liquor & Cigarettes, the only other current English translation of Zariya’s work is a digital-only title, Void. These bishonen (beautiful boys) aren’t just beautiful, they are ethereal. The backgrounds are reminiscent of an Old-World, European town, but the artist is truly at her best in close ups and facial expressions.

I think Zariya is one of the best new manga artists emerging in the BL genre, and Viz Media’s BL imprint SuBLime is set to release another’s of Zariya’s works in English later this year.

This is an explicit, adult title, appropriate for adult manga collections, especially ones cultivating a BL collection.

Liquor & Cigarettes
By Ranmaru Zariya
ISBN: 9781974711628 and 1974711625
SuBLime, 2020
Publisher Age Rating: 18+

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NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+)
Character Traits: Bisexual

  • 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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