Yoshida Yuuko “Akudama”
this is going to be kind of a wonk review because I’m just never in the mood to properly scan full-quality images anymore (thus why it’s very rare for me to update iamfujoshi) but HEY MY CAMERA WORKS so that’s good enough for me. But I read this book yesterday and then reread the second story again today and figured I could do something of a review on it because I was surprised to realize I actually quite like this book. Which is funny because I was initially kicking myself for picking up this release instead of getting something else when my books arrived.
Akudama is Yoshida Yuuko’s second compiled release and has five chapters in all, all of which ran in Canna volumes 21 through 25. The book is separated into two stories, the first with three chapters and the second with two, and then one extra.
I really like the way the jacket is set up.
the first story is about a lonely honors high school boy named Morisaki who gets caught stealing by an older man named Harata and is thus dragged into a blackmail relationship with him in which they are dating for mutual comfort. Initially Morisaki is incredibly put-off and scared by Harata, not sure to react to his strange mix of kind forcefulness. Even when Harata asks for oral sex, or when we wants them to go to a hotel together, Morisaki doesn’t struggle and run away. In a strange way, he wants to get to know Harata because maybe Harata is someone he can finally rely on… and maybe he can be a shoulder for Harata to lean on as well.
A somewhat weird but melancholy heartwarming tale of two lonely, messed-up people finding the one who’ll accept their flaws and love them regardless. I really like stories like this, because in a way it gives a nice feeling that you can find a soulmate in even the worst of circumstances. Some people might not like their relationship since it borders slightly on stockholm syndrome as Morisaki starts off being forced into the relationship with Harata against his will only because Harata has a picture of him on his phone of Morisaki trying to steal a pencil and it could terribly destroy his ‘perfect intelligent boy’ image. But idk their sad, reliant fall into love was handled in a vaguely realistic (within the context) way and so it didn’t bother me at all personally. I liked how in the end it was Harata trying to set Morisaki free, and Morisaki thus reaching out his hand for Harata.
story two, which was my personal favorite, is about two boys Fumiyo and Ichinose who’re actors starring in a homoerotic love drama. Ichinose isn’t exactly the best actor, though, having no experience with love nor with romantic and sexual intimacy. So Fumiyo agrees to take Ichinose under his wing. As the boys get closer Ichinose can sense himself actually falling for the quiet, strangely coquettish Fumiyo. And he really does believe Fumiyo is starting to feel the same, with their love scenes on film always coming within mere inches of reality as they sit plastered fakely rubbing together and pretending to kiss with confusedly real aroused expressions.
But one day after shooting Ichinose stumbles upon Fumiyo talking to Ichinose’s manager who’s saying “this is good—the plan to falsely seduce Ichinose and get him to fall for you is working and his acting has become much more realistic.” Devastated, Ichinose tells Fumiyo that he overheard and in his pain he pushes Fumiyo’ incredible work ethic into a sexual relationship. But now he can’t figure out what’s real—does the sexy, aroused face Fumiyo has after orgasm actually mean he feels good doing these things with Ichinose or is he just faking it? What part of Fumiyo’s actions are his true feelings as opposed to just work to make the highest-quality film?
I really did like the first story but what really takes the cake in the second story is the scene when they finish filming and Ichinose, who had (since he found out about Fumiyo and his manager’s plans) been avoiding Fumiyo, finally goes up to him and congratulates himm on finishing the movie. They sit quietly for a while, before Ichinose asks if Fumiyo is angry with him and when Fumiyo shakes his head Ichinose says “since it’s the last day… please… smile and tell me you liked me.” Fumiyo looks taken-aback before his face softens and he quietly says “…I loved you.” Ichinose smiles sadly and thanks him, saying he was happy to at least hear it, and gets up to walk away now that his request has been fulfilled. But almost of its own accord Fumiyo’s hand grabs him to keep him from leaving. They stand for a while as Ichinose stares at Fumiyo waiting for him to say something. But Fumiyo then whispers “it’s nothing. Goodbye.” All of the scenarios of their time together pass through Ichinose’s mind—Fumiyo’s beautiful, soft, real expressions—and he stops Fumiyo realizing this is his last and only chance, and says “I want us to talk—I want to hear what you have to say! I want to talk about where we go from here!” And when Fumiyo shows an expression likes he’s going to cry and hunches down, Ichinose knows these are Fumiyo’s true feelings.
idk it sounds so cheesy when I write it but that tiny scene was just so gorgeous to me. In general I’m always incredibly emotionally wracked by scenes like that—where someone is going to walk away from the person they love, regardless of their own feelings, because they feel like it’s for the greater good or like their feelings aren’t reciprocated etc. etc. It’s just too realistically painful for me—I mean, how many times have you been in love with someone and felt like it was pointless to say anything and so you just turn away from your feelings? Unless you are a super-confident badass or aromantic I’m sure that has happened to you at least once in your life. So whenever I see scenes like that I am just sg;k’sgsdffg nooooo. IT JUST KILLS ME and it killed me particularly hard in this story since I was already drawn in by Ichinose’s awkward inexperienced hopefulness and and Fumiyo’s sensual cuteness. It was just really enjoyable and made it so much more moving when Ichinose showed a brave face and decided they needed to talk even if there was a chance he wouldn’t like what Fumiyo had to say.
(but of course he will like what Fumiyo has to say because Fumiyo loves him back which is so cute sd;gljks;gs BUT THAT IS BESIDE THE POINT!)
anyway the extra is also about the couple from the second story, which made me happy since they didn’t necessarily get a super cute love-love ending for their actual story. It’s pretty much just a short ten-page story about them meeting up after they’re an established couple and leaning in for some innocent kissing before getting called out by a police officer for their ‘indecent’ acts in public. But the police officer recognizes them and asks for their autograph for their little sister. Essentially they just talk about their relationships and are ridiculously adorable, the end.
SO YEAH. I really liked this book! The relationships in both stories don’t really start out as rainbows and sparkles and kittens (well… in the second story it initially has the appearance of starting out that way…) but overall the character and pairing were all lovely and I enjoyed them a lot. One thing I must say about Yoshida’s work in this book is she does that thing I love that artists like Aniya Yuiji and Ootsuki Miu also do where she’s throw a wrench on the flow of her panels by suddenly having a close-up focus on a character face being just gorgeously expressive. I just love that kind of thing. Also interesting in the second story is she does that tactic often seen in film where things will be happening but you’re sometimes surprise that either a character is dreaming or it’s just a scene from something they’re filming, etc. She has a really interesting way of storytelling that I think really shined through with this particular release!
Oh oh and—! Her characters are actually weirdly sensual. She doesn’t really do super graphic multi-page sex scenes but she definitely makes up for it by drawing this characters who are just… idk it’s hard to describe. They’re sexy in this innocent way, but it’s not a forced creepy innocence. It’s just… like they do normal everyday things but because they are sexual beings it’s somehow sexy. IF THAT MAKES SENSE. It probably doesn’t. But anyway I do recommend this book if you are in the market for some fairly low-key but emotionally engaging stories about relationships that seem kind of fucked up on the surface but actually heal the people who’re in them. Not super love-love fluff or anything but touching nonetheless.
anyway I actually really enjoyed a majority of the books I got in this order so I’ll hopefully talk about those ones as well at a later point. I was actually planning on talking about them in this post but my word vomit about this book got a bit too rambley so I’ll save those for some other time!