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Lovers And Souls (Yaoi) Paperback – 2 Dec 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Aurora Publishing (2 Dec 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934496405
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934496404
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.7 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,525,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By kaya j VINE VOICE on 18 Jan 2009
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The story follows Toru, a beautiful, aloof college student, who is drifting through life without any clear purpose and without any real attachment to the people around him. He becomes involved with a photography student, Matsuoka, who slowly changes him.

The story isn't plot driven- we're really just following Toru and watching him as his feelings change and develop. This may not sound especially exciting- but this book really is a solid read! I should probably add that this is a pretty serious read overall.

If you haven't read Kano Miyamoto's work before, I can't recommend it enough! She is without a doubt one my favourite yaoi mangakas. Her work is really edgy and her stories just instantly draw you in. They also have a lot of depth and somehow feel very realistic. As far as I'm concerned her work is amazing. Not a lot of her work has been licensed in English but Lovers and Souls is a great place to start- the story continues in Rules as well. (This volume also includes a cute short story at the end.)

As far as I'm concerned this manga shouldn't be missed- I definitely recommend it!
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By The Kimi-Chan Experience VINE VOICE on 26 April 2010
Set in Miyamoto Kano's Rules Universe, this book is a set of stories that link not only to each other but to other books in a series but nonetheless reads well as a stand alone. So if you have not read any of the other stories, you will not find yourself adrift trying to figure out what is going on. Miyamoto's Rules Universe follows a group of young people and each book follows the story of one or more of the characters, giving multiple perspectives of occurrences and various side happenings, as well as telling a linear story of their inter-relationships from beginning to end. Unlike most manga in the Boy's Love genre, these are slice of life type stories, filled with the deep emotions of pathos, beauty and joy that can be felt not only from the flowing prose, but radiating out from the beautifully rendered realistic artwork.

I don't just mean beautiful as in the scenery and people look nice either. I mean breathtaking and heart touching, for Miyamoto renders a world that shows the awkward as well as the sublime and manages to do so in a way that has you simply drinking in her unique style of drawing. This is to comic art what water is to a thirsty man in the desert. Married with dialogue that flows naturally and using plot devices and scenarios that shy away from the clichéd, this is a rare treat that leaves no doubt in a reader's mind as to quality. The expressiveness of her human faces is such that you almost expect the lips to move and the eyes to blink right upon the page. If you enjoy realistic yet emotionally driven stories that deal with self discovery, true love, and deep friendships, then this will likely appeal to you. If you want to find out what happens to these fellows later in the Rules Universe, that too is licensed in English, and can be found in the next sequence in the series, which are aptly called Rules and spans three volumes.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Deux succeeds again 8 Dec 2008
By T. LaPonte - Published on Amazon.com
This book marked Kano Miyamoto's debut to professional BL manga publishing. While she still did and does draw a lot of self-published works through her Curve doujinshi circle (one of which, Vanity, surprisingly and happily appears in this volume), Lovers and Souls was the first introduction many people had to her work, and as a first effort she succeeded wonderfully. Like many of Miyamoto's manga endeavors, Lovers and Souls is both beautiful and tragic, showing both the best and the worst in human beings. Her characters are flawed, often more than a bit strange, but always unmistakably "human."

Toru Shinomiya, an art college student and described as "like a blank piece of paper" is a young man who, while having much experience in the world, is unable to understand it or relate to it on a personal level. That is, until he meets Satoshi Matsuoka, a graduate student and professional photographer. What started out as a job modelling for Matsuoka becomes much more complex when he offers Shinomiya money to sleep with him. Shinomiya, finding himself fascinated by the experience, spirals down a path of selling himself to other men, even though he is supposedly straight, all the while finding himself inexplicably drawn closer to Matsuoka and feelings that he still can't quite grasp. The story takes a somber and emotional turn, however, so those looking for a "happy ending" are going to be disappointed with this offering.

The book also includes the first appearance of Hikaru Taira, a main character in Miyamoto's Hydra (a doujinshi series predating this story's timeline) and Rules (taking place after this story, and alluded to in this book a couple of times when Hikaru introduces Toru to Atori). Hikaru is one of my very favorite BL characters (mostly because we share the same occupation, though Deux sort of botched the panel where that is revealed) and right away his differences in personality from Toru's are made evident. He does not sell himself for money nor does he approve of others doing it, though he finds himself drawn into Toru's energetic world regardless. Not much about Hikaru is revealed in this short piece of this universe's story, however. That will have to wait for a hopefully future license of Miyamoto's works.

The main story only comprises about 2/3 of the whole book and the last third contains a short one-shot story about two high school friends who become friends-with-benefits after one, Nozaki, comes out to the other, Kai. Kai becomes inexplicably curious about Nozaki's lifestyle and Nozaki himself, even though he's never once been attracted to another man before. This story is classic Kano Miyamoto, and helps balance the sadness in the end of Lovers and Souls with a touching story of love, loss and the rebirth of emotions.

Deux did a pretty solid localization of this book. I have yet to own a work they have localized that I thought was messy or inadequate. I was also both surprised and thrilled to see that they had included the doujinshi, Vanity, in this published volume, as it was never released with the story in the original Japanese publication (only released as one of many self-published stories in the Rules universe). If this is some kind of allusion to the future publication of Rules in English, I am nothing short of ecstatic and wait on the edge of my seat for news on the subject.

I highly recommend this book to fans of "realistic" BL stories. There are no fantasy elements (no magic or vampires), no male characters who are basically women with male parts and no expectations for the reader to simply accept that two characters inexplicably "fall in love" with each other "happily-ever-after." All of the characters are very complex, and while the word "love" might get thrown out, it is never done so out of nowhere or as many BL stories fall into the trap of, to "solve" all of the characters' (and by extension, story's) problems, instead being reserved for highly emotional, pivotal moments in storytelling. In Miyamoto's mangas, as in life, problems aren't solved just because the words are spoken, and even the happy endings leave room for emotional growth. Kano Miyamoto is one of my favorite BL mangaka and I hope that others will be able to appreciate her work as much as I do.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Really special - a yaoi classic 3 Dec 2008
By Ren Sorano - Published on Amazon.com
This story is much more complex than the book description suggests. Shinomiya is not just without morals - he's never known love and is a true lost soul who lets life take him where it will. His supposed lack of morals hides an empty and hollow heart. As Shinomiya puts it, "I can't help wondering if I'm defective as a human being." He starts modeling for Matsuoka, an attractive grad student, for the money and ends up sleeping with him when Matsuoka offers him even more money for sex. But it's not just about the money: Shinomiya is also curious to see what sex with a guy is like. He quickly moves on to selling himself to other students and then starts working as a male prostitute, while continuing to let Matsuoka pay him for modeling and sex.

As Shinomiya spends more and more time with Matsuoka, he realizes that he's starting to change. He finds himself constantly hanging out at Matsuoka's place, iniatating sex and even offering to do it if Matsuoka doesn't have the money. His feelings for Matsuoka slowly deepen as he struggles to understand them. When he wakes up in the middle of the night to find Matsuoka holding him, he enjoys it; but the next time the two spend the night together, Shinomiya can't sleep until he wraps his arms around Matsuoka.

Things take a tragic turn when Matsuoka is killed in a car accident and Shinomiya is heartbroken. He's gained emotions and human feelings, but at a terrible price: he's lost the one thing he loved most in the world. The story continues on after Matsuoka's death and we see Shinomiya try to cope with losing the man he loved and moving forward in a world without him.

This book is really a gem. The story is extemely well written ("haunting" and "evocative" are the first two things that came to my mind when I finished it) and the art is beautiful. There's plenty of sex scenes, but they're not explicit or thrown in for the heck of it - just a seamless yet important part of the story. I would recommend Lovers and Souls to any yaoi fan - this is a classic that you're going to want to own.

The two side stories: "Eternal Moon" and "Tomorrow's Sky" tell the story of two friends, Nozaki and Kai. At the beginning of the story, Nozaki tells Kai that he's gay and is surprised to find that their friendship continues even though Kai's a bit shocked by his confession. Well, turns out that Kai isn't that shocked - after a night of drinking he kisses Nozaki and they end up sleeping together. Soon after, Nozaki's older boyfriend leaves for a faraway job and the two become friends become lovers, but can Nozaki really find love with a straight guy?

~ Ren Sorano, [...]
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A great read 27 May 2009
By kaya j - Published on Amazon.com
The story follows Toru, a beautiful, aloof college student, who is drifting through life without any clear purpose and without any real attachment to the people around him. He becomes involved with a photography student, Matsuoka, who slowly changes him.

The story isn't plot driven- we're really just following Toru and watching him as his feelings change and develop. This may not sound especially exciting- but this book really is a solid read! I should probably add that this is a pretty serious read overall.

If you haven't read Kano Miyamoto's work before, I can't recommend it enough! She is without a doubt one my favourite yaoi mangakas. Her work is really edgy and her stories just instantly draw you in. They also have a lot of depth and somehow feel very realistic. As far as I'm concerned her work is amazing. Not a lot of her work has been licensed in English but Lovers and Souls is a great place to start- the story continues in Rules as well. (This volume also includes a cute short story at the end.)

As far as I'm concerned this manga shouldn't be missed- I definitely recommend it!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Highly Recommended to All Graphic Novel Readers 23 Nov 2009
By GraphicNovelReporter.com - Published on Amazon.com
First, to situate Kano Miyamoto (Say Please, Two of Hearts) within the appropriate milieu: She has been a known commodity among boy's love (BL) fans for several years now, grouped within a category that might be facetiously termed "Creators of Better BL"--a category of boy's love mangaka that, proponents might argue, aspires to literary merit in their publications. These creators draw in an artistic style closer to that of josei manga than BL, and their work often includes an above average amount of social awareness and real-world sensitivity toward gay men.

It just so happens, though, that Miyamoto's strongest work was probably her earliest. Lovers and Souls is her first BL work, and the title story "Lovers and Souls" is far and away the best Miyamoto work currently available in English. The story in question revolves around nude model and rent boy Shinomiya and the gay photographer Matsuoka and the affection that develops between them. Obviously, this plot premise alone is not what makes it remarkable, nor is the tragic end that eventually strikes Matsuoka before the two men ever really get a chance to come to terms with their feelings for each other. Deaths, suicides, and similar "Our Love Is Not of This World" conclusions were common in BL in the past.

No, what makes this tale so unusual is the way in which it does not end definitively with tragedy but rather continues to follow Shinomiya as he finds temporary comfort in the arms of Matsuoka-lookalike Hikaru. Later on, he manages to start rebuilding his life and develop a healthy relationship with a new boyfriend. This focus upon the gay man who survives the death of a loved one is not the sort of thing that you often find in the escapist BL genre; it's much more akin to the therapeutic, post-AIDS themes that are often seen in contemporary gay fiction. "Lovers and Souls" leads me to believe that Miyamoto has read some of this literature and has brought it to bear as an influence upon her work. Shinomiya's story also continues in Rules, not yet available in English.

Miyamoto's airbrushed color art is quite lovely, and her draftsmanship can be refreshingly subtle and realistic...though on occasion she makes careless choices of panel layout and sequence that make the visual flow of her manga a bit disjointed. Her characters are handsome--but not inhumanly so--and their bodies seem lovingly drawn but not fetishized. At her best, Miyamoto has mastered the visualization of the ordinary, and contemporary romances such as these showcase her instantly recognizable style well.

Lovers and Souls was originally published in Japan by Shoubunkan in 2002 and rereleased by Ohzora Shuppan, parent company of Aurora Publishing, with some additional material in 2007. The English-language Deux Press edition, naturally, is based upon the 2007 reprint, and though it does not have any full-color pages, the book remains handsome and substantial, its crystal-clear, fine-lined artwork published on distinctively Japanese paper stock. A decent value for 240 pages and a list price of $12.95 and highly recommended to all graphic novel readers.

-- Casey Brienza
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Joy, Loss, Redemption 31 May 2010
By The Kimi-Chan Experience - Published on Amazon.com
Set in Miyamoto Kano's Rules Universe, this book is a set of stories that link not only to each other but to other books in a series but nonetheless reads well as a stand alone. So if you have not read any of the other stories, you will not find yourself adrift trying to figure out what is going on. Miyamoto's Rules Universe follows a group of young people and each book follows the story of one or more of the characters, giving multiple perspectives of occurrences and various side happenings, as well as telling a linear story of their inter-relationships from beginning to end. Unlike most manga in the Boy's Love genre, these are slice of life type stories, filled with the deep emotions of pathos, beauty and joy that can be felt not only from the flowing prose, but radiating out from the beautifully rendered realistic artwork.

I don't just mean beautiful as in the scenery and people look nice either. I mean breathtaking and heart touching, for Miyamoto renders a world that shows the awkward as well as the sublime and manages to do so in a way that has you simply drinking in her unique style of drawing. This is to comic art what water is to a thirsty man in the desert. Married with dialogue that flows naturally and using plot devices and scenarios that shy away from the clichéd, this is a rare treat that leaves no doubt in a reader's mind as to quality. The expressiveness of her human faces is such that you almost expect the lips to move and the eyes to blink right upon the page. If you enjoy realistic yet emotionally driven stories that deal with self discovery, true love, and deep friendships, then this will likely appeal to you.
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