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5.0 out of 5 stars A Grown Up Kind of Love, 9 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Shy Intentions (Yaoi) (Paperback)
While I certainly have nothing against BL stories set amongst students, by a fairly far margin my favourites involve grown men working actual jobs. Whether it's actors, businessmen, café owners, or even yakuza types, I have to admit that the more mature dynamic between characters balancing their work lives and love life and other obligations strikes a particular chord with me. I was therefore delighted to come across a recent addition to the DMP stable, Shy Intentions. Featuring two very grown men already comfortably settled into their chosen career fields, I looked forward to seeing how their emotional lives played out.

Shy Intentions did not fail to deliver for me. It opens with Niya Kaoru being met by his lover Yoshiyuki so that the two of them can go home together. Niya has had a delivery however, so he goes to check on it with a colleague, leaving Yoshiyuki alone with a young student acquaintance who is the lover of Niya's colleague and long-time friend. This young man is impressed with how lovey dovey the couple seem, and asks how they met. What follows is the actual story of their love, and it is one of a subtle sea change in the two men who become lovers.

Yoshiyuki is a middle school art teacher. His father died 20 years before, and his sisters, now married with families, have always cared for his mother despite the fact that she and Yoshiyuki now live alone in the family home. When his mother is struck down with liver cancer, Yoshiyuki is at a loss. He's always kept to himself, and even though he teaches art, never really connected to the outside world. So much so that he finds himself musing that he doesn't understand what people mean when they say the sky is beautiful. Faced with this emotional crossroads, he is finding things hard to deal with. Sitting by his mother's side, he can't bring himself to really look directly at her, and always leaves once his sisters arrive.

Niya on the other hand, comes every single day to spend lots of quality time with his grandmother. She's been there a long time now as such things go, unable to go home, she is spending her remaining months there as she fades away due to age. It is during one of his daily visits that he accidentally overhears a nurse speak to Yoshiyuki's mother. The unusual surname catches his attention and unable to help himself, he glances in, where he catches sight of the melancholically beautiful face of Yoshiyuki. He is determined to pursue this fellow, at first out of his usual idle idea of fun. But what happens instead, is that he discovers that Yoshiyuki is able to get under his skin, crossing an emotional barrier that he had put up after the death of his kid sister. Unable to stop himself, he tries tor each out and get his true feelings across, hampered by his own usual glib demeanour.

Yoshiyuki too, finds that once he looks up, he can see things about him more clearly. But where his gaze is directed is towards Niya, who takes him by the hand and shows him so much of the world about him. Falling helplessly in love, he faces the death of his mother and the his own previous alienation from others causing him to question what is actually happening. Unsure of himself, he stumbles helplessly. Niya and yoshiyuki turn out to be, despite outward appearances and actions, internally the same. They are two very ordinary people in unremarkable professions, leading unremarkable lives, who also happen to be two lost souls looking for warmth and respite, and what we get is a gently paced tale of how they came to find it within each other.

The art is well executed, making use of the common every day settings these men find themselves in. This adds to the sense of poignancy found within this tale, as the mundane activities lead them to self discovery of the grand passion within, and the rare beauty of true love. While not as angsty as Yoneda Kou's No Touching At All (Yaoi), it does share some of the hallmarks that made it so great, and they are as flawlessly executed. So while I love the sweetness of high school love, the glamour and danger of yakuza laden romance, and the glitz of stories with foreign princes , actors and/or rock stars, this makes a nice change of pace that leaves a lasting impression of complete satisfaction. Having read this, I'll be seeking out more of her licensed works and hoping to see more appear in the future.
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Shy Intentions (Yaoi)
Shy Intentions (Yaoi) by Shoko Takaku (Paperback - 14 Oct. 2008)
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