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REVIEW: Gerard et Jacques GN 1

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Joined: 14 Mar 2005
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Location: St. Louis, MO
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 12:12 pm Reply with quote
Wow, this book sounds AWESOME.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 5:51 pm Reply with quote
jgreen wrote:
Wow, this book sounds AWESOME.


I actually found it quite good, but then, I my tastes probably differ significantly from those of the actual trget demographic. I can't disagree with any of the points that Melissa made though, I just felt differently about the outcome.

When I first picked it up, I expected not to like it at all, but I took a look at it anyways and was surprised. A little too explicit (although not visually explicit) at times personally, but...


Last edited by Tempest on Thu Oct 12, 2006 10:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 40
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:14 pm Reply with quote
Yoshinaga Fumi's work is more centered on the characters rather than lots of hot-blooded yaoi action because she is primarily a storyteller. If you are reading this expecting tons of action, you are going to be disappointed.

The simple character design and minimalist layouts are characteristic Yoshinaga's style. Most of the manga consists of characters talking to each other, so elaborate backgrounds are pretty much unnecessary here. She has a talent for character interaction and subtle humor that is mostly revealed through the dialogue between the characters. Her excellent Antique Bakery is a perfect example of this.

If I remembered correctly, Jacques becomes determined to learn because he wants to prove to Gerald that he is not a useless aristocrat boy. I didn't find the jumps in the storyline jarring because it is a collection of short stories about the characters. The evolution of Gerald's character continues in next volume, so faulting the story for that in volume 1 is faulting it for...well, being volume 1. Razz

I really didn't like this book at first; I stopped reading it right after the rape in the first chapter. But when I read it again later (this time reading the whole thing), I was pleasantly surprised. I found the story to be well-told and the main and the minor characters memorable. I think this is one of the better, maybe one of the best, 'yaoi' titles available in English right now.

I should post this on the other thread, but congrats Melissa! Your first review was certainly interesting for me and I look forward to reading more from you. I'm kind of interested in which yaoi titles you were referring to in the first sentence.
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Joined: 12 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 11:07 pm Reply with quote
I had to step up in defense of this yaoi title. I admit Fumi Yoshinaga is never a fast read, but I've never found her works boring. It's true also that the rape at the beginning of this particular work is a very jarring, but it is meant to be. The book is more about both characters recovering from trauma than any other subject. None of Yoshinaga's books I've read actually focus on sex. More like she writes about the lives and decisions of people who happen, sometimes, to be gay. Sometimes those decisions involve something of a sexual nature. And some of those decisions can be very bad and destructive.

This is not a book to buy for enticing sex scenes with hot bishonen, because it won't really have anything like that. But I have to disagree with the review, because I really enjoyed the thoughtfulness of the book, and I didn't find the pace, characters, or story to be disjointed. It bears mentioning that this is the book which gives the set up of a larger series, but really I think it stands by itself well enough.
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Joined: 04 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 12:07 am Reply with quote
I adore this mangaka for precisely the reasons the reviewer dislikes her. Her art, IMO, is incredible for being minimalist yet expressing so much. Her stories are composed of little slices of life, which viewed as a whole describe a journey the characters take. She isn't someone to read if you're looking for standard novel-like narration.

On a side note... You know, yaoi doesn't have to be about sex by American definition. I know the acronym, but really it's ancient history from Japan. It means something entirely different over here. Look at DMP's yaoi line. They've pretty much determined by their content that all of BL falls under the English yaoi category, regardless of what some consider yaoi and shounen ai to be. No one here has a shounen ai line. It's all called yaoi. I think it does a disservice to the yaoi community to foster the notion that the stories have to be sexually stimulating. Many are, but many are just about relationships. *sigh* This isn't a fandom just for people who need sex in what they read, even though the very visible fangirls at cons clamor for it.

Re: the review, it was a decently written and honest description of the reviewer's reaction to the book. I can't fault her for that, only applaud her. But I hope people take other comments here into consideration when it comes to buying this title. It's considered a classic for a reason. :)
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Joined: 16 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 6:08 pm Reply with quote
One wonders about the efficacy of a reviewer who shows such obvious initial bias against the genre of work he/she is reviewing. This reviewer obviously doesn't like yaoi in general so, one must wonder why she even bothered to read the title. The plot development in Gerard and Jacques is one of the better I have experienced within the yaoi genre. The back story of Gerard's past and both his and Jacques' character growth is fairly unique in a yaoi manga that only spans two volumes. Also, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the scene from the brothel at the beginning of volume one is fairly period-accurate. Many youth were sold to brothels as repayment for family debt and other such things. I think that this scene sets the stage for the reader's initial impression of Gerard as cold and calculating, and his reasoning for this becomes clear as the plot advances into volume 2. This review suffered in part because the reviewer gave no hope to volume 2 of the series, which reveals the true nature of the characters, especially Jacques. Don't go into the manga expecting Shakesperian prose or Bronte romance. Yaoi manga are never intended to be classic literature, just an enjoyable read. Don't let this stop you from checking out the title or the yaoi genre in general. The art is admittedly minimalist, but it is striking and unique.
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