More BL magazine reading. I'm on a roll. :-P
Since her debut in Shoubunkan's (yes, that
Shoubunkan--the one taken to court for publishing obscene eromanga) BL anthologies several years ago, it was abundantly clear to me that Kusama Sakae, with her almost indie comics art style and sensitive storylines, would be one to watch. And sure enough, her career has flourished under the auspices of a large number of publishers. I was shocked and delighted to see her make a special appearance in the June 2008 issue of Flowers
(a magazine that publishes old-school-style shoujo manga), for example.
Her yomikiri "Sakuranbo" ("Cherry"), which rounds off the latest issue of BexBoy Magazine
, just reinforces the positive impression I have of her talents. Those of you who know BexBoy Magazine
know that it's a clearing house for commercial-grade, escapist sap, where emotions are hardly ever nuanced and the happy endings are obligatory. Kusama, however, takes the editorial restrictions and runs with them in this 32-page tale of two schoolboys in a nostalgic, rural setting. About an academic overachiever who is rather slower on the uptake when it comes to matters of the heart, it culminates not with a sex scene but rather with an aborted kiss. And while that may seem anti-climatic, it's actually quite beautiful. Academic Overachiever is at first shocked that his classmate has feelings for him, but he has long been touched by the other boy's compelling thoughtfulness and affection, so he says, blushing, his back turned, "It's not really taboo anymore, so...umm...if you still feel like you wanna kiss..." (loose translation) That's basically how "Sakuranbo" ends. Anyway, I can't do it justice with my summary, but it's one of the most generous, sweet (but not saccharine) BL shorts I've seen in quite awhile. Sure enough, Kusama Sakae is one to watch. ^_^