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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Ai no Kusabi Vol. 3 by Yoshihara Rieko 
23rd-Aug-2008 11:59 pm
Yoshihara, Rieko. Ai no Kusabi: The Space Between Vol. 3 - Nightmare. Trans. Kelly Quine. Gardena, CA: Juné, 2008.
          Summary: With illustrations by Michihara Katsumi. Riki spent three years in Eos as Iason's pet...generally misbehaving, getting the "furniture" Daryl in trouble, and getting it on with Raoul's female pet Mimea. Now he's back home in the slums, but it seems that Iason has only let Riki go temporarily, and continued feelings of possessiveness prompt him to hire Kirie to kidnap Guy.
          Comments: *groans* Ai no Kusabi makes me feel stupider by the sentence. Somebody stop me before this series gives permanent brain damage! Like volume two, this installment feels carelessly assembled piecemeal; the narrative leaps back and forth through time at random, and--even more irritating--the parts that Yoshihara evidently considers the "good bits," such as Riki's first encounter with his custom-made cock pet ring, get hashed over twice. It's amazing how so many words can actually say so little. All in all, there's little plot to be had and even less character development. (Enough with the "proud" Riki, already!)
          On the plus side, volume three appears to be more thoroughly edited than the previous volume. I did not notice anything egregious, and Lord knows I'm not necessarily the most observant of readers. (Suffice it to say that if I notice something amiss, the reality is probably significantly worse than I know.) The prose itself is as nauseatingly awkward and purple as ever, though. It seems likely to me that the lion's share of the blame for this lies with Yoshihara herself, but given what I've seen of this translator's other efforts for Juné, it seems equally likely that Quine isn't exactly helping matters...
          Notes: paperback, 1st American edition; first published in Japan by Seibido Shuppan in 2004
          Rating: 4.5/10 - It's a bit of a debate between "4.5" and "5," but in final analysis I have trouble imagining how even fans of the anime adaptation will find much to love about the DMP releases.
24th-Aug-2008 06:17 pm (UTC)
If the whole story was structured better and condensed down into one (perhaps long, but one) book, I'd be able to handle the whole thing better. It's...special. Why is this a classic? And don't get me started on the "amazing worldbuilding."
24th-Aug-2008 06:22 pm (UTC)
If the whole story was structured better and condensed down into one (perhaps long, but one) book

That's the way it used to be. Then, instead of leaving well enough alone, she decided to expand it. :P

As for world-building...I dunno. ^^;; It's every much in the style of the old school feminist SF writers, and I suspect they are an influence, if only indirect through mangaka like Takemiya Keiko, on her. Call me jaded, but the only reason why this seems so impressive is because BL is so terribly *un*impressive these days...
24th-Aug-2008 06:26 pm (UTC)
It's not really that - the actual world she's created seems so incredibly unworkable, even for your vintage feminist SF dystopia. She keeps adding in elements that, taken with everything else, just don't add up to anything like a believable society.

I'd post more concrete arguments, but that would require pouring through the books again looking for examples, and I don't hate myself that much.
24th-Aug-2008 06:32 pm (UTC)
Ah. Well, I don't really believe that Ursula K. Le Guin's intersexed humans would work in real life either, for example. Real hermaphrodites don't do it like that. ^_~ (My pessimistic self would be more likely to believe penis duels. *ho ho ho* )

The rigid caste system seems very feudal Japan, in a way. But then, I wasn't reading for believability; I was reading for creativity and creative finesse. Not exactly loads of either, alas.
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