Shiizaki, You. Gentle Cage. Trans. Bianca Jarvis. Los Angeles: Juné, 2008. Summary
: With illustrations by Sasaki Kumiko.
Amateur painter Itsuki Hashimoto has spent the last eight years as boy toy and arm candy to the famous sculptor Yamabe. He is sure that his old friend and would be lover Tokiwa hates him for it. But when a twist of fate (and a twisted angle of two) intervenes, Itsuki learns that he couldn't have been more wrong about Tokiwa's feelings... Comments
: So, umm...if a guy leaps into bed with you, starts kissing and fondling you passionately while repeating your name over and over again, night after night after night, it's logical to conclude that he must despise you, right? *sighs* Yes indeedy, the stupidity of the protagonist defies the imagination, and he stays equally blind to many more obvious signs of affection from Tokiwa over the next 10+ chapters. It's a shame, too, that this BL novel boasts such poor characterization; otherwise, the story premise and narrative pacing are complex enough to be reasonably entertaining. At least its suitably romantic, with unrequited love spanning nearly a decade and sex scenes that are standout in their tastefulness (uhh...lots of paragraphs about kissing, few about anal penetration). I also kinda liked the fact that both Tokiwa and Itsuki found a measure of self-actualization in their own lives before falling permanently into each others' arms. Co-dependence forever is unrealistic and ugly in real life. The best part of Gentle Cage
was the prose adaptation, which is pleasingly natural-sounding--the best I've seen thus far from DMP--with few typos. Rating
- Meh, better than the usual Juné offerings. But all that means is that it is banal, inoffensive, undistinguished dreck.