Sunday, February 23, 2014

Manga Review: Bond of Dreams, Bond of Love, Volume 1, by Yaya Sakuragi

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: SuBLime (VIZ Media)
Release Date: August, 2012
Volumes: 4
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 2.

Goodreads Synopsis:

High school student Ao has been dreaming about his longtime neighbor Ryomei, a priest at the local Shinto shrine. A little freaked out--and a lot excited--at the prospect of having a relationship with Ryomei, Ao gathers up his courage, confesses his feelings...and gets turned down flat. Luckily, Ao's not the kind to give up easily. Thanks to some creative persistence (and Ryomei's weakening resolve), he finally gets a kiss. But one single kiss won't satisfy him for long!

Reads R to L (Japanese Style) for Mature audiences.


This series has been on my eye for quite a while now, mainly because the covers are so adorable. So when the price dropped for the series, I took the chance given. And now I’m a little surprised by this first book, as it’s rather not what I was expecting.
Firstly, I was worried about the art. Because while it does look nice on the covers, it also seemed like it could be a lot rougher inside. I’m happy to say that it’s not, and that it is still rather nice. Long, sharp chins, a little rougher at times, but definitely not bad to look at.
Second, there isn’t much sex. There was really only one scene near the beginning, and a smaller one in the middle that didn’t go past kissing. I was very surprised by this, and I can’t deny that I was hoping for a little more. I have no doubt that more is coming, though.
I rather liked, and was very surprised by, how open the characters are with each other about sex. Like, Ao has a wet dream and he’s not very embarrassed by it, and talks about it with his friends. There’s talk of masturbating and gay sex rather openly, with no shame, between the characters, and that was refreshing.
Saying that, though—the main couple has not really decided what to do about their attraction, mainly because Ryo is in denial about having any feelings for Ao and gets a little freaked out by it. This was another thing I was surprised by: Ao is very open about his feelings. He decides how he feels and goes right out with it, directly to Ryo, to do something about it.
Which I think is my main surprise. Most of the yaoi I read feature a very similar formula, and this one is not really following it. It’s a little refreshing, and it’s a little odd. I’m not quite sure how I feel about it yet, but am definitely looking forward to finding out.
I’m overall not too sure how I feel about Ao. He’s entertaining and I like his straightforwardness, and he was an adorable little kid, but he’s not quite as cute as I was expecting. Ryo is a little rough and defensive, but is also sweet and has an obvious soft spot for Ao.
We meet quite a few other characters, too. There’s Ryo's family, who all seem very sweet. There’s his friend Shu, who enjoys being entertained, and who seems like he’ll be fun to get to know. Then Ao has two best friends, one a little oblivious and the other smart and with a possible interest in Ao. And his Grandma, who owns a pub, and seems sweet. 
I’m looking forward to seeing how the story progresses, given how the romantic couple hasn’t even gotten together yet, and the cliffhanger ending.

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