I did something unusual the other day. Normally, I find my yaoi by accident. I either literally hit the “surprise me” button at MangaPanda or some other similar site or stumble across some title that looks curious or interesting. But, the other day I was feeling…uke, like I wanted a stronger hand to guide me.
I found a wonderful site called Joy of Yaoi where there is this lovely list of the “Top 1o (Oops 25) Yaoi.” I really like how this list is organized. The reviewer goes through a clever little bit at the beginning called ‘mood’ in which they lay out various things you might be looking for when you find this particular manga appealing.
Check out what they have to say about “The Calling.”
What isn’t clear about The Calling when you start reading it, is that it’s a series of loosely connected stories based around people connected to this anti-terrorism organization of the near-future. Like with any series of short stories, there are characters and situations I liked better than others. I found the first set, the one called “The Calling,” passably okay. I would describe it to you as, “What it’s probably like being James Bond’s boyfriend (including the bit where he’s sort of straight).”
The second was my favorite because it hit on some stuff I can’t resist. We have our hero Asaoka Shino who is making ends meet as a casual rent boy until he decides, along with some of his other drifter friends, to join up with the special police force that’s recruiting. Ready to graduate, Shino has one more test… it’s a test that’s shrouded in rumors and mystery. Supposedly, the test is: show up at a particular hotel room and sleep with whomever you find there. Seems legit! But in all seriousness, I could totally see this as a test James Bond would pass with flying colors, if you know what I mean? And, you could stretch your imagination to the point where it’s vaguely plausible… you know, spies might have to sleep around to get info, right?
Sure, why not?
Shino is all, what the hell, this is totally in my wheelhouse! Except, of course, when he gets there and he sees the handsome supervisor TJ, he goes all shy and wobbly. Story ensues.
“Golden Rain” seems to leave behind the world of the spy-cop and follows a video store owner, his takoyaki selling neighbor, and a mysterious shut-in. I found that one okay, too, very readable but I could have followed more awkward “testing” at the police/spy Academy, thank you, anyway.
We do touch back with those folks in the next chapters, but in a fairly disjointed way–although part of that might be that I had a lot of trouble finding a clean (as in free of spyware) copy to read.
Generally, though, The Calling made me happy… enough. I was looking for something–a perfect combination of smut and story–that I didn’t quite find here, though it came awfully close, at least in certain parts.
This manga also made me wonder where the hell is The Calling‘s yuri counterpart? Where are the hot, competent, grown-up/adult lesbian spies? Maybe they’re out there and I just haven’t found them, but if you know, please recommend!