Ah, my favorite yaoi sub-genre, we meet again!
The story follows Aoi Ichimura, a hapless young guy with a mean face. Yeah, literally, he ended up as a gangster because a car accident left him with this adorable little cross-shaped scar on his face, a.k.a at TV Tropes as “X Marks the Hero.” I mean, why the f*ck even finish high school with a face like that? Weirder, apparently all the kids in high school were scared of Ichimura and so he’s had a lot of practice acting tough.
It’s really kind of an shame that’s all it is, an act–
…Because, I kind of liked the cocky tough guy we meet at the beginning. He’s the sort who uses a gun-shaped lighter to bluff his way out of a tough situation. Alas, this clever, pluckiness is all just for show. Ichimura is suffering serious imposture syndrome because, he’s been awarded a silver badge (this whole badge thing is new to me, but apparently it’s legit) for saving the boss’s life.
Turns out? He was just trying to protect a baby bird from being stepped on!
Earned or not, he’s the boss’s new favorite, so he’s sent to go pick-up Yugi Sakigaya from prison. Ichimura’s been told that Sakigaya is a ‘real man’ so he’s expecting someone terrifying. Turns out, Sakigaya is… well,… HOT.
In this same scene we’re introduced to Chihiro Karasuma a gangster with really bad hair who is Sakigaya’s confidant and friend. It’s from Karasuma that we learn all the various and complex plots that play out in this three volume manga.
The story itself isn’t bad. I mean, as I’ve said before I’m a sucker for tough guy/yakuza manga (and particularly yaoi. I blame Viewfinder.) I am, however, deeply amused by just how GAY everyone is in this gang. Sometimes being gay in yakuza yaoi is a source of conflict. I mean, no one ever really agonizes about their sexuality in these things, but sometimes, like in Hearstrings, you at least have some rumblings that maybe the guy doesn’t really want to be a mafia wife/one-chan. But, in Yakuza in Love the big conflict turns on the fact that one guy is straight and that f*cks up, well, EVERYTHING.
Don’t worry, our hero and his HONORABLE and NOBLE underboss get it on without too many hiccups. I mean, sure Sakigaya is kind of random in his affection, but that’s only because he lost his last lover–a woman also named Aoi–due to some mafia-related retribution/reprisals, so he’s just gun shy (AS IT WERE!)
No, the main conflict that f*cks it up for everyone is one between Chihiro and the gayest little bitch mafioso, Junki Ozawa. Junki is kind of a stereotype: he’s delicate, small, extremely judgmental, temperamental, and horny af. Pretty much if you’re a dude, Junko wants to f*ck you–or insult you for not being good enough for him, or possibly both.
Junki has been holding this unrequited thing for Chihiro since forever. Chihiro is oblivious and hurtful because he’s straight.
Cue: all the trouble in the world, complete with betrayal to a rival gang that ends tragically.
Moral of this story:
if you’ve got a scar, you’re scary and should lead a life of crime with hot bois everywhere!; if you were only gay, none of this would’ve had to happen.
So, listen up out there, kids! If you’re in the mafia and NOT gay? This is where the trouble starts. Just be gay. Straight yakuza goons = death and tragedy; gay gun-toting gangsters = good.
Also, if you do go ahead and check-out/read the following volumes, be sure to read the really steamy extras at the end, which include a sexual ghost encounter with tragic victim. They’re all pretty hot.