Moon and Sun by Abe Akane

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As its title, Sun and Moon, might suggest, this is an odd couple romance. Mashiro is set to inherit a yakuza empire, but is kind of the bad apple of a family of bad apples.  Tsubaki is an ice-queen make-up artist, who runs a very tight ship. When they meet, there’s fireworks.

SPOILERS

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I never know how to feel when presented with a character like Tsubaki in yaoi. My brain keeps thinking that people are misgendering Tsubaki, until he uses the male pronoun for himself.

Then, there are scenes like this where I’m left with the uncomfortable sense that Abe-sensei thought this was… hilarious.

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I can tell you that the person who put it in mangago’s picture library labeled it “WTFFFFF :DD” like they figured it was meant to be shocking and funny.

If a man identifies as a gay man, why is it funny for something sexy to bring out the ‘man’ in him, unless we’re just supposed to laugh because this is a guy dressed like a woman… and I guess I’m just so queer I still don’t think that’s particularly mock-worthy.  What, cross dressing men can’t feel masculine/turned on in a masculine way?

The whole yaoi is kind of based on the flips of expectation, I suppose.

Mashiro, who presents as a total homophobic thug, is actually kind of a pussy cat–being the loving, expressive one–and weirdly fearless when exploring his sexuality. He spends an entire part of a vacation together with Tsubaki, near the end, when they get snowed in, gleefully trying on Tsubaki’s lingerie. Literally being like, “Hey, am I hot in this? I think I look hot in this!”

Also, I might have fallen in love with him, when, after his first encounter with Tsubaki, he has this conversation with his dick at home:

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Relatable content

Tsubaki, meanwhile, is focused on his career as a make-up artist and manager of a cross dressing burlesque show. He has a terrible relationship with his mother, that Mashiro totally smooths over by hilariously oversharing (“we met because he spanked me!”) and being bold (ie. the old, “just tell ‘im how ya feel!” speech.)  So, I mean there are some of these expectation flips that are endearing.

I just… don’t ask me to laugh at a man in a dress.

Certainly don’t ask me to laugh at a man BECAUSE he’s in a dress.

I think I stayed with this story because I liked Mashiro. He was wonderfully awful and yet such a doofus that when he uses his mafia connections to get Tsubaki a building where he can run his make-up work, Tsubaki is so startled that he says: “Oh, so you really ARE yakuza?”

Because, seriously… who knew, the way Mashiro acts?

I also love that Mashiro has the classic moment where he’s supposed to go visit the big boss, his grandfather, who is like “TAKE AN INTEREST IN THE BUSINESS, BOY!” and he’s like, “Nah, that’s okay,” which you almost NEVER see in these son-of-yakuza-boss romances, especially where there are consequences for saying ‘no,’ but they aren’t huge.

His two buddies who show up to ruin the snowy getaway do agree that Tsubaki would make a kick ass onee-san (literally ‘big sister,’ but in the context of yakuza slang means ‘boss’s wife.’ Which, I mean… I have seen that used for less feminine presenting gay lovers, so…??)

Ugh.

I just don’t know what to do with all that.

I actually did read an even more problematic yaoi with a similar (is this hurtful to trans folks?) vibe that I didn’t review. I’ve been feeling very funky about not reviewing it, because I started this blog with the idea that it would be my guilty-pleasures review site, where I confessed to all my sins, reviewing EVERYTHING, no matter what. I may eventually write about it, but I’m going to have to stumble across it again because I no longer remember the name of it. (The bonus of most titles being in Japanese.)

So, there you go. I will say that I really enjoyed the hair game in this one, too.

And there are tattoos, though, once again, not on who you’d most expect.

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