Goshintou by Duo Brand is, in my opinion, very high concept, but low delivery.
The concept could have a lot of mileage, since it involves magical swords that can transform into humans. I have, as it turns out, a thing for sentient swords. I particularly love, too, the conceit wherein there is an aspect of compulsion, i.e., there are certain commands that the sword/person must obey. This can lead all sorts of interesting places.
For my money, Goshintou doesn’t really go there.
But, probably you’re not reading yaoi for the plot?
The manga itself tells a series of short stories all connected to the magical swords, the goshintou–who were infused with the ability to cut down evil spirits by the Shinto priests who invented them.
The first story, “Absolute Command” follows the first swordmaker, Kikyou, and Kazuto, his creation. He apparently spends so much time “polishing the sword” that he falls in love with both it and its spirit. All that is fine until the Emperor makes a demand–give me the sword so that I might display it as a symbol of my power. The sword, Kazuto, is like, “Wait, you only want to look at me and not use me? Nope. I’m out.”
And so he kidnaps his maker/lover and away they go.
We return to them in a later volume, and discover the joys of living a life constantly on the run… and by joys, I mean, bandits trying to collect on the bounty on the Shinto priest’s head. Luckily, he is able negotiate his life for the secret to creating more swords.
The other stories involve how, after that whole kidnapping fiasco, it was decreed that swords should be made without emotions… and how well that works out. (Hint: it doesn’t, especially when sexy other swords are around to tempt sword-spirits with honeyed apricots.)
The story sort of slides through time, though, and so it’s not always easy to keep track of who is who and when everything is taking place. It doesn’t help that the swords always seem to wear pants (even in the Edo and Heian periods) and for some weird reason, glasses.
I am just as attracted to a guy in glasses as the next yaoi fan, but I do prefer it when the reason makes sense. What about being a living weapon means you’re myopic? There’s an implication in a later chapter that maybe the swords can’t really distinguish one human from the next, except when they are confronted with the one they wish to protect most. But, if that’s the case, why would glasses help if the impairment is metaphorical?
Plus, I’ll be honest, I was not particularly fond of the art. I have read one of Duo Brand’s manga before (Hakushi no Tsukurishi Inu/The Dog Created by the Professor), and I apparently had similar feelings about it. In that I loved the concept for the story, but not the execution.
There is, however, plentiful sex. My version was censored, so it was mostly invisible penises, which… I mean, I have a pretty good imagination, but it’s still always a bit of a disappointment.
Plus, as I have said, I can only take so much ‘wispy’ when it comes to my men.
But this is a good concept, so you may enjoy it?