East End Club, by Matoh Sanami

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Series Title: Access
Circle: East End Club (Matoh Sanami)
Release Date: December 1993 [Volume 1], December 1994 [Volume 2], December 1996 [Volume 3]


makoto's notes
A Romance-Action-Comedy. Well, better arranged, it's an Action-Comedy-Romance. The humor gets sidelined for corny love-love behavior when necessary. Bud is a tough guy involved in a shady business; Sei is a tough kid engaging in some shady dealings. Through sheer stubbornness (and the fact that Sei-kun made a very, very bad hooker), Sei ends up working for Bud, and there's instant attraction.

So let's see... Matoh-sensei debuted in 1990, so this is fairly early in her career. In the back of volume 3, there's a short story called "Daisuki" that appears to be very early; I was half expecting it to have been written on lined notebook paper from her high school days. Neat! (There's also a little guest spot from Kodaka Kazuma-sensei in the back of volume 1, and the two of them gush about Spriggan for a while. Heehee.)

These are all slightly longer doujinshi, with volume 1 around 50 pages of comic, and the others 30 pages or so. Matoh-sensei's doujinshi are much more explicit than her professional works (Sei-kun is a bit young) which always takes me by surprise... this is the same woman who carefully crafts her sexual tension over the span of years. There's tension here, buckets of it, but there's resolution too. And I always, always open the books the wrong way, because the back covers mirror the front covers and I get all sorts of turned around. How embarrassing!




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Series Title: TSU-I
Circle: East End Club (Matoh Sanami)
Release Date: January 1998 [Volume 1], December 1998 [Volume 2]


makoto's notes
I must admit, I was sad when I picked up volume 2 and there was no plot advancement. Maybe I'll find the rest of the series at some point to see what happens next. Though I suspect I shouldn't care so much.

This series is lavish European occult; mysterious immortals walking among us feed off of each other's powers (and keep each other in check). Ralum and his older brother Seth take care of each other, but their connection isn't working anymore; Seth is getting progressively weaker, but Ralum doesn't know how to stop it. The mysterious Rector begins to appear in Ralum's life. He seems to know an awful lot about the brothers, and is particularly interested in Ralum. If Ralum's "match" can no longer be Seth, then what about his undeniable attraction to Rector...?

I suppose I should mention all of this energy-swapping takes place through sex. I'm sure you aren't surprised. There isn't much romance to love-making, since it's necessary for survival. It's a little unsettling, the serious (and detached) conversations that Seth and Ralum have while in the act. But Ralum and Rector are pure classic Matoh-sensei electricity.

The first book is long, 68 pages (about 50 of which are story). The second book has 10 pages of story. So no plot there. But they're very pretty books! Foil inlays, rice paper splash pages, lovely faux-early-European setting. And song lyrics by Chicago, you can't beat that.