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Zankoku Yuugi
Cruel Game


Cover ImageAuthor: Koide Mieko
Publisher: Biblos
Series Length: One-shot
First printing: April 1999

Five-second plot: Could be renamed "During School in the Teacher's Lounge".


Summary: Hatasu is an enthusiastic new teacher who ends up with wealthy young heir Harashima Daichi in his class. Daichi seems surprisingly interested in becoming acquainted, but Hatasu doesn't catch on until things start happening... like his girlfriend getting mugged, finding Daichi in his apartment at all hours, teacher's lounge encounters... but why is Daichi so obsessed, and determined to catch Hatasu up in his games?


Makoto's Notes: The strength of this three-episode story (as well as the second story filling out the tankouban) jump-started my adoration for Koide Mieko-sensei. In art style and writing, she was clearly my kind of creator. And years later I'm still in love...

At the beginning, Hatasu laughs when the girls tell him to watch out for Daichi. Everything's peachy until Daichi utters that famous bit of over-used seme dialogue, "Ore no mono ni nare yo" ("You're going to be mine"). This doesn't sit well with Hatasu, who tries to decipher the meaning with his best friend Gorou that evening. Poor Hatasu, if only he'd read any shounen-ai manga ever created, he'd know exactly what Daichi meant...

The changes in Hatasu are really what give the story strength. Watching him go from Average Guy to conflicted teacher to nearly broken is quite a journey in these few pages. But Daichi knew from their first meeting that Hatasu was a good person, and he proves it again and again. Gorou finds the changes in his friend harder to take, but steps up to protect him the only way he knows how. But sometimes the changes in people are permanent...

The accompanying story is titled Kimi dake da, Kimi dake da, and it rather inappropriately ran in Gold as well. It's a well-crafted love triangle, three childhood friends, none of whom could ever admit their feelings to each other. But on the day of Yoshito's wedding to the pretty Yuka-chan, Sei decides to take his final chance to confess his love, with encouragement from the too-incredibly-kind Daisuke who would do anything for him. The ending gets me overklempt every time, it's just perfect.

As for reading difficulty, it's reasonable. JWP and some patience got me through it pretty quickly, and my skills weren't so hot back then. Biblos is generous with furigana, but the series is dialogue-heavy. Here's a special hint from me to you: "hansuto" is a contraction for "hunger strike". That took me forever to figure out. ;)


Warnings and Suggestions: Both stories are Boy's Love, and both ran in BeXBoy Gold. But neither is graphic, and Kimi dake is harmless. Excessive drinking and a stolen forehead kiss are the only objectionable bits. Zankoku is a bit tougher, since there is sex, and there's a reasonable question to how consentual it is. But it's all to advance the story, which is well worth the read.


ISBN 4-88271-958-4