Don't Be Cruel is a yaoi manga from popular mangaka, Yonezou Nekota. Yaoi manga is a subset of boys' love (or BL) manga, which depicts amorous situations between male romantic leads. Yaoi manga usually features explicit depictions of sex between those male leads. Don't Be Cruel focuses on a playboy, Hideyuki Maya, who forces a studious classmate, Takahashi Nemugasa, into a sexual relationship.
As Don't Be Cruel, Vol. 8 opens, Maya awakens to find himself in a strange bedroom! Oops, this is the apartment of his friend, Ruka, but nothing happened between Maya and Ruka... right? So why does Maya later lie to Nemugasa about his whereabouts? After Maya changes the subject, Nemugasa begins to wonder if his lover's playboy days are coming back. When Maya agrees to help Ruka in planning a special event to promote a movie, Nemugasa becomes really suspicious and worried. Can Nemugasa find out the truth, and what will he do when he does?
[This volume includes the bonus story, “Bath Oil is Slippery,” and an “Afterword.”]
THE LOWDOWN: It has been over three years since I last read the Don't Be Cruel yaoi manga. It was in a 2-in1 edition that collected Don't Be Cruel Volumes 1 and 2 that I received from my SuBLime Manga media rep.
Don't Be Cruel Graphic Novel Volume 8 also arrived as a copy for review. I did not have a difficult time catching up to the current status of the characters. Nemugasa is still needy and insecure, and Maya is still handsome, a good lover, and attractive to other men and women. I think that Don't Be Cruel is one of the longer running yaoi manga because creator Yonezou Nekota creates new problems for her star couple, even after she puts their old problems behind them. Nemugasa and Maya's relationship makes good melodrama because Nekota treats them like a real-world couple experiencing the ups-and-downs and the ebb and flow of any relationship between two people, especially between those who happen to be lovers.
Nekota's pretty art depicts the emotional state of the characters through their emotive eyes and vivid facial expressions. Adrienne Beck's translation captures the affection of romance, but also the edgy and sometimes combative nature of romantic relationships. However, I have to say that I think Vanessa Satone's lettering is the most effective storytelling element in this English-language edition of Don't Be Cruel. The lettering conveys the subtlety and the range of emotions, both in the dialogue and in the overall story.
I READS YOU RECOMMENDS: Fans of yaoi manga that offers complicated romance and melodrama will want Don't Be Cruel.
A- 7.5 out of 10
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