By Leroy Douresseaux
May 18, 2007 - 15:43
Othello is a collection of “yaoi manga” from creator Toui Hasumi. Yaoi is a love story in which both romantic leads are male, and yaoi sometimes features graphic depictions of sex.
The title story focuses on Ayumu, a high school boy, who has decided to assume the life of his recently deceased twin brother Atsushi. Ayumu isn’t going undercover about this; in fact, he’s quite open about wanting to assume all aspects of his late twin’s life. When he meets Tohru Kirishima, a young man who might have been Atsushi’s lover, Ayumu begins to doubt his ability to hold onto either his or his brother’s identity.
In the story, “Snow White,” Kaoru Sakamoto returns a decade later to his original home only to discover that a dear childhood friend, Snow Nanjo, hasn’t changed. The young man also acts as if he doesn’t remember his friendship with Kaoru, but later he hints that Kaoru rejected him. Now, Kaoru is the one with memory problems, and he becomes desperate to discover and heal the rift that exists between them.
In “The Scent of Midnight,” magazine writer Miyagi has gone to the beautiful home of Sougetsu Tokiwa, a recently deceased painter who received quite a bit of acclaim when he was alive. Miyagi hopes to interview Masanari Tokiwa, a mysterious young man who was Sougetsu’s stepson and muse and just maybe his lover. Miyagi is unsure of how to broach the subject of that relationship with Masanari, but when the young man becomes friendly with him, Miyagi’s isn’t sure where this relationship is going.
“The Abyss Pool,” this volume’s final story, is a quick and sweetly vicious tale of a widower living in a lonely house near a swamp. The truth of his feelings for his wife and a mysterious young man both come calling one rainy night.
Each of the four stories is marked by beautiful art featuring distinctive figure drawing. All the young men in these stories are gorgeous pretty boys, but they’re more feline than feminine. The title story is slow and dry, but the other stories move briskly, particularly “The Scent of Midnight,” with its graceful dreamlike romance and “The Abyss Pool,” which stays lingers just like a classic dark fairy tale should. There is, however, only a miniscule amount of graphic sex in this volume… in case, you were wondering.
Thanks to Amazon.com for the images. Visit junemanga.com.