By Leroy Douresseaux
July 4, 2009 - 09:08
Rating: “18+ Mature Content”
On Bended Knee is a yaoi manga short story collection by Ruri Fujikawa. The stories focus on lovers who must learn to discover, understand, and accept each other’s feelings. Sometimes, they realize that they had the same feelings all along.
In On Bended Knee, the novella which gives this collection its title, Hibiki Tokiwa is the personal bodyguard of Wu Xiong Wang, a rising young entrepreneur. Hibiki and “Buyuu,” Wu’s nickname that only Hibiki can use, have known each other since childhood. Buyuu belongs to an influential Hong Kong family that has conducted business in Japan for years. Having grown up together, the two have a strong bond, and Hibiki has dedicated his life to protecting Buyuu.
Now that Buyuu is poised to be named the new head of his family’s corporation, even more rivals are plotting against him, evidently including family members. Hibiki remains vigilant against any threat to Buyuu, but how can he concentrate when his employer keeps making passes at him. Are Buyuu’s playful advances for real, Hibiki wonders? Can Hibiki concentrate on his professional responsibility to protect Buyuu or will he become careless as his own personal feelings of happiness come forward?
THE LOWDOWN: It has a simple premise: a love struck guy sulks because the object of his affection won’t return his affections, but the four stories in On Bended Knee spin delightful reading from that simple premise. These stories are more romantic comedy than drama, but each tale offers at least one torrid sex sequence. If not for the sex, On Bended Knee would be nothing more than standard boys’ love fare with the usual seme/uke dynamic.
Creator Ruri Fujikawa is a strong artist, and her storytelling is good. She has a deft touch at all aspects of cartooning and deforming the human figure and is equally good at using her figure drawing to realize particular moments in a narrative. Another hot-and-bothered story is “Cinderella’s Lure.” It’s about an up-and-coming model in love with his manager, but the manager is reticent about returning the feelings for fear he’ll ruin his client’s career.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Readers who enjoy the playful break-up to hot-sex make up will enjoy On Bended Knee.