Author: Aida Saki
Illustrator: Kitahata Akeno
Format: Novel, Blcd
This novel opened with “My sweet honey” and I almost fell off the chair from laughing. Normally, it’s not surprising if you hear a man saying this to a woman but when it’s a guy saying that to another guy, especially someone nearly a decade older, it’s REALLY. As usual, my summaries contain heavy spoilers and so from now on I’ll provide a quick summary for those who’re just browsing for what to buy and the full summary for those who want to use the reviews for understanding the plot in BLCDs or raw manga.
Three years ago, Jinnai Takurou (CV: Morikawa Toshiyuki) quit being a police and opened the Jinnai Detective Office. There is one guy in his life whom he has a rotten affinity with. This guy is Amami Taiga (CV: Ono Daisuke), an extremely handsome but fierce yakuza , who is a high ranking official in the (Sudou Gumi), a direct branch of the Kouryou Group. He is so successful and yet scary that he’s given the title “Sudou ‘s Tiger” (and I’ll refer to him as Tiger in the rest of this review as it’s easier. This story began with Amami bringing a young kid to Jinnai and asked him to look after the kid for 10 days. He would pay 20,000 yen per day (later pushed to 30,000) . Jinnai did not really want to take the request but somehow , Amami always managed to force his way into Jinnai’s life, 12 years ago, and again 12 years later.
Below I will try to arrange the subplots in the timeline they happened and would deviate from the novel because the plot in the novel are scattered here and there and it would be impossible to write a summary in that order. Jinnai and Tiger met when Jinnai was a police and one night while clearing up the streets and gamecenters, looking out for underaged teens, he met Tiger. When he sent Tiger home, he realized Tiger was from a family with high levels of domestic abuse. Tiger’s father was very violent and would beat Tiger as well as his mom (Tiger would cover for his mom). In the four months right after knowing Tiger, Jinnai and Tiger got on well and somehow Jinnai became a reliable figure for Tiger. Four months later, the tragedy happened. While Tiger’s father was beating him and his mother as usual when drunk, Tiger could no longer endure it and in a rush of adrenaline, he took the kitchen knife and stuck it into his old man’s body. The next thing he knew, he was already on the phone asking Jinnai for help. Jinnai then rushed to the scene and when he saw the pool of blood, he regretted for not doing more to save Tiger when he still had the time. As a result, Tiger was sent to the juvenile detention center after being found guilty. While Tiger was at the detention center, he refused all contact with Jinnai even though Jinnai tried to visit him. Four years later, Tiger was released from prison and he then joined the yakuza group of Sudou (whom he had contacts through his fellow inmates). By concidence, Jinnai and Tiger met again but Tiger was already a candidate of the yakuza group. Of course Jinnai was upset to know Tiger had chosen to go down the Gokudou æ¥µé?“ pathway and he tried to persuade Tiger to get out before falling deeper. The 21 year-old Tiger seemed to be swayed by Jinnai and was considering the option but then one day, he suddenly called Jinnai out, spent a nice evening with him, and vanished again, until five years later.
In the meantime, Tiger vanished again because he had made the decision to become the leader of Kouryuu Kai’s lover. In return for being his lover for a fixed period of 3 years, he would achieve an executive status in the Sudou Group. Tiger took some time before he made the decision but he did and so he went to bid Jinnai farewel that night and actually Jinnai while the latter was in his dreams. Yeap, somehow the relatiionship between Tiger and Jinnai is of a reversible nature. Of course, even though he was the “lover”, he also strived hard to gain trust and in fact, when the time was up, he gathered enough men to set up his own group, the Amami group. He also had two friends who would become his left and right hand men in his group – Naba (the martial arts guy with the power) and Kaji, the brainy guy. Both of them at first were quite skeptical about Tiger because he came as the leader’s “lover” but when they recognized his ability, they vowed to his allegiance. (Nanya adds: I smell some fishy stuff between these two… I hope there will be a side story featuring this two..the muscle guy and the brainy guy, haha … best coupling.
The second reunion was not as pleasant because then Jinnai’s life also changed a lot. He quit being a policeman because his subordinate Furuse committed suicide three years ago by jumping from the villa of the police department. Furusei actually accepted bribery from the yakuza in Kabucho and gave these yakuza a lot of advantages. When his crimes were exposed, he was afraid and so he killed himself. However, Jinnai took over the responsibility and said he ordered Furusei to go to the yakuza and so he also quit being a police officer. The truth though was uglier than that. It was true that Furusei was tempted by the bribery and the women but it was Tiger who gave him the bait. Tiger knew Furusei was close to Jinnai and so when he picked a police to bribe, he picked Furusei so he could also know what’s happening to Jinnai. In that sense, Tiger also felt he was responsible for Furusei’s death. In fact, he openly asked Jinnai to hate him for indirectly killing Furusei through the bribery.
Finally, back to the current moment. As I mentioned before, the story opened with Tiger giving Jinnai “a job”, which was to look after a kid for 10 days and he would pay 30,000 yen per day. Of course, that was no ordinary kid. In fact, the kid was a Sudou and son of the leader of the Sudou Gumi whom Tiger was working for. Looking after the kid was simple enough as all he had to do was to allow the kid to sleep and play video games. The kid had his own laptop so Jinnai wouldn’t have to do much. Besides, it wouldn’t be long before Jinnai himself was involved in greater trouble and so the job of looking after the kid really fell to his relative Sanae, a beautiful woman who owned the coffee shop downstairs and whom little Sudou (still a kid) would fall in love (explode…so cute). This other case that Jinnai was involved would be the main axile of the story but the case was really simple. While on his way to the convenient store, Jinnai met a Chinese guy called Chan [which is based on the mandarin’s pronunciation Zhang]. Chan asked Jinnai to help him pass a message onto his sister because he was in big trouble at the moment and had to leave Tokyo for a while. Chan did not provide the details and Jinnai was really troubled but he knew Chan was a pretty good student who was working in a noodle bar close by and he somehow accepted the request. Before he went to deliver the message though, he found TIger at his office and demanding him to give them the message from Chan. Turned out Chan seemed to have some connection with the bunch of Chinese guys who murdered the yakuza and stole the drugs they imported (worth about 6 billion yen) and Tiger was assigned to find the culprit and recover the drugs. Jinnai refused because that would violate his professional ethics but Tiger would not listen and kicked him at the sune or the area near the kneecap. Through violence, Tiger managed to peek into Jinnai’s memo book and learned that Chan actually had a message for a woman called Reika. So they went to the club where Reika worked but when they arrived, she already quit. So they asked for her best friend at the club and ironically, it turned out to be Furuse Keiko, Furuse’s sister. Keiko hated Jinnai because she blamed him for the death of her brother. Naturally, she also hated Tiger for indirectly causing her brother’s death and she would be the last one to cooperate with them. However, Jinnai managed to leave her his number and eventually, she contacted Jinnai and explained that Reika was really living with her at the moment. Reika was previously beaten by her Chinese boyfriend and she was too afraid to go to work and so she quit and stayed with Keiko at Keiko’s place at the moment. Jinnai delivered the message from Chan as requested and learned that the message informed Reika there was a parcel for her. When Tiger learned about that from Jinnai, he thought that parcel could be the drugs and so he asked Jinnai to pay attention. Jinnai also offered to get the parcel to Reika because Reika could not get the parcel given her injuries. When Jinnai got the parcel to Reika, turned out it was just an old family album and Reika was really Chan’s sister. Reika then requested Jinnai to somehow find her brother and make sure he would be safe as he’s not the type who would go about engagin in dangerous business as robbing drugs from yakuza. Jinnai accepted the request and went searching for Chan. Eventually, he found Chan in Yokohama where he fled to. Chan told Jinnai and Tiger that he knew nothing about the robbery and he just happened to be at the scene of the crime because his friend was ill and he was supposed to be a translator. From Chan, Jinnai and Tiger got the clues that would eventually led them to the big boss, the leader of Nakazawa Gumi. Actually, the leader ordered his subordinate Koiso to get the Chinese guys to grab the drugs for them and in the process, killing one member of their own team and also seriously wounding a member of Tiger’s group. When Tiger found out the truth, he then went to meet Nakazawa to coerce the latter into a deal – to quit aiming at the leadership position of the Kouryuu Kai. The leader of Kouryuu Kai was already very old and planning on retirement. Since he had no children, he would have to find a successor and the ones with the highest popularity were Sudou and Nakazawa. By quitting from the race, it would benefit the Sudou group tremendously. Actually the leader of the Kouryuu group was still madly (?) in love with Tiger and offered to adopt him as his son and give him the Kouryuu group. That’s why one night, he called Tiger AND Jinnai to his residence and PURPOSELY slept with Tiger while leaving Jinnai in the next room. Of course, Tiger refused the offer because he wanted Sudou to be the next president of the Kouryuu group. Besides, he knew Sudou’s son hated his yakuza father and so there would be a chance he would still be president, just a generation later plus he couls also avoid further conflicts – clever.
After the case closed, Tiger paid Jinnai a visit and said if he would forgive him, sleep with him. Jinnai actually realized he was in love with Tiger after hearing him MOAN in the current president’s bed and he would not give up this opportunity, especially when the Tiger in front of him was not the MEN IN BLACK (black suits and glasses) but a cute cute catty . The ending of this novel is not “definite” meaning it’s not like and then they live happily ever after. However, the two has arrived at a rather strange but interesting equilibrium, which leaves space for the readers to imagine (and, of course space for a sequel as well).
This book is C.O.N.F.U.S.I.N.G.!! I know it’s going to be released as a BLCD but frankly I have NO IDEA how they can summarize this book in 70 minutes. It’s M.I.S.S.I.O.N I.M.P.O.S.S.I.B.L.E!! The reason why it’s confusing is because of the way the story is told. I have been VERY NICE to tell it in the chronological order of the events but in the actual novel, Aida sensei jumps here and there and throw in lots of events and details that drove me nuts. This is totally not like Esu, which has a linear development. It’s a new (?) style but it’s certainly not one that’s easy to follow. Unlike Esu where both characters are engaged only in ONE event at a time, in this novel, the central case, a.k.a. the drug robbery was only a loose backbone. The strength of this novel is really from the loosely linked subplots, which together, provide you with a picture of just how much Jinnai and Tiger need each other to survive. The best part of this novel (which sadly was not included in my summary as I have no f*cking idea where to stick it in) was the visit part. Tiger went down with a fever and when his head was driving him crazy with pain, he got a phone call from Jinnai. Tiger then said started pouring out some of his emotions straight from his heart that freaked Jinnai out and Jinnai rushed to Tiger’s bedside when Tiger almost ended the phone call in the same way a guy who was about to be hanged ended his conversation with his lover. However, all Tiger had was a fever and Jinnai said it would be easier if he would just say in simple words (please stay by my side). That scene is really yummy. Then, there is another episode about the tatoo on Tiger’s body and that being the last piece of work from the tatoo master who was dangerously ill really. While these little episodes are enjoyable because they are like holes where you can peek into the romance between Tiger and Jinnai, I hate it because you can only PEEK and since I’m no PEEPING TOM, I prefer to be able to SEE things more clearly. Thus I don’t find this novel as enjoyable as say Esu. As usual, Aida’s novels means LOTS OF KANJI and so NOT SUITABLE for those who are thinking of getting the novels but have problems with kanji, my advice is DON’T EVEN TRY.
He’s probably the BIGGEST ATTRACTION in this novel, without him, this novel would not even be 5% as interesting as now. What’s so interesting about him is that he is. How cute? He would address Jinnai with a MILLION titles, including “honey”, “darling”, “sweetheart”, and all sorts of “OO detective”. Listen to the CD as Ono (THAT SERIOUS ONO) spit out all these words. I have a feeling I will be LAUGHING TO DEATH. Other than the way he speaks I suppose it’s the charisma he has and the chemistry between him and Jinnai. He is TOUGH (for a uke) and he never hesitates to KICK Jinnai or to point a guy at his face. He’s also and is apparently VERY STRONG to have a yakuza group of himself when he’s less than 30. Of course, his beauty helps (fact that the current president is still dreaming of him and persuading him to be back by his side). Nevertheless, this COOL and STRONG guy only loves ONE MAN in his life (though he slept with many more before), and of course that guy is our hetare Jinnai… REALLY HETARE. I suppose that’s because he knew Jinnai when he was still an innocent young man while the rest of the people he knew when he already turned from a cute kitty to a fierce tiger. The naming (TAIGA) has a very deep meaning I believe as it signifies the change. The illust I like the best was actually the one near the end when he was crying and asking Jinnai for forgiveness. Unlike Nara sensei’s illustrations that are more suited for H and violence, Kitahata sensei’s drawings are better off showing the warm side of human beings. The illust when he was having a fever was extremely IRROPOI but I still like the last one the best when he seemed to have returned to his most innocent form… the form he gave up since sticking that knife into his father and the face he would only show to one person on Earth – Jinnai. I suppose that seals Tiger’s fate… when you can only show ALL YOUR FACES to just ONE person on earth… that very likely is your FATED ONE.
Although this novel takes the view of the seme more than the uke (though the uke occasionally has monologues as well), the existence of Jinnai is STILL THIN. I suppose it’s because he’s SO HETARE and seems to be dragged along by Tiger. This Jinnai is a very very nice guy, so nice that in order to protect the reputation of his subordinate even after the latter committed suicide, he said he ordered Furuse to gather information from the yakuza (and not Furuse took the bait from Tiger because he was greedy). That was the reason why Furuse’s sister hated him so much but in the end, she understood as well that it was her brother’s own fault and she was just trying to find someone to vent out her anger. Of course, Jinnai was also very nice to Tiger and tried to blame himself for failing to rescue Tiger when he was a teenager. However, that’s not what Tiger wanted. Tiger wanted HIS LOVE, not HIS SYMPATHY. That’s probably why Tiger took the option to become the president’s lover and later the executive of the Sudou group because he wanted to be independent, to at least stand EQUAL to Jinnai so the latter would not look “down” at him with sympathetic eyes. Yeap, it’s ironic but sympathisizing someone can be as humiliating as despising the other person and that’s why many misunderstandings and even WARS happened out of a misinterpretation of sympathy as contempt.
As you can see from my review, there are TONS of characters appearing but most of them have not been developed to a great extent. There’s Chan and his sister (who became the crucial key to solving the drug robbery), then there is Furuse and his sister who were important to reveal the gentle side of Jinnai and how desperate Tiger was to know about Jinnai… desperate enough to pick Furuse to bribe knowing the consequence could be being hated by Jinnai. Then again, for Tiger, if he could not have love, then it’s better to be hated than to be forgotten (sweat). Then, we have Naba and Kaji, the right and left hands of Tiger (who actually lived with Tiger and also helped him out with little details). Naba is a WONDERFUL COOK and even has a CHEF LICENSE (evil laughter).
/* Begins WILD imagination */
I can SO IMAGINE Naba being a nice HOUSE”WIFE” SEME who can blast people’s brains when necessary and the smart and intelligent QUEEN Kaji bossing his Naba here and there …
/* Ends WILD imagination */
Finally, even the tatoo master seemed to have HIS story as he was called a “sister” before… apparently he must be UKE. /* Begins WILD imagination */A former yakuza, uke, extremely beautiful who later turned into a tatoo master… I wonder who his seme would be. Could it be that he was actually the president’s former lover? That’s why the president would not marry and have children? Ahhh… a story about him in his glorious old days would be nice/* Ends WILD imagination */.
In short, this is a story with LOTS of small plots, LOTS of characters, LOTS of interactions, LOTS of nicknames, but NO STRONG organization because the backbone plot is too weak. It’s a pity because it’s got ALL THE MOE elements, just not an equally stunning way to put them together into a beautiful picture. Thats why I would still say Esu >>>>>> Sayonara because Esu has a much better backbone structure that will make you want to read start to finish. If you like Aida’s yakuza, I recommend this novel. Otherwise, I probably recommend the CD version more because they probably will restructure the CD so that it will be easier to understand plus I just can’t wait to hear the serious Ono-san say “darling”, “sweetheart” and the million versions of “OO detective” XDD.