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S Vol. 1 (v. 1) Paperback – June 10, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
Unlike yaoi manga, there is room for much more story and relationship development in a prose novel. For those wondering, the main differences (that I can see) between yaoi novels and M/M fiction is the inclusion of illustrations and the relationship dynamic, specifically the carry-over of the uke/seme roles. In M/M fiction, most gay men like to "switch" between top and bottom in the sexual relationship. In yaoi, one man is the bottom (uke) and one the top (seme). That is certainly the case here. Shiiba is a detective in Tokyo Metropolitan Police investigating arms smuggling/crimes. He works with an informant know as an S, or spy. Shiiba loses his S and has to cultivate a new one. Munechika would make a great S, only Shiiba doesn't like him! But that aversion covers up a secret attraction.
For the first in a series, this was very well done. The plot has a lot of detail, and the ongoing backdrop of a police investigation provides a good atmosphere for a tense romance. Shiiba is a well developed character with a enough back story to make him believable. Readers can easily identify and sympathize with his vulnerabilities. Munechika is kept deliberately mysterious to help build suspense around his actions concerning Shiiba, and it works beautifully.Read more ›
Aida does a good job of giving the reader an overview of life in Kabuki-cho as well as an inkling of difficult relations between the Japanese police, organized crime, political tension between Japan and China and how it all affects the lives of ordinary people.
The pairing of Shiiba and Munechika is perhaps not as well done as it might have been, but since this is just the first third of the story, their relationship might later on become more believable. For those looking for hot bedroom scenes, there are plenty.
Chiharu Nara's illustrations are also nicely done.
The most surprising thing about this edition of S, at least for me, is the paper quality and the very good translation. DMP even included the first color page, making it look more like a standard Japanese yaoi novel release (I'm comparing it to my edition of Aida's Deadlock). The way a book looks might seem like a very insignificant thing to talk about, in comparison with its contents, but American readers are constantly short-changed when it comes to the printing quality of manga and Japanese light novel releases. For once, it's nice to see something done properly.
I hope that the subsequent two books will be done with the same level of care and I can't wait to see them on bookstore shelves.
Shiiba is a rather complicated man, doing the work he does despite having a developed a loathing for the police organisation itself out of an inner drive to rid himself of the pain he feels after a personal tragedy. This in itself leads him to do more emotional and psychological damage to himself of course, as he builds an emotional barrier precisely in the places that he needs to be more open, in order to no only build a better relationship with, and to protect, his S, but also causes rifts with his fellow officers in ways that can only lead to severe complications later. In fact, his brother in-law is a career track bureaucrat in the police force, yet even he is being pushed away, with the spectre of their shared tragedy forcing the distance rather than bridging it.
When the worst possible outcome comes true for Shiiba, he finds himself not only having to deal with his own emotional backlash, but the need to recover his position. This is where the we get to the crux of the matter, as this involves the charasmatic and slightly sadistic Keigo Munechika. The illegitimate offspring of a yakuza boss and half brother to the group's young and unstable successor, he is really the man behind the scenes of many a shady deal. He makes an ideal informant, but at what price?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This wasn't a bad start to a new series; I liked the detective/investigation aspect to the story as well as the concept of being someone's 'S'. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Rina
"S" stands for Spy, not hard to figure out, but when Shiba's S is killed, he wants to know by whom and why.And quickly had to find a new one to stay on his game. Read morePublished on August 3, 2010 by Ileia Smith
I enjoy the story, thought it was pretty cool.
Like the romance scenes as well.
Overall enjoyable. Read more
I agree with the other reviewer, how the author goes into details about police system of Japan.I wondered how much research the author did. Read morePublished on February 15, 2009 by ai chan1