Tuesday, 1 December 2015

YAOI REVIEW: THE SOLDIER AND THE SAMURAI


The Soldier and the Samurai
Author/Artist: Katsura & Yuramei
Publisher: Seishin Ink
Pages: 323
Reviewed by: Sandra Scholes

Synopsis:
When dreams come true, they often herald the start of a nightmare.Kanno Sakamoto, billionaire, yakuza and fantasist, returns in a tale of murder, revenge and political skullduggery. Having been released from the institution on the orders of Oishi Noburu, the leader of one of Tokyo's most notorious clans, Kanno finds himself at the mercy of the Oyabun, his devious son, Katashi — and the brutal enforcer, Kawai.

Not only is he expected to marry the boss's daughter, he is press-ganged into running for the post of governor in the prefectural elections.Initially viewing the plot as an opportunity to get back at his former brotherhood, the Tatakai-gumi and their charismatic leader, Kazuo Kurosawa, he soon realises that his life is heading dangerously out of control.

Can he escape the clutches of the Noburu-ya men? And will the return of his beloved Hyung mean salvation — or a descent into further insanity? In this, the sequel to both The Gangster and the Samurai and Money, Bullets and Swag, Katsura and Yuramei present one of their most popular, yet challenging characters, in another dark, but often humorous story. Peppered with a healthy amount of passion and intrigue, The Soldier and the Samurai is a must for fans of Kanno's unique narrative style. Contains explicit sex and graphic violence.

Review:
One thing to bear in mind about this novel is that although it is a sequel to The Gangster and the Samurai and Money, Bullets & Swag, It can also be read as a standalone novel, but, it does contain spoilers from the other two novels. That aside, the story is narrated by Kanno Sakamoto, who by his own admission is an honest man, sometimes too honest who encourages people to dislike him due to this trait of his. As a man who has no experience with women, he doesn't understand how women work, or their desires, yet he is expected to marry the boss’s daughter. After being released by Noburo, he is indebted to him and his son to obey his every whim. On the surface, Kanno might be making excuses for not understanding women, but as he prefers a man’s company in either social or sexual circumstances, he knows what he likes, and can’t be criticised for it as a woman who prefers the company of women doesn’t understand men personally.

Kanno expresses the need to tell all, even in the first chapter, his need to mention that if a man was asked what he looked for in another man it would be “ a large cock and his own apartment” or perhaps a “flash car and a decent salary.”Kanno says this first so that he knows what he means, that he always loved his gangster lover, Hyung. You would think that a samurai would not be uke to a gangster, but that was the relationship between Kanno to Hyung. He was the willing student to Hyung’s teacher and Kanno never had to leave the bedroom for the valuable teachings he would give him.

In time, Kanno became a man and all sexual interest from his lover had stopped and he found himself in a mental institution after his normal pills were swapped. This, I gather is one of the worst moments in his life he would rather forget, seeing it as a void he could not escape from where the other men there dulled his own senses. He reeled from not seeing his lover, thinking he might never see him again. As this account of his life in the institution is his own, it could also be a figment of his imagination that he believes Hyung had come back to him at the institution younger and more interested in carrying on their relationship. It is from this point he tells of how Hyung wanted to make the first move to get to know him again, and the times they spent in the institution when no one else would talk to Hyung.

When Kanno is freed, it isn't without him having to pay a certain price for his freedom even though Katashi is interested in him sexually, he tells him his master has plans for him after inviting him to join their clan - Kanno has a presence they want to invest in for the good of the clan and he can't possibly refuse. Every offer he makes pales into insignificance until he mentions getting his revenge on the Tatakai-gumi who previously shunned him. The offer of this plus a place in high office is tempting, but it is the forced marriage to a woman that makes him nervous, and who can blame him - he has no experience or leanings toward the fairer sex.It doesn't take Kanno long to figure out that he is being used as a pawn to improve matters in their clan, and Katashi is doing his best to make his life a misery forcing him to marry Booboo. It's bad enough for him that he is without his beloved Hyung, he knows Katashi is in a homosexual relationship with someone hidden from everyone else, so he sees him as nothing more than a mere hypocrite.

Engaging storyline, interesting subject matter of the traditional ethics and morals of samurai society being brought into modern day, and the subject of sexuality bring out the best in this subtle, and at times bloody and violent tale. Kanno's life is thought provoking enough, but his dark side is also softened by his love for Hyung.

 
Summary: Violent and dangerous - Kanno's life is, but his love life is even more interesting to read about - here is the most involving and testing part of  his life here in The Soldier and the Samurai. Read it and be hooked.