I Shall Never Return Volume 1 (Yaoi) (Deux)

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9781934496053: I Shall Never Return Volume 1 (Yaoi) (Deux)

Something More Than Friendship...

Upbeat Ritsuro and downbeat Ken have been longtime friends. Although Ken leads a dark life of prostitution after dropping out of high school, Ritsuro still cares about him. When Ritsuro realizes that what Ken wants is something more than friendship he vacillates between Ken and his girlfriend Moeko, setting the stage for a bizarre love triangle. A True Masterpiece of Early Yaoi!

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Review:

According to the back cover, I Shall Never Return is: A true masterpiece of early Yaoi! It was originally published in 1992. At first, I was skeptical... read these clichés for the first time! However, two chapters in I was reading text to my friends. This is an amazingly dramatic read, in that way that livejournal is sometimes very dramatic. I Shall Never Return is the kind of infectious book you loan to your friends just so you can have someone to talk to about it. It elicits a reaction from the reader, and has more story per chapter than some manga has in four volumes.
Ritsuro is a blonde neat freak who lives next door to Ken, a leather-jacket wearing bad boy bent on self-destruction. They re like the odd couple - if Felix were totally doing it with Oscar. As the story opens we learn that Ritsuro has tried to comfort Ken since his parents divorced when he was 13. Coming from a broken home has lead Ken into being a teen prostitute, and a high school drop-out (results not typical). Ritsuro tries to take care of Ken so much that Ken explodes in one scene:
Cleaning up after me, making me dinner... that s what a mother does, right?! Who asked you to be my mother?
Ken has all the charm of a problem teen from the original Degrassi Junior High.
Complicating matters is Ritsuro s on-again off-again girlfriend Moeko, who cheats on Ritsuro with Ken by the end of chapter one. Moeko creates a lopsided love triangle that makes I Shall Never Return more compelling to read than modern yaoi titles, which sometimes lack female characters. Although she starts off passive, Moeko becomes a scorned woman by the end of the book. She cuts off her long hair and swears revenge on Ritsuro, going so far as to become class representative just to make his life harder.
High on drama, at one point two of our three protagonists are hospitalized. Someone landing in the hospital is a shojo standard (Marmalade Boy, Peach Girl), but two characters at once is beyond the pale.
Volume one is infinitely quotable. In one scene, Ken has dragged Ritsuro into a nightclub among former escort clients to make Ritsuro jealous. Risturo, looking at Ken s hotness, thinks:
You re like a tropical fish swimming in that ocean... swaying, shimmering... floating back and forth... No one can catch you. I think it should end on an exclamation: No one can catch you! This astounding extended metaphor is laid out over a two-page spread with a lot of fish in it. It s pretty amazing. I didn t think they d go for that third verb, but Gatou totally nails it.
Shikidouji s art is a bit uneven early on. The first chapter is incredible, but a few scenes later in the book look off-model. Nevertheless, the guys are hot enough, even if it is the early 90 s version of hot. A few of the panel layouts (like the fish metaphor spread above) border on the experimental but work well in the context of the book.
Speaking of the early 90 s, I Shall Never Return is an amusing send-back to the days when even guys pulled up scrunchy socks over the top of their tapered jeans.
Perhaps the best part of I Shall Never Return will be lost on reader unfamiliar with modern yaoi. Typically the uke and seme never switch positions - one character takes on the female role in the bedroom and maintains it for the entire story. In I Shall Never Return uke and seme switch several times! Even though Ritsuro is blonde, he s totally the seme on occasion. The switching might be more symbolic of power in the relationship than a sign of a normal homosexual relationship, however, because this is yaoi, after all, and not bara (which is probably not normal either).
I Shall Never Return is five volumes long in total, and I m looking forward to reading the rest of it. I m glad Deux Press picked this title, and I m interested to find out what other classics they intend to import. --Erin F. - Pop Culture Shock

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