Sunday, September 27, 2020

Nerdbot Manga Review: Yaoi Series ‘Escape Journey’ Vol. 1 by Ogeretsu Tanaka

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Loryn Stonehttp://www.nerdbot.com
Loryn Stone has dedicated her life to the written Word of the Nerd. Her writing has also been published on other pop culture websites such as Cracked, LoadScreen, PopLurker, and Temple of Geek. Her debut young-adult novel "My Starlight" (a contemporary love letter to fandom, friendship, anime, cosplaying, love, and loss) is out now by Affinity Rainbow Publications. When she's not writing, Loryn's other interests include collecting robots (Megazords, specifically), playing bass, and blasting metal.

Nerdbot would like to thank SuBLime Manga for providing us with an advanced review copy of ‘Escape Journey Vol 1’ by Ogeretsu Tanaka.

 

Oh, ‘Escape Journey’…where do I begin with thee?

Let’s start off by saying that I’m surprised this is Volume One of the series. For me, the book actually wraps up in this pretty solid place where I wasn’t really curious “What’s going to happen next?”. I felt pretty confident that I knew what was going to happen next so the only reason to stick around is if you thought the M/M couple, Naoto and Taichi (first year college students) are adorable and want to have them have lots and lots of semi-graphic sex. Which ‘Escape Journey’ has lots of.

Here’s the excerpt from the back of the book:
It’s Naoto’s first day of college, and the last person he was expecting to see was his high school ex Taichi, whom he’d dumped after a huge argument. Even though years have passed, Naoto finds he’s still steamed over some of the harsh words that were exchanged, but he also recognizes how much Taichi has matured since then and can’t help getting pulled back in. Will the discovery of his friend’s crush on Taichi fray the fragile threads of this mending relationship?

 

The answer is no. They manage to get through it. It’ll all be okay.

‘Escape Journey’ is a little bit like potato chips; crunchy, delicious, and satisfying but not necessarily good for your body. Hardcore Yaoi readers might find delight in this superficial story where very basic “doin’-its” happen three times without any variety and role reversal. (Read between the lines there or grab a copy of the book for yourself; this is a family friendly website ladies and gentlemen). For me, the best parts of the story were in Chapter Three and beyond, where we learn how these two young men came together in high school, and some of the tenderness associated with their relationship including their first kiss. I also liked how they were sexually active, like all the way going there, because I’m not sure what teenage sexuality is like in Japan. But from my limited understanding, I feel like queer youth still have a tough time over there.

The dichotomy between Yuri and Yaoi (Girls Love vs. Boys Love tales) is still so interesting to me. Now, let me preface by saying I’m not expert in either genre. I just love a good love story AND/OR a good lust story. Both work for me on completely different planes and neither should be discounted. But with Yuri, I feel like it focuses on the love and rising tension, whereas Yaoi gets right to the dirty and is very physical. Look; here are two men going at it. Enjoy. Whereas in Yuri, often times the women are bought together because of the absence of men.

Lines are sort of blurred in ‘Escape Journey’. Boys Love. Hentai. Sex Story. Love story. Which isn’t a bad thing, just something worth pointing out. Ultimately, the book is enjoyable, a fun read and easily digestible. The only part that brings down the entire story is the presence of a rape scene. It’s very upsetting and very much not okay, and the person to which it happens more or less blames himself and the couple moves on like it wasn’t a big deal. Let me tell you, author Ogeretsu Tanaka; it’s a very…very…very big deal. Rape is not a climax to a tense scene. It’s instant passion or heated conflict. It is nothing but horrible, traumatic, hellish violation. Especially when it’s caused by the person you care about and you THOUGHT cared about you.

Without the rape scene, I would have given ‘Escape Journey’ 4 out of 5 stars. But even if it doesn’t bother the characters in the book, it bothered me.

I give ‘Escape Journey Volume One’ 3 out of 5 stars.

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