Manga Review: Yellow (vol 1)

"Let me tell you this.  I love him more than you do.  Not that I want to be in bed with him... I love him anyhow.  I don't mind dying for him." - Taki

"Yellow" is one of my very favorite manga series.  Volume one gets off to a quick start as we find the main characters in the middle of a mission.  Taki and Goh are drug snatchers, which means that they work undercover to steal illegal drugs from whoever they are told to and hand them over to the police.  They are very good at their jobs and make great work partners.  However, Goh, an openly gay man, wants to be partners with Taki in the more intimate sense of the word.  Goh makes no attempt to hide his feelings, much to the chagrin of Taki, who claims to be only interested in women.  The fact that he lets Goh get pretty far with his advances before putting a stop to them makes it harder and harder for Goh to keep his hands off his attractive partner, though!  The growing relationship between these two characters is the thing that carries the entire story, and volume one does a great job at setting this up.  This volume also introduces us to some of the other main characters that will play a part in the rest of the series, such as Tsunuga, the cafe owner who gives Taki and Goh their jobs, and Hatozaki, a member of the police force.

There is really a lot to like here.  The art is gorgeous, the characters are complex, the romance is intriguing, and the story is addicting.  Each chapter in this book is a separate case that Taki and Goh are working on, with a little side story at the end where Taki and Goh fight over what to make for dinner.  At the start of the book, Taki and Goh have already known each other and have been living and working together for awhile, and it was nice that they had a little bit of back story with each other.  Throughout their jobs in this book, we see how fiercely protective Goh is of Taki and how honest and real his feelings for him are.  Taki also cares for Goh very much, although is not that receptive of Goh's advances for reasons and fears of his own.  I love the way that the artist draws the characters' facial expressions - their eyes especially.  It is amazing how much emotion she is able to convey through just one facial expression.

One of my favorite things about this series is that is more than one volume.  I get tired of one-shots because they either move everything so fast to fit it in one volume, or there's just nothing really there.  With a longer series, the author can take their time, slow things down, build up a plot, and develop the characters.  By the end of this book, I felt like I knew the characters and was really looking forward to find out more about them.  And with Taki and Goh it was nice because it really didn't feel like a case of 'will they or won't they?', it was really just a matter of how and when.  Because of the length of the series, we really got to see their relationship progress, and it was really fun to see.  If they had slept together in this book, it would have cheapened the whole thing and I am glad that the author took her time with the story.  I highly recommend this one!

- Liz