Awaken Forest - Yuna Aoi
Publisher: DMP - June
Audience: Mature - 18+
Hello Everyone and Thank You for buying my book. I'm Yuna Aoi. That is a pen name, but I use another pen name, too..., writes the author in the postscript of the one shot Awaken Forest from DMP's June imprint.
Pen names, I get that! Some people claim I, the great William Shakespeare, am actually Sir Francis Bacon! No way. I've never met the scalliwag! Others, like the wayward author of this blog--who claims to be I, the great William Shakespeare--will pick from any number of personas on a given day.
I may not know Yuna Aoi's real name, but I do know that she also wrote one of my favorite Yaoi series of all time, Jazz, under the pen name Tamotsu Takamure.
Why am I so fond of this mangaka of many names? Well, to be honest, her stories are twisted, so twisted she makes use of a number of pen names in case someone from her family sees her work. She employs themes that in the hands of any other mangaka might really upset me: nonconsensual sex, incest, pathological jealousy, domestic abuse, etc. In fact, these stories do upset me, and I still like them.
Like authors who use pen names to hide their true identities, the characters populating the short stories in Awaken Forest are hiding who they really are from the world and from those who would love them.
In the first, a young, beautiful, wheelchair-bound author lives in a remote mountain mansion, where he writes award winning novels under his brother's care. From the outside, the brothers seem honorable and dedicated to one another. When a young editor from the publishing company arrives to pick up a draft of the author's new novel and is exposed to their secrets, we learn there is much more to this brotherly relationship than first meets the eye.
In the second story, the protagonist is driven into the arms of his lover through dishonest means. The protagonist sees only what his lover wants him to see: an innocent affection, deep dedication and desire to protect, but beneath this mask is something much more selfish.
In the third story and its associated nubbin of a story, two lovers never seem to connect because the selves they show one another are not true to what they actually feel. Only when they drop their masks are they able to find happiness.
Awaken Forest is drawn in Yuna Aoi/Tamatsu Takamure's distinctive style. Her characters tend to be a bit bigger, blockier and more masculine than other yoai artists' pretty boys. When characters blush, they blush with their whole face. They show their feelings with their whole bodies. They are forceful and expressive and they yell a lot. Some people don't like this mangaka's style, but I happen to appreciate it.
Before you read this book, ask yourself:
Am I eighteen or older? You better be, kid! This has some adult themes. Hence, the explicit content warning on the cover.