Love Mode Vol. 6 - Yuki Shimizu image
Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my GIFTS AND GUILTY list.

Regardless of how many books are already queued patiently on my reading list, unexpected gifts and guilt-trips will always see unplanned additions muscling their way in at the front.

Please note, the low score given here does not indicate this is a bad book – the story is sweet and the artwork is great – it’s just that I’m so wide of the target audience that I don’t really know what to make of it, and didn’t particularly enjoy it.

(It’s not you, it’s me... )

Firstly, I don’t normally read manga, and Love Mode is panelled the original way, right to left. I started reading this one night, when I was already quite tired, and my brain just couldn’t get a handle on it. Pages right to left. Panels right to left. Words left to right. My eyes kept trying to read everything left to right, but I got there in the end.

Secondly, this is a mid-series volume (book 6) which I was reading as a stand-alone – so we come in midway through a story arc with no backstory and no idea who anyone is. Again, confusing, but fine, just roll with it.

Thirdly, this is ‘yaoi’ – something I’d never heard of before. To quote wiki, yaoi is: “female-oriented fictional media that focus on homoerotic or homoromantic male androphilic sexual relationships”. I’m a happily married guy with a baby boy: I have no problem with homoerotic manga, but nor do I have a secret passion for it.

So how did I end up reading this?
It was given to me as a gift.

As a bit of quick background – I limit my to- read shelf, here on goodreads, to books I actually have here on the shelf. I keep that pool of books at 18 – three rows of six on the goodreads cover view. Once I finish a book, I pick a new book from that pool of 18 and order in something new to replace it.

I’ve been making a concerted effort recently to clear some of the gifts out of my to-read shelf because otherwise they’d languish there indefinitely (and choke up my shelf).

My wife’s best friend is currently dating the store manager of a manga and retro-gaming shop called Super Tomato. Before they started dating, I only knew him as they guy I bought N64 games from (I still have a working N64 and regard it as the golden age of gaming from my childhood). Turns out he’s got a bit of a dry, cheeky sense of humour and for my birthday he gave me a couple of N64 games and this volume of yaoi. I don’t think he expected me to ever actually read it – let alone be publicly reading it in a coffee shop when we met up last week. That tickled him.

So now I’ve finished it. What can I say?

The story concerns the owner of an exclusive club (The Blue Boy) where clients hire male escorts. This could be sleazy, but is portrayed as classy and liberating. The first short story is about the owner’s brother and lover getting caught up and taken hostage during an armed robbery. The second is a flashback story about an innocent and terminally ill client. Then there’s a wrap-up. The End.

My wife got excited about the gay sex scenes. My overriding reaction was... meh.

After this I read: A Civil Campaign