Mangaka: Kuraka Sui
Complete: Yes || Volumes: 1
A young prostitute has a regular visitor every Tuesday night (with a weird taste in fashion). He does not hurt him nor force him to have sex though. One day he gives him a suitcase filled with money, and tells him to quit his job and “do what he really wants.” Just who really is he?
Be warned:Yaoi. And aside from spoilers, it’s kinda NSFW.
Ahhh! It’s been forever since I made a review for the genre I really, really liked. I mentioned in my past post that I’ll be holding off from posting reviews/summaries, but to keep my sanity, I think I really need a distraction. This has been sitting in the drafts for 2 months, so it’s time to bring this out in the open.
This one is a surprise for me when I first read it. I never thought that it’s this good; I read it several times already but I still can’t get enough of it.
Ito-san is the debut manga by Kuraka Sui, that includes a different bonus story on the side (“Cage”). Compared to your usual yaoi fare, this one is darker and more gritty. It’s almost like a seinen manga in its depressing atmosphere and art. But it’s beautiful. And I mean it.
Kyosuke’s life (though considered as cliche by storytelling standards) has been a living hell: due to poverty, booze and gambling, he was sold by his own family for prostitution when he’s not even yet 10 years old (gasp!), and is now working as a full-time prostitute. He says he’s 20 years old, but he doesn’t look like one (who looks older than 20 in mangas, anyway?). Most probably he’s saying this to avoid brush-ups with the law enforcement officers, we’ll never know.
Enter Ito-san. He bought Kyosuke’s services one time, but has now become his regular customer every Tuesday night. But, unlike his other customers who’d hurt him and subject him to every kink, pain, and humiliation, Ito-san is different (why does there’s always someone who’s different?) He has a calm, mysterious atmosphere, and would always smile gently to him. They usually spend the night chatting and talking about nonsense things, and he’s generous to boot. He never forced him to have sex, and when they do, he’s the one being serviced instead, which Kyosuke finds uncomfortable. Another interesting thing he noticed about him is his weird taste in neckties (just look at the cover above).
One day, Ito-san asked him if there’s anything he wanted to do on his life, but he simply brushed off the question, feeling resigned in his fate as a prostitute. Ito-san handed him a suitcase full of money, tells him to take the money, quit his job and be a normal teenager. Freaky. He declines.
Bruised and battered after servicing a bunch of sadistic smelly old men against his will, Kyosuke decided to take a break for a couple of days. But when he came back for business, he keeps on seeing Ito-san everywhere he goes.
He thinks he’s just hallucinating though. Or is he beginning to like him? He’s not really sure. But one day he realized that his client that time was killed by no other than Ito-san.
Ito-san goes on to explain that they’re just the same: he’s just being told what to do, and is not allowed to think for himself. But because of what happened to Kyosuke, he felt for the first time the urge to kill someone. Instead of feeling guilty, he’s happy, because he realized that he can also “feel.” He never saw Ito-san smiled like that. And for the first time in his life, Kyosuke fell in love.
Ito-san is actually an assassin, a Manchurian candidate of sorts, if you’re feeling conspiracy-ish. He does not have a name, except for an alias–“I”. Now that explains the freaky taste in ties.
Recently he is being hunted by his colleagues in the organization for violating the rules–killing a person without orders from the higher-ups (and being AWOL, I guess. Lol). Since he’s the star of this show, err, manga, he was able to kill them off nicely.
Kyosuke has now become tired of his job, now knowing what it feels like to be in love with someone. While “entertaining” his customer, he walked out of the room and immediately resigned from his job. Now hungry, homeless and penniless, he wanders off the streets, wishing for Ito-san to appear.
Ito-san really did appear. Clutching an umbrella in his hand, Ito-san encouraged him to go to school instead and do whatever he wanted. But Kyosuke is having none of it. He begged Ito-san to kill him instead if he won’t be bringing him along, because he doesn’t have any place to go.
(Argh, gosh darn it, now I’ve done reading it again! I was supposed to write a review, not read it once again. Sigh. Sorry I got distracted. Now going back..)
They began their journey. Having no place to go, they move from place to place, with no clear destination in sight. They were still being chased, but so far so good. They weren’t captured. Yet.
Ito-san led him to an abandoned house(?) in a forest. They went in to the cellar, and inside there’s a shitload of gold bars and money. Ito-san bid his goodbyes, saying that he’s entrusting all the gold and money to Kyosuke. Once more, Kyosuke rejects his offer, saying he wants nothing else except to be by his side. And he drops the bomb.
Now here comes the delicious part: cue nosebleeds and “kyaaa~” from the rabid fans of the genre.
Besides, who wouldn’t want to be ravished by a hot guy while lying on top of those gold bars and cash?
It seems like the feeling is mutual.
However, the happy days still seem so far away. While on a stopover near the beach, they were followed by no less than the boss himself.
He has taken Ito-san back to the headquarters to be brainwashed. To keep the knowledge about the organization under wraps, he’s planning to do the same to Kyosuke and release him back to where he came from, but Kyosuke resisted.
When Ito-san woke up, he saw a boy sandwiched between the boss’ two men, forcibly raping him while taking a video. The boss mentioned that the boy was heavily drugged, and they’re doing this for a snuff film. Ito-san is tasked to do the final touch–killing the boy once they’re done. But while aiming the gun to the boy’s head, he had flashbacks of a boy whose face and name he cannot recall.
But in the end, he still remembered how much he loved Kyosuke.
Five years passed. Kyousuke is now working as a bartender in a local joint, but due to the trauma and drug overdose, he has lost all his memories and cannot remember anything. Even Ito-san.
But Ito-san is still there, watching him. Always.
It’s kind of sad that this did not end on a happy note, heck, do happy endings really happen in real life in the first place? Though they did not end up together happily frolicking in the beach, hugging each other tightly and watching the waves as the sun sets, we are assured that at least, everything is safe now. It’s all up to the power of love to work its magic: that hopefully one day, Kyosuke will remember Ito-san once again.
P.S.: Except for the cover (which I found online), I don’t own the scans/translations for this work of art, so as much as possible I try to limit the posting of images here. The scanlation has been skillfully done by Cocobees.