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24 March 2008 @ 07:30 pm
Hi Izuru Tokoro no Tenshi: 《日出处天子》  
I kept meaning to write about this for the past few days but ended up rewatching Zetsuai and Bronze again, which then sucked me into the manga... which reminds me, does anyone know what happens to Izumi and Koji at the end? I hear it's ended but can't find any synopsis anywhere.

Right, please ignore the rest of this entry. Since none of you will have read or heard of this manga, no doubt.

What a twisted manga. It's been a while if I've ever come across such a strange manga. Well, actually strange isn't the right word; nor is twisted. It's just... bizarre. Not like shoujo manga where everything always works out and even if it's angst, it's a sort of "beautiful" angst; but not completely realistic and unfanthomable because well... some scenes are still too coincidental, and it's still too "beautiful" to be real.

Prince Umayado, or 厩户王子 is the protagonist of the story, although it's told mostly from Emishi, or 苏我毛人,'s point of view. Apparently the characters are actually real historical figures from Japanese history, but the author changed their characters so much that they can hardly resemble their real counterparts. In reality, 王子 and 毛人 were apparently enemies. But in 《日出处天子》, they're very close friends(?) if not lovers.

Reading the manga in Chinese has pretty much killed me over the three day period. I couldn't remember one name from the other and since it's an old sort of art-style where all side-characters look realistically similar, deciphering plotlines from names and the likes made reading it fast impossible. Still, I reckon something must've been pretty special about the manga to have entranced me so much to have read it so avidly for 3 days straight. It is bleeding 10 volumes after all, and each page is filled with cramped Chinese characters which are, by the way, traditional writing and I had to guess much of the words. -_- What a pain.

It is shounen-ai. But I really don't think the term defines the relationship at all. There's nothing 'sweet' about 王子's love at all. In Volume 4 or 5, he finally admits that he cannot escape from 毛人, that they are destined, and tries all he could to keep him for himself. And from that point on, it's torrents of untamed bitterness, jealousy, fury, and utter desperation. The manga-ka is amazing in that she doesn't overdo 王子's feelings at all - unlike most BL mangas - if anything, I think she doesn't write about it enough! But the effect is that the readers can feel the pain in every word or action that is shown, and in the end, makes a stronger statement about both of them. She also doesn't try to use any fancy, incredibly complex and incomprehensible analogies or descriptions, and keep the lines mostly simple and often, almost cliché. But because of the nature of this manga, clichés become unclichéd. And the effect is just maddening sadness.

The manga is also not really a BL story in that it's not completely about love and the relationship of the two main characters. Politics. Wars. Fighting within the same family. I must admit I had to abandon understanding all of such things after the first few volumes for there were just too many names, and my Chinese is really too bad to keep up with everything. Just enough to understand, to push through. Still, I have a good general idea.

It is a good manga. Drawn in the early 1980's, I admit the artwork's not much to my liking (especially since it made many people look so similar), but I came to enjoy the tenderness that the manga-ka can produce at key moments. The times Prince locked himself in his hut, his hands clutching at 毛人's robes; his broken expression when 毛人 chose the Princess(?), as well as the crack that appeared in the ground when they finally separated ways. There are some scenes which are still replaying in my head after a week gone past. The last time something left such a big impression on me was Ai no Kusabi, which remains my all-time favourite yaoi story.

The Prince's love is not kind. He himself is not kind. He's blessed with the ability to see demons and other unearthly creatures, and can call upon the powers of the heavens; but it is also a curse. His mother is afraid of him, and even tells his little brother to not go near him. He yearns for love, moreso than any other character. His mother's love, 毛人's love. But in the end, the one by his side was a 10 years-old crazy girl who he took as his wife. 毛人 is seen fleeing his last scene, wailing and crying uncontrollably because he saw how the little girl's eyes resemble the Prince's mother's. It seems that even at the very end, the Prince is still unwittingly seeking for the love he desperately craves.

There is a sort of angst and sadness that I gained from reading this manga that's different to any other sad love stories I've read. They were meant to be one: I don't mean that in the corny sense, but they were really one entity separated into two. As the Prince says, "I came down to Earth to chase after you." Together, the Prince and 毛人 can call upon all the powers of the God's with ease and 毛人 is the one person who he cannot predict or, as the Prince later realises, live without. Their ending is cruel. Deep within his heart, 毛人 knows he does love 王子 too, they are one after all. But even so, he still chooses to love the Princess. " The reason that we are both born as males is because we should not be together. We should not wield that power."

In a way, it is requited love. But in another way, it's completely impossible. After digesting the story, I think I'd say that it's still unrequited in the end, although I can't pinpoint why exactly. The ending is unbelievably sad. The Prince with his crazy child bride. 毛人 with his two illegitimate children. The Princess had also died, so in a way, I wonder why can't they be together then?! And in any other story, it might just not make sense at all. But somehow it just does... They were destined to be this way. Such a tragic parting was inevitable from the start.

Wow, I'm rambling on and on. But then it really has left a big impression on me. It's like a sort of dull acceptance that this is what happened, even though it's far from ideal, I kind of like it like this. I don't understand the ending very well so I can't give my exactly opinion on it. From a readers' point of view, it is unbearably sad and the heart weeps for both 王子 and 毛人. But from an artists' perspective, the ending is a perfect wrap-up to an amazing series.

I forgot to mention. Aside from manipulating politics and paedophilia. This manga's incredibly disturbing for it contains accepted marriages between half-siblings (I was almost tempted to stop reading just for this alone) and then later, even sexual intercourse between fully biological siblings!! Yes I was disturbed, and more and more so when it was seen that a child was born from such a consummation. There are few things I can't stand, and incest's pretty much at the top of the list.

I hear the manga-ka actually started a sequel to this story but due to its controversial nature and rising pressure from interviewers it was stopped after 5 volumes. That manga occurs years afterer this one. 毛人's sons have both grown up - one of them he had with the Princess, and one of them with his sister (eurgh). The Prince also produced a daughter with the crazy girl (which meant he did have sex with a ten year old.. double eurgh), and have since died. The two sons are said to fight over the girl without knowing they're brothers and... that's pretty all I know.

I haven't actually cried over this manga, which is surprising considering I cry pretty easily over books and stuff. But then I didn't cry over Ai no Kusabi either... I guess this is the kind of story which leaves an impression on your heart and not your cheeks. It's a sadness which isn't very explosive (although there are point of absolute heartbreak) but the angst if more for you to savour and understand. I am only sort of understanding what I'm writing right now...

End of. Good manga. Still thinking about some scenes involuntarily. Would like to read again sometime.

Anyway. I got bored and drew the 厩户王子in class, mainly because the Physics teacher was so boring. Astro-physics is so interesting when I read the notes at home but he makes learning it like ZzzzZzzzz...

It's a boy (or man, whichever), he is meant to be so feminine looking :)

Current Mood: artistic
yaoiness_kokoroyaoiness_kokoro on March 24th, 2008 10:38 pm (UTC)
Cute pic! I love your colouring! Better than you line art even; though that may be more because I can't colour at all than because your colouring is better than your lineart. ^_^U
Either way, it's nice. (Draw some Tango Pair pics! >_<)

Er...have refrained from reading the review since I don't think I can afford getting suckers into reading yet another manga. Provided that I can find an English version of course.
雁: Tango Pairfalls_whisper on March 25th, 2008 09:25 am (UTC)
:) That's good, improvement's coming along then... slowly but surely ^^ That's all I ask for. And with art, practice is really all you can do.

And yes, do refrain from reading. I really didn't want everyone to read that. But never know, maybe someone on my f-list has read it ^_^
Besides, I've searched all over and there is no English version anyway -_-
kageillusionz: Alucard - Bloody Stomachkageillusionz on March 25th, 2008 01:19 am (UTC)
\o/ I've heard of Zetsuai, but never read it. X] BUT HOT DAMN. SO MUCH PRETTY RIGHT THERE. -goes to oggle-
雁: Tango Pairfalls_whisper on March 25th, 2008 09:21 am (UTC)
Oh it's angst... angst angst all the way. Not for the faint-hearted to be sure ^_~

And thank you =3
Venky: Gaara - Sadnesserulisse on March 25th, 2008 02:38 am (UTC)
Eee, pretty picture! And that sounds like an intriguing manga, even if it's a very realistically sad one. I'm not sure if given the chance that I'd want to touch it, because my fragile heart probably cannot take all that angst, but damn I'm curious. xD

I think in a lot of cases, less is more. I like it when characters don't verbally proclaim their undying love (and even deny it!) but show it anyway through their actions.
雁: Tomo-chanfalls_whisper on March 25th, 2008 09:20 am (UTC)
Lol, you've actually read the cut ^^; But yes, the manga is a wonderful one. Even though I can't say I love it but it's certainly left a deep impression. I don't think it's the sort of manga for everyone...

"Less is more." Damn, I like that phrase. And yes, I completely agree. Words are cheap compared to actions.
Venky: Katou - Loveerulisse on March 25th, 2008 12:15 pm (UTC)
I'm one of those people who specialises in doing what she was told not to? xD

Besides, you drew such a pretty bishie I had to know his story! ♥
雁: Wolfram: Cryfalls_whisper on March 25th, 2008 09:22 pm (UTC)
A little eveel rebel then XD -hands a cookie- We must stand together, comrade!

♥ Thankyuu! I need more bishie-ness...
roughanroughan on August 1st, 2012 05:57 am (UTC)
Wow, I'm in the same situation as you, having recently started reading this using the Chinese translation and having difficulty reading traditional Chinese. Looking forward to reading the whole review after I finish it.
CaptainTsukikocaptaintsukiko on March 24th, 2015 03:50 pm (UTC)
Ah, if so. Will you please help me out a bit? I'm also searching for the Chinese translations, but can't find them at all.