WARNING: This article covers an adult title and may cause offense.
“The best zoom lens is your legs.” – Ernst Haas
In January 2015 Digital Manga Publishing launched a new Kickstarter crowdfunding project, but unlike all their other ones this had nothing to do with Osamu Tezuka.
The project was to restock an entire manga series, printing out brand-new copies of old volumes in time to coincide with the English-language release of latest seventh volume of the series. The series in question was Finder, a crime-based yaoi series by Ayano Yamane, a highly popular creator of boys’ love manga whose other famous work, fantasy yaoi Crimson Spell, is currently released by SuBLime.
The project was a big success. The total asked was $45,000. They got $60,000. Due to this they also restocked a one-shot yaoi volume, also by Yamane as part of a stretch goal, called A Foreign Love Affair.
Finder centres on Akihito Takaba, a freelance photographer mainly working in journalism. While reporting on one story about drug smuggling he accidentally gets on the wrong side of Ryuichi Asami, who claims to be a businessman but is in fact the head of a large organised crime syndicate. Asami “thoroughly interrogates” Takaba and later Takaba discovers that a policeman he was working with was also involved with the smugglers. Asami however shoots the cop, ending the crisis and Takaba’s involvement in it.
This is the start of a complicated relationship between the photographer who wants to do what is right and just; and an important figure in organised crime who always gets what he wants, and the thing that Asami usually wants is Takaba.
There is however another figure who plays an important part in the story. A man named Lui Fei Long, who is the head of Bai Shé, a branch of the Chinese mafia working in Hong Kong. It is revealed that Fei Long and Asami have a long history dating back several years, and that Fei Long is keen to get one up on his rival. He manages to kidnap Takaba, which results in further violence between Fei Long and Asami. In later volumes there is a long story arc in which Takaba ends up in Fei Long’s clutches again, and this time Takaba is taken to Hong Kong as a hostage, where he is used in some more of Fei Long’s cunning schemes.
Like many of these yaoi titles, aside from the main story there are also other stories added into the book which primarily have no connection to the main tale. There is one recurring story which is the …in Love tales, which is about two high school students who suspect that their fathers are in a relationship, but they end up in a relationship themselves. In the sixth volume of the Finder books there is a mash-up between …in Love and Finder itself, where the boys from …in Love go on a school field trip and meet up with Takaba who is there doing some photographic work. Often these little side stories can be a tad off-putting, but the …in Love story is rather entertaining.
Concerning the more sexual aspects of the series, or at least as much as I am able to talk about here, the sex scenes appear to occur throughout the series. There is normally at least one in every chapter. The most intense of these is in the opening chapter when Asami first interrogates Takaba. It should be pointed out that this opening chapter appeared in a special S&M themed-edition of Biblos, the magazine it was originally published in. As soon as you turn the cover of Volume 1 you see a colour picture of Asami, with Takaba on top of him, wearing bondage gear. I have to avoid trying to be too graphic, but I think I’m OK in saying what is used rather than how it is being used. So I think I can tell you that in this scene there is also a gag, some sort of sexual stimulant, a catheter, and some of Takaba’s rolls of film.
This is not the only particular sex scene to be highly graphic. Some are more violent, and there are some scenes that depict acts which some people will object to, including rape. Clearly Finder is a series which some people might find off-putting. Anyone familiar with Yamane’s other work will not be surprised by this. In Crimson Spell, for example, there is a tentacle rape scene.
However, perhaps the biggest factor in Finder‘s favour is that the story itself is just as good as the sex. The whole kidnapping plot is very gripping. You have all sorts of different elements coming together: rival gangs, each vying to get what they want, Takaba trying to get out of this awful situation while Asami and Fei Long battle each other out, and then you have the sex on top of that. Using an art style which seems more realistic than in many other boys’ love titles (no yaoi hands here) Ayano Yamane creates a manga which is not just arousing but engaging. This is what all good yaoi should be: the perfect balance between sexual excitement and a well-rounded story.
Given that this Kickstarter project has raised more cash than any other of DMP’s other schemes, I would not be surprised to see more yaoi Kickstarter events to come up.