Boku wa Imouto ni Koi wo Suru (Manga) Volume 9 Review

Plot: Who are Iku and Yori’s real parents? Is it possible that they’re still twins?

Can they create groinal friction without judgment? Can I find it within myself to care about these horrible, horrible characters?

Breakdown: The first chapter shows Yano taking Iku to an amusement park to distract her from Yori seemingly making eyes at Mori. Meanwhile, Mori, for some reason, heavily flirts with Yori even though she knows they’re half-siblings – guess incest runs in the family…..That was more of a joke than I intended.

She brings him to her house to see some photo albums of her father as a younger man and to basically confirm that her father and Yori’s mother had an affair. Her father comes home and confirms her suspicions, knowing Yori would notice quite soon after meeting Mori.

The next chapter has Yugo denying that he’s Yori’s father, acting like he was joking about him being his real father. He tells him the story about his and Saki’s relationship. He was a bad boy, she was a very strict kinda manipulative person who would purposely push his buttons. He was annoyed with her at first, but quickly fell in love and started doing bad things on purpose to get her to scold him.

However, in spite of his feelings, she was already engaged with Shunpei since before they even met. He admitted his feelings toward her, but she refused him on those grounds, despite seemingly loving him back. He states they were never together so it’s impossible for him to be Yori’s father.

Yuugo admits that he’d love to be Yori’s father and he is affectionate toward Yori because he’s Saki’s image…..even though….you’d think it’d be more understandable to be affectionate towards Iku. I mean, Yori’s been noted as looking exactly like Yuugo, not Saki. Iku’s more Saki’s image.

Anyway, he’s lying. He takes a hair from Yori before he leaves and intends on using it for a DNA test. Turns out, Yuugo and Saki did bump uglies once….On her friggin’ wedding day. She’s even in her wedding dress when they do it. That’s fucked up.

The next chapter starts with Yano and Iku coming home from the amusement park. Yano stops the car when he sees Yori and Mori together and freaks out at Yori telling him Iku’s been worried sick. He begs him not to hurt her again. Yes, Yano, yell that out as loudly as you can.

Mori explains the situation, and Iku is shocked.

Iku: “But then Yori….wouldn’t be my brother?”

Mori: “Exactly.”

No, not exactly. Half-siblings are still siblings. Their situation would only be slightly less squicky.

Yano kidnaps Yori to talk more about what happened. Yori explains that, even though Yuugo stated he wasn’t and couldn’t possibly be his father, there’s still the odd issue of Iku’s paternity booklet with the missing sections about her parents. He’s struggling because, even though he’d love to find out she’s not his sister, telling Iku that her mom and dad aren’t her biological parents would crush her.

Wow, an understandable and heartbreaking revelation and normal mode of thinking. Good job, Yori!

They bring the information to Yano’s personal family doctor for analysis and she says that with both the mother and the father information left blank, she was likely abandoned and the Yuki family adopted her.

Yori: “Is this a dream come true?” Wow, a single page to go from ‘Good job, Yori!’ to ‘Go to hell, Yori!’

Giving him some credit, even though he also says he now feels like he might be the luckiest man in the world, he’s still conflicted because the news will hurt Iku. Yano tells him to not feel guilty because now he can freely tell Iku he loves her in front of everyone without judgment.

Uhm, Yano, first and foremost, please don’t tell him to not have even a semblance of healthy character development.

Second, no. No, he can’t.

Even when you’re not blood related, it’s still a social taboo to date your siblings. Even though he can be a little more free about it, they’ll still likely get whispers and snickers and even harassment. I also can’t imagine their parents would be cool about it. Their mom seems to be aware that they’re not fully blood related (maybe their dad too?) and she is having panic attacks left and right whenever she believes the two might be romantically involved.

The chapter ends with him dreaming about the happy life they might have a chance at having – being able to hug, kiss and tell her he loves her, but most importantly, make her happy.

The start of the next chapter has Yuugo confronting Saki explaining via a DNA test, he has proven that Yori is his son. Saki doesn’t seem surprised, and Yuugo demands to know why she never told him if she knew. She begs him to not say anything because it would destroy her family.

Yuugo relays to her that Yori visited him, investigating whether Yuugo was his father or not and seemed disappointed when he told him he wasn’t. Saki is shaken, but seemingly not for this revelation. She’s moreso putting two and two together and believes he was disappointed because he wanted to not be fully blood related to Iku so they could be romantically involved.

Flashing back to more proof that Iku’s a dumbass, we’re shown Yori teasing Iku for not even getting up to a 20 on any of her quizzes in any of her subjects. How the hell did this girl even reach this level in school? How is she not flunking? Yori can only do so much. What does she do all day? She’s has no skills or hobbies, yet apparently studying never crosses her mind. Even people pretending to pay attention can eek out scores twice as good as hers.

Don’t tell me it’s all the fooling around with Yori because she was getting these grades long before she hooked up with Yori and when he was at the other school.

This is meant to depict another one of many instances where Saki has been suspicious about their feelings for each other.

Back in the present, Saki says she won’t give into Yuugo’s blackmail, though we never learn how he blackmailed her. I get what he’s holding over her, but what is he asking for?

But speaking of blackmail, Saki straight out asks Yori when he gets home if he loves Iku. Yori coolly, and without missing a beat, blackmails her, stating he knows everything about her and Yuugo and Iku’s adoption. If she so much as breathes a word to Shunpei or Iku about it, he’ll tell them everything and destroy their family.

He goes even further explaining just how much he loves Iku and blames Saki for his deep feelings of guilt all of these years when he could’ve been free to love her like he wanted if she just spoke the truth.

Later, he shows that he’s flaunting his newfound freedom in front of his mother, knowing he has her in a vice. He takes a barely dressed Iku into their room to get freaky under the guise of ‘studying’ and Saki collapses on the stairs in emotional agony, knowing she can’t do anything about it.

I know Saki’s definitely guilty of a lot of things, but Yori is a stone-cold pile of shit.

The next chapter starts with Yori and Iku about to get it on in their bedroom while their mother sits in the stairwell, debating what to do. As Yori’s about to get down and dirty, their mother bursts into the room to stop them, no longer caring what Yori does because she feels her duty to protect her children from a mistake is more important than the happy lie she’s created in their family.

She tells Iku that, despite the odd paternity booklet, she is 100% Iku’s mother and Shunpei is her father. She is also Yori’s mother, but as Shunpei walks in the room to see what all the fuss is about, she admits that Yuugo is Yori’s father.

The last chapter of the volume shows Saki on her wedding day. Yuugo tried to convince her to run away with him and elope, and she was actually extremely happy to hear him say that. However, she was too dedicated to Shunpei. She couldn’t break his heart.

For the first time and the last time, they decided to have sex. She slept with Yuugo on her wedding day, and Shunpei on her wedding night. Having sex with two men in a 24 hour period and getting two of her eggs from the same cycle fertilized by each of the men resulted in the previously discussed heteropaternal superfecundation – the creation of twins born of two fathers.

She tells Shunpei, who should really be wondering what the hell half-naked Yori and all-naked Iku are doing in bed, that she’ll accept a divorce if he wants one, but he refuses. He actually knew about Yori’s parentage all along, but he didn’t say anything and continued to keep up her lie because she chose to stay by his side all this time. He knew this whole situation caused her great pain, but she kept through it to be by his side.

So, before I continue, some side notes tell us that Yori’s next dialogue is knowingly horrible and he feels guilty about it before he even says it. Keep that in mind.

Shunpei tells Yori that it doesn’t matter if they’re not blood related, he will always be his precious son. Yori says, and I’m directly quoting here.

Yori: “I’m sorry, Dad. I am not happy at all. I like mom and dad, but I have thought about how good it would be if dad wasn’t my dad and how great it would be if mom wasn’t my birth mother. Just now, mom said all of this is my responsibility. Therefore, can you give me Iku?”

Yup. Garbage person. He basically told his parents to their faces that he enjoyed the idea of them not being his real parents and started a negotiation to be ‘given’ Iku, like she’s restitution.

And don’t give me anything about this being less bad because he realizes it’s a shitty thing to do.

To quote Todd from Bojack Horseman – “You can’t keep doing this! You can’t keep doing shitty things and then feel bad about yourself like that makes it okay. YOU NEED TO BE BETTER!”

But we’re not done.

Yori: “I don’t need dad or mom. That’s why….I’m taking Iku! Because I only need Iku!”

The volume ends with kidnapping. Swell.

———————————-

This volume is horrible. Yuugo’s being a dick. Mori’s being a creepy bitch. Yori’s being a dick. Saki’s a terrible person who got off too easily. Shunpei’s a bit of a doormat. Iku….Iku is literally not doing anything. She’s responded to everything in this volume with the same look of blank surprise. She seemed slightly upset when Mori told her Yori might not be her brother, but that was about it.

Yori uses his manipulative garbage person ways to more freely boink his sister and then uses them again to get Iku, acting like he’s entitled to her and Iku just goes with it. Iku you are one step away from being a prop, but that’d be a compliment because props actually have functions.

Some people have this weird view on love that it’s romantic to seem like you care about literally no one else but the person you love, but that view always struck me as toxic and horribly unhealthy. Love should make you a better person, not further drive you into dickery. You shouldn’t feel like you can be a heartless monster to people, especially your parents, just because you love someone and want to be with them.

There’s not much else to say about this volume. Everyone is terrible. Everything is terrible.

Next volume is our finale! Can they clean up this mess of glorious proportions and somehow make me not want to throw my computer out a window?

Stay tuned.


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Zetsuai 1989 Review

Rating: 1/10

Plot: Nanjo Koji is one of the most popular singers in Japan. Takuto Izumi is a rising soccer star in his school. When Koji was in fifth grade, he saw a brief glimpse of a boy playing soccer and was instantly captivated by his gaze. Now 16 years old, he finds himself face to face with the young soccer player he saw way back when. He was was kind enough to nurse him back to health after finding him passed out on the sidewalk. Koji soon falls head over heels for Izumi, though he resists these feelings since Izumi does not appear to feel the same and their professional lives threaten to tear them apart either way.

Breakdown: Oh boy.

Oh boy oh boy oh boy.

Oh….boy.

Let’s enter the world of yaoi, shall we?

It’s weird how yaoi seems to be off in its own little world. You know it’s anime, it still follows many anime tropes, but it just feels like most of it is its own….melodramatic soap-operaish thing. And if there was ever a good example of that, it’d be Zetsuai 1989 (Desperate Love)

First of all, let’s go over the obligatory yaoi tropes here, since they’re also a separate category of their own.

Yaoi trope bingo

And no, I’m not kidding on the injury/illness tally.

– Koji is passed out in the street at the start. Develops a bad cold.

– Izumi catches his cold, passes out on a bridge.

– He tries to play soccer while sick; passes out at soccer game. Finds out he has pneumonia.

– Koji gets hit by a car and breaks his arm.

– Koji passes out in the rain in the soccer field because (enter reason here).

– Koji gets accidentally stabbed by a falling piece of glass.

Technically it could go as high as eight because Izumi kinda injures his leg in a soccer game and Koji’s face gets cut when Izumi throws a vase at him.

Oh and by the way, this all happens in a 45 minute runtime. It’s just that melodramatic.

This story is….something. It’s actually pretty creepy. I have to wonder how many stories I’ve read or watched that were supposed to be romantic but ended up being creepy.

Koji is completely hung up on Izumi just because he likes how he looks when he’s all intense and focused. That’s pretty much it. That’s the only reason he loves him so much.

Izumi’s an asshole who goes to great lengths to push people away due to his *pokes bingo card* tragic backstory . So there’s not really much to fall in love with. He’s kind enough to care for Koji when he saw him passed out on the sidewalk (no idea why he didn’t call an ambulance or something. Yeah, just take any drunk hobo (Koji was indeed passed out because he was drunk; he got sick because he was passed out in the rain) you find on the street and bring him home. Oh and make sure you leave him there while you head to work. He’s too hot to steal your things or kill you when you get back.) But other than that he’s an angry jackass who is constantly blowing up at people.

Izumi may warm up a bit to Koji as time goes on, but he really only gets to a point of tolerating him since Koji keeps wedging his way into his life, uninvited and unwelcome. Koji is also negatively affecting his life since everyone in the media is spreading rumors about them and Izumi’s younger sister.

He especially dislikes that Koji keeps picking at the scab that is his obligatory tragic backstory . When Izumi was a kid, his mother killed his father because she loved him too much or something. She also attacked and nearly killed Izumi, leaving him with a literal scar on his hip and a figurative scar on his heart (see, I can be melodramatic too).

The story is that there is no story. Basically, Koji keeps butting into Izumi’s life, annoying him and sometimes protecting/caring for him. Koji realizes he’s falling in love with Izumi. When he has Izumi alone in his apartment, full in the knowledge that Izumi will soon be going away to pursue a professional soccer career in Italy, he decides to try to rape him.

But when Izumi fights back, he takes a big shard of glass from a window Izumi broke that ended up embedding itself into Koji’s back. Brandishing the glass, he tells Izumi that, if he stays alive, he’ll find Izumi wherever he goes, and if Izumi leaves him, he’ll kill him. So he hands him the shard of glass and tells Izumi to kill him before Koji kills him instead.

Because, wow, what the fuck?

First of all, Koji, could you be a little creepier? I should mention that we know absolutely nothing about Koji’s past, so why he’s such a creepy little obsessive murderous/suicidal wackjob is beyond me.

Second, Koji dear, maybe try explaining your feelings to Izumi and try to work things out instead of jumping to attempted rape and requested assisted-suicide? You’re a damn pop star. You travel all the time and are probably rich. Why is him moving away, temporarily or permanently, such a huge unavoidable issue?

Third, are you seriously asking a guy who is obviously still traumatized beyond belief at his tragic backstory that instead of having the balls to kill yourself…..yourself, you decide to put a huge shard of glass in his hands and tell him to stab you to death? What is wrong with you?

And how does it end? Izumi has a flashback that we’ve already seen of his mother killing his father and attacking him, then Izumi yells at him for making him think about that. Koji breaks down and says if he won’t kill him he’ll commit some ambiguous horrible atrocity to him and then we fade to Koji alone kinda implying that he either raped Izumi or killed him (Izumi is nowhere to be seen), then he cries tears of blood and says he can never achieve true happiness. Now no one can stop him, not even himself.

Again, what the fuck?

What does any of that mean? Did he let Izumi go? Did he rape him? Did he kill him? Is he now going to go on a rampage to kill Izumi because he left him?

This whole OVA is just weird, creepy and unpleasant. It’s definitely not romantic or all that interesting for that matter.

But of course it spawned two sequels because yaoi fangirls were really hard up for some fanservice back in 1989.

Sneak peek; I’ve already seen Bronze: Zetsuai Since 1989 and it is miles more melodramatic than this drivel, if you can believe that. Also, spoilers, in the sequel, Izumi’s fine, seemingly not raped or murdered, they’re kinda in a relationship and Koji is not hell-bent on killing Izumi or dying. So this whole ending seems pointless or retconned.

And don’t even get me started on the high school film project that is Bronze: Cathexis.

Art and Animation: Another addition I should’ve made to the Yaoi Trope Bingo card is pointy, long awkward art and terrible animation. I swear, Koji looks he spent his youth on the rack. His fingers are as long as strands of spaghetti, his eyes are like mail slots, his legs and ass don’t even look like they belong on the same body as his torso. It’s a mess. Izumi is only slightly better, and everyone else just looks lazily done.

Being a romance, this show already doesn’t have much movement, but even then the animation is obviously cheap, which pains me to say because this was done by Madhouse.

Music: Some of it’s alright, but for the most part it’s forgettable and bland. Which is weird because Koji’s a singer and actually sings some of his songs in the OVA.

Voice Acting: Japanese: Ranges from blah to melodramatic, but the latter is probably how they were directed.

Bottomline: Even if you’re hard up for yaoi, just skip this one. There is really nothing here for anyone; not in story, not in characters, not even in fanservice. It is unbelievably cheesy and overly dramatic, and the romance isn’t even so much a romance as a frightening obsession and I’m disgusted that this eventually becomes a legitimate coupling. Creepy, unhealthy relationships played off as ‘true love’ is, sadly, still a thing in romance titles even now, but it’s disappointing that these situations are especially common in yaoi and yuri. I think it’s getting better, but the process is very slow.

Additional Information and Notes: Zetsuai 1989 was based on a manga of the same name written by Minami Osaki. It was directed by Takuji Endo, who also directed three episodes of Paranoia Agent (?!) Phantom Quest Corp. and Stitch! The music was done by Kenji Kawai, and, wow, I think I might be stepping on toes calling the music here bland, because he has a rather impressive resume including the first two Ghost in the Shell movies, Ranma ½ and Fate/Stay Night….It was animated by Madhouse, and it’s never been licensed in the US.

Runtime: 45 Minutes

Year: 1992 (the manga came out in 1989)

Recommended Audience: Attempted rape, mentions of murder, moderate levels of blood, no nudity, the actual sexual activity is rather low; they barely kiss. 13+


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