Monday, June 19, 2006

Loveless, v. 1

by Yun Kouga
Published in the U.S. by Tokyopop

Slugline: A troubled young boy finds out that a secret world of magic duels led to his older brother's murder.

This title has virtually every aspect of a success: modern-world magic, dueling, mysterious sexy guys, lots of yaoi fanfic fodder, and, most importantly, kitty ears.

Oddly, it's the kitty ears that contribute to the more interesting side of the story. The kitty ears (and tail) are a mark of sexual innocence, apparently, so even the boys wear their purity openly.

Our young hero, Ritsuka, has his ears but everything else about him is damaged goods. His mother is abusive, both physically and mentally. His older brother was gruesomely murdered. He's emotionally detached and may be developing a set of multiple personalities -- a self-defense mechanism against severe abuse.

And then Soubi, his brother's dueling partner, appears and spouts off such an emotionally manipulative speech that it set off my sexual-abuser-alarms, and I'm not even a parent.

Between that and the fact that dueling apparently involves bondage gear, the entire story takes on tones of a metaphor for childhood sexual abuse.

I wonder if that's the writer's intention.

Either way, I guarantee you'll see more boys wearing kitty ears at your next anime convention.

UPDATED!: Series Update for Loveless here.

- Miranda

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