Friday, February 16, 2018

Manga Series Review: Finder Deluxe Editions, Vols. 1-5

I've been going back and forth on how I'm going to do these manga series reviews. I've toyed with doing a similar post to our Read This F@!%ing Book posts or to do a series of Really Short Reviews. For now, I've decided to go the Really Short Reviews route with a short manga primer before hand.

So let's talk about m/m romance manga. These manga are frequently called Boys Love and fall into two main categories: yaoi and shounen ai. Shounen Ai is the non-explicit m/m romance manga and Yaoi is the explicit version. Both of these manga genres are aimed towards women while Bara is the mange genre that is targeted towards gay males.

The series I'm reviewing today falls into the Yaoi category. Something you need to keep in mind about Yaoi is that it perpetuates a problematic trope. That trope being that of non-consensual sex or sex with dubious consent. Way too many of the romances in this genre start off with rape. If that bothers you, Yaoi is not for you.

So let's talk a bit about each volume. My reviews aren't going to be long and will just be a few of my thoughts about them. I will be honest. The Finder series does use that non-con sex trope. I know it's problematic but I can't help but love it a lot though.


Finder Deluxe Edition: Target in Sight, Vol. 1
(Finder Deluxe Edition #1)
Ayano Yamane
Release: June 13, 2017
Goodreads Amazon
Pain and pleasure collide when a sophisticated underworld boss crosses paths with a naive photographer hell-bent on bringing him down!

This deluxe edition includes never-before-released material as well as a double-sided color insert and special cover treatment! Photographer Takaba Akihito takes on a risky assignment trying to document the illegal activities of the Japanese underworld. When he captures its leader—the handsome, enigmatic Asami Ryuichi—in the crosshairs of his viewfinder, Takaba’s world is changed forever.

Freelance photographer Akihito Takaba is captured by the very subject he’s been stalking in his viewfinder—the handsome and enigmatic crime lord Asami Ryuichi! The older man ravages him, both body and mind. Does this mean the end for the naive photographer, or will he live to shoot another day?

Review:
This whole volume sets up the initial meeting between our two love interests. It's the story of young photographer who goes looking for a scoop and becomes entangled with a brutal and kinky Yakuza boss and all the problems that comes with this.

I love Takaba Akihito and how determined he is! As much as I like him, he does make some stupid decisions. I've reread this volume every time but every time I'm struck about how mysterious and cruel Asami Ryuichi is and how much I want to know more about him. 

This volume was a good start to the series.

   1/2
  3.5 / 5 Stars



Finder Deluxe Edition: Caught in a Cage, Vol. 2
(Finder Deluxe Edition #2)
Ayano Yamane
Release: August 8, 2017
Pain and pleasure collide when a sophisticated underworld boss crosses paths with a naive photographer hell-bent on bringing him down!

This deluxe edition includes never-before-released material as well as a double-sided color insert and special cover treatment! Photographer Takaba Akihito takes on a risky assignment trying to document the illegal activities of the Japanese underworld. When he captures its leader—the handsome, enigmatic Asami Ryuichi—in the crosshairs of his viewfinder, Takaba’s world is changed forever.

Impulsive freelance photographer Akihito Takaba isn’t one to back down from a challenge. Undeterred by the ravaging his body took at the hands of crime lord Asami Ryuichi, Akihito stakes out the handsome crime boss’s club hoping to get the information he needs to take him down. Meanwhile, rival mafioso Fei Long returns to Hong Kong after his run-in with Asami and reminisces about their time together seven years earlier. What could the future possibly hold for this very deadly love triangle?

Review:
This volume is all about furthering the tension between Asami and Akihito. There's a stake out at Asami's club and the introduction of a character who is going to be a big part of the series later. Fei Long is an interesting yet brutal addition and we get to see more of his back story in the later part of this volume. The world is getting bigger and this manga is getting more and more interesting.

   1/2
  3.5 / 5 Stars



Finder Deluxe Edition: On One Wing, Vol. 3
(Finder Deluxe Edition #3)
Ayano Yamane
Release: October 10, 2017
Pain and pleasure collide when a sophisticated underworld boss crosses paths with a naive photographer hell-bent on bringing him down!

This deluxe edition includes never-before-released material as well as a double-sided color insert and special cover treatment! In Finder, Photographer Takaba Akihito takes on a risky assignment trying to document the illegal activities of the Japanese underworld. When he captures its leader—the handsome, enigmatic Asami Ryuichi—in the crosshairs of his viewfinder, Takaba’s world is changed forever.

Freelance photographer Akihito Takaba has something Fei Long wants, and the crime boss will stop at nothing to get it, including kidnapping the young photographer’s friends! Akihito turns to the only person he can think of for help, Fei Long’s former lover and current rival Asami Ryuichi. But when Asami’s old flame meets his new replacement, sparks fly!

Review:
This volume sees the return of Fei Long and things get really interesting as he targets Akihito for something. Akihito's friends get kidnapped and he becomes the pawn in the game between Asami and Fei Long as he tries to get them back. Things happen and through his reckless behavior Akihito gets himself in the worst trouble he's been in yet. The drama ramps up in this volume and I am here for it!

   
  4 / 5 Stars



Finder Deluxe Edition: In Captivity, Vol. 4
(Finder Deluxe Edition #4)
Ayano Yamane
Release: December 12, 2017
Pain and pleasure collide when a sophisticated underworld boss crosses paths with a naive photographer hell-bent on bringing him down!

This deluxe edition includes never-before-released material as well as a double-sided color insert and special cover treatment! Photographer Takaba Akihito takes on a risky assignment trying to document the illegal activities of the Japanese underworld. When he captures its leader—the handsome, enigmatic Asami Ryuichi—in the crosshairs of his viewfinder, Takaba’s world is changed forever.

Impetuous photographer Akihito Takaba finds himself in trouble again! After pursuing crime boss Fei Long, he’s captured and spirited away to Hong Kong, but not before Asami takes a few bullets during a failed rescue attempt. Now all the despondent Akihito can think of is whether or not his lover is alive, and if so, are Asami’s feelings strong enough to attempt yet another rescue?

Review:
In Capitivy is the main meat of the Hong Kong arc and it is full of pain, drama, and tension. Asami and Fei Long are injured and Akihito has been kidnapped by the Baishe triad. This chapter is much darker than the previous ones but there's a lot of action and plot advancement. There's also quite a bit of non-consensual sex.

This volume was the most gripping of the series so far in my opinion but it ends on a cliffhanger that just about killed me when I first read it in its first English translation. Things don't go as planned but it acts as a killer set up for the next volume. What I loved the most about this one is that we finally FINALLY get some indication of Asami's feelings and I am here for it! It's a problematic relationship but I can't help but ship it.

   
  4 / 5 Stars



Finder Deluxe Edition: The Naked Truth, Vol. 5
(Finder Deluxe Edition #5)
Ayano Yamane
Release: February 13, 2017
Pain and pleasure collide when a sophisticated underworld boss crosses paths with a naive photographer hell-bent on bringing him down!

This deluxe edition includes never-before-released material as well as a double-sided color insert and special cover treatment! Photographer Takaba Akihito takes on a risky assignment trying to document the illegal activities of the Japanese underworld. When he captures its leader—the handsome, enigmatic Asami Ryuichi—in the crosshairs of his viewfinder, Takaba’s world is changed forever.

Crime boss Ryuichi Asami puts everything on the line to save his lover, Akihito Takaba, from the hands of his enemy. Unfortunately for them, Fei Long has grown quite fond of his captive. Meanwhile, Russian mafioso Mikhail Arbatov takes advantage of the situation to steal something precious. When three of the underworld’s biggest crime bosses clash, will Akihito be the one caught in the cross fire?

Review:
This volume marks the end of the Hong Kong and it was an explosive conclusion to that arc! I could not put this book down! It is action-packed with violence, intrigue, and sexual tension in spades! Asami’s spy has been discovered. The Russian Mafia has come on the scene and asserts their power by abducting Akihito from Fei Long. Asami's plan goes pear-shaped and he proves just how far he is willing to go to get Akihito back. The characters have reached a new level. Now, they all feel three-dimensional and very real. We get the full story from so many POVs and I love it!

But my most favorite thing about this volume though? I am here for all of the Asami and Akihito page time. Asami gets Akihito back about halfway through and we get to see how their relationship has change since they've been apart and how they have grown together. The second half was tender, revealing, and really quite steamy!

Overall, this volume is the best of the series so far! And I can't wait to see what happens now that Asami and Akihito are back in Japan. Everything was wrapped so well in this volume that I have no idea what's going to happen next!

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss.

    1/2
  4.5 / 5 Stars

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