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Manga: Kaze to Ki no Uta

"Gilbert Cocteau, you were the greatest flower to ever bloom in my life. In the faraway dreams of youth, you were a bright red flame, blazing so fiercely...You were the wind that stirred my branches. Can you hear the poem of the wind and trees? Can you hear the tumult of our youth? Oh, there must be others who so remember their own days of youth...."

It is 1880 at Lacombrade Academy, an all-boy's boarding school in France. Serge Battour is a cheerful and kind new student who is trying to fit in with the rest of the student body, despite the taboo of his Gypsy heritage, made obvious by his dark skin. However, his roommate Gilbert Cocteau- who will sleep with anyone if he can manipulate them to his advantage by doing so- is not helping the situation, especially when he makes it his personal goal to bring about Serge's downfall. The two boys may destroy each other or come closer together.

Kaze To Ki No Uta, also known as either "The Song of Wind and Trees" or "The Poem of Wind and Trees," is a 17-volume manga series by Keiko Takemiya that was written from 1976 to 1984. It was one of the first shoujo manga to focus on a homosexual relationship between boys and the first to have sex play a major role in the story; Takemiya, along with then-roommate and fellow mangaka Moto Hagio, is credited with kickstarting the shounen-ai genre (Takemiya's earlier work, "In the Sunroom" was the first manga to have shounen-ai elements). The series, though controversial, was able to win the prestigious Shogakukan Manga award for shojo in 1979, as well as now being regarded as a classic.

The series was also adapted into a 60-minute OVA that more or less summed up the first three volumes of the series, as well as revealing what happens at the end. The OVA was targeted towards those who have already read the manga, being quite fast-paced and skipping some story arcs.

This is a great series for those seeking a more unique take on the male/male genre, interesting characters, and endearing storyline. And when watching or reading, be sure to have some tissues ready.

Also has a character sheet, so please help out with the blurbs!

This series provides examples of:

  • The Ace: Serge is smart, athletic, good looking and, among other things, a musical prodigy and an excellent equestrian.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Sebastien. Serge and Gilbert were those when they were younger.
  • Anachronism Stew: Pascal refers to Serge as ‘Astro Boy’ in jest, and there is an Astro Boy puzzle (when the story is told) and a bottle with a label that reads, ‘Hello Mr. Kizakura, how are you?’ in transliterated Japanese (in the flashback) in the pub where the Flashback of the infamous Gilbert incident takes place. (Kizakura, a sake company, was founded in 1951.)
  • Anything That Moves: Gilbert, apparently. He only sleeps with one girl in his entire life, though, in contrast with the sheer number of male partners he's had (willingly or otherwise); also, it seems like he only slept with Camille in order to get back at Serge.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil:
    • Subverted with Rosemarine, who initially comes across as a self-important bully on an ego-trip (or even The Dragon) but becomes far more sympathetic as the series progresses and eventually proves to be one of Serge and Gilbert's greatest allies.
    • Completely averted with Serge and his father, who are two of the nicest guys you could ever hope to meet.
  • Art Evolution: Compare the art of the earlier volumes of the manga with the art of later volumes.
  • Attention Whore: Liliath is one of these.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Played straight in the OVA, but sometimes averted in the manga.
  • Beautiful All Along: Patricia, although she really wasn't all that unattractive to begin with.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Don't call someone 'dirty' when Serge can hear you.
    • Don’t give Gilbert any orders.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Serge can have quite a temper, and may God help you if you hit his abovementioned Berserk Button.
  • Bi the Way: Serge, probably. Jules, more clearly.
  • Big Fancy House: The chateau 'Cherubin de la Mer' and the Battour estate.
  • Bishie Sparkle: Gilbert has a pretty serious case of this.
  • Bishōnen: A good portion of the cast, but Gilbert and Rosemarine deserve special mention.
  • Blue Blood: Almost everyone.
  • Boarding School
  • Book Dumb:
    • Gilbert is easily more intelligent than most of the boys in his class, yet has little, if any, academic merit to speak of (although this may simply be because he just doesn't care).
    • Subverted with Pascal, who has proven to be more than capable of doing well in classes, but has failed three years in a row because he prefers to spend his time studying more useful/interesting things (like knitting) and because he wants to graduate with the very highest grade possible, as his dream is to raise a prodigy; he's willing to be held back a few years if it means he can build up the knowledge.
  • Book Ends: The titular 'poem' (see page quote) appears as both an opening and closing monologue.
  • Boys Love: Quite possibly the Trope Codifier, for manga, anyway. (A lot of the core BL tropes were put in place by Mari Mori's "aesthetic" novels of the 1960's.)
  • Break the Cutie: Gilbert, although he was already pretty broken to begin with. Serge, too, but to a lesser extent; he does go through some horrible things, but he also tends to be more resilient.
  • Brilliant but Lazy: This is Pascal in a nutshell.
  • Broken Bird: Gilbert could probably count as one of those rare male examples. For comparison, have a look at another male example, Souma in the manga series Sakura Gari, which has a lot of similarities in style with KazeKi, with both Souma and Gilbert having very similar backstories and behaviour (i.e. rape, trauma, death, and a lot of Break the Cutie).
  • Bury Your Gays/ Death by Sex: Poor Gilbert didn't have a chance, did he?
  • But I Would Really Enjoy It: Serge towards Patricia, it seems.
  • Canis Latinicus:
    • The text in Latin in chapter 3 is badly mangled, including nonexistent words and dialogue that has nothing to do with what the characters are allegedly saying. In the OVA, it sounds a little more like actual Latin, but the accent the characters speak with is very, very thick and almost impenetrable.
    • The Latin Rosmariné speaks in the mass is actually taken random Latin text and has nothing to do with what he is actually said to be saying. The hymn they sing, however, is real (although mangled) Latin, not taken from anywhere else (according to Google), except the "Agnus Dei" part, which is actually... from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Requiem.
  • Chick Magnet: Here's a challenge, find a female character who doesn't have a crush on Serge.
  • Childhood Friends: Rosemariné and Jules; Serge and Angeline.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Justified since it's set in a Catholic school in a predominately Catholic country.
  • Class Representative: Carl. His official title is "Student Director" but it amounts to the same thing.
  • Closet Key: Gilbert.
  • Comic Book Fantasy Casting: Gilbert's character design was based on actor Björn Andrésen (of Death in Venice fame).
  • Condescending Compassion: Gilbert interprets Serge’s initial kindness to him as this, and it really, really annoys him.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: Gilbert's endless musings on why he hates/loves the wind.
  • The Dandy: Rosemarine, at least in appearance.
  • Dark and Troubled Past / Rape as Backstory: Gilbert, Auguste, and Rosemarine, to different degrees. Gilbert got the worst of it.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Gilbert is a male example.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Koufuku no Hato, the one-shot epilogue to the story, focuses on Rosemarine and Jules.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The seniors were infatuated with Gilbert as soon as he arrived in the school... when he was 11.
  • Demoted to Extra: Sebastien, a reasonably significant character even early on in the manga, only appears twice in the OVA and doesn't do much. Patricia and Jules, who become important characters later on, don't appear at all.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Gilbert's drug addiction.
  • Dies Wide Open: Gilbert.
  • Dramatic Wind: Plenty of it, fittingly enough.
  • Driven to Suicide: Gilbert makes a few attempts at this, though none of them are successful. It says a lot when he first tried to drown himself when he was nine.
  • Drugs Are Bad
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Rosemarine. If it wasn't for the story taking place at an all-boys school, it's a near guarantee you'd mistake him for a woman.
    • Gilbert actually is mistaken for a girl a couple of times as a child. It's not a difficult mistake to make when he's 9-11 years old and wearing flimsy clothing.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • In Gilbert's first appearance, he's just finished sleeping with another boy for a written paper. He hits him when he tries touching him again, walks out of the room with his clothes undone, gets called by the principal, and sleeps with him too.
    • Subverted with Rosemariné, whose first appearance involves him taking grave personal offence at an act of bullying done by some seniors to a junior. It soon turns out that his moral code allows plenty of other instances of bullying, including his own physically abusive treatment of Gilbert.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: It seems like nearly every male character would be willing to have sex with Gilbert, if they haven't already done so.
  • Evil Uncle: Auguste or so we are initially led to believe.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Gilbert has no fewer than three of these over the course of the manga.
  • Expy: If you watch the full-length Toward the Terra anime, be sure to look out for Serge Starjon.
  • Fan Disservice: Most of the sexual content, since so much of it is either dubcon or outright rape.
  • Fanservice: There's this as well, of course. Some scenes between Serge and Gilbert certainly qualify.
  • Fan Service Pack: Serge matured rather nicely, didn't he?
  • Filler: The backstory arcs are far longer then they needed to be and are shown back-to-back, meaning the reader is taken away from the main story for six continuous volumes. As nice as the chapters centred around Serge's parents are, the story could probably progressed just fine without them.
  • First Kiss: Gilbert comments on being Serge's First Kiss. He isn't. That would be Angeline.
  • Flower Motifs: Because it's just not a 70s shoujo manga without them.
  • Foreshadowing
  • Freudian Excuse: Auguste is seriously messed up in the head no thanks to his much-older stepbrother.
  • Friendship Moment: About 90% of Jules and Gilbert's interactions, especially in earlier volumes.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Gilbert was like this as a small child; he was once seriously injured trying to save a fox from a group of hunting dogs.
  • Gayngst: Karl has a fair bit of this towards the beginning. Generally avoided with the protagonists, though (possibly because they're too busy having every other type of angst known to man)
  • The Glasses Gotta Go: Patricia. Serge speculates that she never really needed them in the first place.
  • Going Commando: Gilbert seems to do this near the start of the manga, once he's got clothes on at all.
  • Gonk: The character designs of some of the extras are...interesting.
  • Good People Have Good Sex
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Auguste has some rather nasty scarring on his torso from when his step-brother tried to burn him after discovering Auguste was sleeping with his wife. On the good side, Angeline has some noticable burn-scarring on her face following an incident where her hair caught alight on a fireplace when she was trying to save Serge from a punishment she thought he didn't deserve.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: School uniform aside, Gilbert's entire wardrobe seems to consist of this.
  • Hates Being Touched: Rosemarine, by everyone except Jules and later Serge. It's all Auguste's fault.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: Serge.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Rosemarine.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Pascal says that Gilbert’s ‘illness’ is incurable, and one might risk sharing it if one tries to help him.
  • High-Class Call Girl: Paiva.
  • Hot Blooded Sideburns: Leo.
  • Hot Gypsy Woman: Camille, Serge and Gilbert's neighbour from the last two volumes. Technically Paiva, although she doesn't really fit the overall character type.
  • Hypocrite: The treatment the student at the school give other students and the use of violence seems... erratic. They despise Gilbert and his affairs, but have no problem with Lilias, and while they protest vehemently Breaux’s violent advances on Gilbert, they are more than willing to lynch Serge for his presumed affair with Gilbert.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Some of Gilbert’s classmates refer to Gilbert as ‘the school’s cancer’ and talk about how he ‘defiles’ the school, while referring to the private study room as ‘the Turkish bathhouse’, the classes as ‘the wilderness’ and the club as ‘the public bathhouse’.
  • Ill Boy: Aslan.
  • Impoverished Patrician: Jules de Ferrier.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Serge's father died of tuberculosis.
  • Internal Monologue: Lots of these.
  • It Is Pronounced Tro PAY: Gilbert (jeel-behr), among others. To be expected since most, if not all, of the cast is French.
  • Japanese Ranguage:
    • Dren/Doren knocks out Serge with a bottle labelled ‘ETHEL’.
    • This is one of the reasons Pascal’s ‘Ringua Ratina’ in the OVA is almost unrecognisable as Latin.
  • Kick the Dog: Pretty much everything Auguste does, and then some.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Particularly later in the series once Serge and Gilbert have actually hooked up.
  • Kissing Cousins: Serge and Angeline.
  • Look Both Ways: Gilbert didn't.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Serge's desire to befriend Gilbert is at least partly due to his belief that they have this in common.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Rosemarine and Jules.
  • Love Bubbles
  • Love Martyr: Gilbert. He is clearly completely aware of the fact that Auguste goes out of his way to manipulate and hurt him, yet he is completely devoted to him anyway.
  • Love Hurts: So very, very much.
  • Lover Husbandry: what Auguste does to Gilbert as a child comes very close to this, manipulating, torturing and warping his mind so he'll be absolutely devoted to him, "his puppet" as he calls him. The only difference is that the "lover" part seems to have been initially unintentional, and that Auguste didn't wait until he was an adult... or wait until he was even 10 years old. There's a lot of Squick in their relationship, to say the least.
  • Lewd Lust, Chaste Sex: While makeout scenes are drawn in great detail, (consensual) sex is all either highly symbolic or fade-to-black. Interestingly, rape scenes tend to also be more explicit, presumably so they may thoroughly traumatize readers.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Auguste, Rosemarine, Gilbert. In that order.
  • Medium Awareness: A couple of blink-and-you'll-miss-it instances of characters grabbing onto/hiding behind their own speech bubbles.
  • Melodrama: It's a shoujo manga from the 1970s set in Europe in the 1880s. Were you really expecting anything else?
  • Money to Burn / Money to Throw Away: Gilbert pulls this at one point, and Jules momentarily mistakes him for Rosemariné.
  • The Mourning After
  • New Transfer Student: Serge.
  • Odd Friendship: Deeply religious, straight-laced, hard working honour student Karl and rebellious, eccentric, Brilliant but Lazy atheist Pascal. Serge strikes something of a balance between the two, but they were friends before they met him.
  • The Ojou: Angeline.
  • Ojou Ringlets: Rosemarine.
  • One-Gender School
  • Parental Abandonment: Serge's parents died within a year of one another when he was very young. Gilbert's moved away without him after his mother went a bit crazy and tried to kill him... when he was still an infant, no less.
  • Parental Incest/Villainous Incest: Gilbert and Auguste. Gilbert does not take this revelation well.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Gilbert.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Paiva is first seen in one of these.
  • Plenty of Blondes: All but about three of the female characters are blonde, and a rather large number of the males as well. Possibly related to the Phenotype Stereotype.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The OVA has a lot of classical music pieces in their soundtrack.
  • Purple Eyes: Rosemarine.
  • Questionable Consent: Most sex scenes involving Gilbert have this.
  • Really Gets Around: Gilbert. Clearly established on the first page.
  • Regal Ringlets: Angeline.
  • Race for Your Love
  • Rape and Switch: Gilbert and Auguste. The former was raped first by Bonnard and then by his own "uncle" when he was nine, and the latter was raped by his stepbrother at a young age.
  • Rape Leads To Insanity: Gilbert and Auguste, which is related to the Rape and Switch trope above. Needless to say, these incidents are the reason how the two guys became so screwed up, especially Gilbert.
  • Romani: Serge's mother Paiva and, by extension, Serge himself.
  • Rescue Sex: Jules and Gilbert.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Patricia.
  • School Uniforms are the New Black: Ususally justified by the setting, although not always (for example, characters are often shown in other clothes in the dorms, suggesting they're not mandatory outside of school hours, yet Serge and Gilbert still wore theirs for most of the summer vacation).
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Seemingly the only reason Gilbert hasn't been expelled despite the fact that he rarely goes to classes and engages in a lot of very un-catholic activities with other students.
  • Shout-Out
  • Single Issue Psychology:
    • Rosemariné would be a lot more stable if he hadn't been raped by Auguste.
    • Averted by Gilbert, for whom a lot of factors contributed to him being so screwed up.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Gilbert and Serge take this to ridiculous levels.
  • Slipping a Mickey: If Auguste offers you wine, drink it at your own risk.
  • Slut Shaming: Gilbert gets this from other students, making him a rare male victim. It also formed part of the discrimination against Serge's mother Paiva, which has lead to it becoming a Berserk Button for Serge himself.
  • Smoking Hot Sex: Serge does this at one point in what is probably the closest thing the series gets to full-on Fanservice.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Gilbert, arguably.
  • Something Else Also Rises: easy to miss, but some of those "random shôjo flower moments" actually read as this.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Is the school named Lacombrade or Laconblade? Meanwhile, the headaches that the characters' names cause are covered on the character sheet; Gilbert's about the only one whose name is spelt consistently.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Takemiya's earlier oneshot Natsu e no Tobira (The Door to Summer), in that they both revolve around 14-year-old boys at a French boarding school.
  • Spot of Tea: Tea seems to be involved in nearly all of Jules' scenes, and at one point he rambles about how much it means to him.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Serge's parents, and for that matter, Serge and Gilbert themselves.
  • Student Council President: Rosemarine seems to be an entire Absurdly Powerful Student Council in and of himself.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Gilbert invokes this with Carl on purpose to get him to leave him alone.
  • Sudden Downer Ending
  • Teen Genius: Jules has actually already graduated but sticks around to keep his friend Rosemarine company.
  • Teens Are Short
  • There Are No Therapists: Gilbert could desperately use one.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Michel, Pascal's younger half-brother.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Gilbert, and how. In fact, it wouldn't be too inaccurate to call him a male Broken Bird.
  • Turn Out Like His Father: Auguste Luke, I Am Your Father
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Serge, to a degree. Less so later on.
  • Will They or Won't They?: They do.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Serge gets this quite a few times, especially in the 16th volume.
  • When He Smiles: Gilbert, as Serge comments on very early on in chapter 4.
  • Whole Episode Flashback or, more accurately, six volume flashback, with three volumes devoted to Gilbert's childhood and three devoted to how Serge's parents met and his early life.
  • The X of Y
  • Yandere: Gilbert and Auguste, but especially the latter.

Junjou RomanticaYaoi GenreKawaii Akuma
Kasei YakyokuHistorical FictionKingdom
GuyverAnime of the 1980sKimagure Orange Road
Kaze HikaruMangaKedamono Damono

alternative title(s): Kaze To Ki No Uta
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