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Manga / Bi no Kyoujin

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Bi no Kyoujin (媚の凶刃) is an explicit Boys' Love manga written and drawn by Ike Reibun from 2012 to 2016. It is a 5 volumes story composed of the main trilogy and its prequel Bi no Isu and a collection of side-stories named X-side.

Nariaki Kabu is the heir to his clan and handles confidently his job as a Yakuza, engaging in high-profile drug deals, assassinations, prostitution, gambling money and all kinds of other illicit activities. During a punitive expedition, he comes across a young delinquent named You Nirasawa, who managed to fool his men of their money but ended up captured and tortured. As Nirasawa demonstrates uncanny skills with drug-dealing and smuggling, Kabu becomes more and more interested in the defiant young man and patches him up, grooming him into his personal Battle Butler and second-in-command. Quickly, the relationship turns intimate as Nirasawa becomes completely devoted to Kabu who feels a strange attraction to his underling that he doesn't quite explain himself. But can such a relationship exist in a setting where love is but a dangerous luxury, especially between two men?

The series is Plot With Porn and while it doesn't skimp on explicit sex scenes, unusually for a Yaoi series, it develops quite some serious topics aside from the protagonists' relationship (such as broken homes, filial duties, the highly unstable nature of organized crime in Japan, the China/Japan rivalry...). And quite unlike similar series such as the Finder Series and Okane ga Nai, it is one of the very few numbers to expose the problem that an actual gay relationship would pose in the Yakuza society.

The series has been released stateside and in Europe in 2018, with Smoke as its last volume, along with X-side.

Tropes present in the series:

  • Arch-Enemy: Xiao Chen, a Chinese triad leader, is the main antagonist and a very nasty one at that.
  • Battle Butler: Nirasawa's position to Kabu.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: You is devoted to Kabu because he's been the only one to treat him so kindly.
  • Bequeathed Power: The finale instates Nariaki as the new head of clan.
  • Bumbling Dad: Averted. Nariaki's father is anything but. And while he's not exactly abusive, his apparent good nature is just an appearance, despite the fact that he would like a better relationship with his only son, now that he's getting old.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Subverted. Kabu tries to break Nirasawa this way when they first cross paths but Nirasawa's unwillingness to submit eventually entices Kabu.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Despite his boyish looks, Nirasawa has a lot of inner monologues about how much he despises Kabu's numerous mistresses and how much he wants to kill them.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: It's a given in a criminal world but the way Kabu slays Xiao Chen is particularly nasty. It's also stated that Kabu's father died in a similarly undignified way in Smoke, courtesy of Xiao Chen.
  • Defiant Captive: Kabu's mother remains very strongwilled against Xiao Chen when he has her in his grasp.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The trials that both Nirasawa and Kabu have to go through to be able to remain together is quite unusual for the genre. And the finale still implies that both lovers will still need to hold on to each other for a very long time, due to the nature of Kabu's function as head of clan and the milieu him and Nirasawa navigate in.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Kabu is very fond of his mother. And, even though he hates to admit it, it's hinted several times that he actually loves his father just as much but can't forgive him for making his mistress the clan's "Ane" (regular title for a samurai leader's consort).
  • Explicit Content: Despite the very explicit sex scenes between the two protagonists, the series features a lot of action, mature themes and other elements that are quite rare to find in the genre.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: See above. All kinds of likewise unsavoury deaths occur along the story.
  • Feel No Pain: Nirasawa often mentions that his abused childhood and his criminal background have damaged him greatly and he always feels like their is a membrane between his skin and the rest of the world. The fact that he could feel pain and pleasure again thanks to his relationship with Kabu is a constant theme throughout the series.
  • Gayngster: Nirasawa is and is rather masculine and stoic about it.
  • Gold Digger: Kabu's stepmother is heavily implied to be this.
  • Heroic Build: Kabu is massively muscled which isn't that surprising given his line of work.
  • Hitman with a Heart: Kabu is actually a very kind man behind closed doors, but it's something he really doesn't want anyone to know. And that no one, save Nirasawa of course (and maybe his father), can know about.
  • Hot Springs Episode: A side-story includes a honeymoon-like trip that Kabu offered Nirasawa so they could spend time together before the instatement ceremony. Nirasawa even states that Kabu behaves unbelievably clingy during that time and is constantly touching him.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Nirasawa is the only man Kabu ever felt sexual desire for.
  • I Love You Because I Can't Control You: Kabu is obsessed with Nirasawa mainly because Nirasawa doesn't submit easily outside of bed. And that excites Kabu more than he cares to admit.
  • It's Personal: The whole reason why Xiao Chen is after Kabu's clan is because he holds them responsible for his parents' murder.
  • I Want Grandkids: One of the main reasons why Kabu's relationship with Nirasawa is problematic to Kabu's family. X-side explores this aspect of Kabu and Nirasawa's relationship, along with other problems it might pose outside of the absence of heir.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Kouki to Nirasawa. Kouki has deep feelings for You but doesn't act much on them since he knows that You doesn't love him back. Quite unusual for the genre, Kouki accepts the situation and agrees to move on. X-side explores further on the nature of his relationship to Nirasawa and hints that he just might leave the country altogether.
  • Killed Offscreen: Nariaki's stepmother is stated as having been killed along with her consort during Xiao Chen's invasion of their home.
  • Lovable Rogue: Nirasawa is more this than a despicable criminal, given his upstanding nature and the usual code of honour that Yakuzas must abide by.
  • The Missus and the Ex: Kabu's father's wife is a young and voluptuous woman that Kabu hates, whereas his older, wiser and more modest mother still lurks around and is Back for the Finale.
  • The Mistress: Kabu's dad says just as much to Nirasawa, stating quite bluntly that the only function he could possibly hold towards Kabu - outside of his Number Two and Battle Butler status - is being "the other woman". Kabu will have to marry a woman sooner or later as the clan needs heirs and an ane and Nirasawa's opinion in the matter is irrelevant since his loyalty must be to the clan's interests, not to his own feelings. You is well aware of this and agrees that it is his only tenable place indeed.
  • Number Two: What Nirasawa ends up as to Nariaki.
  • Open-Minded Parent: Surprisingly, Kabu's father is this to an extent. He doesn't seem to care that much about the fact that his son is dating another man, nor does he stops him from doing so but he remains very clear that, as the clan's heir, Kabu will have to marry and have kids sooner or later and he even directly tells Nirasawa that he will have to put up with that fact if he wishes to remain by Kabu's side. See above.
  • Orphan's Ordeal: Nirasawa is heavily implied to have been deprived of a family as a child.
  • Passing the Torch: A huge point of contention between Nariaki and his dad. Given that he's supposed to be the next head of clan, Kabu being involved with another man isn't something that would be accepted by the Yakuza society, nor would it bode well with the need for an heir when Kabu hismelf grows older.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Kouki, Nirasawa's long-time sidekick and good friend, is clearly described as having feelings for Nirasawa, or at least intense lust.
  • Retired Badass: What Nariaki's father wishes to be, since Kabu is supposed to assume leadership of the clan.
  • Scars Are Forever: Nirasawa sports four distinctive cigarette burns on his left hand inflicted by Kabu during the interrogation session they first met in. His resistance to this pain is what piqued Kabu's interest in him.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: As is expected from Yakuzas, most of the men dress in business suits.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Kabu's dad especially.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Zigzagged. While many side characters, be they subordinates or relatives, say that the couple that Kabu and Nirasawa form will hardly sit well with Yakuza society, nobody really stops them from being together. But the necessity for Kabu to marry a woman for protocol and heirs is an inevitable wedge between them that Nirasawa has a hard time accepting, even though he knows there's no way around this.
  • Straight Gay: Kouki is clearly shown as being attracted to Nirasawa. And while he's more upbeat and cheerful, he's no Keet and is just as masculine as Nirasawa.
  • Subordinate Excuse: Even though Kabu is clearly the domineering type, even outside the bedroom, Nirasawa remains staunchly devoted to him because he's in love with him.
  • Taking the Bullet: In Smoke, Nirasawa shields Kabu from a devastating blow from Xiao Chen. Also happens once when Nariaki's stepmother shielded Nariaki's dad from a shooting. She survived though.
  • Tattooed Crook: Nariaki sports the usual dragon tattoo assigned to criminals in Japanese culture.
  • The Triads and the Tongs: Mentioned and invoked several times throughout the story as the force behind Xiao Chen. Subverted later on, since Xiao Chen uses their power to further his own agenda.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Downplayed with Kabu's stepmother. There is clearly animosity coming from Nariaki towards her (he goes as far as calling her a whore in front of his father), yet she still agrees to help with the makeover of Nirasawa upon his instatement as a new member of Kabu's group.
  • Yakuza: The whole premises of the story.
  • Yellow Peril: Xiao Chen being Chinese is often brought up as an extra reason why he's the enemy. Subverted in the last volume where it is revealed that he's no Chinese man but a Japanese who was sent to China, hence his strange accen when he speaks Chinese.
  • You Killed My Father: The driving force of the last volume.