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Manga / Kizuna

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Kizuna: Bonds of Love is a yaoi manga written and illustrated by Kazuma Kodaka. It was serialized in Magazine Be x Boy from 1992 to 2008 and compiled into 11 volumes. It also spawned 3 OVAs.

The story centers on the relationship between Kei Enjouji, a Tall, Dark, and Snarky high school student, and Ranmaru Samejima, a Heir to the Dojo. Enjouji fell for Ranmaru almost at first sight when they were kids and he saw Ranmaru practicing his kendo moves, and started pursuing a relationship with him. Ranmaru is at first reluctant, but Enjouji perseveres and they become boyfriends anyway.

However, their relationship won't be an easy one... since after Enjouji's mother Hotaru dies, she leaves him a letter revealing his heritage. Which happens to be linked to a powerful Yakuza clan, whose leader Takeshi Sagano is Enjouji's long-lost father. Enjouji and Ranmaru attempt to keep up with their lives and go to college peacefully, but the Yakuza won't leave them alone, and especially not when Enjouji's half-brother Kai takes an interest in Ranmaru himself...

A spin-off series of the same named Gun and Heaven chapters were created, however, this time covering Roy and Jack's lives outside the main series after their reunion. There is also a prequel series called Hana to Ryuu, which is about Masanori Araki’s older brother Hitoshi and his relationship with Ryūji Kazama, the son of a dead yakuza boss.

Provides examples of:

  • Ambiguous Situation: Kai reveals to Tachibana that his ultimate endgame goal with his family’s organization is for it to shed its yakuza ties and become a 100% legitimate and legal business organization. But it’s not revealed if he will be successful with this or not.
    • Likewise, Tachibana is aware that drama and chaos are going to unfold once his father finds out that he’s in a relationship with Nakatani. Though Tachibana tells Kai that he plans to run away with Nakatani, it’s not revealed what ultimately happens.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Enjouji is good at these. Ranmaru far less so although he still has a stab at it once or twice.
  • Archnemesis Dad: Both Played for Laughs and Played for Drama regarding Kai’s relationship with his father, where most of their interactions with each other end in a screaming match. Sagano did not help matters by focusing his time on being a yakuza boss than a father, but the catalyst for their fractured relationship was when Sagano told Kai about Hotaru and Enjouji at the funeral of Kai’s mother. Combined with Sagano’s reaction to Kai coming out, their relationship remains cold and tense. Later Sagano tries to make amends and be a better father to Kai, but Kai reacts with annoyance to his efforts.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: any couple will get this at least once, and Ranmaru and Enjouji have half their relationship running on it.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: It's smartly dressed Yakuza and assassins. What do you think?
  • Berserk Button: if you injure Enjouji, do not be in the vicinity of Ranmaru with a stick-like object.
  • Big "NO!": Enjouji, when Ranmaru protects him from the people trying to kill him and gets hit instead.
  • Blemished Beauty: Masa is a very attractive man with a distinguishing scar on his face near his left eye. Unlike most in this trope however, Masa is not embarrassed by the scar and does nothing to hide it. As he had received the scar protecting Kai from a sword slash he sees his scar as a badge of honor.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Masa and Kai. Tachibana and Nakatani.
  • Bridal Carry: Enjouji carries Ranmaru back to bed this way while he was in his first stages of recovery from the accident in the third OVA and volume.
  • But Liquor Is Quicker: Enjouji, Ranmaru, and Masa are shown to be very flirtatious and affectionate with their significant others while drunk.
  • Butt-Monkey: If something funny or humiliating's gonna happen, Enjouji is likely to be on the receiving end. Unless we count the hit and run incident.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: lampshaded by the mangaka in volume 6 "Kizuna VI... the manga which has completely ignored the existence of women!!"
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Roy is practically incapable of not doing this. Even when there's no one else around! Oh yes, he knows what he's doing but when he misses being blown up by about two seconds could he not laugh???
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Enjouji's adopted one when he was a kid and it doesn't seem to be going away any time soon.
  • Cool Big Sis: Ranmaru's sister Yuki
    • And Rena. Er... kind of.
  • Consummate Professional: both in the Yakuza world, and that of professional killers. Roy tends to have issues with people who treat him like a rookie.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Having seen Roy go from someone who detested guns to someone eager to pick up a gun to kill the men who assaulted his friend, Jack left Roy initially because he felt their relationship held this dynamic. Emphasized during the first time they have sex, where Jack silently compares their lovemaking to him “corrupting an innocent angel” regarding Roy.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Ranmaru acts like this a bit about Enjouji, but it's nowhere near the serious extent to which Enjouji acts around Ranmaru. Apparently, it's In the Blood because Kai acts the same way around Masa. Then of course, there's Jack, who will kill you if you sleep with Roy. No, really. He will take a sniper rifle and put a bullet through your brain if you fuck his boyfriend.
    • During the Gun and Heaven series we learn Jack tails Roy around whenever he's suspicious that Roy might do something that could endanger him, which somehow includes taking multiple potshots at the guy that kisses Roy. It seems it's not the first time Jack has beat up another guy who's gotten close to his boyfriend.
  • Deliver Us from Evil: Hotaru, though she wasn't exactly a villain.
  • Determinator: Ranmaru. Kai also seems to learn this from him.
  • Dirty Old Man: What Roy literally calls Jack after Jack's jab how a virgin like Roy couldn't possibly keep up with him. They each prove the other right with the intense make-out session that followed ends with Jack getting up and telling a breathless Roy to start making dinner and Roy once again calling him a dirty old man.
  • The Dragon: Masanori Araki, to Takeshi Sagano. So much so that he's been handpicked as Takeshi's successor.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Ranmaru. Repeatedly, to the point where even his kendo club members tend to have a thing for him. Even guys trying to kill him seem to have enough time to remark on how hot he is. Although really, it's not as you could blame them.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: Roy (yet again), and Enouji, when the need arises. Both of them also tend to use Gallows Humor, none of which their partners find funny.
  • First-Name Basis: the principal couple, Enouji Kei (extroverted, casual) and Samejima Ranmaru (introverted, formal), normally call each other "Enjouji" and "Ran-chan". When Enjouji's half-brother Kai Sagano first rescues Samejima from a drugging and rape attempt and then essentially rapes him himself, Samejima in confusion and anguish calls him "Kei." Told about it later by Sagano, Enjouji realizes how badly Samejima was affected because "He only calls me Kei when he really needs me by his side."
  • Gayngst: Yakuza style, and HOW.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Kai has to slap Ranmaru to get him to pull himself together when he sees Enjyoji has been shot. Considering his Berserk Button and the fact that Kai left a sword in his vicinity, this may not have been the best idea.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: The envy Kai has towards Enjouji drives a good part of their conflict.
    • Ranmaru also gets terribly jealous and threatened when he thinks Enjouji might be cheating on him.
  • Heir to the Dojo: Ranmaru
  • Heroic Bastard: Kei Enjouji, who didn't know for a long time and was not thrilled when he learnt about it.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Ranmaru in the form of a Diving Save.
  • Hitman with a Heart: Jack has a soft spot for innocent kids... and Roy. Falls into The Atoner category in that he donates money to charities and orphanages as a way to atone for his career. He tends to be very much on the side of Never Hurt an Innocent. Roy, on the other hand is more of the persuasion that If The Innocent Was Stupid Enough To Get Involved, It's Their Own Damn Fault.
  • Hot-Blooded: Kai and Ranmaru.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Kai criticizes the relationship between his childhood friend Kumi and Kyousuke because of their age difference...never mind that there's a marginal age difference between Masa and himself.
    • More ironically Masa has the same reaction when he finds out.
  • Ignored Enemy: if the enemy isn't worth their attention neither the Yakuza nor the hitmen will give them a second thought. If it’s Roy, he'll probably continue on a conversation like they're not even there. Although he does that anyway.
  • Imaginary Love Triangle: Tachibana believes that he’s in a love triangle involving his older sister Ruriko and their family bodyguard, Nakatani. Where he is in love with Nakatani but he thinks Nakatani and Ruriko are in love with each other. As it turns out Ruriko and Nakatani are in love but not with each other — Ruriko is in love with her college professor and Nakatani is in love with Tachibana.
  • Intoxication Ensues: While recovering from getting his face sliced by a sword, Masa inadvertently gets high off of painkillers and starts making out with Kai. While Kai is receptive to him, Masa snapped out of it relatively quickly and had a My God, What Have I Done? moment and immediately put a stop to it.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Given the slightest provocation, Ranmaru will start worrying that he's a burden to Enjouji or his being with him is interfering with his ability to be happy, and will - somewhat stupidly - consequently try to distance himself or provide Enjouji with the opportunity to break up with him.
  • Last-Minute Hookup: Kai and Masa manage to narrowly avoid this trope by being technically together for a couple of volumes, but they finally had sex in literally the last 20 pages. Anyone want to know how many volumes were leading up to that point? Here's a hint: too goddamn many!
  • Loveable Rogue: Roy. Even Kai can't help but like him eventually - no matter how many times he threatens to move in on Masa. Enjouji also has a fair bit of this in him, particularly around his highschool years, but he never fully fits the trope as well as Roy does, and he outgrows it by the time he and Ranmaru are essentially married. Well... almost.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: When Masa’s face was cut by a sword protecting Kai, he did a complete No-Sell and threatened to kill the assailant not because of his injury but because the assailant had threatened Kai. Masa continued remaining calm while Kai panicked and cried, and even reassured Kai that everything would be okay while his face was gushing blood.
  • Match Maker Quest: In order to get out of an omiai, Masa stages a confrontation where his intended bride-to-be's straight-laced boyfriend is exposed to her angry father. When the man meekly stands up to Masa to defend his love, Masa immediately praises him and gives them his full blessing, thus forcing her father to do the same.
  • Missing Mom: Hotaru's death is in fact a huge plot point. We also learn that she used to be a geisha, became Takeshi's mistress later, and when she got pregnant with Enjouji she bailed out on the Yakuza environment to protect her baby.
  • Noble Demon: Jack, especially around Roy. The reason he initially leaves him is because he doesn't want him to follow in his footsteps to become a killer. Not that that helped any.
  • Non-Linear Story: No, you did not miss four books between chapter 1 and chapter 2. Yes, you are going to have to pay really close attention to things like uniforms, scars and hair-cuts if you want to try to figure out which stories and chapters go where in the overall storyline. No, the chapters that interrupt story arcs haven't been accidentally put in the wrong place. And yes, expect multiple character origins told after they've been introduced for a couple of volumes. For anyone who gets lost, Kei's long hair and Masa's scar are good temporal landmarks.
  • The One That Got Away: variations on this are all through the series. Even Ranmaru and Enjouji's relationship has traces of this. However, the only couple that play this without variation is Jack and Roy - followed by standard New Old Flame.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: you remember that chapter with the angels? Yeah. They have pretty wings though.
  • Over-the-Shoulder Carry: Enjouji carries a struggling Ranmaru this way to bring him inside Rena's hotel in the third OVA.
  • Parental Substitute: Masa practically raised Kai. Things get complicated when Kai develops a Bodyguard Crush in regards to him, and Masa is very conflicted due to his own feelings.
  • Professional Killer: Roy and J.B. The guns and kill-people-for-money thing gives it away.
  • Rape as Drama: Kai gets raped by one of Masanori's scorned lovers. Then we have the episode described in First-Name Basis. And in a flashback Roy’s friend Michelle becomes the victim of gang-rape, which is part of the catalyst that turns him towards the life of a professional killer.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Kei and Ranmaru respectively, especially in the beginning of their relationship, where Ranmaru was continuously cold and reserved while Kei was the one pursuing him with impassioned declarations of love.
  • The Resenter: Hard to image a Cloud Cuckoo Lander like Roy being this, but he does not in the least takes Jack running out on him well. Roy, almost as if just to defy Jack's wishes for him to have a normal life, became an assassin. They both still harbor feelings for one another, even after 8 years.
  • Retired Badass: a strange example in Ranmaru, who was forced to quit kendo after he was hit by the car trying to kill Enjouji. But that doesn't mean that if you piss him off enough he won't kick your ass into next week.
  • Rescue Romance: What truly set off Ranmaru and Enjouji's romance was Ranmaru's Diving Save for Enjouji's sake, which causes him a Game-Breaking Injury and keeps him away from kendo competitions.
    • It should be noted that although they already had a fully established and loving relationship beforehand, Ranmaru's injury completely changed the game and forced their relationship through the make-or-break hurdles.
  • Secret Legacy: Enjouji being the illegitimate son of a yakuza boss was a closely guarded secret for years, which Enjouji himself was unaware of. Enjouji learns the truth after his mother’s death, and not long after his legacy becomes public knowledge. It’s not long after that Enjouji finds a target on his own back.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Ranmaru and Kei's relationship has a lot of this, even though it's nearly always followed by Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other moments. That said, Enjouji can occasionally take it too far and take a swipe at Ranmaru through his insecurities about their relationship that actually hurts him - cue him regretting being a Jerkass and trying to make it up to him.
    • Invoked in volume 3 when Ranmaru tells Enjouji that it's okay for them to dump each other if they decide to marry women. Enjouji's response is to smack him across the face.
  • Spoiled Brat: Kai, at the beginning. He gets better.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Enjouji, Ranmaru, and Kai look very similar to their mothers. Masa as he has grown older looks more and more like his older brother Hitoshi.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: When Enjouji is kidnapped by a vengeful gang Kai and Ranmaru set off by themselves to save him, without Masa’s help. This results the pair being cornered, Ranmaru nearly committing murder and Masa being set up for Jack to snipe him. The only reason the Big Bad of the arc is taken down is because Kai tries to shield Masa with his own body and Jack refuses to take the shot because he didn’t want to risk killing Kai.
    • Roy gets this when he goes off to kill his friend Michelle’s rapists without Jack. Despite starting with the upper hand (while being outnumbered) he hesitates to follow through with killing them, which results in him being overwhelmed and nearly killed himself. It is only with Jack’s arrival that Roy gets out of the situation alive.
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky: Enjouji.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Roy. It fits in with his Casual Danger Dialogue compulsion.
  • Trauma Button: Kai and Masa unfortunately discover that Kai has this when Masa playfully holds his hands down during intimacy. It triggers Kai’s memories of being raped, which results in a panic attack severe enough that Kai stops breathing and Masa has to perform CPR on him.
  • Tsundere: Ranmaru. Holy shit, Ranmaru. He's - generally - a type B though: nice and kind, but EXPLODES with the force of a bomb when he gets pissed.
    • Kai on the other hand is a type A through and through... unfortunately for Masa.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Ranmaru slaps Kai and verbally beats him when he insults Enjouji way too much for his liking.
    • Masa gives Kai tranquil version of this after Kai defies him to run off and recklessly rescue Enjouji by himself.
  • Wedding Ring Removal: On a few occasions, both Kei and Ranmaru have to pocket their engagement ring to avoid awkward questions that would give their relationship away.
  • Yakuza: Very involved in the storyline, due to Enjouji being the illegitimate son of a Yakuza boss.
    • Yakuza Princess: Genderflipped with Enjouji's half-brother Kai Sagano. And possibly deconstructed, since being this screwed him up pretty bad.
  • Yandere: Shinji, one of Masa’s exes, does not take Masa ending their relationship well at all. Not only does he become insanely jealous of his sister Ayako (who was also one of Masa’s exes), but he becomes convinced that Kai had “stolen” Masa from him. This all culminates with Shinji murdering Ayako and then kidnapping and raping Kai and ultimately ends with Shinji dead at Masa’s hands.