Shin

Gerard and Jacques Vol. 1

Author: Yoshinaga Fumi
Genre: Yaoi Romance Drama Comedy
Status: Series (2 volumes)
Published Outside Japan: Yes
Published by: Blu
Release Date: September ’06
Age Appropriateness: 18+

Presented by: Beautiful Soup [www.possiblity-soup.net]

Review

The twelfth Head of the De Saint-Jacques Family, Lord Jacques Philippe De Saint Jacques–we’ll call him Jacques, has found himself in a sticky situation. His father has sold him to prostitution house to pay of debts. This might surprise you but this sort of stuff was common in 18th century France, the place where our story takes place. Jacques is still in shock and doesn’t know what to make of the situation he’s in. It really is simple really. His dad took in a lot of debt and decided to sell his son to a brottle that specializes in selling young men to perform sexual favors to old 18th century men that wore wigs–he’s called a rent boy. What poor Jacques, the rent-boy, doesn’t know is that his “I don’t belong here” is even more of a turn on to the men at the brottle.

This is where Jacques meets Gerard. Gerard is apparently well known at the brottle and gets first pickings at the big emerald eye, ink-black hair and snowy skin, Jacques. Gerard plans to make good use of the rent boy, he expects everything to go as usual when he comes here–little pervert. However Jacques isn’t about to just hand himself over to some perverted man. They begin to argue about who is worse: Gerard for being a man that buys men’s bodies or Jacques an child of an aristocrat that sold his son to keep up appearances. Gerard tells Jacques that he had better be grateful, he (Jacques) is a high class prostitute that gets food and stays in a nice room and that there other smaller than him who have to sell their bodies for less. He basically tells him he has to shut up and behave like a good rent boy, but already you can see that there is something there.

Gerard plays with Jacques knowing that this was his first time, he was adamant about breaking Jacques into the rent boy attitude. When Gerard was finished using Jacques, Jacques swore that he would never forgive. Gerard plays with Jacques some more by offering to buy him out of the brottle and make him work for his freedom. Jacques said he would rather stay there and be used than to be in the company of Gerard any longer. Gerard leaves the brottle without the young aristocrat but don’t think for the moment it would be last time they would meet.

Sometime later one of Gerard servant was sent to find a replacement for one of the workers that left. In a twist that could only be called perfect irony Gerard’s servant seemed to have found a young lad that said he would do anything and doesn’t care about wages. It’s Jacques! When they meet of course they again lash out at each other. Jacques calling Gerard a pervert. Gerard being surprised to run into his rent boy again. It seems things worked out for Gerard after all.

As time passes Jacques is becoming more accustomed to his life as a servant. He’s doing an okay job. What Jacques finds surprising is how well Gerard treats his servants: letting them eat sponge cake and using his private library for example. Jacques can’t seem to make any since why he would be so nice. One time Jacques decides to repay Gerard by giving him the thing he believes Gerard wants the most. Gerard only laughs at says it plainly that Jacques is his servant not his rent boy (anymore), that plus the fact that he’s uncircumcised and he (Gerard) doesn’t want to see it.

Jacques’ really beginning to like working for Gerard. He often hurries up with work to go into the library and read. One day Jacques walks in on Gerard and another rent boy. While Gerard is fine with it, Jacques storms out in a fury—I think he’s a bit jealous. Of course Gerard acts as if nothing happened and continues on with his rent boy. However after cooling down Jacques takes in and absorbs everything in a mature manner. He realizes that Gerard is master and he can do whatever he pleases. I’m sure that just gets on Gerard nerves. You can read it and see that he wanted Jacques to act jealous and make it fit, but all Jacques said was “be gentle with him.” It seems Gerard has met his match.

The years pass by and Jacques grows up in the Gerard household, a loyal servant to his master Monseir Anglade Gerard.

Things get a little awkward when Jacques has to deliver a letter to Gerard. The only thing is Gerard is at the same brottle where he first met Jacques three years ago. Strangely enough the owner of the inn remembers Jacques and offers him a rent boy on a special account. The brottle seems to be busy to that night so Jacques gets the number two boy, Micheal. Micheal is apparently and expert at what he does, Jacques however is not. Poor Jacques faints from exposure I guess. Micheal however has a reputation to uphold and starts working on Jacques even though he passed out. It’s really funny to read. What’s even funnier is when he Jacques screams for Gerard to help him and Gerard comes and starts to give Micheal advice on how to get Jacques to “unload”. I was laughing out loud on the train while I read that it’s really is too funny. What happens next is also super funny, it’s when Gerard teaches Jacques how to masterbate. It’s something you have to read to understand.

Now this is where the story drifts off into a the past into a flashback that last two chapters. It’s about Gerard wife, who had died recently. It’s here were we learn about Gerard’s past and how he got the scar on his face. It’s by far the most dramatic part of the series and worthy of it’s own review since it has nothing to do with the present Gerard (he was straight before) and Jacques, so if you are interested in reading about it click here for the review of chapters 5 and 6 of volume one, That Noble Women.

That’s the end of volume one Gerard and Jacques continue their living arrangements denying the fact that they are madly in love with other, I wonder how long it can last. Only Volume 2 will tell.

Art

The artwork is very influenced by the environment in which the story takes place. Everything from the clothing and mannerisms of the characters is like something from a history book. The characters are very individualized and have their personalities written on their faces. Jacques always has that boyish charm, even when he gets older. Gerard has that smirk on his face at all times and at the same time can keep his emotion inside except when he’s making fun of Jacques.

It being the 18th century, a world of wigs and aristocrats there had to be a good amount of detail to show that. Which there is! It’s in a limited about but I think anymore and it would have been over done. At first glance the artwork wasn’t like the stuff I would usually see. It almost borders that of The Demon Doreon. However after getting into the story and getting a greater understanding of the situation the artwork turned out to be a perfect match to the story.

Opinion

I hadn’t read a complete yaoi manga in a long time, then came Gerard and Jacques, and I feel in love. After a long while of just reading little short stories or doujinshi that mostly revolved around sex coming back to a series (ah I finally get to say that word “series” after so long) reminded me why I feel in love with this series. You might be surprised but it isn’t about the hot man-on-man sex but the story and relationship. It reminded of my first yaoi manga “Only the Ring Finger Knows” and how I was just dying for more at the end.

I nearly passed up this manga because at first glance the artwork work didn’t catch my fancy but it was on the long train ride home when I had nothing to do that I opened up the folder on my computer and said “what the heck”. After the forth chapter I was hooked. It was a fascinating story and it had actual content. There were a few sex scenes but they were scattered about. Eventually I reached a point where seeing those two make out didn’t matter but just the what happened in the story.

I think the story appeal lays a lot on the characters. Both Jacques and Gerard are so destined for each other but their personalities almost make them want to kill each other. Gerard is your “I know you like me but I’ll still have sex with the peasant boy in front you” and Jacques is like the “You bastard I hate you but…” type. They are perfect for each other.

The way the story progresses is also very awesome, every turn you learn something more about both of them and the story becomes more and more complex. Ah and character development, that’s something I haven’t seen much of in yaoi as of late. The one character that changes the most is Jacques. He slowly moves from this nobility class individual to a servant type to Jacques lover. It’s so awesome how both of them can’t admit that they like each other but it’s so obvious.

I was really glad to see that the story wasn’t over dramatized but moved a steady paste and things unfolded in a proper manner.

It’s hard to say exactly what type of fan this manga would best be fitted for. It appeals to all. There is a good amount of sex; there is also an amazing story that develops in a series of twist, turns and surprises. It was really one of the most enjoyable yaoi mangas that I downloaded. I hope one day I will have the opportunity to grace Gerard and Jacques on my bookshelf if it is published in the US.

Score
9.5/10

By Cherubim

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