Best known for creating BDSM-filled tales in the bara genre, influential Japanese comic artist Gengoroh Tagame has recently moved on to a gentler brand of gay-themed manga. A prime example is My Brother’s Husband, which is about the relationship between divorced stay-at-home dad Yaichi, his daughter Kana and a Canadian chap named Mike Flanagan.
Flanagan, who married Yaichi’s estranged twin brother Ryoji, comes to Japan to meet Yaichi following Ryoji’s death. At first, Yaichi is keen to get rid of his brother-in-law, but Kana takes a shine to Mike and persuades her dad to let him stay. As the days pass, Yaichi’s hostility slowly melts away and he becomes more accepting of Mike, although he still has a problem accepting Mike’s sexuality and their cultural differences. Despite this, Yaichi makes an honest attempt to become more understanding towards gay people, finding himself standing up against homophobia and other forms of prejudice.
Winning awards both at home and in the West, My Brother’s Husband has the great virtue that it manages to get its message across with being preachy. Instead, we follow Yaichi as he slowly changes his bigoted attitude – usually thanks to his young daughter Kana, whose prejudice-free outlook enables her to say things that adults shy away from (sometimes to comically embarrassing effect). More famous for drawing hard-core gay porn, Gengoroh Tagame has succeeded in creating a moving, accessible story that deals with important issues with a light touch – and his musclebound men sure make a refreshing change from your standard yaoi bishonen! Reviewed by Ian Wolf
Credits: Gengoroh Tagame
Publisher: Pantheon Books
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £23.99 (hardback) / £11.99 (e-book)
Copyright: © 2014 Gengoroh Tagame