Bond of Dreams, Bond of Love, Volume 3

Bond of Dreams, Bond of Love, Volume 3Creator: Yaya Sakuragi
U.S. publisher: Viz Media
ISBN: 9781421549781
Released: February 2013
Original release: 2010

Yaya Sakuragi has had several of her boys’ love manga released in English. Bond of Dreams, Bond of Love was the second of her series to be licensed. Bond of Dreams, Bond of Love is loosely connected to her earlier series Tea for Two. Reading Tea for Two isn’t at all necessary to understand Bond of Dreams, Bond of Love, but it does provide more details about one of the character’s back stories. Sakuragi was actually my introduction to yaoi and boys’ love manga and I continue to be very fond of her work. I like her particular sense of humor and lanky character designs. Bond of Dreams, Bond of Love isn’t my favorite of her works, but I’m still largely enjoying the manga; it’s a rather goofy series. The third volume of Bond of Dreams, Bond of Love was originally published in Japan in 2010. The English-language edition was released in 2013 by Sublime Manga, the boys’ love imprint associated with Viz Media.

There are some big changes occurring in Ao’s life. One of the biggest is that he might be moving out of his grandmother’s place and transferring schools in order to live with his mother and his twin brother Aka. Ao’s not too keen on the idea, especially since it would mean he would see Ryomei less, but more than one person has encouraged him to make the move, believing it to be in his best interest. Even though Ao’s life has been thrown into turmoil his preoccupation with Ryomei is still foremost on his mind. He somehow even manages to convince the older man to go on a date with him, though it doesn’t exactly turn out how either of them expected it would. As for Ryomei, he continues to be somewhat baffled by and conflicted over Ao’s advances. He’ trying to work out just what his feelings really are for the younger man, but it hasn’t been an easy process. And with Ao potentially moving away, Ryomei had better figure it out sooner rather than later.

Bond of Dreams, Bond of Love started with a wet dream (Ao’s, to be specific) and dreams and daydreams have continued to be a recurring element in the series. But now with the third volume, Ryomei has to deal with them, too. It’s a nice way to tie the narrative together and show the parallels between Ryomei and Ao’s feelings as the develop. Another way that Sakuragi show these parallels is through Ryomei and Ao’s not-quite-date, which is handled exceptionally well in the manga. Though the two of them are on the same outing they are experience it very differently. As a reader it’s interesting to be able to simultaneously see and compare their thoughts and reactions while they themselves are completely unaware of how the other person is interpreting the events. It’s a situation in which the lack of communication is completely believable. Both Ao and Ryomei are holding back, but for different reasons—Ao is worried about scaring Ryomei off while Ryomei is understandably concerned about his changing feelings for Ao.

For me, Bond of Dreams, Bond of Love works best as a comedy and shouldn’t be taken too seriously, which is not to say there aren’t some genuinely touching and occasionally bittersweet moments. However, the series excels in its humor and reaction shots. In general the characters’ faces are all very expressive and dynamic, but Ryomei, who tries so hard to be serious and reserved, has some of the best expressions. He has become hyper-aware of how he interacts with Ao and it shows. Despite the focus of Bond of Dreams, Bond of Love being on Ao and Ryomei, the series actually has a fairly large cast of secondary characters who all have their roles to play, too. This includes a fair number of important female characters, which can be a rarity in boys’ love manga. However, it’s Ao’s best friend Shunpei who remains one of my favorites. (Shunpei is also the character from Tea for Two; I’d love to see him get his own series at some point.) Ao’s twin brother Aka, who is constantly on edge, can be pretty entertaining, too. With its slightly ridiculous and over-the-top characters and interactions, Bond of Dreams, Bond of Love has really grown on me, and there’s still one more volume to go.


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