After mentioning that I was interested in doing collaboration posts with other bloggers, Kuro-sama reached out to me and suggested recommending titles that fall within our respective area of interest to each other. That means I would be pointing Kuro-sama towards a yuri manga series while Kuro-sama would be suggesting a yaoi manga series for me to read.
At this point it’s a bit debatable whether or not yuri is my specialty since I don’t write enough about it, but I’m trying to turn it around, okay? Be that as it may, you can and should read Kuro-sama’s post over here. She primarily blogs about yaoi and otome games and her posts are still appealing to those who typically don’t dabble in such genres! Lots of time and effort goes into her posts and her passion really shows through in every single one! Seriously, go check her blog.
As for me, she recommended Lucky Number 13 by Yamamoto Kotetsuko. And I gotta say, it was an adorable story.
The premises is about a cute boy named Hiroshi Satou falling into the arms of Tsumabuki, a baseball fanatic. Well, Satou literally fell right into Tsumabuki’s arms since their first encounter involving Satou accidentally falling from the fifth floor with Tsumabuki happening to be in the right place and in the right time to catch him.
It turns out that Satou catches everyone’s attention due to his looks and men and women alike have asked him out. However, Satou’s lovers never end up staying around for longer than a week. Not one to be deterred by how everyone else has acted around Satou, Tsumabuki ends up asking out Satou after falling for his girlish looks. It’s only after the two start dating that Tsumabuki starts to encounter misfortune after misfortune and that it’s due to Satou being a genuine doom magnet. Can their love last?
The defining aspects of this couple is that one of them naturally attracts bad luck. In other words, unlucky things will just happen to Satou until he starts dating someone. If that happens, then the other person is now the unlucky one and dangerous as well as misfortunate things start happening to Satou’s partner. This supernatural condition forms the necessary obstacle that Satou and Tsumabuki need to conquer together since both have to be willing to endure the misfortune in order to be together. Love stories, as a side note, often feature these sort of hindrance in order to keep the audience engaged. Otherwise it’ll be rather boring if Person A and Person B start dating and everything goes too smoothly (in my opinion).
However, the nature of Satou’s “curse” remains rather vague from beginning to end. Apparently it’s hereditary since Satou’s mother was just as unlucky until she became pregnant. Other than that, the characters never really attempt to learn that much more about the curse and they all seem to accept that nothing can be done to remove said curse. The implication is that the couple simply have to deal with the misfortune for as long as they’re together. As a result, Satou’s condition remains a looming, mysterious specter that simply exists to make things harder for both Satou and Tsumabuki. Their love will forever be at least somewhat more difficult due to the curse, but it doesn’t mean the audience can’t feel happy about them being together since they make a nice couple…apparently.
I say this because I wish the audience was given more in regards to their “basis of attraction.” In other words, I would liked being shown exactly why Tsumabuki is interested in Satou, why he wants Satou, and vice versa. The end result is that we know that Tsumabuki thinks Satou looks and acts cute while Satou is happy to have met someone who accepts his supernatural condition – and that’s it. Their love feels a bit shallow as a result, but maybe I’m expecting a bit too much from two people in love. Sometimes love isn’t something that is readily explained and it just happens.
Speaking of Satou’s cute looks, he does really look like a girl. So I guess it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that he’s the bottom. But it’s kind of a boring standard that the more feminine male bottoms for their more masculine partners. I’m not too well-versed with yaoi, but I do remember saying that people dislike the seme-uke dynamic for similar reasons? In any case, I think it might have been nice to see Satou try being the pitcher instead of the catcher for once.
While Lucky Number 13 doesn’t feature the typical naysayers, the ones who question whether it’s “right” for a couple to not be heterosexual, that are prevalent in yuri works (I’m not that well-versed in yaoi, but I imagine the same applies to yaoi), I rather dislike how the other openly-gay character behaves around Tsumabuki. Not caring that Tsumabuki was already taken, the individual throws himself on Tsumabuki and tries to convince Tsumabuki to be his. Although the series features a lot of acceptance towards homosexuality (a lot more guys asked out Satou compared to girls, for instance, and no one really gave Tsumabuki and Satou a hard time), this intrusive individual embodies a lot of negative stereotypes that tend to follow homosexual males (i.e. they’re always down for a quick fling). I’m rather tired of seeing these third wheel characters pop up in yuri (and probably yaoi) works in order to stir up some drama due to their own lust, frankly.
However, some of these minor complaints doesn’t change the fact that Lucky Number 13 was still enjoyable. For someone who isn’t that well-acquainted with yaoi, I found Lucky Number 13 to be an easy read and probably a good title to ease your way into the yaoi genre. The explicit scenes aren’t actually that explicit and we’re left feeling satisfied with an ending that implies loves conquers all obstacles. Not the most original message, but it still works!