Gad Sfortunato – Basso
What is being sought after cannot be felt even on the fingertips. This is a series about the extravagant lifestyle of a tattoo artist named Gad, and the circle of people who revolve in it.
Gad Sfortunato is a difficult manga to describe. It is, on the surface, slices of life of tattoo artist, Gad and the men in his life. There seems to be barely any plot.
Most of the scenes were mundane everyday stuff, tattooing, paying the rent and so on. With these ordinary things comes the sexual encounters of Gad and his men. Majority of these were casual hookups, friends with benefits or one-night stands, illustrating the various nuances of gay relationships.
Our Gad is, apparently, quite a catch. Very promiscuous but elusive to those who want him the most. The most lasting relationship he had was with his childhood friend, Alesso, who still influenced his life to this day. Alesso appears in other manga by Basso.
The feelings we get from the various key scenes were charged but somehow still lowkey. Nobody had outbursts or grand declarations. Dialogue was minimal, many were inside thought balloons. Half the time, I had to think about the point of each chapter, especially the endings. This is not exactly saying it was pointless, more like things are so subtly played out or they alluded to something unfamiliar that I didn’t entirely get it.
This manga is part of a series of works set in Italy. Characters from other stories make appearances here and there so I had difficulty keeping track of some characters. This is best read as an companion piece to Kuma to Interi, and Amato Amaro.
Tonari Ni – Basso
The first time he saw him, Tohru was on his way home from his hobby of taking photos. He’s queued for the Shinkansen’s unreserved seating, just right next to him…
Seven years after her previous work, “Naka-san no Nagare,” the latest BL from basso is finally here!
I am of the opinion that when it comes to slice-of-life, nothing beats Japanese authors at the game.
Next To You is a perfect example of this. It is a story of a young man crushing hard on a much older man he saw at the train station. Tohru is a photography hobbyist who loves taking pictures of race horses. He chanced upon Makoto at the train station who made an strong impression on him. He couldn’t get the older man out of his mind. He saw him several times until one day, Makoto struck up a conversation. He turned out to be a nice, amiable fellow.
Many of the scenes here were pretty mundane, just standing around waiting for the train, sitting inside the train, sharing a couple of beers, brushing teeth and so on. But somehow, it encapsulated a whole gamut of emotions simmering beneath such trivial ongoings.
The mangaka was able to perfectly capture that exhilarating thrill of seeing your crush once again when you least expected it, the fervent longings of a young man who realized he was in love, the heartbreaking helplessness of seeing the one you love getting hurt and not being able to do something to help him. All of which was done without breaking the soft, subtle atmosphere that was reflected in the gentle idiosyncratic art.
There’s something really pure about this manga. Truly beautiful!
Amato Amaro – Basso
Economist Vittorio Conti wants to see what having sex with a man is like, and does what any reasonable person would do in his situation: ask his bodyguard if he wants to give it a try. Straightlaced Armando Pagani refuses at first, but for how much longer?
The third in an Italian-flavored manga trilogy about queer politicians and their lovers. This is a collection of interrelated stories, sometimes two chapters long, sometimes merely a sketch.
The plots could be deceptively simple and subtle but extremely nuanced. The character not the normal types found in BL manga. They are mostly men in their 40s, even one or two married to women and with children. The artwork is not the usual cutesy, pretty boy style but has its own appeal.
I highly recommend Basso’s work if you’re looking for a mature, sophisticated BL manga.
Kuma to Interi – Basso
Collection of interconnecting oneshots:
1) Con Te (With You)
A waiter, Neri, working in a high-end restaurant likes intellectual gentlemen and is currently involved in a “sexual relationship” with a third-class politician. Will the politican ever become the gentleman Neri prefers?
2) Orso e Intellettuale (Bear and Intellectual)
A politican and a photographer meet during a holiday. But is the photographer really what he said he is?
4) Discorso del Gelato (Discussion of Ice Cream)
5) Uomo che è stato Inseguito (Man Who was Chased)
6) La Camera del Primo Pomeriggio (The Room of Early Afternoon)
7) Sigaro (Cigar)
8) Ricco e Riparatore (Rich Man and Repairman)
9) Kuroyama-san no Nioi (Mr. Kuroyama’s Scent)
I’m so glad I discovered this mangaka. Their stories were quite refreshing. This collection, for example, featured politicians as the protagonists, something rarely seen in BL manga.
This josei manga is set in Italy and captures the vulnerability and internal conflicts of gay politicians. The art is clean and simple yet expressive. Highly recommend this for those looking into a more mature and sophisticated BL experience.
Naka-san no Nagare – Basso
Naka Makoto owns a small ramen restaurant called Naka, where he serves a loyal clientèle, including his partner, Tomatsu Shimpei. Basso’s manga “Naka-san no Nagare” focuses on the lives of Naka-san and Shimpei, especially their mutual love of ramen.
Ramen is life!
An awesome, slice-of-life manga with super chill vibe and simple, wholesome plots mostly revolving around ramen. It could take getting used to but love the atypical art and lowkey feels.