Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Rin!: A Gay Romance on the High School Archery Team

Rin! by Satoru Kannagi

Since he was little, sweet and anxious Katsura has soothed his fears and insecurities by asking for a tight hug from Sou, his older brother’s best friend. Now shooting together for their high school’s archery team, Katsura is ridiculed by homophobic peers for clinging to another man, and Sou’s gruff complaints about the touching indicate he’s growing tired of it. Dramatic moments of growth occur as Katsura and Sou explore their true feelings for each other and find the strength in themselves to love in a healthy way.

This manga holds fascinating insight into relationship dynamics. Both Katsura and Sou explore their issues with co-dependency and seek to discover whether love is about needing someone or simply wanting them by your side. The story realistically portrays the subtle but persistent reality of heterosexism in a modern high school. Often, the characters react in realistic ways by expressing embarrassment about same-sex affections. This may not be the most empowering manga, but it is highly relatable.

My largest concern with the first volume involves a scene in the bonus episode at the very end. In these pages, two characters share a sexual experience where consent is never given. It is not very graphic, but it is disturbing. In addition, it seems the author threw this scene in for erotic effect, which makes me concerned about the direction she will choose for the rest of the story.

Because of the sexual content discussed above, I would have been ready to read this at sixteen.

Review by Aaron Walsh.  Add your review of "Rin!" in comments!

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