Author: Fumi Yoshinaga
Series: Ooku, Volume 1
Genre: Manga, fantasy, gender.
Reason for Reading: This is the other manga trouble4hire was sweet enough to bring back for me from her SF vacation.
Pages: 198 plus endnotes
Copyright Date: 2005
Cover: A serious-looking androgynous figure wearing black Japanese robes. The coloring is simple - black, white, and red, plus some flesh tones for the guy's face. The word Ooku has a horizontal line over the first letter, which I am unsure how to replicate using my keyboard.
First frame: Black and white, showing a tiny village. No text.
Best part: I really liked the premise.
Worst part: It seemed as though the character we got to know through this volume would not be appearing in the next.
Imaginary Theme Song: "Master and Servant" by Depeche Mode
Recommended for: Anyone who is into reading about men kept in harems. (The book is not graphically explicit, though - adult concepts only, no adult images.) Fans of the Edo period.
Related Reads: A Brother's Price by Wen Spencer is not a manga, but the premise is almost identical and it's also an excellent book.
In the Edo period, a mysterious plague strikes Japan. It kills only boys, and now the island is three-quarters female. What men that remain are divided into three categories. Many are kept in brothels where average women go to try to conceive. Some are married off to rich merchants and lords. But for the most beautiful, talented, and graceful men, there is another possibility - they can take a position in the Inner Chambers, the private harem of the Shogun, said to contain the unimaginable luxury of 3,000 men who never see the outside world again...
This is a beautiful manga and I recommend it for anyone who likes a little spice.