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Monday, July 10, 2017

Kaze to Ki no Uta

Also known as:

The Song of the Wind and Trees

"What Binds these youths together is a law of freedom. It is a place where emotions rule. They are like candles who have just been lit, with doubts and jealousy and contentment and over flowing tears. To them, everything good and bad exists to fulfill their desires; they hide their claws with charming gazes. It's a time when they establish a sense of self-- Adolescence!"

- Kaze to Ki no Uta Vol. 2, Ch. 2, pg. 3

Serge (left) & Gilbert (right)

This story takes place in 19th century France and starts when Serge Battour, a young viscount and piano prodigy, enters the Academy. He gets placed in the same room as Gilbert Cocteau's, where he immediately gets engulfed in Gilbert's mysterious life as the entire school warns him about the promiscuous boy before he even meets him. And Gilbert follows through with the students' expectations of him, seducing and toying with Serge whenever he sees fit to deter him away.

This is when the two children start interacting with each other. Serge adamant to treating Gilbert with the same respect as any of his other peers and urging Gilbert to change his ways to the better. While Gilbert is fixated on his own desires that he pushes and manipulates anyone and anything as to get what he wants. The best word to describe him would be "volatile"; he is constantly in this cycle of being calm and cynical, breaking into hysterical laughter, sobbing uncontrollably, then back to lashing out at anyone in front of him like a cornered cat.

Serge trying to help Gilbert, but oversteps his boundaries resulting in Gilbert lashing out

It's interesting because Serge trys to relate to Gilbert because they are both outcasted by society in some level. Gilbert for being an outward homosexual (sodomy was legal in Paris at the time) and for his rather peculiar behaviour, and Serge who's sun kissed skin separated him from others and who has a reputation of being the son of a viscount and gypsy prostitute. Both actively discriminated and shunned by society. And slowly but surely, they get drawn to each other.

Personally, I believe that that Academy is cursed! Yes, I said cursed! If you read the manga you will understand why I say so! 

This shounen-ai was written in the 70's and 80's and is known to be the first, or one of the very first to incorporate themes of homosexuality in it, which eventually inspired and led to the genres of yaoi mangas. But it is SO MUCH MORE than just homosexuality. It covers topics like morality, child abuse, racism, and much much more that I can ramble on forever about. And it bothers me that all of this gets overshadowed by the genre of "Boys Love" (BL). There really shouldn't even be such a genre as BL or yaoi or yuri, it's just weird to label a story "gay" as people seek those genres in search of stories about homosexuals. It makes it sound like some cheap porn fetish and that's where all the unwarranted fan service comes from.

It is quite a bold manga, not suited for a young audience, I'd say 16+ just for dark themes, content, and utter brutality, however, while there are sex scenes, they are not graphic.

Mischievous Gilbert

As for art, as you can see, it's the classic 70's art style with the giant exaggerated eyes, small lips, the giant curls in the hair, and ever so slender bodies. It's quite interesting, because sometimes it is hard to track switching between the events and a memory because there is not a lot of change in the page when it happens. When someone glares or stares, they draw sparkles and stars in the eyes, and it's a bit odd. Not my personal style, but is interesting. And it gives me a bit of a nostalgic feel to how anime used to be drawn. I'd give this manga a 4/5 so far, because the story is good, but some moments were a bit dull and stretched out. Also, as I said, I'm not entirely sure of the rest of the manga as I have not read it.

At first, I didn't understand why I must know about August's backstory (Gilbert's uncle) or know of Aslan's life (Serge's Father), but in a strange was it does intertwine. It gives you a better understanding of who or rather WHY those people behaved as they did and how their pasts paved Serge's and Gilbert's present actions and thought process. Because you will absolutely hate that snobby manipulative brat that Gilbert is at the start, then you will pity him..and just long to hold him and comfort him after realizing his perspective.

There is also an hour long OVA made of the manga, that rushes through the first 5 or so volumes before abruptly cutting it. The anime is more like a one shot of the manga, so you may not really understand the anime until you read the manga, but it does add to the appreciation of it. I wish it was longer though. I wish it kept going, but perhaps it would have been too brutal and not as entertaining as a mere hour. No, I think I like it the way it is.

So, if you are interested in angsty historical tragic shounen-ai's, I recommend!

If you have already read it, then comment below where you read the manga and your opinions on Gilbert because I'm SO done!


-----Spoiler Alert-----

This following is a pure character discussion and background summary and basically venting out my frustrations towards the shitty life that Gilbert bore the misfortune of existing in.

So, I actually read this manga twice but I can't remember when I had read it the first time. Maybe I was in my mid teens. I don't believe I understood it too well the first time. I do remember when the duel happened, so I guess I stopped close to the end, or merely forgotten what I had read.

To summarize Gilbert's Tragic Past:

- Born a bastard out of an adulterous relationship between his mom and August (Good ol' uncle dad!).
- abandoned by everyone and hated by his mother.
- until age 5, he was basically a feral child, running around between nature, and the mansion where servants only cared for his most basic needs.
- Then August found him and stripped him of his most cherished comfort items.
- Gilbert was Groomed by August for fun, which resulted in Gilbert being attached to Augu, and ONLY Augu. This made Gilbert act out to seek any kind of attention from his uncle dad. Knowing fully well that if he misbehaved, he will be severely punished (choked/whipped/starved/locked up), which follows being held ...and so he would deliberately act out to seek that small comfort.
- at 9 years old, he was raped by another man (Ever since, August started raping him as well.)
- He proceeded to go to that same rapist's mansion just to spite Augu for attention and because Augu also kicked him out. Then, after growing comfortable with the man, Augu came to fetch him, ripping him out of any little comforts yet again.
- at 11, he was shipped to boarding school, with the promise that he will be visited on holidays. (not always the case).
- Publicly raped at a pub
- sold himself to upperclassmen for grades and to be held.
- was raped/ bullied/ ostracized in school.

Gilbert basically has no self control over his desires, be it sexual or otherwise. He has an unhealthy attachment to August. He has trust issues (who the fuck wouldn't at this point). He is very loving of nature, animals, and being held. He only wants to be fucking held and accepted and to feel that skin to skin contact, because I think he has some serious anxiety on top of what is said above. He displayed some masochistic tendencies; when he wishes to forget about August, he asks for his lovers to choke him harder (daddy) and break him. He also likes toying with others, going as far as sexually assaulting the students at school by forcibly kissing and groping them. Perhaps a way to deter people away or more likely to test them.

Unlike most stories of child abuse, this victim not only likes his abuser, but is madly in love with him.

As for Serge...

He faced ostracism and criticism and racism his entire life because of his darker skin which he inherited from his half gypsy mother. The mother who was also a coquette yet married the heir viscount, a French gentleman.
Kaze to Ki no Uta Vol. 2, Ch. 3, pg. 41
Serge is very stern, he isn't perfect, but he tries to understand people around him. His father died due to over exertion and tuberculosis when he was 3, his mother died later on leaving him in the inherited mansion. At least some of his childhood was happy, and he is slightly less prejudiced than others.

August... Is a son of a bitch.

August also lived a tragic past as he was actively raped and sexually assaulted by his adopted brother (Gilbert's legal dad) and his adoptive father was well aware, but didn't do much to stop it.

His sole desire from Gilbert is to make him as natural and instinct driven as possible, thinking that this is "purity". He doesn't do it out of love, but hate towards Gilbert's parents at the start, then out of jealousy of how freely and proudly Gilbert expresses his emotions and actions uncaring of society. He is basically experimenting with this little boy and toying with him for his own little amusement, which is sickening. Isolating this child from anything and anyone so that he would only desire his touch and attention.


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