Gad Sfortunato: basso

Hello, rotten girls and boys! I hope your Yaoi Day was magical and full of hot men lusting after other hot men! In the spirit of the holiday, I thought I’d follow up my special interview with est em with a post on another favourite around these parts, Natsume Ono. Or as she is known in BL circles, basso.

I have to be honest with you. This post very nearly did not happen. Because I am currently fostering three two-week-old kittens and it turns out? Baby cats are very needy. And adorable. And delightful. So I’ve been spending any time that I’m not working to pay my rent with my translation day job (and even some of that time) tending to the most giggle-inducing trio I have ever encountered. I may just quit that translation thing and spend my days posting cat videos from now on.

But first, hot guys! The titular hot guy, Gad, is a tattoo artist and a bit of a playboy. Or rather he plays his cards close. But he has some deep rivers and all that. Each chapter in the book is a self-contained incident involving Gad and another man, usually in his circle of friends. Who apparently all want to do him. Which is fair, because hey! Gad is a hot guy with an air of mystery about him. 

This one came out in 2009, so I’m not sure why I am only reading it now. Perhaps it was buried on the shelf of books to be read all this time? Whatever the reason, I’m glad I at least read it now. The art in this slim volume has the thicker, rougher linework that I really loved in Nigeru Otoko, and is reminiscent of the style that she uses in House of Five Leaves, although much less polished and presented. To be honest, I really like it when she leaves her lines thicker and more uneven like this. It adds so much character and sets her work even further apart from the standard BL or other manga fare. I love it when it looks like she was using a calligraphy pen. It feels more intimate somehow.

The panelling in Gad Sfortunato is extremely cinematic, lots of cut shots and close ups which propel the story forward. And while I like that in theory, I found that, in some places, the constant jumps left me confused about who was saying what or where they were or what was going on in general. Because of the constant cuts, the images don’t always give enough information to follow the story, and the dialogue doesn’t always pick up the slack. I also started to feel like I needed a break from so many close-ups after a while. This constant cuts and close-ups work best when depicting a very personal moment, something that’s hard for the character to talk about like in “Sfortunato” where Gad shares secrets with his lover after sex. Then the panels of subtle shifting facial movements really work to create an emotional impact that matches the dialogue and makes the whole scene more beautiful and tender.

All the stories involve the same characters in one way or another, so we get this web of relationships all centering on Gad, but we get to see the tangents of other relationships. So a friend falls in love with Gad, but isn’t really over his ex-boyfriend who is coming back from Japan (the book is set in Italy) with his new Japanese boyfriend. But Gad is sleeping with the ex-boyfriend, so you get to see that side of the relationship as well. And I cannot get enough of multiple perspectives on the same event. I love seeing how a single event can impact people in so many different ways. It’s fascinating to me that an afterthought for one person can be lifechangingly significant for another. And of course, there are a few naked man with naked man scenes, but for the most part, Gad focusses on the relationship and in particular, Gad himself, who he is, where he’s been where he’s going.

So right, Gad whatever, basso blah blah, what you’ve been waiting for since I mentioned the foster cats are some cat pictures. This is the Internet, we’re all here for the cat pictures. I will not deny that. So feast your eyes on tiny creatures! Caption them for your entertainment! And don’t say my brain never did anything for you.



  1. I got my copy at 心斎橋筋’s Bookoff last year. You are right, the drawings are rougher with bolder lines (compared to her other works) and lots of close ups. I quite enjoyed the art and the story. My only complaint was some of the characters looked the same and it was kinda confusing. The ending made me smile, though.

    The kittens are adorable! I am not really into cats (I am a massive turtle fan) but those pictures are just too cute for words!

    1. I completely agree that some of the characters looked the same, which made things confusing at times. I meant to mention that, but I guess the kittens have melted my brain. And they keep getting more adorable, so my brain will probably stay melted until they are big enough to go back to the humane society and get adopted. Sigh. I am not getting much done these days. (I also love turtles! I’d be glad to foster some if the humane society happened to have any come in.)

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