I need to review this while I’m still excited about the damn book. But before that I’d like to wish our very lovely Kinky, HAPPY BIRTHDAYYYYY!!
Despite the slightly beefy looking main character, Fran oozing with very manly testosterones, Stranger by Kuku Hayate is absolutely adorable! Canna even tried to put the summary in English on the cover. How understanding of them and one pretty awesome marketing scheme too. Let me transcribe that word for word here.
Fran used to engage in murders and robberies.
He now shows remorse for those illegal dealings,
and works as a sheriff in a small town.
He lost his pony and wanders in the wilderness asking himself
“Is this a return of my past misdeads?”
Well, at least they tried… Anyway, here’s my version of summary which will be littered with spoilers because the story’s actually pretty simple but it’s the character interaction that makes it so enjoyable.
Fran is on a mission as the town’s sheriff to obtain some goods from another town. Alas, on his journey back, his poor horse dies. Now, he has to track all the way back to his small town on foot through the desert wilderness. Braving through blazing hot sun during the day and teeth chattering cold temperature at night for the next few days, Fran’s weakened body gives up on him. He believes he’s getting his just desserts for all the wrong doings he done in the past and it’s the end for him.
Luckily, Fran’s late-horse isn’t going to give up on him. Fran wakes up to a Native American Indian man mouth feeding him water. The man, Toto, claims that Fran’s late-horse’s spirit told him to save his master. Together, both of them journey back to Fran’s town and Toto leaves. But isn’t the end just yet…
Now for some the adorable scenes:
Since it’s bloody cold at night in the dessert, they had to conserve and share body heat by sharing the bedding. Mind you, this is during their first meeting so Toto’s rather cautious around Fran and they don’t understand a single word they say. Somehow, Fran manages to understand the gist of it from Toto’s tone.
Toto: It’s cold at night so there’s nothing we can do but to share our body heat.
Toto: Do what you have to do to recover quickly. (LOL, failed trans but meh, something along that line)
Fran: So warm…
Toto: But don’t forget,
Toto: we are not friends. (*or we’re not in a friendly relationship.)
Thought: …Scary O_O!
Fran and Toto’s miscommunication’s so funny at times. For instance, Fran wants to show his gratitude
and his obsession with Toto saving his life by bringing him food and whiskey. Toto’s weary at first but he caves in soon enough.
Fran: Here’s my gratitude.
Toto: “Thanks?!” (Obviously, Toto thought the whiskey bottle’s called “thanks”. :’D)
And he’s loving it too.
Toto: “Thanks” tasted really good.
Fran: … (I think he misunderstood something here? Maybe I’m reading in too much to the ellipsis.)
Fran: Can we… meet again?
I wanted to say the sex scene’s marvelously beautiful but ugh, the last panel of the scene totally killed it for me. The composition and elements (horses) just makes me laugh so much because it totally killed the mood there. My boyfriend pointed out the sudden addition of blankets over them and I was like, “maybe the horses put that on to save themselves from more mental scarring?”
But other than that, please drool over Fran’s sexy butt.
Gallery view: Tumblr
Overall, I enjoyed reading Stranger a lot despite the simple, typical, cliche, well-abused western movie plot about cowbow, Native American Indians and a showdown for a finale. Kuku Hayate’s art style is unique and I love her macho men. This goes to show that masculinity can be beautiful too!