Nervous teenager Terumichi is haunted by a recurring dream of being strangled by a handsome older man. At school, he avoids his bullying classmates and sticks to his one close friend, the beautiful, secretive Yamada, but Terumichi is uncomfortably aware that his feelings for Yamada are more than platonic. And with Yamada’s sly smile, sometimes he wonders if Yamada knows too…
Finally, one hot afternoon, Terumichi confesses his love, only to be interrupted when one of their classmates spontaneously attacks Yamada with a knife! But Terumichi’s horror turns to confusion as the “murderer” seemingly loses all memory of the assault and the “victim” rises from the dead, wandering the streets dripping blood. What is going on, and what was the meaning of the words Yamada whispered as he was attacked?
As Terumichi tries to find out the truth and save his friend, secrets pile upon secrets: an age-inappropriate relationship with an older man, the story of legendary Taisho-era novelist Kuroiwa Onitaiji, and a sordid tale of murder and pedophilia. The gloom and decadence associated with Japan’s Taisho era (1912-1926) mixes with ultra-dark Boy’s Love for a story that’s more occult horror than yaoi, with minimum explicit sex (for the better, given the subject matter) and maximum doom and gloom.
The horror writer Ramsey Campbell once used the phrase “adolescent sadism” to describe his early works, which he felt were immature and too edgy. To say that Total Eclipse of the Eternal Heart has “adolescent morbidity” is accurate, but it’s better executed than the average Boy’s Love manga, suspenseful, and good enough not to spoil.
Publisher: Seven Seas
Story and Art: Syundei