My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is a classic boys love manga which is why I gave it the second star. The ludicrous plot doesn't really deserve it. Florian Rochefort is from an aristocratic but bankrupt family in Paris at the turn of the twentieth century. His mother is concerned only with the appearance of wealth and the family legacy a 120 carat diamond.His uncle is an innervate gambler. Florian is a twenty year old door mat. He meekly accepts his mother's decision to sell him to his eighteen year old distant cousin Ray Balzac Courland.
Ray is actually quite wealthy and a renowned thief, the Phantom Noir (because that makes sense for someone his age) He has a girl friday, Laila (who looks Middle Eastern or Indian, dark skinned at any rate) who is so useless she can't even remember to stop calling him by his thief name.
Florian is sad and refusing to eat at Ray's place so Ray does what comes natural, he chains Florian up and whips him front and back until he's barely conscious. This is how all good loving relationships start, right? This is the sort of nonsense that makes me not like shonen-ei and yaoi much (even though I like LGBT literature) because this sort of stuff happens all the time.
Florian's mother is murdered and with Ray's help, Florian tries to solve the crime of who did it, with an unhappy ending. The next arc begins with the private eye, Solomon Sugar trying to prove Ray is Noir (doesn't help with Laila calling him that all the time) and Florian bringing home a young runaway boy which irks Ray to no end. Trying to help the boy gets Florian into trouble and it ends on a cliffhanger.
The bishie art is pretty but these are your cookie cutter BL characters, the cruel seme (Ray) and the sweet, submissive uke (Florian). Sorry but I find the idea of falling in love with a bratty teenager who beat me and scarred me and chained me to a wall to be moronic. I know this series is well loved (and I have two more bits of it because I got it all on a sale) but this just isn't for me.
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