Otaku USA Magazine
Barbarities is BL About Opposites in a Renaissance-esque World

Barbarities is a boys’ love manga taking place in a Renaissance-esque world. Joel Montague, the very serious nephew of an important lord, gets stuck being around Adam Canning, the blond-haired playboy who’s now working as a guard for Joel’s uncle. Adam is aptly described as a carefree idiot. He sleeps with pretty much anyone, man or woman, and he really wants to sleep with Joel, but Joel is appalled by the idea. Joel would rather be with his books and left alone to think about serious issues.

The world they live in is inspired by the Renaissance, but this isn’t historical Europe. The countries are made up, as are the religions. There’s some stuff about war and politics in this world, which seems to be gearing up to something. There is also talk about heresy, opening up the possibility of religious persecution. Against these serious things in the background, the relationship between the two main characters feels more lighthearted. Adam’s devil-may-care attitude and the jokes of him hitting on Joel feel like the stuff of a gag manga taking place in the modern day. Some of Adam’s treatment of Joel would count as sexual harassment in real life, but since this isn’t real life and just a manga, it’s used as absurd humor. There is also gag humor around how people just can’t help falling for Adam, no matter who they are. Joel seems to be the one person immune to his charms, though Joel has moments of starting to like Adam . . . or so it seems. There is some back story for the two characters, and Joel’s secret is quite interesting.

The artwork is sketchy in style, and dedicated to showing Renaissance-style clothing in all their glory. The questions remain as to where the background stories about politics and religious are going, and how Adam and Joel are actually going to become a couple. Can an intellectual and an idiot make it work? As it is now, they’re just “the odd couple” as two opposites stuck together, but they may find they need each other’s talents.

Story & Art: Tsuta Suzuki
Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment
Translator: Jacqueline Fung


Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.