This is both my first Toko Kawai manga (dunno how I've overlooked Our Everlasting all this time) and my first 801media title. I thought I'd be disappointed since most of the "compilation" yaoi titles I pick up end up having disappointing title stories and underdeveloped filler shorts. However, I was not disappointed with this title, which was both surprising and refreshing.
I didn't have a problem with the translation like the previous reviewer, though that might be because I have come to expect lower standards in yaoi localizations (and have read a lot of mediocre scanlations in my time). The packaging (not the dust jacket, mind you) actually had one color picture, which I wish more manga did (for the price we're paying they can throw in a bonus color page, right?). The dust jacket itself features the apparent mascot of 801media, 801-chan, a sailor-uniformed yaoi fangirl. She reflects in the inside rear fold in a four panel extra comic that an uke is not supposed to be taller than his seme (possibly alluding to the fourth story pairing in the book), much to the chagrin of her boyfriend standing nearby. Very funny.
The first of the four short stories in this volume is definitely the strongest. It being the title story it is also the longest and probably the most explicit of the book, though most of the book is pretty tame by general yaoi standards (love scenes, but not particularly graphic or drawn out). I'd have to say my absolute favorite panel in the book, though, is in the second story, Situation, in which the main character, Yoh, reflects as an adult on his former childhood teacher's words of discourangement for his love of his male best friend: "Thanks for implanting those words into my head... You b****. Please die." The panel just jumped right off the page and I was hooked.
None of the stories are particularly original in their content, but Kawai does not seem to be the type of mangaka that sacrifices story depth for graphic bits. Her love scenes are reserved for the genre and her characters are very human, not polarizations of seme/uke stereotypes. They are presented as kind-hearted men with real life issues, many of which focus around their conflicting feelings for one another (cliche, but effective). Even in the "fantasy" story, Kitan Garden, even though Prince Fiona is from a magical flower kingdom and finds himself in the human world as a naive and cute boy, he still struggles with his short time to enjoy the company of the human man that he has come to love. It also helped that Kawai's character designs were never particularly girlish. It's hard to believe a yaoi situation about "normal" men when half of them might as well be flat-chested girls.
My only real disappointment was in the unresolved feeling I had about a couple of the story arcs. I felt like the first story in particular could have benefitted from one last passionate love scene between the two men in their reunion. It would have helped give a little more closure to the story, especially with the anticipation Kawai created earlier in the "piercing" scene. Getting us excited about something and then not following through is called "teasing," you know.
In all, I'd recommend this title if you want some short reading without lingering attachments. If you're looking for the really hardcore stuff, you'll better be served somewhere else, though.