When Shima first meets his new boss, Togawa, he immediately labels him as the type of person he doesn't like: outspoken, rude, and a bit too forward. Though they seem like polar opposites, both men are drawn to each other, and Shima discovers the one thing they have in common: they both bear scars of a painful past experience. While Togawa is open with his thoughts and feelings, Shima clings to his nightmares, cowering behind a wall of denial and pessimism. As their relationship develops from a purely physical one to something much deeper, Shima must decide to either let go of his past, or let it control him.
The story itself is deeply touching. At its core, it's a lesson on learning to let go of fear and opening your heart to love. One finds it easy to identify with the characters, and feels compassion for their plight. Yoneda Kou's artwork is simple yet expressively beautiful. Her sex scenes, though not explicit, overflow with sensuality; kisses are wet and passionate. You'd be hard-pressed to find a yaoi (or any love story) as well-written as this. It's not a cheesy romance, it's not a ridiculous sex romp, it's not a run-of-the-mill cry fest--it's a situation any of us could find ourselves in. And that's the beauty of the story.
However...the true tragedy here is the translation. June's translations are generally well done, flow smoothly, and are easy to read. But, No Touching At All has several downfalls. The text is choppy, and somewhat of an effort to follow. I found myself rereading pages to fully understand a plot I knew by heart, and there are several points where the text just doesn't make sense at all (the scene on the train, the meeting between Togawa and his boss, etc). Also, one of my pet peeves is the translation of traditional Japanese words and honorifics. Not only were certain Japanese food items translated into English, they were translated incorrectly (i.e. "yakiniku" is not "fried chicken"). I can never understand why translators and editors are so opposed to using simple footnotes. This sloppy translation greatly detracted from my enjoyment of the book. Furthermore, it deeply saddened me to see how such a wonderful story could fall victim to poor translation and sub-par editing.
I've been told by some that "you can't please everyone," or "just be happy you finally have a licensed English translation," but as hardcore Yoneda Kou fans, we deserve better. Sensei's work deserves better. And as loyal readers of their yaoi, DMP owes it to us.