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Three's A Crowd
Ranmaru and Kei have a strong and passionate relationship built on years of trust, sacrifice and love. But when the mysterious son of a Yakuza boss begins to pursue Ranmaru's affection, tempers flare, and hidden emotions rise to the surface. Will Ranmaru and Kei's love survive, or will the emotional conflict finally come to a head?
Region 1 (Canada/USA)
Language: Japanese with English subtitles.
Age rated: 16+, contains violence, nudity and mild sexual situations
Released under the Be Beautiful label. Out of print.
Kizuna 1 is the first half of the old (1994) two-part OVA based on Kazuma Kodaka's manga, but with new subtitles. High school kendo champion Ranmaru was injured saving his friend Kei from an oncoming car, and gave up the sport. Three years later, Ranmaru and Kei are lovers, sharing an apartment while they attend college. When a lecherous professor tries to seduce Ranmaru, Kei's half-brother Kai comes to his rescue. Kai admired Ranmaru in high school, and hopes to steal him from Kei. As the half-brothers are martial artists and the sons of a yakuza kingpin, the rivalry turns violent. Kizuna is a yaoi classic: a romance involving handsome young men written by a woman for a female audience. The reissue was taken from a better print and features a more idiomatic English translation than the previously available version, but giving viewers only 30 minutes of animation on a DVD seems stingy. (Rated 16 and older: violence, brief nudity, sexual situations, including homosexuality, alcohol and tobacco use) --Charles Solomon