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Kaze to Ki No Uta (風と木の詩?, lit. The Poem (Song) of the Wind and the Trees) is a shōjo manga by Keiko Takemiya. It was first published by Shougakukan from 1976 to 1984 in the magazine Shōjo Comic. In 1979, it was awarded the prestigious Shogakukan Manga Award for shōnen/shōjo manga.[1] The series is widely regarded as a shōnen-ai classic, being one of the first in the genre to combine romantic and sexual relationships. It took nine years for Takemiya's publishers to agree to publish it, as Takemiya refused to censor the sexual elements of the story.[2]

Summary

Serge Battour is the son of a wealthy man and a Roma woman. Taking place in the late 19th century, the story is a recollection of his memories of Gilbert Cocteau at Laconblade Academy in Provene, France. The story has themes of class prejudice, racism, homophobia, homosexuality, incest, pedophilia, rape, prostitution, and drug abuse.

Gilbert Cocteau is a promiscuous student who has a reputation for being a boy of corrupt morality since he frequently misses classes and engages in relations with older male students. However, Gilbert is a tortured young man who has been treated like an object all his life rather than a human being. The primary antagonist in the story - Gilbert's uncle, Auguste Beau - is a respected society figure who manipulates and sexually abuses his young nephew. Auguste's influence is so great that Gilbert actually believes that the two are in love, and Gilbert remains enthralled with Auguste, even to the bitter end when he finds out that Auguste isn't quite who he thought he was.

Golden-hearted Serge becomes fascinated with Gilbert, and tries to win his friendship despite being threatened with ostracism and even violence. Gilbert himself even rejects Serge's offer of friendship, although it seems that Serge may be Gilbert's only hope to escape this hellish life.

Serge perseveres and eventually the two boys become friends and lovers. Faced with a violent rejection by members of the faculty and student body, Gilbert and Serge flee to Paris and live for a short while as paupers. Gilbert, however, cannot escape all of the demons of his past, and finds himself dragged into a life of hard drugs and prostitution. The story ends when Gilbert thought he saw Auguste, under the influence of drugs, and he ran joyfully towards a fast moving carriage.... and died under the hooves and wheels. Some of the pair's few friends - who have recently rediscovered the couple - take care of the traumatized Serge.

Characters

Gilbert Cocteau
Protagonist, 14 years old. A son of adultery between Auguste Beau and Anne Marie who is a wife of the elder step-brother of Auguste. Rejected by both his parents, he was raised by maids and butlers without parental love. He became a bit of a Feral child believing his friends were wild animals calling a rabbit his 'father' and a blanket his mother. Auguste is the first of the Beau family to take an interest. At first Auguste is shocked at Gilbert's underdeveloped life skills. However Auguste believes he could benefit from this and takes Gilbert in to train him as his personal pet/slave. Dealing with sexual, physical and emotional abuse at a young age makes Gilbert into a rather negative, antisocial and violent person who believes sex is the only answer to love and payment and that everyone has a corrupt heart. Gilbert initially rejects Serge's overtures, even treating him as trash. However, Serge tries to prove to Gilbert that his view of life is completely wrong. Gilbert falls in love with him and the couple escapes to Paris. However Gilbert has a hard time adjusting to the 'poor life' and doesn't want to work. While Serge is absent from their house a group of men gang rape Gilbert and force him to take drugs. Being weak he becomes a prostitute and is found by Serge too late..
Serge Battour
Protagonist, friend of Gilbert, 14 years old. A son of young viscount Battour and a beautiful Roma woman. Successor of the house of viscount Battour. Serge is a musical prodigy at piano. He has a noble heart and regardless of the way Gilbert treats him he still wants to change and help Gilbert. Dealing with his homosexual feelings he goes to church for confession and talks to his friend Pascal for advice. Despite negative results from both, Serge believes that his feelings for Gilbert are not wrong. He is unaware of Auguste's manipulation, thinking that Gilbert's uncle want them to be friends. He finds out later that Auguste just wants to damage their relationship. Gilbert and Serge fall in love but they cannot be together. Auguste influences the school which violently rejects the couple. They also face homophobic reactions from their class mates. With the help of some of Serge's friends they manage to escape to Paris.
Auguste Beau
Poet, and Gilbert's real father, though posing as Gilbert's uncle. Auguste is an adopted son of the house of Cocteau. He sexually abuses Gilbert at a young age. Auguste himself had been raped by his elder step-brother when he was young. He never saw Gilbert as a young child but more of a 'toy' to play with, deciding he could train Gilbert to be the 'most perfect pet'. He enjoys playing with Gilbert feelings making him believe that he loves him and then the next moment treating him like garbage. He even seduced Serge only to hurt Gilbert. When Gilbert and Serge are getting closer he orders the school to separate them. He doesn't seem to care about Gilbert his major concern is Gilbert's looks. He shows concern in his last moment when he realizes Gilbert is in love with Serge. Voiced by: Kaneto Shiozawa.
Jean-Pierre Bonnard
Famous painter, pedophile. He kidnaps and rapes the child Gilbert, who in turn attempts to commit suicide. Despite his actions towards Gilbert, the manga implies that he has 'forgiven him' and was rather saddened by Bonnard's leaving. He makes another appearance in the last volume when Gilbert and Serge visit him.
Pascal Biquet
Friend of Serge. A classmate of Serge and Gilbert. He wants more science classes in school, instead of reading about classical literature. He shares his views with Serge and makes comments about sex and one's goal in life. He dislikes Latin, calling it a 'dead language'. He himself is secretly a bit attracted to Gilbert.
Karl (Carl) Meiser
Serge's first friend at Laconblade. A gentle, pious boy who struggles with his attraction to Gilbert.
Aryon (Arion) Rosemarine (Rosmarineay, Rosmariné)
Student superintendent general in the school. Rosemarine was raped by Auguste, while he was 15 years old (3 years before the story begins). He loves his classmate Jules de Ferrier, but he can not have sex with him because of the trauma due to being raped. He hates both Auguste Beau and Gilbert, but befriends Serge. In his last scenes he helps both Gilbert and Serge to escape together to Paris.
Jules de Ferrier
Student supervisor and Rosemarine's childhood friend. While he is a nobleman, his family's fortune was lost with the death of his father. However, due to his family's connections to Rosemarine's as well as his intelligence, he is able to attend Laconblade for free, and goes on to graduate early. Both Rosemarine and Gilbert are unusually trusting of him, and he has been known to provide tea and comfort to them during stressful times.

The Vision

It is said that the author, Keiko Takemiya, got an inspiration of this grand story and designed the total plot one night. She then, next day, told her imagination and construction of the story to her friend Norie Masuyama. The finished manga was half of her first vision. The second part of story was written in form of a novel, Kami no Kohitsuji (神の子羊?, lit. Agnus Dei or the Lamb of the God), by Noris Haaze, which is a pen name of Masuyama.

Media

There is one anime adaptation of this manga, about 1 hour story version, made in VHS tape and LD, and five music albums (LP records). Two of the records are image albums, that is, LP records, named 1) /Kaze to Ki no Uta/, Part 1, and 2) Part 2, /Requiem for Gilbert/. Two more are 3) synthesizer version of 1) and 4) Music collection LP of the OVA /Kaze to Ki no Uta/. 5) The last one is coupling album. Its Side 1 is the Side 1 of 1) and Side 2 is a selected music collection from the other image album of Takemiya, /Natsu e no Tobira (The Door to Summer) /.

OVA

  • 1. Kaze to Ki no Uta - SANCTUS - , OVA, 6 Nov., 1987 (VHS/Beta tape) / 21 Nov., 1987 (LD)
Herald Enterprise Inc. and Shougakukan
Total time: 60 minutes
Staff
Director : Yasuhiko Yoshikazu
Producer : Utagawa Touju, Asami Isamu et al.
Pictures by : Takemiya Keiko, Sugino Sachiko, Futagi Makiko and others.
Music : Nakamura Nobuyuki
Cast (Voice actors)
Sasaki Yuuko (Gilbert)
Ohara Noriko (Serge)
Sakakibara Yoshiko (Rosmarinay)
Shiozawa Kaneto (Auguste)
Takemura Taku (Pascal)

Music albums

  • 1) Kaze to Ki no Uta (The Poem of Wind and Trees). image album, 1 July 1980
Nihon Columbia (Columbia Music Entertainment, Inc.).
Side 1
1. Main Theme
2. Theme of Gilbert
3. Theme of Serge
4. Dialogue
5. The Poem of the Wind and the Trees
Side 2
1. Piano Cocerto, Kaze to Ki no Uta
  • 2) The World of Takemiya Keiko - Aesthetics of Love. combined album, 25 Oct. 1981
Nihon Columbia (Columbia Music Entertainment, Inc.).
Note: Side 1 is same as that of LP /Kaze to Kino Uta/, and Side 2 is music collection selected from the LP /Natsu e no Tobira (The Door to Summer) /, which is the album of music collection from the OVA /Natsu e no Tobira (夏への扉) /.
Side 1 (from the Poem of Wind and Trees)
1. Main Theme
2. Theme of Gilbert
3. Theme of Serge
4. Dialogue
5. The Poem of the Wind and the Trees
Side 2 (from the Door to Summer)
1. Theme of Marion
2. Theme of Ledania
3. Theme of Love
4. The Burning Summer
5. Main Theme
  • 3) Kaze to Ki no Uta, Jiruberu no Rekuiemu (Requiem for Gilbert), image album, 21 July 1984,
Nihon Columbia (Columbia Music Entertainment, Inc.).
Side 1
1. Ave Maria
2. In the Course of Waking from Dreams
3. A Bird is Made of Snow
4. Invitation to Travel
Side 2
1. Now, Just into the Dreams
2. The Dream
3. Plaited Strings of Love
4. My Angel, I Pray...
5. Ave Maria
  • 4) Kaze to Ki no Uta - the Digital Trip, synthesizer fantasy, 21 May 1985
Nihon Columbia (Columbia Music Entertainment, Inc.).
Note: Entries are same as /Requiem for Gilbert/. This is the synthesizer version.
  • 5) Kaze to Ki no Uta - SANCTUS -, OVA soundtrack LP, 6 Nov., 1987
Pony Canyon (Pony Canyon Inc.)
Note: This is the music collection from the OVA /Kaze to Ki no Uta - SANCTUS - /. This album was published in the form of CD and cassette tape at the same time.

Reception

Script error First serialised in Shōjo Comic in January 1976, Kaze has been called "the first commercially published boys' love story",[1] but this claim has been challenged, as the first male-male kiss was in the 1970 In the Sunroom, also by Keiko Takemiya.[2] Matt Thorn says that Kaze was "the first shōjo manga to portray romantic and sexual relationships between boys", and that Takemiya first thought of Kaze nine years before it was approved for publication. Takemiya attributes the gap between the idea and its publication to the sexual elements of the story.[3]

Midori Matsui describes Kaze to Ki no Uta as "surreptitious pornography for girls", and likens Gilbert to a femme fatale. Toku regards Kaze to Ki no Uta as groundbreaking in its depictions of "openly sexual relationships", spurring the development of the boys love genre in shōjo manga,[1] Matsui regards Kaze to Ki no Uta as being influential in creating the yaoi doujinshi subculture, as it is more sexually explicit than Moto Hagio's works.[4]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Toku, Masami (2007) "Shojo Manga! Girls’ Comics! A Mirror of Girls’ Dreams" Mechademia 2 p. 27
  2. Journalista - the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » Mar. 27, 2007: The first draft of history (some revisions may be necessary).Tcj.com. Retrieved on 2008-12-23
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named out_of_hand
  4. Matsui, Midori. (1993) "Little girls were little boys: Displaced Femininity in the representation of homosexuality in Japanese girls' comics," in Gunew, S. and Yeatman, A. (eds.) Feminism and The Politics of Difference, pp. 177–196. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing.

External links

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