An original Boys Love classic that can be compared to such literature classics like Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, that is how I can best introduce you my reader to the story of Kaze To Ki No Uta, also known as Song of the Wind and Trees.
First published from 1976 – 1984 even today the story’s subject matter will push boundaries with themes of Racism, Homophobia, Pedophilia, Rape, Incest and Drug Use this is not a story for those easily offended, but beneath all of these themes is a beautifully tragic story of adolescence and innocence.
Set in the late 19th Century at a boarding school in Province, the story tells of two outcast students at the school who are outcasts; each for very different reasons.
Serge Battour is the orphaned son of a former student of the school the viscount Battour and beautiful gypsy women by the name of Paiva. Though the heir of an aristocratic household his mixed heritage has caused him to deal with much hate and this is seen with his first appearance in the manga when he offers to help a child only to be told by the child’s mother to not lay his filthy hands on the boy. This has not turned the boy cruel however and he has a kind and innocent heart and tries to see the best in the world and those around him even when other’s say there is no good to be found, this does, however, bring a naivety to his character which can make it easy for those around him to take advantage of his kindness.
The character however that most people remember from this tragic tale is that of Gilbert Cocteau a lustful little demon with an angel’s face. With soft feminine features he lures others in but at the same time keeps everyone at a distant. The child of adultery for his parents his mother is his father’s sister in law he was rejected by the family and only ‘loved’ by his cruel father who sees’s Gilbert as nothing more than a toy for himself to use at his pleasure. There are times within the story where like Serge you will want to try and save Gilbert but there are also moments where you don’t want to save the boy with a fear of being ensnared into Gilbert’s twisted view of the world.
The series itself has a beautiful girlie art style that is definitely of the time it was made and I myself found the art of the series faintly reminded me of the Osamu Tezuka’s work in particularly Princess Knight and I would not be surprised if the artist of the series found inspiration amongst Tezuka’s work.
The only real sad thing about this hidden gem of both a manga and anime within the boys love community is how hard it can be to get a hold of a hard copy of either the manga or the anime, and though I don’t say this often it is such an important part of the history of the genre that I even recommend reading and watching the series online; where if you look you will find it easily.
Many tropes found within yaoi today started with this story right here, which makes it a milestone at the beginning of the genre and it is, in my opinion, a gem that should not be lost to time and if you find the time, read this classic and enjoy the anime as well.