Patrick is a bitter journalist who spends his days sniffing out corruption and vice among the rich and powerful. In a world of lies, the young male ballet dancer Danya seems to be the one bright spot of innocence and beauty. But even Danya has his secrets and Patrick must decide if his love for Danya is worth facing those secrets. He must move quickly, though, before Danya’s jealous mentor Nikolaj spirits away his charge forever.
At its heart, this is a story about loving people for who they are inside and this is why it succeeds. Patrick is not a man who takes kindly to lies and secrets, so Danya’s secret could spell the end for the couple. Watching them work through this problem—after having watched them falling in love—is what makes this story so romantic. Dany & Dany are careful not to offer up too many characters, which would bog down a short tale like this one. This keeps the pace moving along nicely and makes the story clear and understandable. The artists also seem to have overcome their previous problems with drawing characters. Whereas in their previous books their characters were beautiful but static, always seeming as if they were models posing rather than actors moving, in this work only one character has little or no emotional vocabulary for his facial expressions and since he is an android, this is to be expected. Dany & Dany are to be commended for drawing a ballet dancer who looks like a dancer, arms in the correct positions, feet pointed, etc. It’s a little thing, but it adds a lot to the realism of the story.
The setting is a real strong point. Dany & Dany chose to set this in a futuristic steam-punk world, where androids and robots exist, but wear Victorian garb. Tiny details--tea time with delicate china, phones that look like updated Bluetooth pieces--make the setting come alive. Dany & Dany’s graceful, natural lines combine nicely with their highlighting technique--which seems to be done by computer--to further the steam-punk feel. Publishing seems to be on a bit of a steam-punk kick right now and that made the setting even more appealing, especially with it being done well.
Despite these strengths, Anima is not a perfect work. Patrick and Danya’s love is developed a little too quickly. Nikolaj’s motivations are hinted at, but never clearly spelled out. Readers can pretty much guess how things will end, given what they know of the characters and considering how other romances like this have ending. But even with all of that, this is still a strong story with a touching romance as its focus. It is also, in the end, rather more cheerful than many of Dany & Dany’s stories, which will help it find an audience among yaoi readers. Sexual situations and nudity make this one for mature readers.
Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith on July 3, 2012