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Kazuma Kodaka's manga Kizuna: Bonds of Love was published in Japan first by Biblos and then by Libre Publishing, after the first company declared bankruptcy. The series' eleven volumes were released between December 1992 and September 2008.
In North America, the series was partially released in English by Be Beautiful, which went out of business after the ninth volume. In March 2010, Digital Manga Publishing (DMP) announced that it had acquired the license. The company then released the entire series in six volumes, from September 2010 to May 2012.
An OVA adaptation of Kizuna was released in 1994, which included two episodes, both approximately 30 minutes long. The OVAs follow the most important events of the first volumes of the manga.
Kizuna: Much Ado About Nothing OVA was released in 2001, approximately 45 minutes long. This OVA focuses on the main relationship between Ranmaru and Kei, both in the past and present.
[Source: Wiki / MAL]
Kizuna Plot & Characters
Three's a crowd. Ranmaru and Kei have a strong and passionate relationship built on years of trust, sacrifice and love. When the mysterious son of a Yakuza boss starts to have designs on Ranmaru's affection, tempers flare, and hidden emotions rise to the surface. Will Ranmaru and Kei's love for each other be able to survive this difficult test, or will the emotional conflict finally come to a head?
Kei Enjoji is the main character of Kizuna. He isn't the legal son of a yakuza's group chief, so he has to leave the main house. After he left, he finds Ranmaru and falls in love with him. Even if he is not the legal son of the chief of the yakuzas, a rival gang tries to kill him, but they fail and they almost kill Ranmaru. Ranmaru doesn't believe he could walk again, and Kei tells him that he will be his left arm and his left leg. So he wants Ranmaru to get better because he loves him too much. Ranmaru makes efforts over efforts, and eventually walks again. So begins their love! After this, Kei found his little brother, Kai, who is the legal son. Kai and Kei don't get along well because Kai likes Ranmaru, but Kai lets it go when he sees how much Kei and Ranmaru love each other.
Ranmaru Samejima A kendo prodigy and nicknamed the "White Devil" of kendo. Kendo has always run in his family and he's been practicing it for a long time. He ranked at the top of every national game he took part in, thus earning his title for his speed and his strength. However, up to middle school he didn't really have any friends. All his time and energy was put into kendo. That all changed when he met Kei, who fell immediately in love with him. At first he was taken aback at Kei's straight-forwardness and thoroughly annoyed and disgusted with him. But he was also impressed with him and his rusty kendo skills. He invited Kei back to his house to practice and afterwards they shared their first kiss. Though he didn't admit it, it left quite an impression on him. In high school he was captain of the kendo team. Kei and him ended up confessing their feelings for one another and took a physical level to their relationship. However, not too long later when he entered the kendo championships Kei learned his mother died. Seeing his lover's distress he vowed to always protect him. He ended up keeping his promise in a big way when a yakuza hit man tried to run over Kei with a car and Ranmaru pushed him out of the way. The assault left Ranmaru paralyzed on his right side and believing he could never do his beloved kendo again. But after undergoing extensive physical therapy with Kei at his side, he managed to get his limbs moving again with a promising outlook on kendo again.
Ranmaru is completely shy with his feelings, but there is no denying he loves Kei. He's only been able to say the words 'I love you' to Kei once, but luckily Kei understands Ranmaru enough to know how he feels. Like Kei, Ranmaru wants no part of the yakuza life that nearly killed him, though as with Kei the yakuza life forces its way into Ranmaru's. However he takes kindly to Kai though he tries to draw the line when it comes to the younger man's affections. He wants Kei and Kai to have a brotherly relationship without the two of them having such strong animosity towards one another.
Kai Sagano Kai is Kei's half-brother, having the same father, the yakuza boss, but different mothers, both of whom have passed away. Having a spoiled yet emotionally difficult childhood, Kai is somewhat of a malcontent and dislikes Kei or at least has an extreme sibling rivalry with him! However, he has a constant although a bit ill-defined relationship with his father's second-hand man, Masanori Araki. Initially he is very attracted to Ranmaru, serving as an additional hurdle for our main protagonists to overcome. Despite being raised among the yakuza, he has no active role in his father's business. Masanori has been assigned as his father's successor when he retires, but Kai does not mind. His dealings with his father are extremely limited and they often fight with each other because, on the day of his mother's funeral, his father told him about Kei and his mother. Kai sees this other family as a betrayal and translates this into hatred against his brother.
He is very talented at kendo and it is through it that he meets Ranmaru. He becomes fixated on him and his father eventually temporarily disowns him because of it. After resigning himself to an unrequited love, Kai focuses on kendo again and defeats Ranmaru in a match. Kai's relationship with Masanori is complex. Kai has always loved the much older man, but Masanori is afraid of his feelings for Kai. As such, Kai turns his attentions to Ranmaru. Once Kai is ready to focus on Masanori again, he has to practically beat the older man's head in to get his point across. Their relationship is sent into even bigger turmoil when Kai is raped by one of Masanori's scorned lovers, leaving him unable to handle intimacy without experiencing trauma. Kai feels guilty that he cannot overcome it, but Masanori understands and is willing to take things slow.
Masanori Araki Masa is still a gentle giant and cares very deeply about his "young sir" (Kai) although he has a hard time showing it or figuring out exactly how he cares about the young boy. This brings up all kinds of interesting questions since they are about 20 years apart in age Masa is constantly torn between his impulse to protect and give Kai the never-ending amount of attention he needs and fulfilling his honourable duties as the second in command of a yakuza syndicate. He initially holds a low rank in the yakuza as Kai's caretaker. He falls in love with Kai's mother during that time and feels ashamed of his feelings. He has always been very protective of Kai but somewhat afraid of the affection Kai holds for him. When Kai holds on to those feelings in his adolescence, he becomes unnerved and pushes him away. The relationship between them is nearly permanently damaged, until Kai manages to put his feelings for Ranmaru aside and aggressively pursues the reluctant Masanori. Despite his disapproval of Kei and Ranmaru's relationship, he shows them the highest amount of respect out of loyalty to Sagano. He tries but fails to keep his growing relationship with Kai a secret, taking things slow in light of the trauma Kai suffered.
Jack "J.B." Jack Birnbaum Neeson One of the best hit men in the world. He is very calculating in his jobs and makes sure to follow through with them, but he is not a bloodthirsty killer. He is constantly ashamed of his profession and has a strict code to never harm any children. He is originally hired to kill Enjoji, but refuses because of his young age. He once visits a church/orphanage after carrying out a job, where he meets an overeager Tashiro. He becomes quite fond of him. When one of the girls at the orphanage is gang-raped, Tashiro is rearing to kill the men responsible. J.B. tries to diffuse that notion, but eventually relents and teaches him how to kill. As Tashiro rushes in to kill the rapists, J.B.'s interference is the only thing that saves him. Not wanting Tashiro to get involved in such a dark way of life, he leaves the younger man after taking him to bed. He continues his life as a hit man until he gets a job in Japan to kill Sagano, Masanori and Tashiro. Although he accepts the job, he is not wild about killing Tashiro and seeks the younger man out several times to try to get him to leave Japan. Tashiro will not be deterred, however, and each attempt to carry out their jobs, even being on opposing sides. In the end, J.B. cannot follow through with the job, since Kai, whom he considers a child, throws himself in front of Masanori as J.B. is set to shoot him. In the aftermath, J.B. and Tashiro are reunited as lovers and they start working jobs as a team.
Roy Kristen Tashiro Roy On the surface, he seems an easy-going Eurasian who makes light of any situation, but in fact he is a well-trained hit man trusted by the Sagano syndicate. Before becoming a hit man, he used to work at a church/orphanage. When one of the girls is gang-raped and the caretaker refuses to allow police intervention, Roy swears revenge. He meets J.B., a trained hit man visiting the church, and convinces him to teach him how to use a gun. During this time, he starts to feel attracted to J.B.. J.B. does not appear interested at first, but ends up kissing him. As Roy prepares to go kill the ones that raped his friend, J.B. tells him that he was not trained to kill, but to protect. Hearing this, Roy goes into a rage. He goes looking for the rapists and is almost killed when he hesitates to kill them, if not for J.B.'s intervention. They spend the night together. J.B. then disappears, leaving Roy a message advising him to find another way of life. Roy decides to become a hit man anyway, hoping to find J.B. again. His job takes him to Japan, where he is known only as Tashiro. The Sagano syndicate hires him to kill the man who tried to mow down Enjoji with a car. Tashiro does the deed, but this further incites the wrath of the enemy organization the man was working for.
Years later, the Sagano syndicate hires him to guard Kai from that same organization. It is during this job that Tashiro runs into J.B. again, who now works for the opposing organization. In the end, J.B. refuses to follow an order and the two are reunited. Recognizing that Tashiro wilfully chose the life of a hit man and that he had been looking for him all that time, the two hook up as a double team and do jobs together, while rekindling their old flame.
[Source: Wiki / MAL]