“Tableau Numero 20” is a yaoi anthology by Est Em. The title story deals with an art conservator named Maurice, who finds a lost masterpiece that portrays a beautifully young man. Things get really weird when Maurice sees the subject of the masterpiece standing naked on his apartment balcony. They fall in love and Maurice finds out about his tragic relationship with the artist. “Le Visiteur” is the sequel to the title story. “Resgueado” deals with a dancer in Spain who has a relationship with his guitarist. Another story deals with a person waiting for a lover at a specific place for many years.
The manga has a nicely low key, yet warmly emotional tone that balances sadness and joy. The title story is pretty interesting, although the viewer may wonder how the heck that Yves, the person in the portrait, got into that state. Did his first lover did it because he didn’t want Yves to die or lose his beauty or did Yves’ spirit merged into the painting because he wanted to find a love that wouldn’t end in horrific tragedy? “La Visiteur” adds some much needed closure to the first story, but it would have made more sense if the author had merged the stories together. One of the other stories has one of the most interesting happy endings. The main source of the drama is something the reader doesn’t expect, yet it all too plausible. How the characters solve the problem makes perfect sense. “Resgueado” is another interesting story in which the characters find a way to deal with their problems that makes sense and is a refreshing change of pace from the usual melodramatic yaoi manga. The author should definitely consider doing a long running manga series. Honolulu yaoi fans looking for a yaoi anthology with depth should give “Tableau Numero 20” a look.
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