Remember when you didn't expect yaoi to have a plot and emotions and stuff? All you really wanted was smut and some pretty boys (er, men)? That is exactly what Vector in Love by Rika Akira delivers. Some of the premises make no sense. A gamer guy in love with the hero of his favorite video game? Maybe a little believable, but there's nothing to really explain that. A neighbor who falls in love with his neighbor on sight the day he moves in? A young athlete who falls in love with his physical therapist? The stories explain why the two characters know each other - and why they might end up having sex - but not so much the obsessive presence of love.
And that's really one of my biggest complaints about the collection: the men throw around "love" a lot, but the length of stories doesn't really allow for the buildup that would make that kind of emotional statement sexy. Instead, it just sort of floats around, as if trying to explain the sex, when the sex could just as easily explain itself. It would be a lot less distracting (and problematic) if the stories would just as soon assume that the men were having sex because they could.
If you move past that (which you probably will pretty quickly), you'll be rewarded with stories that lead up to the "real" action with sexy foreplay related to the settings and premises of the stories. You may find that the best story, "Vector in Love," comes first. The lines that walked straight out of a porn flick ("What we were missing was a kid like you to use as a model" and "Whatever the two of you need help with!") somehow avoid silliness, probably because the convention of the genre is to get to the sex. But instead of getting straight to sex the main character, Hikaru, is instructed to masturbate.
Little tweaks like this that delay the sex - not that deny sex, but that simply build up to it - are present in most of the stories and really improve the sex factor of the collection. The second story starts with a kiss, builds to an aborted sexual encounter, an eventually of course ends with office sex. "Innocence, Emotion, Imagination" uses porn to facilitate the action, and another story features a hot tub. Since pretty much all of the stories build up to the sex, rather than just throwing characters into it, the stories are more titillating and in a sense satisfying.
Vector in Love also heavily relies on the dominant-submissive dichotomy of partners, which shouldn't surprise anyone familiar with the genre. In this sense the stories take more risks with their sex scenes (risks and fantasies that a lot of hentai, for example, does not indulge in) which makes them more interesting. Nearly all of the pairings have a clear dominant and clear submissive, with little wiggle room to experiment with that dichotomy. A couple of stories seem to skim the possibility, with age and relative social position not ultimately determining which partner is dominant, but for the most part it's pretty clear the parameters within which the sex is going to unfold. In addition, the partners are artistically distinct from each other, but actually many of them look the same from story to story; they "look" along certain tropes and expectations as much as they "act" along those same lines.
The men are pretty. The sex is sexy and the buildup equally so, despite the continued pretense of love. You know exactly who is who and how they are going to act. You know that you're waiting to get to the sex, and the stories don't even always seem to take themselves seriously. Vector in Love is nothing you can't expect from a yaoi anthology, but it contains all the usual elements, sticks to them, and delivers a solid and entertaining read.
Oh, and did I mention that "Vector in Love" ultimately results in a threesome?
Don't go looking for a story, just enjoy the smut. Filled with precious teary eyed ukes and dominating semes. I enjoyed all of the oneshots, but really wished it wasn't so heavily censored. Can you say cone of light penis?? If silly smut is what you're looking for you won't be disappointed.