“Deadlock,” a mystery BL manga published in 2011, revolves around the life of Yuuto Lennix, a DEA agent who has been wrongfully accused and convicted for the murder of his partner, Paul. Now, he is the newest inmate at a harsh California State Prison, sentenced to serve 15 grueling years.
Despite this predicament, there is a glimmer of hope for Yuuto. He can earn his freedom by locating Corvus, the enigmatic leader of a terrorist organization believed to be using the prison as a safe haven. Armed with a list of suspects, Yuuto is tasked with discerning friend from foe, all while navigating the perilous dynamics of prison life. He grapples with threats from prison gangs and constant sexual assault risks. Amidst this treacherous environment, one question lingers – can he place his trust in his strikingly attractive cellmate, Dick Burnford?
Opinions / Analysis
Okay the name Dick Burnford is absolutely awful and makes me giggle whenever i see it.
This manga holds quite a bit of gems that you wouldn’t expect. Firstly, and I’m sorry to those who will be disappointed — but this is not the type of manga to pick up if you’re expecting a lot of intercourse scenes between the characters. In fact, there’s only one in the entire manga.
Secondly, this manga contains some depictions of sexual assault between prisoners. Please take that into account before picking up the manga. The scenes aren’t too graphic, but they definitely happen.
Race & Gangs
There’s some really interesting discourse about race and the ambiguity between ethnicity. For those who don’t know, in the United States a lot (but not all) of prisons are “Self-segregated” — prisoners will likely stick to their own race for protection. This tends to happen when nationalists or neo-nazis enter the prison, forcing minorities to stay together for protection and survival against gangs.
Think I’m lying? Here’s an article about prison gangs, noting how 70% of them are usually race-based. Frequently, many of those who join a prison gang are not themselves racist, but only comply for self-preservation and protection. A lot of these gangs, however, go beyond the prison walls.
I never would’ve looked in to that had this manga not brought it up. This manga is extremely well-researched, and talks a lot about the Prison Industrial Complex as well as the “Prison Culture” that inmates find themselves in. For a BL manga, that’s some hefty territory!
The discussion on race comes to a head when our Japanese protagonist is accepted by the Chicanos (the Latino population) because he more closely identifies with Mexican culture due to his Hispanic adoptive family. The manga tries to explain that race and ethnicity are ambiguous and largely social constructs that we create just to categorize people — because the “real race” we experience is how we grow up and the languages we speak.
Love, Loss & Revenge
There’s also some neat talk near the end of the manga when we hear from a character about how he lost the person he loves. There isn’t much discussion on it, but it’s interesting how revenge plays a larger role throughout the manga. There are plenty of times when somebody is assaulted and the rest of the characters’ knee-jerk reaction is to take revenge.
Overall, I enjoy this manga a lot. Oftentimes labeling a manga as “BL” sort of sanitizes it from any important messages or worthwhile discussion, but the BL aspects of this manga largely take a backseat to the narrative and story that it’s trying to tell.
I can appreciate that about this manga!
What do you all think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Check out our coverage of other manga here on LAN!:
Twisted for Twisted’s Sake? – Zankoku na Kami ga Shihai Suru Review
JOJOLANDS Chapter 5 Review
Konya Mo Nemurenai Review – When You Accidentally Summon a Demon Prince