I haven't read much of Fumi Yoshinaga's manga. I think her BL manga features too manyやさ男 and they generally don't look happy (at least on covers). But Ooku(大奥) was highly recommended on the "Kono Manga ga Sugoi" (この漫画がすごい) book, so I decided to pick up the two volumes that were out.
Oh my gosh, it's so good!
The story takes place in Edo Period Japan, when a mysterious disease wipes out a big chunk of the male population & only 1 in 4 boys survive into adulthood. Because of that, all families, including the shogunate, follow a female blood line.
So the story starts out with a young man named Yuunoshin who goes to work at the ooku, a special section of the shogun castle where women are forbidden to enter & all of the men work for the shogun.
1/3 into the first volume, the 8th shogun Yoshimune (the main character of the first volume) finally appears. She's very manly (?) and her relationship with Yuunoshin, albeit a short one, and how she deals with it is awesome!
Fumi Yoshinaga mentions in her interview that she plans Ooku to be 10 volumes, and she's drawing one volume worth each year. Gah! Another manga I have to patiently wait for.
But I highly recommend this one.
It might be a bit hard for a US company to pick up this one, since it's going to take a long time to finish in Japan. So you might want to pick up the Japanese version & make do with online synopses for now.
Author: Fumi Yoshinaga
Volumes: 3 (on going)
Even though this manga sounds like a woman's fantasy of a male-harlem, it's more than that, and should be enjoyable by men as well. In fact, my boss K really liked the manga. It weaves in historical events, so those who are into Japanese history might enjoy this.
If this were to be picked up, it should be handled by a US publisher with a 10 year plan. With the current state of the anime & manga industry, it's very likely many companies will not survive that long (at least as they are now), so I do hope that Hakusensha doesn't license this title on a whim.
(01.20.08 synopsis slowly being worked on)