Yuujou Wo Oeru To Iu Koto – Rocky
Ryou befriends the nerdy Kousuke. Later on, Ryou confessed to him. Kousuke agrees under one condition…
The title roughly translates to “To end the friendship”
I was expecting fluff and cute. What I got was a somewhat psychological drama about boyfriends who promised not to let lies ruin their relationship. They were tested when another boy confessed to Ryou while mimicking Kousuke’s appearance. Ryou turned the boy down. After this, Kousuke roughly shoved Ryou to the wall reminding him of their agreement.
I was surprised by this turn of events especially coming from Kousuke. All the while he seemed mild-mannered. I wouldn’t mind if the manga headed down a darker route. It didn’t quite get there. This is okay too if it was going for just hints of dark. Thing is, it felt like it was going for something but missing the mark entirely.
The only aspect I liked here was the art, especially that beautifully drawn picture of Kousuke on the cover.
Ki ga Au to Iu Koto wa – Asou Kai
1. Ki ga Au to Iu Koto wa – Shiraishi has been seduced by his so called “Best Friend” for 6 years since they were both in high school. The train they take to work, their favorite music, their sandwich choice for lunch… always happen to be identical. That strange relationship would never ever change, supposedly. But now that Shiraishi is divorced, it could be just a matter of time before he gets himself scored.
2. 1 + 1 + 1 – Between a man who bears a past and a revived lover, the existence of a certain “man” becomes the trigger. Both prickly pain and sweetness are all in one long story…
The Meaning Of Being Like-Minded is a two-story volume featuring the guys from the oneshot, Ki ga Au to Iu Koto de and a paranormal love triangle between a convenient store clerk, a salaryman and his dead boyfriend.
Ki ga Au to Iu Koto wa: This is how Shiraishi and Iizuka started, flashing back to their high school days when Iizuka revealed he was gay and Shiraishi said some words of support. From then on, Iizuka was forever declaring his love for Shiraishi while the latter was not really reciprocating but not actually rejecting him either.
Iizuka has a genki puppy dog personality. Shiraishi has a poker face and comes off as cold.
The story shows Iizuka pursuing him persistently. The thing with this trope is that the character tends to come across as too pushy and annoying. What I like about Iizuka is that he doesn’t overdo it.
While the one-shot sequel was more fluffy, this was on the angstier side. Most of the POV was from Shiraishi who had to slowly come to terms with his feelings. He sleeps with Iizuka but I suspect he could be aromantic or on the greyish scale with the way he sometimes wonders what it’s like to fall in love. It’s like he’s not really feeling things but with Iizuka, he’s feels a deep connection to the guy so it’s the closest thing to him falling in love.
1 + 1 + 1: This is about a convenient store clerk crushing on the salaryman who come in regularly and only to buy yakiniku. Later, he learns that there was a ghost hanging around him that only the clerk can see. When he asks about it, he learns it was the salaryman’s boyfriend who died in a car accident.
I liked this less because there’s a love triangle and it’s with a bratty ghost. The ghost is forever stuck at the age of 18 so it’s understandable that he could be selfish but it doesn’t make for an enjoyable read. Luckily, the story makes up for it with a happier ending.
Ki ga Au to Iu Koto de – Asou Kai
Shiraishi is slowly easing into his new relationship with Iizuka, but he is still puzzled by the phenomenon called “love.” Even though their physical affection has increased, Shiraishi doesn’t know how to overcome the emotional boundaries of their long-term friendship. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, will he find a way to express his feelings properly?
The title roughly translates to “I feel like it”. This is an adorable story of an newly-established couple getting used to their relationship.
Shiraishi and Iizuka used to be bestfriends. Shiraishi is the serious, overthinking uke reflecting on his man and the consequences of coming out to his parents. Iizuka is the cheerful seme who’s happy with everything Shiraishi.
The one-shot has the fluffy pureness of high school love between two adult characters. It’s sweet how they got identical gifts for each other.
The two started out in the manga Ki ga Au to Iu Koto wa. I love these two precious dorks so I must investigate that.
Hige to Suzu to Shabondama – YMZ
Daily life of Santa and Rintarou…
Beards, Bells and Bubbles is the super fluffy and adorably wholesome slice of life manga about an established gay couple going about their daily lives. It has a nice laid-back vibe that’s makes you think of easy summer afternoons.
Santa is the serious, hardworking one who takes care of all the household chores. He likes to spoil Rintarou. He was disowned by his family.
Rintarou is the carefree, lazy one who is completely hopeless at household chores. He likes being pampered. He has a big family who loves Santa. The running gag of the manga is that everybody thinks he is a good for nothing and that Santa is too good for him. Nobody expected they would last for 3 days.
They’re still together after 5 years.
The manga started in spring when these two dorks went to the park to view the flowers only to have it raining when they got there. Some parts of the story flash back to how it all started. Most of the chapters showed short and simple scenes illustrating the couple’s affection for each other.
Like in the opening chapter, Santa comments he’ll never see the flowers as long as they’re together. To which Rintarou replies, then you’ll never see them. Santa shrugs his shoulders and says it’s okay. They go home and eat soup.
The dialogues are funny, mostly due to Rintarou’s over reaction to things. He has a jealous streak that extends to members of his family. Santa going shopping for laptops with his father and twin brother had him in tantrums, the idiot.
My favorite part was Kiyoshi, Santa’s ex, who for some reason or another hangs around Rintarou hilariously comparing notes about Santa. He’s an overconfident businessman who unexpectedly had a boyfriend who was okay with his weird habit. There’s a twist here that I really liked and I hope the mangaka gives Kiyoshi and his man their own spinoff.
Anyway, the following year, it rained. They didn’t see the flowers. Again.
Ano Hi, Seifuku De – Nakamura Asumiko
1) Ano Hi, Seifuku de (That Day, in the Uniform)
I haven’t got myself used to this adult-like appearance with some nostalgic flavour of youth.
2) A Senpai
Body and mind think different things. But which one is true? A junior and senior love triangle.
3) Chuugaku 3-nensei (Middle School, Third Year)
There is a pervert in the male restroom in the book-store. Beware!
4) Hadaka no Boku (Naked Me)
Being shaved, becoming naked, the hidden feelings
5) Tenkousei (Transfer Student)
The secrets under the uniform, that none of the classmates knows.
God knows when my childhood friend become much tinier than me. We have been through the heights and lows together, and now is my start with that childhood friend.
6.5) Extra to Ano Hi, Seifuku de – Konya, Ano Hi ni
2 years have already passed since that night.
Nakamura Asumiko-sensei once again breaking hearts in this collection of short stories featuring school boys past and present. Her stories ran deep, dark and quite often devastating.
This manga is the more explicit of her works. Majority of the stories had gratuitous scenes. Dialogue was kept minimal and the artwork is stunning as always.
Ano Hi, Seifuku de (That Day, in the Uniform): Two salarymen found themselves in an office drinking party. One of them just got married. The other recalls that fateful day where the other left him an unforgettable confession that was unanswered in their last day of high school. He brings up the topic and they sleep together. The next day, they both pretend it was nothing.
This is the best story of the collection. It’s full of nostalgia and regrets. We get the POV of the one confessed to and he wonders, what if he had ran after him and gave his answer? Too late…
A Senpai: A love triangle between two sempai and a kohai. Characters had no names, just letters from the alphabet designating the points of the triangle. C-kun likes B-sempai but couldn’t resist A-sempai. There’s not much substance or novelty in the story. The ending felt incomplete.
Chuugaku 3-nensei (Middle School, Third Year): Rumors of a man giving out 10,000 yen for a blowjob in a bathroom stall ran wild among schoolboys. One day, a schoolboy happened to come across a man offering money to his schoolmate near a bathroom. He confronts them and the man runs away. Then his schoolmate offers him the money in exchange for blowing the schoolboy. And so their salacious encounters begin.
The money exchange presents their relationship as mere business and taints the story with a whiff of prostitution. It also begs the question of where a middle schooler gets that kind of money. This is one of the more compelling chapters here. I really liked how a story about lost innocence ends with purer motives coming to light.
Hadaka no Boku (Naked Me): A story about a kohai who had an affair with his sempai who prefers the kohai shaved down there. This is more of a sketch of a relationship that came and went. No feelings were involved excerpt the kohai’s. Sad but not outstanding.
Tenkousei (Transfer Student): This is about a transfer student rumored to have slept with a teacher and his classmate who discovered his secret. Then the two proceeded to sleep together.
There were no real relationships here. This is mostly the two students sleeping together and the transfer student taking pictures of himself in his special clothes. The affair with the teacher was revealed when said teacher hysterically confronted the student.
I wish this ended better because this felt incomplete.
Nikoichi: A gay awakening between two childhood friends who discovered they were attracted to other males. Most especially each other. The fact that the smaller of the two had sex with the teacher in the gym was kind of glossed over as part of said awakening.
Shady teachers aside, this was pretty sweet. This was also practically conflict free. So not much happened here.
Extra to Ano Hi, Seifuku de – Konya, Ano Hi ni: This is Sensei throwing us a bone.
Salaryman receives news that the other salaryman got divorced. He immediately asks for his contact number and rushes to catch up to him. Would he get there in time?!!! RUN DAMMIT!!!
Noraneko to Yubikiri – Takatsu Aki
Ayato is a part time worker who lives alone, struggling to survive. One day, his mother suddenly appears only to leave his young sister under his care. Ayato then goes to City Hall to ask for help, as he wants to leave his sister in a nursery school while he works. At that place, the one who had to help Ayato was Haruna, a serious and hard-working employee, but instead of listening to him and without knowing about Ayato’s circumstances, began to preach saying “Even stray cats are more responsible with their children than you are.” Ayato snapped saying “What do you know about me?”
A hard working employee and a hard worker who is underemployed, gradually heal each other’s past wounds and become fascinated with each other. What kind of promise will these two people make when they have experienced hard times in the past? Can they trust in each other?
Pinky Swear With A Stray Cat is a sweet age gap story about a civil servant and a part timer brought together by cats and a cute little girl. It is about family and making so many cherished memories the sad parts won’t matter.
When he was a child, Ayato was usually left to fend off for himself by his irresponsible mom. He was long burned by her broken promises. One day, his mom left him his little sister, Ren, and he swore he would do everything to give her things he didn’t have growing up.
Haruna was the civil servant who handled his case. They got off the wrong foot but later developed a friendship. Especially after Ayato discovered Haruna playing with cats on the street.
I really liked the artwork particularly the way the characters were drawn. Ren looked adorable and Haruna was quite the looker in his casual hair and contact lenses. The background was not messy. Overall, it’s very easy on the eyes.
The story had a nice pace going. The conflict was based on stupid assumptions and the resolution felt rushed. However, the manga did a great job showcasing their time together. It was also refreshing that the two men kissed openly on the streets instead of having to do it in some discrete corner.
Ayato reminded Haruna of a stray cat. A cat who wanted affection but is often left behind. I liked the way the younger man was earnest with his feelings. Ayato was touched by the way Haruna always keeps his promises even with the little things. Together, they made Ren, the happiest girl in the world.
He From Department A and I From Department B – Nekono Mariko
Ihara Tomoyuki is from Dept B and Aoyama Naoto is from rival Dept B. They hate each others guts so why can’t Ihara say stay away?!
This is a one-shot set between rival planning departments. They compete in a project and the loser will do whatever the winner commands. Dept B loses and Ihara becomes a slave to dept A’s star employee Naoto. After a drunken party, they end sleeping together then again when Naoto told him to because Ihara claims he forgot how good it was.
The story is hella funny. It written in Ihara’s POV. He’s a tsundere uke in a complete denial of the truth. His panic faces were hilarious. In contrast, Naoto is the calm seme who lords over him at work. Or so it appears.
Ihara gets flashbacks of his time in college and that boy who moved to the US and broke his heart. It’s a bit of a stretch that he did not recognized him when he’s right in his face. But their reunion gave the manga all sorts of fluffy feels.
My favorite part was when their stubborn client finally said yes. Naoto suddenly gave Ihara a huge hug and said…
“It’s thanks to you giving me all your strength”
Ihara realized he was in deep, deep trouble.
Kimi wa Boku no Uso – Shinomiya Suzu
For Nase Kouki, photography and family are a big part of his life. They are intertwined with his lowest and highest moments, — And so is his brother.
The title translates to “You are my lie.” A story of two step-brothers who, well, for me, not much really happened here. They were in love with each other, that’s all.
The angst comes from conflicting feelings and an absentee father. His return after 10 years of no show was quickly shrugged off after some reassurance. The women of the family were supportive so the conflict wasn’t as compelling.
I am a fan of brotherly love stories but this offered nothing new to the table.
Moshimo, Ashita Sekai ga Owaru nara – Hara Yuriko
If the world was ending tomorrow, what would you do?
Suddenly, the question wasn’t so hypothetical anymore when the moon was about to crash to the earth. Two childhood friends meet again at the last day of earth and catch up.
The story parallels the past and present times when the two talked about what they want to do if the world was ending and what they want to do now that it is.
This could easily have ended in tears but finally finding the courage to live life with no regrets ensured we are smiling at the very end. This is a wonderful, fully-realized one-shot with feels hitting you like a bomb.
RIHT – Isiki
Childhood friends Yuu and Asa used to take for granted that they would always be together. However, one day, that certainty was suddenly proven wrong. Yuu felt it wasn’t something he could continue enduring forever. Gradually, he couldn’t help but realize his feelings went beyond a simple childhood friendship, and that came as a shock. Yuu, who thought that falling for Asa would be a nuisance for the people around him in those changing circumstances, chose to forget his love for him and play the part of an ordinary childhood friend.
The title reads as “light”. This is a manga that dazzles with pretty art but the story execution was all over the place. It tends to jump from present to flashbacks and back again to the point that it leaves the reader confused.
Yuu is a university student who needs to get out of his head more. He is pining for his childhood friend who was in fact actually trying to get close to him. He has a lot of insecurities and is afraid of revealing his true feelings. The internal conflict lack a solid basis and was more tiresome than compelling.
I wish we get Asa’s POV more simply because he was the more interesting of the two. But seeing him from Yuu’s POV also worked because it allows the story to have it’s big eyeopening moment for Yuu.
The best character here is Asahi, their sempai who was instrumental in bringing these two dorks together. I wished he gets a spinoff.