• manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Super Platonic

    Super Platonic – Ueda Niku

    Takagi, the store manager of a flower shop, does a favor for his younger sister by going to an Idol concert to check out a man she met online. However, it turns out that this online friend is actually Toraji, a part-timer who works for Takagi.

    Super Platonic is a sweet and gentle story about not judging people by their appearance.

    Store owner Takagi hasn’t really been getting along with his big and scary-looking part-timer, a university student named Toraji. But he noticed the young man actually handles his flowers with a lot of care. And he makes really cute bouquets. After getting roped in by his sister to meet a man she was supposed to meet at an idol concert, he was surprised to discovered, it was Toraji.

    I adore Toraji’s kind of seme!! A strong, silent type who’s super loyal and devoted to his uke. I loved the tiger reference in his name (tora = tiger). This fierce-looking cat is actually a kitten. His blushy face is everything!

    Despite his appearance, he’s a guy who likes cute, girly things. He’s a huge fan of an idol group that Takagi’s sister also liked. He was upfront and honest about his feelings, point blank asking Takagi to go out with him.

    The manga is from Takagi’s POV. I wasn’t too keen about Takagi at first. There was a misunderstanding about the identity of the person who was supposed to meet Toraji. He let this misunderstanding dragged longer than necessary. He also took his time sorting his feeling for the younger man. This part was understandable though. He eventually won me over when he became honest with himself.

    There’s an age gap aspect in play with some scenes highlighting the age difference, making it seem Takagi is that old even if he’s only in his early 30s. Not too keen about this part either.

    However, I really loved the vibe of the manga. Despite some of the negative elements, it felt soft and light. I especially loved the way the mangaka drew Toraji. I’m all about this boy here.

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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Coming

    Coming – Niyama

    Closeted middle-age man logs in on an site to find a friend. The man who turns up was…?!

    Coming is an age-gap romance of a 45 year old salaryman, Shouichi Koga, who was inspired by a celebrity who recently came out about his relationship. He used a certain website for gay men to find a friend.

    Poor Koga. When he said friend, he really means an actual friend and not a code for something. Lucky for him, the man who turned up was Rei.

    This is a super cute one-shot. Koga is adorably pure and shy. Rei is a younger, very toppy guy who was eager to show him the way. I love their kind of younger seme x older uke combination. My favorite part is Rei going, OMG Koga is so cute! I can’t even!!!!

    I really want to read the sequel and see where this inadvertent hookup is heading.

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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Until I Meet My Husband

    Until I Meet My Husband – Nanasake Ryousuke & Tsukizuki Yoshi

    Based on a famous essay by a Japanese gay activist, this manga tells the story of his life leading from his childhood up to his marriage to his husband.

    Until I Meet My Husband is not your usual BL manga. It is an autobiographical story of a Japanese gay activist, Nanasake Ryousuke, based on his book of the same name. It chronicles his daily struggles, first, as a closeted child, later, as an openly gay man in a conservative society that views LGBT people negatively.

    This is quite an angsty manga with lots of internal conflict brought about by the way people tend to be cruel to someone who does not conform to typical gender roles. Right from the start Nanasake knew he was different. He was called names because as child, he already exhibited feminine behavior.

    There are a lot of painful memories, a lot of unrequited love for oblivious childhood friends and a lot of self-loathing. The pain jumped off the panels. The scene where he came out to his female friends for the first time had such a huge impact. You can really feel this big whoosh of cathartic feelings sweeping through. His friends were awesome in their empathy and support.

    The story somehow felt lighter after that coming out, although still not without his fair share of dating woes and bad boyfriends. Nanasake looked back at all of these with a positive mindset and even thanked them for the love and happy memories.

    He finally met his husband in one of his usual online hookups. It was probably fate because his name is also Ryousuke but spelled in different kanji characters. You can tell this guy was different because he was serious about pursuing a relationship with marriage in mind. He proposed during the Pride Parade. It took a lot of tries before they got the approval of the government but Nanasake and Ryousuke became the first gay couple to marry in Japan.

    The manga has a more mature vibe than the typical BL. It tackled heavy topics but it does gloss over some details that were in the book. Most BL manga are heavily romanticized and unrealistic. So I recommend this to everyone who’s interested in a true to life story of a gay man in Japan.

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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Kajitsu

    Kajitsu – Hachita Abe

    Kyouichi and Shouma meet again on the beaches of Okinawa after parting nearly a year ago when their relationship as step-brothers ceased to be. Before their parent’s divorce, Kyouichi kept his feelings secret all this time for the sake of their family, but can he keep them hidden when he’s pushed to the edge under the sweltering summer sun.

    Kajitsu has three meanings in the story. It means fruit, summer day and another day.

    This manga is a very slow-burning and angsty step-brothers to lovers story of Kyouichi and Shouma. It is set in summer. Their parents married then divorced but the two maintained their close relationship.

    Shouma is oblivious to the fact Kyouichi had long ago developed more than brotherly feelings towards him. Even after Kyouichi confessed, Shouma declared he wanted them to stay as brothers.

    I love brotherly love stories and this one did a good job showing the conflicting feelings and Kyouichi’s longing for his stepbrother. However, it had a lot of unnecessary drama, making it longer than it should have been.

    The story didn’t really bring anything new to the table. I felt things could have been resolved sooner had the two not been too stubborn. Also, the manga pretty much glossed over the parents so there wasn’t a strong sense that their relationship was forbidden. I didn’t see what was really stopping these two.

    There was another boy in the picture, Hanashiro, who was rumored to have dated Kyouichi in middle school. I preferred him to Shouma because he treated Kyouichi better. Shouma was being an ass for some time while he was coming to terms with his feelings.

    As for the art, the colored illustrations are pretty. The rest of the drawings were okay. The characters looked liked ordinary boys which gave the manga a more realistic feel.

  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Kimi to Hamu Hamu Shitai no Da!

    Kimi to Hamu Hamu shitai no da! – Machiko

    Kamiya, who loves small animals, discovers that Matsuyuki, a kendo rival from another school, can transform into a hamster…!?


    The title roughly translates to I Want To Hamu Hamu With You. This is a slow-burn, rivals to friends to lovers story with a lovable sunshine/tsundere pairing.

    To his utter delight, kendo club captain Kamiya accidentally discovers his serious and stoic rival Matsuyuki transforms into a hamster. This is the Matsuyuki family curse.

    Kamiya is obsessed with small animals and immediately declares hamster Matsuyuki the cutest thing EVER!!!

    Thus begins his relentless pursuit of the hamster and the man. ၄ စ ౪ စ ၃

    Kamiya is a joy! His cheerful nature is contagious. Matsuyuki cannot control his transformations. I loved that right from the beginning, Kamiya took it upon himself to protect his secret.

    Matsuyuki the hamster and the man doesn’t have much expression other than his usual grumpy one but when he smiles, blushes or gets flustered… (*≧∀≦*)!!!

    This is one of the most adorable manga ever!!!!!

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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Galge no Sekai de Shinyuu ga Ore o Sukida to Iidashite

    Galge no Sekai de Shinyuu ga Ore o Sukida to Iidashite – Fujitobi

    Aoi, a hard-headed young man secretly yearning for love. When playing the harem game he secretly bought in his best friend Ritsuki’s house, he somehow gets sucked into the game’s world with Ritsuki! While understanding that if they don’t clear the game they can’t leave, Aoi decides to try his best in romancing one of the girls, but suddenly Ritsuki confesses to him…? The story between a whole hearted ikemen childhood friend x a hard headed young man who secretly yearns for love virtually unfolds!

    In the World of a Gal Game, My Best Friend ♂ Says He Likes Me!? is a gay for you, best friends to lovers story that took place inside a gal game.

    Gal games are dating games where the player tries to win the affection of girls. Aoi was playing one at his best friend Ritsuki’s house when they were both sucked inside the game. Aoi, who had boldly declared he had no interest in girls, had in fact been wanting a girlfriend and decided to play the game as practice.

    Meanwhile, Ritsuki had been pining for his oblivious friend for years. He took comfort in the fact that his friend said he doesn’t want to date girls. Now that they were both in the game and Aoi was actively pursuing girls, he took matters in his own hands by trying to control Aoi’s interactions with them.

    Normally, I’d be all over a friends to lovers story especially one that’s also gay for you. But, I seriously think Ritsuki was barking up the wrong tree. Aoi was so very obviously straight. He was really into girls and only later developed feelings because Ritsuki was always there. I felt his change of feeling towards his bestfriend was forced. Even the flow of the manga didn’t feel smooth.

    I did feel sorry for Ritsuki. Aoi is a doofus. Still, he loves Aoi so much that when the game showed Aoi the affection levels of a person towards him, Ritsuki’s level was so high, Aoi was overwhelmed and fled. Ritsuki’s strong feelings were the only reason I rooted for them.

    I love most of Fujitobi‘s manga but sadly this one didn’t work for me. Which was too bad because it had an interesting set up.

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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Okaeri Aureole

    Okaeri Aureole – Takamatsu Misaki

    Bright and sociable Kazu and sober and serious Moto have been friends since they were kids. Even if they grew apart and became friends with different groups of people in high school, they still knew and understood each other well. However, Kazu slowly starts to become aware of Moto as more than just his friend…

    Welcome Back, Aureole is your typical childhood friends to lovers story. Two kids growing up in the same neighborhood becoming close friends while one secretly develops more than friendly feeling towards the other. Girlfriends, confessions, rejections or simply because it’s natural between teenagesr, they slowly grow apart. In this case, all these things happened

    The story opens with Kazu and Moto going out just as Moto turns 18. Then it flashes back to their younger days showing how Kazu’s feelings changed and how he was pining for his oblivious friend. The POV sometimes changes to Moto’s who took much longer to come to terms with his feelings. The closing chapters led things full circle. The two friends reminisce about happy memories and Moto finally holds Kazu’s hand.

    The plot might be cliche, I liked how it still felt fresh. While not exactly putting a new spin on things, the mangaka still managed to turn it into a touching story that grips your heart. They were able to skillful deploy the non-linear style of storytelling to maximum effect.

    I liked that the more extrovert of the pair fell in love first. I was also expecting something sweet and fluffy but this was angstier than expected. It even felt like it was leading towards heartbreak. Thankfully, it veered towards a happier direction as it led back to the present.

    I loved how the artwork matched the mood of the story. The soft shades reminds me of the dreamy days of youth.

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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Business-Like

    Business-Like – Higa Shidumu

    Masaki has been modeling for the sole reason that he’s in demand.
    One day, Usami, his lover-slash-photographer, tells Masaki that it’s over between them and he’s getting married.
    Dejected, Masaki loses interest in modeling, nothing matters anymore, and he becomes a recluse.
    It’s then that a friend tells him about a live-in job.
    His new employer looks like a pleasant enough guy at first… but looks can be deceiving…!!

    What will happen between the top salesman who’s interested in nothing but his work and Masaki, his live-in housekeeper…?

    A lovely slow-burn, forced proximity story between a former model turned housekeeper and an aloof salaryman who was all work and no play.

    The story starts off with Masaki quitting his rising modelling career after a bad breakup with the photographer. Then he was roped in to a job as a live-in housekeeper to his friend’s brother.

    The manga was perfectly paced for most of its chapters. I loved how their relationship developed. It really showcased how both of the characters grow individually and how they fit together.

    Takaomi wasn’t intentionally a standoffish guy but he did his job too perfectly that people felt intimidated. He also saw how people tend to distance themselves from him which in turn led him to keep his distance. He doesn’t go out of his way to connect to people, merely accepted that he’s not the type to make friends.

    Masaki did as he was instructed at first, keeping to his chores and following the house rules. He hardly interacted with boss despite being in the same space together because Takaomi preferred it that way. Then one day, he noticed Takaomi seemed troubled and offered to lend his ear.

    That talk led to a gentle friendship then to gradual realization of deeper feelings. This was then complicated by the fact Takaomi’s mother arranged for him to marry a girl. Things came to a head after an accident. I wished the story ended after that emotional scene at the hospital because the closing chapters were a mess.

    The last part was rushed and unnecessary, with a meddling, homophobic mom and a controversial exhibit thrown in for conflict. The scenes weren’t executed well, the resolution unsatisfactory.

    Still, this is an enjoyable manga overall. The colored illustrations at the beginning of each chapter was a great treat.

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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Ikigami to Donor

    Ikigami to Donor – Yamanaka Hiko

    Yuki Yoshino, a junior high school teacher, is informed that he’s an “Ikigami donor.” Ikigami are the strongest military-operated human beings, and the treatment for these super humans requires body fluids from their unique donor. As Yoshino is about to learn what it means to be an Ikigami donor, Kido storms into the room and demands for his donor. Kido, a super famous Ikigami, is told that Yoshino is his donor and Kido orders Yoshino to treat his open leg wound with his saliva. In disbelief, Kido and Yoshino both witness the leg wound heals in front of their eyes.

    Ikigami and Donor is a dystopian story with an interesting and kinda gross premise. Ikigami are supersoldiers who fight for their country in a world where military might is based on the number of ikigami they have. These superhumans can only be damaged by their fellow ikigami and they cannot be treated by ordinary medicine. Instead, each of them has a specially matched donor whose body fluids can heal their assigned ikigami. This can be as simple as licking a wound to extreme such as donating the entire skin off your back or giving up multiple organs.

    Which is what happened to middle school teacher Yoshino, who suddenly found himself a donor and assigned to an asshole ikigami named Kido. Said asshole demanded he lick the open wound on his leg upon their very first meeting without so much as a hello, nice to meet you.

    This manga can be quite emotional and thought-provoking as it touches upon human rights, war, and the intensely codependent relationship between donor and ikigami. A pair does not necessarily becomes emotionally involved with each other. More often than not, it’s a cold, efficient transaction of harvesting blood or body parts. Yoshino and Kido is actually a rare case.

    Kido is a man-child who does what he wants with Yoshino to the point of almost raping the guy. He doesn’t really have anyone to protect, merely fights simply because he’s an ikigami. Yoshino felt protective of his ikigami almost immediately. He is a mild-mannered man who was fast learning the kind of damage the supersoldiers had to endure.

    The story is mostly from Yoshino’s POV but we also see Kido’s thoughts and history. As the story progress, Kido’s character grow and learn the most important lessons in life. Their bond grew stronger, the longer they were together. The war continues, and soon, ultimate sacrifices had to be made.

    There was a part where he and Yoshino talked about what they want to happened 10 years into the future. It was a such a poignant moment that showed the kind of empty life Kido was living all this time. Later, he told Yoshino his dreams for the future. I was teary eyed.

    Yep, this is one of those manga that can break your heart to pieces, then put it back together again.

    There’s a bonus mini-thread between the sunshine-y ikigami, Taki, and the stoic ministry official, Shibata. I love this pair! They need their own story.

  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Smile

    A BL manga originally published on Penguin Frountier’s Facebook between March 2016 and October 2017, Smile tells to story of Wayne Huntington Jr. a foreigner and orphan living in Japan and Itou Ren.

    Boy, this is heartbreaking!

    Smile is an angsty childhood friends to lovers story of red-headed orphan Wayne and the ever-smiling Ren.

    Wayne lost his parents at a young age and Ren’s family took him in. Ren is quick to jump to the other boy’s defense whenever he was bullied and Wayne consider him his hero. Wayne is also in love with Ren. When he confessed, Ren ran away. But then they patched things up and started dating.

    The romance itself is soft and gentle but this is painful to read because the boys had to deal with homophobia and bullying. What I love about the two is that even if they themselves had falling outs, they always go back to each other. Their love and friendship remained strong.

    This is a beautifully drawn manga. And it’s in full color! The spring landscapes were simply lovely. The two MCs looked really good.

    The story is set in the rainy season and it makes it even more melancholy. There were many scenes in the rain, some happy moments and some showing how one can smile while shattering to pieces.

    This does have a happy ending, in the sense that the boys were both alive and together.