• manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Kimi no Hitomi ni Ubawaretai

    Kimi no Hitomi ni Ubawaretai – Haizaka Kiri

    “I like guys.”

    Jun, a photographer, meets Haruka while they were both working at a wedding hall. Haruka’s persona for work and his true personality are very different. Enchanted by Haruka’s natural smile, Jun blurts out, “Will you be mine?” He was so sure that he scared Haruka away, but he received an unexpected response back.

    Roughly translating to I want to be robbed by your eyes, this is a calm, gentle story of a wedding photographer, Jun who was enamored by a hotel employee, Haruka’s photogenic looks. The more time he spent with him, the more he was drawn to the beautiful man.

    One thing this manga got going for it is the beautiful delicate-looking characters, especially Haruka. Their meet-cute was super cute too!

    However, the longer I read, the more bored I became to the point I skimmed. This had the makings of a super adorable floofy story, but the execution lacked the oomph to generate feels.

    I don’t know if it’s the translation, but the dialogue was flat. The characters also came across as uninteresting. There was an attempt to give them dimension, but it wasn’t enough to hold my attention. This has rave reviews, though, so it could just be me.

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    MANGA: Ore to Joushi no Koi no Hanashi

    Ore to Joushi no Koi no Hanashi – Nanameguri

    Tomoaki Takanashi has just started at his first proper job and soon learns that his manager, Chikashi Tokunaga, is gay. The other employees all know, too, but they also all know that Chikashi’s romantically interested in Mr. Furuya, the CEO. Although Tomoaki’s taken aback by such an open and welcoming company, he soon realizes that he can’t keep his eyes off Chikashi. Are these feelings… love!? This is a cute love story between a straight subordinate and his gay manager.

    A Love Story Between My Boss and I is as cute as promised and a great opportunity to ogle people in suits. It’s a workplace romance between a trainee who goes for what he wants and the passionate gay manager hopelessly in love with their straight silver fox CEO.

    There might be pining, but I’m happy to report there are no love geometries here. The CEO, Furuya, is happily married and is a staunch supporter of his two employees’ blossoming relationship.

    Chikashi is a strict boss but a complete dork everywhere else. He agonizes over the risk of dating a straight guy who might one day wake up and realize he’s not interested in a boyfriend anymore. Meanwhile, the straight guy, Tomoaki, had no issues whatsoever that he was suddenly in love with his male boss.

    The two idiots navigate the crisscrossing of their personal and work lives as their co-workers gossip good-naturedly and their CEO pushes them in the right direction. Their workplace is refreshingly progressive and accepting of Chikashi’s sexuality. It is so progressive that employees pass out on the floor overnight, and nobody bats an eye.

    The plot might be cliché, but this is a really fun manga. I laughed at the stupid expressions on the characters’ faces, the nosy co-workers, and how much of a mess Chikashi is when he’s completely sloshed. Furuya, the true hero of the story, has his own chapter, a more subdued backstory that gave weight to the entire manga.

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    MANGA: Shinigami wa Korosenai

    Shinigami wa Korosenai – Mikka Mita

    “You are still by my side, aren’t you?”

    Eiji, who has an abnormally dangerous constitution, has faced the danger of death many times since ancient times. However, every time he encounters danger, he realizes the existence of a mysterious “shadow” that protects him. Eiji, who had come to have special feelings for the shadow, wanted to know the identity of the shadow, He tries to throw himself out the window, but what appears is a masked man with a terrifying appearance!?

    Absolute undying escort love by elite grim reaper!

    Death God Who Can’t Kill continues the glorious tradition of making the shinigami as drool-worthy as possible.

    Caleb, the death god in question, is obsessed with protecting a human. Eiji was at death’s door when he was a child, but the half-glimpsed Caleb refused to take his soul. Now a grown man and frustrated with the half-glimpses, Eiji forced Caleb to show himself and keep him company. Unknown to the human, the shinigami is breaking rules, and such disobedience has serious consequences.

    Caleb is an enigmatic presence that only Eiji can see. He’s a Chrollo look-alike, for which I drooled because Chrollo is an all-time anime crush. He says very little and looks scary but looks at Eiji with such softness in his eyes. Like all shinigami, he doesn’t need to eat or sleep, and doesn’t feel emotions or sexual desire. Doesn’t stop the big smexy scene from happening, though.

    Eiji’s personality has contradicting sides in that inside/outside, private face/public face thing that people have. As chef of a cafe, Eiji intimidates rude customers with his scary face. With Caleb, though, he’s a different person, softer, more smiley, and needier. He wanted so much to repay Caleb, and so, he all but demanded the shinigami eat what he cooked.

    The story is a floofy cutesy affair with a sense of impending doom hanging in the air. Anyone who likes tall, dark and mysterious seme with single-minded devotion to their uke would adore this. Eiji’s embarrassment at knowing Caleb was actually there all those times he jerked off to the “mysterious shadow” was hilarious. There was a tear-jerking part that end with a happy resolution. It was a bit rushed, but heck, if it gives me a reunion, I’m all for it!

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    MANGA: Konna Koi ni Narunante

    Konna Koi ni Narunante – Haruyama Moto

    Office worker Kida loves his private time and prefers silence to socializing. But one day, the previously empty seat next to him is filled by salesman Takamura, turning his peaceful days upside-down!

    Takamura drags him out to eat lunch every day and chats with him constantly. Plus, it turns out they live in the same company apartment block, and ever since then, Takamura won’t stop barging into Kida’s place…! Kida would never have taken this lying down before, but Takamura has him strangely charmed… But why…?

    A puppy-like playboy meets a serious, socially awkward introvert in this tortured, bittersweet office romance! The Love You’d Least Expect: Continued: Chapter 3 After a bumpy beginning, the positive, puppy-like Takamura and the shy, negative Kida are finally lovers. Takamura, who can’t stop brimming with passion for Kida, is inflamed by his every move. He’s tiring poor Kida out with a life of non-stop romping. Feeling bad for the feeble, indoorsy Kida, Takamura decides things can’t go on like this, and starts doing his best to avoid interacting with Kida, who keeps obliviously turning him on…!

    This is the sequel to the action-packed manga “The Love You’d Least Expect”!

    Someday, we’ll get a manga where the extrovert learns to shut up, enjoy the silence, shun the world and just chill with his introverted boyfriend. This is not the day.

    The Love You’d Least Expect is yet another grumpy anti-social introvert forced outside his comfort zone by a persistent sunshiny extrovert. It’s a tale told a million times already, but this manga delivered the charm and kawaii-ness that made this old trope a fan favorite.

    Kida, the introvert who enjoys the peace and quiet of being left alone, is my spirit animal. Takamura, who practically bulldozed his way into Kido’s life, could have easily been annoying. Happily, he’s kind of adorable in his puppy-like adoration of Kido.

    The plot followed the expected course, but the endearing characters, floofy scenes, and the overall engaging execution make this manga worth a read

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    MANGA: Bakeneko Katatte Sourou

    Bakeneko Katatte Sourou – Hayane Dento

    Matoi Souta is a salaryman who’s tired in both body and spirit. One day, on his way home from a grueling bout of work, he stumbles upon a koudan performance and decides to see it on a whim. During the performance, he sees a changed cat, causing him to jump in surprise, but eventually attributes it to the fatigue and brushes it off—until he sees it again.

    Orations of a Changed Cat is all about cat boys!

    It’s a story of a man given a new lease on life after a life spent overworked, depressed, suicidal, and so very tired he keeled over and nearly died. It just so happened this new life involved being a mate to a bakeneko, a kind of cat shifter.

    Kihachi is a bakeneko who performs the koudan because he loves stories and how they make people look forward to tomorrow. It was his performance that gave Souta a jolt of energy. Upon seeing his effect on Souta and that the other man was able to see his cat form, he sought him out again and proposed.

    Kihachi took Souta to the bakeneko headquarters to announce their union and introduced him to their leaders. It’s where the more surreal scenes happened. Not only did cats make their appearance, but there were also unidentified supernatural creatures.

    Souta is a precious cinnamon roll. I want to hug him. He has depression and often thinks about death. He has so little joy in life that he cried while eating the delicious meal Kihachi prepared. He kind of looks like Ichigo from Bleach. I loved how the mangaka drew his eyes. So expressive!

    Kihachi is totally devoted to his mate but fears the pain he will experience with the loss since humans have shorter lifespans. Because of that, he doesn’t want to get too close to Souta. Which made the poor Souta think he was unwanted.

    It may sound like this is heavy drama, but the author perfected a balance of fluff, comedy, cats, angst, and drama. It’s a tender slow-burn romance with a Spirited Away feels underscored by melancholy.

    One hilarious side character was the super nosy ryokan cat who lives for gossip. He shamelessly eavesdrop on Kihachi and Souta’s private moments and loves to annoy Kihachi.

    The illustrations gave off dreamlike otherworldliness that made me think of the Ghibli anime. Especially how the scenes jump back and forth to the supernatural and the real world.

    This is one of my top manga of the year. I loved how it’s so moving and emotional and, at the same time, has a calm, low-key quality. The mangaka’s note at the end gave me a pang with its vague resolution of the lifespan dilemma. I’d like to think magic gave them all the time they could ever ask for.

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    MANGA: In Your Room

    In Your Room – Hino Youhe

    Kadokura and Yamasawa are surprised when they both fall in love at first sight… but are their feelings aligned?

    In Your Room is a cozy, domestic one-shot of two guys who fell in love at first sight and fell into a routine.

    Kadokura frequently comes over to Yamasawa’s apartment. After having sex, he usually ends up cleaning Yamasawa’s messy room. At first, he didn’t mind, being smitten by the other man. Then doubts gradually seeped in, thinking Yamasawa was only having sex with him in exchange for doing chores.

    What’s great about these two is that they really took the time to talk properly. The plot was pretty straightforward, a slice of life of mostly nothing but sex and doing chores. Far from being boring and explicit, it was able to convey the feels in a laid-back low-key manner.

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    MANGA: Musunde, Hodoite, Kiss wo Shite

    Musunde, Hodoite, Kiss wo Shite – Mitsuki Emi

    Tsukasa, who owns a tailor shop in a downtown shopping arcade, is reunited with his middle school friend Ren under the worst possible circumstances. Ren has joined the mob, who plan to demolish and redevelop the entire shopping arcade! To protect the neighborhood where he was raised, Tsukasa tries to persuade Ren to change his mind… But Ren says his goal is to “make Tsukasa’s dream come true.”

    Tie Me, Unravel Me, Kiss Me is about a tailor, for which I gave a happy dance because there’s bound to be beautiful clothes! SUITS MOE!!!!

    Tsukasa is the current owner of a three-generation old tailor shop in a downtown district shopping arcade soon to be demolished. It was announced to him by a middle school friend, Shinagawa, who was in charge of the project. Matters became more complicated when the yakuza got involved, and they found their other middle school friend, Adachi, was working for them.

    I spent a huge chunk of the manga wondering what’s going on. The plot was a convoluted drama of demolition prevention and yakuza machinations. Then there was a love triangle. Whatever feels the story was hoping to generate was slightly dampen by these. I also had no idea why the title is such. I hung on because there was a promise of a suit and I was really, really hoping Tsukasa chooses the right guy.

    If the second lead syndrome frustrates you, this manga is a balm to it because Tsukasa did choose the best guy! Yay for that! And the suit was indeed lovely. So it might not be perfect, but this manga is worth a peek.

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    MANGA: Hoshizora wo Mitsumeta Sono Ato De

    Hoshizora wo Mitsumeta Sono Ato De – Kida Bisco

    Miyazawa Subaru is a designer, who thanks to the recommendation from his planetarium creator friend, managed to get a job to work on a pamphlet for one of the planetarium’s event. What’s more, the event involves Amase Togo, a photographer he really admires who specializes in taking pictures of starry skies.

    On the day of the event’s private screening, there Subaru met…

    This is a pure BL between a photographer and a designer who is also a wheelchair user.

    After Staring at the Starry Sky is one of the most adorable manga I’ve read this year. The sheer level of adorableness is OMG!!!

    The story stars designer Miyazawa Subaru, an avid fan of nature photographer Amase Togo. One day, his best friend Akari, a planetarium designer, asked him to work with her. Little did he know, she set it up so that he meets his idol.

    Hands down, Akari is the bestest best secondary character ever! Not only did she set them up to meet, she actively encouraged their relationship. I loved how open and accepting she was of Subaru’s bisexuality.

    Subaru uses a wheelchair because he cannot walk since birth. He’s mostly at home and thinks he can’t go abroad. Part of the story is about broadening horizons. Togo always encourages Subaru to step out of his comfort zone, taking him to places he only dreamed of.

    Togo is total seme material!!! Also, the kindest, most gentle seme there is. His first appearance, yeah slayed! The meet-cute was endearingly awkward and hella cute. It was all floofy, and sweet, and tender until Subaru had an attack of insecurities.

    The separation sucks, but it paved the way to the most heartfelt, tear-jerking reunion ever! My kokoro almost couldn’t take it, watching Subaru move his wheelchair while ugly crying!

    My favorite part was the illustrations of the constellations. The big reveal of Togo’s message to Subaru was the most breathtaking scene. It was worth all the tears!

    Boy, you deserve all the stars in the universe.

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    MANGA: High Pressure

    High Pressure – Totsuki Eko

    You used to be my teammate. And together, we formed the strongest duo. Now, you’re my rival, and also my lover. Under your adoring gaze…I cower.

    A seesaw game that hovers between the threshold of Lover and Rival.

    High Pressure is a one-shot of two basketball rivals AND lovers, Ogata and Hasegawa.

    Hasegawa has an injured knee and cannot play right now. So he watches from the sidelines and admires Ogata playing for a rival team. He worries about how his lover thinks about him. There is a possibility of a permanent injury. Ogata has said before he like Hasegawa as a basketball player the most.

    The two have most likely been friends for a long time. They are an established couple very much in love, but you could also see the easy camaraderie born from a childhood connection.

    They mutually admire each other as athletes. Their life revolved around basketball. Ogata’s words seemed callous in a way. I loved how it later paved way for Hasegawa’s change of perspective, taking what seemed a negative into a motivation.

    The way this unfolded was the best part. It was super poignant. It’s why one-shots could be devastating or devastatingly good in their shortness.

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    MANGA: Mata Ashita To Iwasete

    Mata Ashita To Iwasete – Aoi Nuwi

    On the way home from a drinking party he attended at work, Maizumi encounters a boy. Wanting to get out of this place as soon as possible, he lied that “the boy is a relative of mine”, so he got involved with him…? A cold young man× a boy who tends to expect a lot of things, and their days begin to take on a color from a chance encounter.

    Let Me Say See You Tomorrow might not technically be a BL manga since nothing overtly romantic happened. It reads more like two solitary people, an antisocial salaryman and a lonely high schooler, were brought together by happenstance and developed a friendship.

    The scenes where the salaryman made efforts to make the younger man happy by celebrating his birthday, possibly the boy’s first in many years, were quite endearing. This slice of life one-shot laid a good foundation for a super-cute age-gap romance should the mangaka choose to add a sequel. I loved this little story so I hope they do!

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