Itoshi no My Doctor! – Glycerine Takeru
The bright young actor Sunao Makita is starring in a hit medical TV drama. His director makes him interview a surgeon called Naoki Himematsu, but when Sunao shows up, he receives the opposite of a warm welcome and is outright rejected. Over time, Dr. Himematsu’s cold yet kind personality slowly warms up to Sunao’s tenacity and persistence. Will Sunao figure out how to get through to the surgeon’s heart!? He wants to see more of the doctor’s cute side! This is a medical romance featuring an attractive actor with the personality of an excited puppy, and the calm, collected doctor he loves!
My Sweet Doctor is an opposites attract romance between a brusque doctor and a genki actor.
Sunao is an actor portraying a doctor in a TV drama. To make his acting more convincing, his director tasked him to interview Dr. Himematsu. The two spectacularly got off on the wrong foot, but Sunao is nothing but persistent. The more time he spent with the doctor, the more he learned about the doctor’s cute side.
This is the perfect example of food as the way to a man’s heart because Sunao kept feeding his beloved doctor super cute bento. And the good doctor let him because the man is sucker for delicious food. It’s a joy seeing the grumpy doctor letting his walls down and letting Sunao in.
The story moved fast, yet the plot development was well-executed. My favorite part is that the couple had no silly grand gestures. Instead, the milestones come in small, deceptively trivial gestures, like the lone wolf doctor telling the concussed Sunao to go with him to his house so he could watch over him or casually handing his apartment’s keys to Sunao. It’s things like these that speak volumes.
It’s always the secretly sweet ones that are most lovable!
Kanshaku Dama no Love Song – Suzumaru Minta
Wakou, a senior student, is in love with his childhood friend, Takeo. However, he’s given up on that love and just wants to be his best friend. But one day, Takeo suddenly says “I might be okay with guys”?!
At first blush, The Love Song of the Cracker Ball is your run-of-the-mill pining-after-your-childhood-friend story starring a virginal, pretty, and somewhat sickly uke, a popular, experienced, cool seme and the hella awkward, make-or-break-a-friendship confession.
HS seniors Wakou and Takeo are lifelong friends and neighbors. Takeo is uber-protective of his sickly friend, who was secretly in love with him for a very long time. He’s very popular with girls, and Wakou feels he can’t compete with them. But one day, Takeo casually mentions he might be open to dating guys, and Wakou decides to take a chance and confesses his feelings.
This part happened early on, and as the story progressed, I was pleasantly surprise that it was more about that fragile period where best friends had to deal with the shift in their relationship. It was especially precious, even if full of uncertainties and insecurities because this is Wakou’s first love. I loved that the two friends made the sensible move of talking things out and taking it slow.
The cover illustration is misleading because it makes you think Takeo’s gonna be one of those pushy assholes. He’s quite the gentleman, really. The boy explicitly stated he’ll go with his boyfriend’s pace, letting Wakuo get used to hand-holding and such. The artwork is really beautiful, sometimes with hilarious derpy expressions.
Overall, this is an entertaining take on the age-old trope. Light-hearted, and funny but with enough depth to make the feelings heartfelt.
Sore wa Haru no Owari ni – Nojiri Guri
Haru Amakawa, after working for two years, met Seoji Nakahara, a senior employee, on his first day at a new company. Until then, Amakawa, who had never been particularly moved by anything, learned the meaning of love for the first time. “Just looking at him makes me feel like I’m in pain…” Nakahara asks a mazed Amakawa to kiss him and offers to play. Amakawa is chasing and Nakahara is treating. What is the outcome of the battle between the two?
It Is At The End of Spring tackles an interesting theme. It is about a young salaryman, Amakawa, who is mostly apathetic about things. He’s not angsting about it. He even feels peaceful.
That peace was shaken when he felt attraction towards an older coworker, Nakahara, who in turn, recognized a kindred apathetic soul. Nakahara doesn’t know what to do with it, but being a tease, decides to play with the younger man.
I really liked the artwork. The characters are drawn softly, almost like unfinished sketches, giving the manga a warm fluffy vibe. But only visually because the execution left me cold.
Maybe I don’t entirely understand what the mangaka is trying to convey, but I felt their issue was a non-issue. I don’t see why there should be a problem with the relationship since both are consenting adults. There is some angsting over the age gap by Nakahara, but their age difference is not that big. He’s in his mid-30s, and Amakawa is in his early 20s.
There’s hot/cold treatment from Nakahara, but the dork was also quick to jump in bed with Amakawa. All in all, the conflict was only added so there would be drama. Otherwise, this would have been a hell of a lot short and sweet
Aiseyo Bakemono – Tsukizuki Yoshi
Reiji Kuze is the son of doctors and the new transfer student in his last year of high school. As someone whose socioeconomic background and academic grades are in the top 98th percentile, Reiji immediately stands out like a sore thumb in his new school. And in high school, standing out means you will be targeted. Presumed to be a delicate prince swimming in cash, Reiji gets picked on by the third strongest person in the school… and beats him and his entire gang to a pulp without breaking a sweat. As if Reiji didn’t stand out enough already, he seems to have caught the interest of the king of the hill, Akira Ohara, the cat-like lone-wolf that nobody can seem to tame…
Just Love. The Monster is what the uber-violent, homoerotic movie Crows, would be if it had gone full-on gay. At least the first parts of this high school, friends to lovers story.
Reiji is an elite, straight A student from an education-obsessed family. The last person you’d expect to be quite strong in a fight, as the notorious delinquent and strongest fighter, Akira, was delighted to discover. He challenged Reiji to a fight and was quickly enamored with the other boy’s fighting skills and good looks.
Akira has no qualms admitting he likes hot guys, and he’d likely fight a guy and fuck them too. Reiji initially didn’t feel anything but friendship towards the intriguing Akira. Later, he thought they had something special going on, but Akira suddenly ghosted.
Going in, I thought this was going to be fluffy and cute, so I was surprised the second half was very emotional. The story focus on the very different lives of the two boys and how it drove a wedge between them. A wedge created by internal angsting over how different their paths are, particularly by the doofus Akira, even though Reiji was doubling efforts to get close to him again.
I have mixed feelings about this manga. There are a lot of background speech balloons in lighter ink. I liked that they give the scenes a dynamic atmosphere, almost as if you can hear the susurration of the crowd. This had the makings of a top manga but suffered from awkward storytelling. I’m not sure if it’s the translation, but I was a bit confused with the plot.
Many goings-on are known through dialogues that are sometimes unclear, so the flow is not that smooth. I felt the mangaka only skimmed the surface because there were also backstories that needed to be explored further. I’m not one for long manga, but I think this one needed at least one more volume.
Biggest complaint is the part where Akira was almost beaten to death. Reiji took him to a motel where the horny Akira and his med student boyfriend had sex instead of taking care of injuries. The boys certainly had their priorities straight. Magic dick for the win because right after that, our boy was good as new. Meh!
Call – Asada Nemui
Haruhiko is down-and-out after losing his job. On his search for an easy-money job, Haruhiko runs into Akiyama in front of a rental date shop, he then pretends to be a staff. Haruhiko starts swindling Akiyama out of money without having to sleep with him. However, after witnessing Akiyama’s excessively naïve reaction, his feelings begin changing…!?
Had to brace myself for this story, because knowing the mangaka, it will be devastating!
Call is about a NEET, Haruhiko, deploying a hastily thought-up enjo kosai scheme on a naive middle-aged gay man, Akiyama, who was about to go to a dating service agency for gays. Akiyama found Haru standing near the entrance and thought he was an employee. The younger man was desperate for money, thought, what the heck, and decided to go along, even if he was straight.
The first part of the story was rather cute. Haru was surprised by how much he enjoyed their dates, though it didn’t stop him from fleecing the older man. Soon, he found himself thinking fondly of his customer and even started missing the guy. Later, the idiot was thinking clingy, needy thoughts, much like a neglected boyfriend, when Akiyama didn’t contact him for weeks.
Haru’s internal dialogues were funny, and he had stupid expressions while agonizing over texts and calls. Most of the story is from his POV. He thought Akiyama was naive, gentle, kind, and definitely, a virgin. The dork watched porn to see how he could do it with a man, so he’ll know how to pop Akiyama’s cherry.
Akiyama is a slouchy, 36-year-old, who spends a ton of money on Haru. His sad, downtrodden face gave the manga a melancholy feeling that I just knew would have a bittersweet ending! Hooboy, was I right! The moment the POV shifted to Akiyama’s, reality slammed! The titular call headed to the point of no return. But Asada Nemui had mercy on us because it swerved and gave us hope once more!!!
This was quite an emotional roller-coaster and an awesome manga to start the year!
Sensei Datteyarashii Koto Shitai – Ushino
After his dream of becoming a professional musician was crushed, Ren was forced to work at the kindergarten run by his parents. Ren’s unmotivated and lazy personality clashes with that of the super serious teacher Kiichi, whom he watches closely every day. However, Kiichi’s straightforward kindness and purity creates new and unique feelings…
Even Teachers Want To Do A Naughty Thing is a cute teacher x teacher romance between a dedicated kindergarten teacher and a former musician forced into the kindergarten teacher role by his father.
Ren’s lack of passion for the job was pretty obvious at first. His baser motives was to seduce the serious Kiichi just because he liked his face. Unwittingly, the endearingly innocent Kiichi turned the tables by being his naturally adorable self, and the doofus Ren found himself falling for his fellow teacher.
If you like gay couples with children, this one has a bunch of precocious kindergarteners serving as voices of reason for the mess that is Ren. It’s amusing that even his father didn’t put much stock in him and left him in the care of the uber-reliable Kiichi.
Their romance has a gay-for-you angle that highlights Kiichi’s innocence. After that, our boy was all set to experiment with his very experienced boyfriend, and things got super steamy.
Kiichi’s devotion to his job was so whole-hearted Ren was deeply moved and soon followed suit. It was very inspiring. All in all, it’s not the most memorable, but this manga is as good as it looks on the cover in both plot and art.
Aitai Jou to Usagi no Yamai – Himaki Ito
At the Engetsuza Shrine, there’s a magical tale that’s been passed down through each generation about what happens when a male descendant falls in love. The priest’s son, Kounosuke, is a very ordinary high school student. Every day he takes care of his childhood friend, Shu, a relax and laid-back guy. When suddenly one morning, Kounosuke realizes he’s in love with Shu… and a strange change to his body starts to occur.
Love and the Rabbit’s Disease is a cute but slightly mediocre take on a childhood friends-to-lovers romance with a shifter twist.
Kounosuke has frequently heard tales about his male ancestors turning into rabbits once they fall in love. He thought it was just a story until one morning. He woke up with rabbit ears and tail after thinking of his friend Shu the night before.
Bunny boys are adorbs, plus Shu’s laidback vibe and dashing good looks are the perfect ingredients for a squee-tastic romance. However, the execution failed to fully realize the potential, lacking the oomph to make this truly swoony and heartfelt despite many floofy scenes.
Maybe the plot wasn’t offering anything groundbreaking, or I have read better executions of the tropes, but I can’t put my finger on where exactly it missed the mark. All I can say is I wasn’t completely swept away. Still, this isn’t bad. I think many people would still enjoy this. And the art looks great too.
Midnight Rain – CTK
A man with a 10-year history of debt x A lone wolf who likes to fight.
Just like a cat has wandered into his life of paying back debt…?
In a deserted coin laundry, Ethan asks the name of a man with an unpleasant look in his eyes.
The man named Mike once again shows up before him, covered in wounds this time.
A dramatic BL featuring these cool but somehow cute men!
Midnight Rain is a moving take on the cat/dog personality dynamics against a backdrop of a poor city district and nightly rain. It’s set in a western city with western characters in a style reminiscent of some TogaQ and Kikuchi Neko works.
Ethan is a sunshiny man who was inexplicably drawn to a younger man with a hard look in his eye and numerous injuries from street fights. He tried to strike a conversation with him in a laundromat by asking how he does his bloodstained laundry. The younger man, Mike, wasn’t that communicative. But later on, while Ethan was in despair about his life and was contemplating ending it, Mike appeared at his door, bleeding, and Ethan just had to take him in.
Ethan’s the kind of guy who’ll smile and say everything’s fine when everything is falling apart. He was super caring of Mike, feeding and clothing the younger man while he bitches and smacks the handsy Ethan. Mike is blunt and abrasive, frequently rubbing people the wrong way. He wants nothing AND everything to do with Ethan. This push and pull create conflict that drives the story.
As advertised, this delivers a fabulous mix of drama, heat, and fluff drawn in an eye-catching style. I loved the interplay of strong and vulnerable, rough and tender, violence and care, and how they underscore Ethan’s and Mike’s opposite personalities.
I’m not a fan of facial hair in manga, but I liked how it was rendered here. Ethan looks like a more attractive Tony Stark. And I loved Mike’s no-eyebrows-because-he’s-badass face. His eyes are sharp, but they could be pretty expressive.
All in all, a poignant tale of men with little left to lose finding more reasons to live.
Moto Yakuza ga BL Sakka ni Nattarashii – Noda Nonda
A fearless Yakuza named Sudou decides to leave his life of crime when he finds out his clan is disbanding. However, his strong sense of justice and huge tattoos intefere with this goal, and he struggles to keep any job he finds.
That is, until an ex-underling gives him the idea to start writing manga.
After becoming a big hit on social media, a company scouts him, and he… somehow ends up working in the BL department?!
Because this ex-Yakuza doesn’t know the first thing about BL, a cool-headed, sadistic editor starts to coach him — thus beginning a tough, hands-on training regime…??
From the classic manga about manga Bakuman, I learned how closely and hands-on editors work with mangaka. It Seems That a Former Yakuza Became a BL Writer takes that relationship further to very effective (and hilarious) results.
Ex-yakuza Sudou ventured into manga after several failed attempts at a normal job. His work was picked up by a bitch-faced editor, Hirose, who intimidated even the veteran yakuza who thought he looked like an assassin. He was suggested to create BL manga, but after multiple rejections, Hirose recommended they do a roleplay with the two of them pretending to be lovers to produce more realistic emotions on page. Would Sudou, who has never done it with a guy, bite the bullet?
Editors go the extra mile for their authors, but this is ridiculous! Sudou was determined to make it as a mangaka, and our boy sacrificed his virgin ass for the cause. It worked spectacularly, so every time writer’s block hits, guess what they do.
My favorite thing about this is how the romance crept into the story. We’re given Sudou’s POV, and through his eyes, Hirose was mostly seen as a hard-to-read, cold bastard doing a job. Then scattered throughout are one or two panels of Hirose’s subtle reactions. I realized later it was a rather clever, convoluted way of making someone fall in love. Whether or not Hirose did it on purpose, I’m not sure, but it was hella cute!
I loved the two dorks but Hirose looks extra adorbs with his sharp eyes and eyebags.