• manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Ginmokusei no Shitateya

    Ginmokusei no Shitateya – Mamita

    Ubuki inherits Ginmokusei, his grandfather’s old tailor shop on the outskirts of Ginza, when his grandfather passes on. But unlike the days with his grandfather at the helm, Ginmokusei is now in a slump despite all of Ubuki’s (unrefined) efforts. As the days pass with no sign of customers coming in, Ubuki grows impatient. Then one day, a man named Theo suddenly walks in declaring, “I’ll turn this store of yours into a first rate one, so bet on me!”

    Will Ubuki, with Theo’s help, be able to turn things around? This time from Mamita: a mature, adult love story between two men in suits!

    Woe that there’s not enough BL manga about tailors and men in suits, but happily, I found this gem!

    Ginmokusei: The Tailor Shop is about Ubuki, who inherited his grandfather’s tailor shop. He regrets not working with his grandfather sooner, and now with the old man gone, he’s struggling to keep the shop alive. In waltzes Theo, with a bold offer only the desperate, a.k.a. Ubuki, will accept. This audacious stranger declares he will transform the shop into a first rate, thriving business!

    Theo smelled all kinds of fishy the moment he walked in. Ubuki was too shellshocked by his blitzkrieg attack, and so, was swayed into making these grandiose plans. But that is only the impression the manga wants you to think because as the story progress, Theo was indeed making changes that worked!

    The plot has several very intriguing aspects to it. There’s the shop business, but then you’d have ask why is Theo doing this. The man even went so far as to transfer a loan he was supposed to use on his own business to the tailor shop. Who is he exactly to Ubuki?

    Then there’s Ubuki, whose not even a proper tailor, hellbent on keeping a dying business alive. Throw in Ubuki’s cheating ex, also a client of the shop, out to provoke the easily jealous Theo.

    I loved how everything was interwoven, especially when the connection between Theo and Ubuki was revealed. I love the childhood connection angle but it was also refreshing that the two MCs had their initial encounter as adults.

    And the artwork is as gorgeous as the cover! Definitely a manga you can bet on!

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    MANGA: Kimi wo Someru Asayake ni

    Kimi wo Someru Asayake ni – Umi Tomoshibi

    Photographer Suguru comes to Enoshima to take photos when he suddenly spots a young man with hair the colour of the sunset falling into the water. Just as he’s worrying about whether he should jumped in, the young man, Kengo, carelessly says, ‘It seemed like it’d feel good’ and smiles like the sun. Although they part ways there, they meet again by chance at the shop Suguru stumbles across. Suguru, who hasn’t yet found a place to stay, even receives an invitation to stay at Kengo’s house…

    For The Sunrise That Dyes You is a story of kindness, overcoming grief, and new beginnings set in a laidback, seaside town. 

    Noted landscape photographer Suguru strikes a friendship with a young restaurant owner, Kengo, after an encounter at the beach. Kengo proceeds to house and feed Suguru just because he enjoys doing it. Not wanting to be a moocher, Suguru works at the restaurant in exchange for his board and lodging while chasing after that elusive picture of the sky.

    This is a manga of soft, very idyllic atmosphere and tender moments. The only conflict is Suguru’s guilt at falling in love with Kengo while still grieving his dead lover. And true to the manga’s vibe, it was resolved in the gentlest of manners.

    I would use the word “fluffy” to describe this kind of manga, but I feel peaceful is more apt. While there plenty of heartwarming scenes, they didn’t make me squee. Instead, they gave off comfort and calm that settle anxious thoughts and a quiet that heals. I guess, it’s exactly how Suguru and Kengo feels eating breakfast at the beach at sunrise.

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    MANGA: Tsuki wa Michikake Kemono no Koi

    Tsuki wa Michikake Kemono no Koi – Nojiro Guri

    Unable to fit in with the city, Idzuki, a lonely young man, moves into the countryside. However, the land is rumored to be haunted by youkai. As he struggles to get used to life in the mountains, with the abundance of insects and the lack of reception, he is suddenly attacked by a youkai. Cornered, out of the blue, a handsome young man with dog ears rescues him. The man claims to be a komainu youkai, a guardian lion-dog protecting shrines, pressing Idzuki to become his master — !?

    A sensitive love story between a youkai and a human!

    Phases of the Moon, Love of a Beast is a gentle, transcendental love story between a youkai aching for his other half and a lonely young man who just moved to the mountains.

    The manga features a type of youkai called komainu, lion dogs who come in pairs to guard a shrine. Haku’s other half is long gone, and having been abandoned by their master, he is on the brink of turning into a demon.

    Idzuki just moved to an old house in the countryside. While wandering lost in the woods, a youkai attacked him. He was saved by Haku who quickly latched on to the young man, begging him to please, please, please be his master.

    The plot is a slice of life of the blossoming affection between the youkai and his master, plus a smartass cat who can talk (also a youkai). There are a lot of quiet, cozy scenes with subtle gestures, cuddling and hot cocoa. If this was an anime, I imagined dreamlike, soft focused cinematography and a sense of transiency. The artwork has that vibe to it, the characters drawn pretty and slender, especially the eyes and lashes to die for, but not too twee.

    I loved the mix of angst, humor, and that lovely hurt-comfort magic. I felt a pang knowing the fate of immortals with fragile human lovers, and this has a bittersweet ending. However, the mangaka wrapped it up nicely with the promise of the afterlife.

    This is one of my top manga of the year.

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    MANGA: Contradict

    Contradict – Oshima Kamome

    A cocky and confident Yajima harbors dislike for Torikai, a cool and talented fellow trainee in the Rescue Team. The two constantly quarrel, but one day they cross the line while squabbling and end up sleeping together. Yajima regrets it, but at the same time he cannot get Torikai’s pleading expression out of his head. However, because they have been rivals until now, he just can’t bring himself to be honest with Torikai.

    Ooh, finally got a good one!

    Contradict is a bitter rivalry between two overachieving firefighters training to be in the elite squad. It reminded me a lot like the Top Gun homage MM romance, The Elite.

    Yajima is cocky and loud, has little tact and is super annoyed at how his rival gets under his skin all the time. Torikai plays his cards close to his chest but could be surprisingly careless about personal details. Both men are well-liked among their peers even though their uber competitiveness tends to land them and the rest of their team penalties whenever things get out of hand.

    However, one drunken night shook Yajima’s world, and now the rivalry might just end his dream.

    Things were set in motion through coincidences where the MCs often found themselves in the same training class or liking the same things. It happened so frequently as to be ridiculous, and every time it happened, Yajima gets a jolt and even pondered, “what has fate in store for us?” It was so funny!

    All in all, the plot is well-executed, the humor actually amusing, and the chemistry between characters has that extra zing that great enemies to lovers stories always have. Also, both MCs are likable, handsy but with consent. Because it turns out, someone has been secretly pining. The romance wasn’t the grand gesture type but the more swoony little things, big squees moments, which I always find more precious.

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    MANGA: Junketsu Naito no Granz Reise

    Junketsu Naito no Granz Reise – Seika

    While other knights might pour their time into drinks and brothels, Gael Faris does not. He does not drink. He does not sleep around, all for the grand plan of becoming a paladin. Though Gael has failed the paladin examination, he continues to perform his knightly duties for the town Fastes. While on his rounds, Gael accidentally recuses Elcielas, an elf, from thieves. Elcielas recruits Gael to escort him on his mission to the capital to save the king. But, will Gael be able to stay pure on their journey?

    The Pure Knight’s Shining Journey is a fantasy romance about a pure knight who dreams of becoming a paladin and an elf on a mission to save the king.

    Gael is pure as in kind-hearted, naive, and virginal. He was roped in by a shining woodland elf, Elcielas, to escort him to the capital. This has the megane trick, where the elf looks ordinary when he wears eyeglasses, then reverts to his sparkling self when he takes them off.

    I loved the premise but didn’t find the humor funny. The gags, which were blah, hindered the pacing of the plot. It was mostly Las going on and on about how attractive he is because he’s an elf. The story could also use more action that could have showcased how strong Gael is in a fight, instead of the big to-do of the dub con-ish connecting of souls.

    This was a kind of elf magic to keep Gael safe in the woods. I say this is dub con-ish because Gael wasn’t fully informed of what’s happening. Las tends to obfuscate some facts especially knowing how clueless Gael is. The spell was done with them in the nude, which had Gael conflicted, having vowed to keep his virginity because of his paladin dreams.

    Mostly, Las is tiresome and not as attractive as he thinks he is.

    Very, very sad that this is another manga ruin by an unsuitable love interest. And Gael was a total sweetheart too, poor boy!

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    MANGA: Mujaki na Wanko to Nekokaburi

    Mujaki na Wanko to Nekokaburi – Niyama

    Yagi Naohito has a fear of being hated, so he always acts according to everyone?s ideals.With that mindset, he was half-jokingly labeled ?A coward? by Akasaka Tooru – a guy whom he met at a mixer that his friend half forcefully brought him along.After being overwhelmed by the young man on their way home, Yagi didn?t think that they?d end up meeting again a few days later. As a help to Akasaka who?d just lost his home and was at his wit?s end, they started living together. The man was supposed to be nothing but a burden but without noticing, he gradually become someone who Yagi could rely on..?

    An Innocent Puppy Meets a Two-Faced Cat is an age-gap, salarymen romance with cat/dog dynamics. The dog personality in the relationship is Tooru, a young engineer whom 39-year-old cat personality Naohito met at a mixer.

    Tooru’s habit of cheerfully blurting out whatever he thinks made him memorable to Naohito, who has a tendency to put on his people-pleasing face because he wants to be liked. He refers to this as his mask and one of the reasons why his relationships always fail. He feels his true personality leaves much to be desired.

    Tooru is the younger seme, an interesting combination of pushy and endearing. He does not sekuhara his way into Naohito’s pants, but innocently pushes his way into the man’s life through candid praises and powering through Naohito’s protests. Tooru is straight but soon had his bisexual awakening because forced proximity with Naohito revealed the older man’s true personality which Tooru found adorable.

    This manga has great potential but the execution could have been tighter. There were parts where I skimmed because they weren’t interesting or particularly relevant to the plot. Their romance was cute but lacked the oomph to generate squees. Still, this is good enough for a go.

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    MANGA: Mamotte Agetai Sawatari-san

    Mamotte Agetai Sawatari-san – Nanatsuno Wataru

    Having lost his protection charm given by his Grandmother, Sawatari must now rely on his super lucky junor, Akutsu to ward off his unluck. Will their relationship turn into love?

    I Want To Protect You, Sawatari-san is about a very unlucky guy, the superstitious Sawatari, taken under the wing of the super lucky kohai, Akutsu, who proceeds to protect him from mishaps. Sawatary proclaims he’s his lucky charm.

    I loved the premise, but the manga left me conflicted. Older uke Sawatari is kinda adorable in that helpless klutzy dorky way. He’s straight, so he’s pretty much oblivious that much of his interactions with Akutsu were very couple-y. The two shacked up, and Akutsu does everything for him, goes everywhere with him. They even shared beds platonically. And then the dork blithely goes his merry straight way.

    Akutsu, well, this guy feels off. He gave me Stalking Killing MC vibes, kinda looked like him too. A few characters even called him creepy. Thing with Akutsu is that his feelings seem to be only skin-deep. He’s attracted to Sawatari because who wouldn’t after all of Sawatari’s unwitting flirting. But the manga failed to effectively deliver his depth of feelings despite the shift to his POV. He was basically bored and found Sawatari interesting, and that’s about how far it goes.

    However, this manga is still fun especially the side characters. These guys were a riot, blurting out ridiculous comments and making derpy faces. The characters are salarymen, but they come across as college kids.

    Overall, entertaining, and steamy but could use a better seme.

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    MANGA: Koko wa YES to Ittekure

    Koko wa YES to Ittekure – Yoshii Haruaki

    Am I a man? No.” “…? Sexual harassment.”
    A love paradox between a boss and his subordinates who have a habit♥

    Motokawa, a non-ceremony man who can work but has no delicacy, I’m concerned about my subordinate Okumura.I usually have a bad mouth and play tinkering. I can appreciate his serious work attitude, and above all, he is cute when he laughs.
    On the other hand, Okumura, who had been isolated after being exposed to gaiety in the company, remained completely unchanged even after learning the truth. Moreover, Motokawa, who nominated me as the person in charge of the large contract, moved me.
    Okumura turns red even with casual physical contact.
    Motokawa almost kissed Okumura…!!?

    I am not a fan of the age-gap trope due to real-world examples of predatory older men preying on much younger, barely legal women. I don’t know how they do it in MF, but in MM romance, writers try to make the trope more balanced by having the younger man as the pursuer.

    Please Say Yes boldly takes the opposite approach by having the older man, and the boss at that, do the pursuing. I felt residual iffyness due to my dislike of the trope, but this manga not only completely won me over, it’s one of the most enjoyable I’ve read this year!

    This is a funny and utterly adorable story of a middle-aged man’s bisexual awakening. Motokawa is pretty laidback, easy-going, and amicably divorced. Suddenly finding his subordinate Okumura’s face cute, he became curious about why the young man is always alone and avoided by his co-workers. Then, they were tasked to handle a client together, and soon the older man found himself falling for his subordinate.

    Motokawa made me laugh. He had such derpy expressions. The manga’s charm lies in those moments that make Motokawa pause and realize things about Okumura he finds attractive. Then he blurts it out loud to Okumura’s embarrassment. And the thing with Motokawa he does it casually like he doesn’t realized he just slayed poor Okumura who goes why the hell is my straight boss saying this to me. It was both a courtship and an awakening, and it was endearing as hell!

    Our sweet, blushy boy, Okumura, has trust issues after a scandal from his previous company. He’s the type of character you’ll want to build blanket forts for. He’s knows his falling for Motokawa but couldn’t trust himself or his boss.

    The story touches upon homophobia in the workplace. Okumura lets himself be the scapegoat in that scandal to help his co-worker save face. Motokawa treating him like he does the rest of the staff, like normal, during their first meeting was memorable to him. Also, the bonus megane moe at the end!

    This manga takes a refreshing approach to age-gap workplace romance, and it was a riot!

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    MANGA: Hajime No Koi

    Hajime no Koi – Nishimoto Rou

    Hajime Mamiya decides to quit the yakuza business after the death of his boss. When riding on a bus, he meets Sho Kosaka, a college student who is close to his boyfriend. One day when Mamiya couldn’t forget Kosaka’s longing face towards his boyfriend, he reunites with him, who apparently works part-time at ‘Deriheru’. Mamiya doesn’t know how it feels to love someone, but he learns of Kosaka’s devotion to selling his body, and decides to buy all his time so that he doesn’t have to take other customers. A pure story of a slowly falling in love with a former yakuza who doesn’t know love and a college student who wants to love and be loved!

    Yakuza BL is my jam, and here we have one bad boy turned first time gay with THE MOST GORGEOUS TATTOOS!!! Superbly rendered by the mangaka and showcased to fabulous effect!

    Hajime no Koi is a play on the MC’s name, and falling in love for the first time. Hajime Mamiya started his life as a normal citizen when his boss died. On the bus, he contemplates love and what people sacrifice for it while staring at a lovesick young man, Sho Kosaka. Later, he meets him again and learns he’s a college student. Then much later, while looking at a sex working site he saw the familiar form and hired him.

    The plot runs on the interplay of pure and criminal, starting with Hajime’s sincere attempts to live a normal life vs. how regular people see him. There’s his kind treatment of the naive sex worker Kosaka vs. how bad Kosaka’s supposed boyfriend treated him. There’s also focus on how pure and sweet Kosaka is, which leads me to my main gripe about this manga.

    The characterization of Kosaka wasn’t done convincingly. The boy should have been adorable with his pretty face, blushy gazes and fluffy smiles. Instead, he pinged my yandere radar. And here I was expecting him to drop the sweet act any second and come at Hajime with an axe.

    Things got a little better by Chapter 3, when Kosaka stopped peddling himself and became roommates with Hajime. And they adopted a cat. At this point, things were still very much platonic between the two, which is very endearing because they were rooting hard for each other to succeed. Kosaka is a vet student, and Hajime just landed his first legit job. It also helped we get glimpses of Kosaka’s thoughts, and ok, so he’s as sweet as he looks. Still, I didn’t warm up to him much.

    Then, more complications arrived that only made me wish Hajime was paired with a different character, like his hella attractive former yakuza boss who’s now a law-abiding single dad or his food truck boss, which would make for an intriguing older men romance. My interest petered out, and I ended up skimming.

    Tsk! I’m not having much luck with my BL manga lately.

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    MANGA: Irony Distance

    Irony Distance – Torita Chizu

    I have a cat. A selfish, beautiful grey cat.
    Few years have passed since I met a classmate with zero ability to make a living, Yuito, during high school.
    Kotarou, who was attracted by Yuito’s mysterious and fleeting aura, has been gallantly taking care of him since then.
    The spot beside Yuito, who gets close like a stray cat, is warm and vexing, making it hard for Kotarou to leave him alone
    This complicated and smoldering feeling, is not just some friendship.

    Irony Distance is a romance that started during high school and continued years after. It is an attempt to make laziness look sexy, and you can guess from the get-go that the relationship between Yuito and Kotarou is unhealthy.

    But the manga paints warm fuzzies over everything by comparing Yuito to a cat. It’s also lucky that he’s not an asshole, just seems to lack the ability? motivation? who knows, to take care of himself. And, he’s pretty, so he automatically pinged Kotarou’s protective vibes.

    Overall, this one-shot is good enough to pass the time because the storytelling is actually done well. But I can’t get behind the romance for obvious reasons.

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