• 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: 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.

  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Pause

    Pause – Sosso

    A couple reminiscing about how their relationship started while having sex.

    This is a beautifully drawn manga about an established couple. It’s a classmates to lovers story told in flashbacks while they were having sex. It’s nothing new but it’s still cute and sweet with some socks kink to spice things up.

    I also liked how they shake the dynamics up a bit. I was expecting the nerdy guy to be the uke but he was actually the dominant one. For a one-shot, it did a good job showcasing both characters’ personalities.

  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Nitamono Doushi no

    Nitamono Doushi no – Kanbe Gorou

    It began with a mistake. When Tanaka and Nakata are given each other’s papers back, they come to a horrible realization…

    They have almost identical names. And test results. And body types. And taste in fashion. And sports scores. And hobbies. The list goes on, and as annoying as it is, at least they know they always have each other.

    And maybe, just maybe, their similarities run even deeper.

    I was expecting a light-hearted comedy of errors. What I got was an angsty unrequited love that made my heart ache.

    Like Two Peas In A Pod is told from the POV of Nakata, the more introverted of the two. He and Tanaka formed a friendship because of how similar they were. This friendship was tested when Tanaka started dating a girl.

    Nakata’s fervent longing for the oblivious Tanaka was just a sad, sad thing. I really felt sorry for him, especially when they started drifting apart. I liked how the the mangaka drew the heartbroken expressions he tried to hide.

    Best girl is Futaba, Nakata’s new friend, who noticed his pained expressions every time he watched Tanaka and his girlfriend together. She helped him through these trying times and encouraged him to confessed. It was only later that she realized, he loves the boy, not the girl. She was super cool with everything.

    Meanwhile, I wanted to strangle Tanaka for being so dense. Not so sure he’s the guy for Nakata. It wasn’t until the very last scenes, when they switched seats, that I was convinced that, maybe, these two would work.

  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Oh My Hero!

    Oh My Hero! – Cocomi

    This Boys Love story is about Inui, a guy who works part-time dressing up as a tokusatsu hero (think Power Ranger) in shows for children. He meets the Mugita family, a father and his son who have a lot of love for one particular ranger. As the Mugita family is always watching his shows with great passion, he got interested in them and is happy when they invite him to their house. But while he enjoys spending time in their warm company, Inui is troubled because some desires in him awake when he thinks about Daddy-Mugita. Another story included is Aogeba Koishi, where a senpai and kohai from the middle school basketball club meet again as adults.


    Oh My Hero! is a wonderfully wholesome romance between a divorced single dad and a younger man who works as a tokusatsu hero.

    Inui, the man behind the mask, frequently sees the Mugita father and son very enthusiastically cheering him on in the audience during his performances. He has a long-standing, long distance crush with the father until the son brought them together. From then on, Inui spends his time playing with the young child while secretly longing for Mugita.

    One day, the boy accidentally spilt his drink over Inui’s clothes. This led to Mugita taking him to the bathroom to change, and that led to some unexpected release of pent up tension…

    I loved the the vibe of this manga! The artwork is as mellow and calming as the story. The romance is soft and gentle and oh so wholesome, even with the couple of handjob scenes. I had a bit of apprehension that the younger Mugita might have a crush on Inui as is sometimes the case with single dad stories. Happily, the plot avoided that dreaded love triangle.

    There was a single chapter story about a kohai and his admired senpai who suddenly kissed him when they were high schoolers. They accidentally met again and went on to relive youthful regrets and…that kiss? Ooh, this has so much potential! I wished there were more chapters.

  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Online Game Nakama to Sashi Off shitara Shokuba no Onijoushi ga Kita

    Online Game Nakama to Sashi Off shitara Shokuba no Onijoushi ga Kita – Nmura

    In which the (satanic) boss you often dis about to your Online-BFF is actually your Online-BFF. (??`) And yes, they both are oblivious about the ironic fact…until they decide to have an offline meeting that is.

    Arranged an Offline Meeting with My Online Game Friend, but My Demon Boss Came Instead is ridiculously, ridiculously cute!!!

    Hashimoto is an avid gamer who frequently complains about his demon boss to his online friend Uma-san. Little did he know, Uma-san is the very same boss, Shirase, he complains about. They both didn’t know the other’s identity. Then they decided to meet offline. Awkward!

    They also met another gamer they didn’t know was another online friend. This third guy, high schooler Kumada, overheard rather suggestive parts of their conversation and that started a series of huge misunderstandings between all three people.

    The manga depicted the progress of Hashimoto and Shirase’s relationship as well as the involvement of Kumada, in 20 chapters. I appreciate that they were short and to the point. I loved how we see Shirase’s feelings mostly through Hashimoto’s rather dense POV as well as Kumada’s. I really liked it that it was Shirase who fell in love first.

    Hashimoto is a spectacularly oblivious guy who thinks everything is about the game. So oblivious that he was confessed to by two different people and he thinks they were asking about joining their guild or going on a quest.

    That this has a love triangle and I didn’t even mind it one bit is testament how great this story is. Even the misunderstandings, normally considered annoying, worked so well to the its advantage. Hashimoto’s reactions during the reveals were pretty funny.

    Everyone who has played an online game and made online friends (and/or girl/boyfriends) would really relate to this manga.

  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Nirameba Koi

    Nirameba Koi – Yukue Moegi

    Apart from the fact he’s in the student council and has quite strange tastes, Shima is an average, low-profile, quiet high schooler. Therefore, he doesn’t understand why Ryuunosuke, a sports student, always glares at him every time they cross paths. Shima doesn’t want to draw the punk’s attention, but the instinctive hostility of Ryuunosuke towards him troubles him, and he wants to know why the other boy hates him…

    This is a super cute collection of stories that explores the juvenile delinquent uke trope. It’s always fun to see these tough boys get all blushy and flustered.

    Glare At You Because I Love You is the title story. Told from the point of view of student council member Shima, the story follows how he fell in love with Ryuunosuke, a notorious juvenile delinquent who always glares at him.

    This is one of the most adorable falling in love with a tsundere story. Shima is wonderful. He’s the type of guy who finds cats with weird faces cute. I loved how he slowly get to know the secret sweeter side of Ryuunosuke’s personality. I especially liked how he notices the little things Ryuu does that show he really has a kind heart. It was a joy to witness him slowly falling for the intimidating punk who’s really a big softie underneath all that scowl.

    Ryuu fell in love at first sight with Shima. He had a really good reason for doing so. The reason and the way he said it was so full of hope and longing you really had to feel for the guy. Don’t judge a punk by his death glare.

    There were a couple of other stories in this 2-volume collection.

    The Dragon Of Memories is a one chapter, age-gap story of a troublemaker who frequently had run-ins with his school’s new janitor. Unbeknownst to him, the older man was someone from his past and was trying to jog the young man memory. I wasn’t feeling this story. This had a huge dub-con scene.

    Notice Me Because I Love You is a childhood friends to lovers story starring Ryuu’s kohai, Reiji, and Akira, the twin brother of their mutual friend, Osamu. Reiji is an uber dense high schooler who failed to notice that Osamu’s twin brother, Akira is in love with him since forever. The three are neighbors and had been friends since they were little kids.

    I liked this one as well, though not as much as the main story. The characters were familiar mostly because I have read other stories with similar character types. But I enjoyed the way straight A student Akira was pining for his twin brother’s spectacularly oblivious friend.