• 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.

    0
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    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.

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    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.

    Adorbs!

    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.

    +1
  • 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.

    0
  • 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.

    0
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    MANGA: Shokuinshitsu no Himegoto

    Shokuinshitsu no Himegoto – Ueda Kiyo

    Nishio, a stoic math teacher, doesn’t get along very well with Sakaki, the beloved gym teacher. However, after one drunken night, Nishio finds himself in Sakaki’s bed where he is suddenly kissed and confessed to…?

    A Secret Of Teachers Room is an endearing opposites attract, gay for you, teacher + teacher romance between a grumpy but softy Math teacher and a handsome, uber-popular PE teacher.

    I really liked that this is between two teachers since I am not a fan of teacher/student romances. It started as a one-sided enemies thing because Nishio considers Sakaki his natural enemy. The PE teacher was everything he was not. To his surprise, his so-called enemy was in love with him.

    Sakaki is a great seme. Even after he was rejected because Nishio is straight, he still made friends with him. And he’s not pushy about it as is sometimes the case with these things. My favorite part was how he was always there to take care of the Math teacher, offering him advise and cheering him up when the latter had some issues with his students. And he’s so easy-going about it.

    Nishio is a devoted teacher. His passion for teaching is one of the things Sakaki loves about him. He’s super strict in the classroom but is a lovable dork who cries during graduations. He’s spectacularly unaware of his own appeal. He thinks nobody likes him

    I loved both MCs. I enjoyed how their opposite personalities played off with each other. The story was mostly from Nishio’s POV but we are still privy to some of Sakaki’s thoughts. I liked this style because we can see the depth of Sakaki’s feelings while still giving us some surprising twists.

    The manga did a good job showcasing the slow-burn transition from co-workers to kind of friends to lovers. The art is a bit generic but fits the vibe of the story. This is a great volume to read if you’re looking for a low-angst workplace romance set outside a corporate environment.

    There is also a nice little side plot about their two students. I have yet to check if they have their own spin-off. I hope they have.

    0
  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Amayadori Wa Basu-Tei De

    Amayadori Wa Basu-Tei De – Kano Ayumi

    This whole incident started with a phone call from Ikushima’s younger siblings in a bus stop, where he had the most unfortunate luck of meeting happy-go-lucky boy, Ariie. Ikushima may look pretty, but his seemly bad and cold attitude gave him the nickname “queen”. Even though he doesn’t think he’s wrong (actually what he say seems right, justified even) but his good intention is always taken the wrong way. He blames it on his extremely serious look. Stumbling upon the queen’s soft side, Ariie used the information to his advantage and started following poor Ikushima. Will love blossom from this seemingly weird pair…?

    Taking Shelter from the Rain in the Bus Stop is the main story of this volume. It has such a cute opposites attract premise between a blunt guy with a scary face and a cheery popular guy who can charm any body.

    I was first drawn by the art in the cover and the special illustration inside. However, I was a bit disappointed with the manga artwork itself because the characters lacked expressions.

    The story started with a promising meet cute/meet disaster where scary-looking Ikushima poured coffee over Ariie because of an incident with a crying child. Right after that, the happy-go-lucky Ariie befriended Ikushima after he discovered he was a doting big brother to 3 younger siblings. I really wished the manga went with this thread.

    Unfortunately, the story got sidetracked by Ikushima’s roommate who was there to stir unnecessary trouble. There are no love triangles, more like the roommate was one of the rare persons who didn’t like Ariie and was sowing seeds of discontent between the pair. I lost interest in this part and I ended up skimming. It didn’t help that the dialogues were uninteresting and the ending was a whole lot of nothing.

    Ushiromuki ni, Ai which roughly translates to pessimistic love is another chapter with an interesting premise but failed to deliver. This is about a very, very pessimistic guy who was so insecure he frequently texts his boyfriend that they should breakup because he thought he was not good enough for him.

    The bright spot in this story is the boyfriend, Onitake. He is a workahohlic salesman who actually saw the good in the insecure Hinoyoshi and was always trying to reach out. I struggled to like Hinoyoshi. I understand what it’s like to be insecure but seriously, this guy is just plain annoying, with his constant need for reassurance.

    This story also suffered from boring dialogue, which could be due to the translation. The ending was also blah.

    0
  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Gad Sfortunato

    Gad Sfortunato – Basso

    What is being sought after cannot be felt even on the fingertips. This is a series about the extravagant lifestyle of a tattoo artist named Gad, and the circle of people who revolve in it.

    Gad Sfortunato is a difficult manga to describe. It is, on the surface, slices of life of tattoo artist, Gad and the men in his life. There seems to be barely any plot.

    Most of the scenes were mundane everyday stuff, tattooing, paying the rent and so on. With these ordinary things comes the sexual encounters of Gad and his men. Majority of these were casual hookups, friends with benefits or one-night stands, illustrating the various nuances of gay relationships.

    Our Gad is, apparently, quite a catch. Very promiscuous but elusive to those who want him the most. The most lasting relationship he had was with his childhood friend, Alesso, who still influenced his life to this day. Alesso appears in other manga by Basso.

    The feelings we get from the various key scenes were charged but somehow still lowkey. Nobody had outbursts or grand declarations. Dialogue was minimal, many were inside thought balloons. Half the time, I had to think about the point of each chapter, especially the endings. This is not exactly saying it was pointless, more like things are so subtly played out or they alluded to something unfamiliar that I didn’t entirely get it.

    This manga is part of a series of works set in Italy. Characters from other stories make appearances here and there so I had difficulty keeping track of some characters. This is best read as an companion piece to Kuma to Interi, and Amato Amaro.

    0
  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Odu-Kun No Vita Sexualis

    Odu-Kun no Vita Sexualis – Kashio

    30 year-old Odu is feeling left out. His friends are slowly marrying off and with his tiny salary as a video store clerk, he can’t afford to go on trips with them when they can all hang out. Oh, and just to top it all off, his popular friend Araragi just found out Odu’s most embarrassing secret… Odu’s still a virgin at 30, but maybe it’s not so bad after all, because Araragi’s never been with a girl either?

    Odu-kun’s Sex Life is a collection of three friends-to-lovers stories. It has a nice cover but the artwork inside is a toned down version of the character design. I’m a bit bothered when that happens because I prefer the art to be consistent

    Oda-Kun no Vita Sexualis: The title story is about Oda, a naive 30-year old virgin who’s spectacularly oblivious to his friend, Araragi’s interest in him. Araragi oh so slowly took his time seducing his friend. This has a nicely done friends to lovers transition. Although the effect was diminished by the narration that explained too much of what was going on.

    Himitsu no Aru Futari: The Secret of a Certain Two is a cute 2-chapter story of an otaku who discovered his popular, outgoing crush was also secretly an otaku himself. The two geeked out over their favorite manga. This story employed the old eyeglasses trick, where Narita was overlooked when he had his on. He completely transformed into an unrecognizable bishounen when he took it off. The story didn’t go all the way to boyfriends territory. It was more like Narita read the BL manga Minami liked and his imagination ran amok. He was forever seeing his friend in certain erotic positions. It ended with an almost kiss leaving us hanging.

    17 Seventeen: A chapter about a boy wondering what the kisses from his childhood friend meant. Their idyllic friends with benefits situation hit a rocky patch when Yukisaki didn’t go on their school field trip causing Shino to wonder about their status. I was surprised this turned angsty. There was a teary eyed-confession and a parting. For one chapter, it packed more punch than the other two stories. I wish this was a full-length volume.

    0
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    MANGA: Kimi to Koi ni Ochite Nakereba

    Kimi to Koi ni Ochite Nakereba – Suji

    Seiji Nono, a passionate Chinese cuisine chef who works at the food manufacturing corporation Yamato, looks like a punk, but he’s actually a first-class cook. The contrast between his appearance and his cooking has earned him many fans. One day, when Nono meets the newly transferred elite, Takeru Misato, he invites him to come eat in his cafeteria, but Miasto coldly refuses him by saying he “dislikes oily Chinese food”. With such strong personalities, there’s love and arguments abound between this cool inspector and gangster chef couple!

    If I Hadn’t Fallen in Love With You is a cute story about hot-tempered Chinese chef Nono who took it upon himself to feed the cold and difficult Audit Department manager Misato upon learning the guy barely eats.

    Nono’s fuse might be short but he is beloved by all. In contrast, not a lot of people liked the workaholic Misato.

    The overall tone of the manga was humorous. It’s low-angst and slow-burn. It tackles body image and eating disorder. Misato has trauma with food. He was a pudgy child and was often bullied. Nono was determined to help him get over it by cooking for him.

    As is usually the case, a deeper connection that goes way back twenty years was revealed. There was also a moment where we are teased with a love triangle but turned out differently. All their friends were rooting for them. Even the big boss was low-key helping them stay together.

    They look pretty in the cover but it doesn’t really match how the characters were drawn in the manga itself. The art looked rougher and less polished but still goes well with the personalities of cast, especially Nono.

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