• manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Old-Fashioned Cupcake

    Old-Fashioned Cupcake – Sagan Sagan

    Sleep, wake, and work — sums up the day-to-day life of 39-year old, Nozue. A routine that eases him, and conversely weighs heavily on him — which worries the hard-eyed but reliable Togawa, a 29-year old subordinate of his. In an unexpected turn of events, the two of them end up visiting a pancake shop bustling with girls.

    Old-Fashion Cupcake is a beautifully drawn age-gap, workplace romance. Cupcake is an apt title because Nozue is a total sweetheart. He’s a mild-mannered man, a little too hang-up on his age, good-looking, well-liked, and highly respected at work. While always kind, he’s also spectacularly clueless about his subordinate, Togawa’s advances towards him.

    I loved that this is from Nozue’s oblivious POV but we can see Togawa’s subtle but unmistakable attraction towards his superior. The two started going on food trips when Nozue casually mentioned a desire to enjoy things the way two girls they spotted on the train station were having fun hanging out. Togawa then gamely took Nozue to various cafes popular with women. They eat pancakes and parfaits while taking pictures of the food the way girls would do.

    The love story is wonderful! Togawa is one of the best manga boyfriends there is. He’s super thoughtful, very perceptive, and completely devoted to Nozue. He talks the older man out of his I’m-an-old-geezer funks. I love how the two poke fun at the 10-year age gap between them.

    The manga tackles middle-aged woes. Nozue spends too much time angsting about his old age. But this is not a story about recapturing the glories of youth. It’s more about learning to live rather than being stuck in a rut because of fear of failure.

    I enjoyed how the story flowed smoothly. Even at some parts where there was a huge chunk of text, they didn’t bog down the pace. The romantic development was slow but so emotionally moving. I rooting hard for Nozue. The guy could use definitely use some TLC.

    And, OMG! That ending! Togawa really knows how to drop a bombshell.

    But this is just volume 1. The story continues in “Old-Fashioned Cupcake with Cappuccino


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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Loveless

    Loveless – Penguin Frontier

    Lee is doesn’t feel love. Or so he thought…

    Thirty-something salaryman Lee is living a lonely life, incapable of feeling love since the time his parents died when he was young. He’s roommates with another man, a guy who trusts no one after breaking up with his girlfriend. The two lived together and occasionally sleeps together, all out of convenience. One day, their simple arrangement changes…

    Loveless is a one-shot that will crush your heart into tiny pieces in one short chapter. It’s a very succinct portrait of a life barely lived, of people going through the motions of living. It’s about a relationship that can hardly be called a relationship and how one doesn’t realize what they truly have until it’s gone.

    The manga is very melancholy. The gorgeous colored art really did a good job reflecting that broody, introspective mood. I imagined this would make a great short film. I could already picture the beautiful soft-focused shots of the lonely people in the city at night ala Wong Kai Wai.


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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Only Mine

    Only Mine – Katou Setsuko

    A collection of stories.

    This volume is a collection of slice-of-life stories, mostly about salarymen and a couple university students.

    Only Mine is a romance between a taxi driver and his passenger. The salaryman was pretty forward but I liked the way their relationship developed. The taxi driver was adorably blushy. This needs to be a series or a full volume at least.

    Omoi Megurasu (Think About) is two antagonistic coworkers bonding over a dog. Well actually, it was more like one begged the other to play with his dog. He was turned down but the stubborn man showed up unannounced anyway. This one had some twisty surprises. Really liked how the story played out.

    Dare yori Negau Shiawase wa (I Wish Your Happiness More Than Anyone) has an interesting premise but boring execution. This is about two men working in the bridal industry. Couldn’t say more about it because it was so meh.

    Boku no Jiman no Koibito desu (You Are My Special Lover) is about a salaryman who had to endure his coworkers boasting about their girlfriends. They all thought he was single and wanted to set him up. Dare he show them his boyfriend’s pictures? This is a nicely-done coming out story. The couple had such a great relationship. They really took time to talk things out. The boyfriend is a total sweetheart! So worth showing off!

    Mokuyoubi no Yoru, Sentou de (At Thursday Night, In Public Bath) is about a university student who goes to the public bath owned by his classmate. Said classmate would then stare at his body, smiling like a loon, while he takes a bath. I’m all for a guy who’s upfront about things but ogling your customer while they bathe is creepy. The story was boring too.


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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Midara Na Sasayaki

    Midara Na Sasayaki – Minase Masara

    Sequel to Kokoro to Karada no Hazama. Coworkers Ryuuichi and Haruyoshi are dating but now Ryuuchi’s working all hours.

    Indecent Whispers is the raunchier sequel to The Interval Between the Heart and the Body. This one-shot is a glimpse at the life of your typical overworked couple.

    Haruyoshi is getting increasingly frustrated with his blue balls situation. His lover, Ryuuichi, has been working overtime during the weekends. When they finally had some alone time together, Ryuuichi was too tired to get in the mood. Desperate times call for desperate measures, Haruyoshi decided to get creative.

    I think this skirted the edge of dub-con. Although, the two were already a couple so…I don’t know. I’m also not sure these two would last given Ryuuichi’s seeming lack of effort to give his boyfriend some attention. I get he’s tired but he could have offered to cuddle while getting some shut-eye instead of being bitchy.

    Overall, I liked the prequel better. However, I think this would make a good series. A few more chapters might do wonders to Ryuuichi’s prickly attitude.


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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Kokoro To Karada No Hazama

    Kokoro To Karada No Hazama – Minase Masara

    Kokoro to Karada no Hazama is a prequel to Midara na Sasayaki scanlated by Hochuuami Haruyoshi was always a player until he met Ryuuichi. Now he’s settled down, but suddenly Ryuuichi says he’s going to an omai! Has Haruyoshi been wrong about their relationship the entire time?

    The Interval Between the Heart and the Body are two idiots, Haruyoshi and Ryuuichi, fuck buddies who didn’t talk properly about their true feelings for each other.

    Things came to a head when Ryuuichi met a girl for a marriage interview. Haruyoshi threw a fit, wanting to sabotage his lover’s date. His loyal-but-so-goddamn-tired-of-this-shit friend, Takahara, decided to take action forcing the two lovers to confront each other.

    That is basically what happened. The rest was them having make up sex. Still, as simple as the plot is, this one-shot was still interesting enough for me to look forward to the sequel. What happens when they take their relationship to the next level?

    Best character here is obviously Takahara, being the only sensible one. I’m on the fence about whether I want him to be secretly in love with his dork of a best friend or not but I definitely want him to have his own manga.


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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Ishibashi Defence Corps Individual

    Ishibashi Defence Corps Individual – Unohana

    Kokubunji, a Uni student with a rugged face, endures harsh training everyday in order to protect his friend, Ishibashi, who has an angelic smile and a supple body.── During class, club activities, and on holidays, he must carefully observe Ishibashi, so that he does not face danger! For his beloved Ishibashi, Kokubunji must struggle on a daily basis! He is tested to act logically, constantly! He is in defensive war for his best friend, with the Uni’s top student (with a dirty mind).

    Ishibashi Defense Corps Individual is a funny, hopelessly in love with your best friend story about the super athletic Kokubunji whose sole purpose in life was to protect his beloved best friend, Ishibashi.

    Ishibashi is a cheerful guy who is passionate about protecting his country. He and Kokubunji have been friends since middle school. Unbeknownst to him, his grumpy friend only joined the defense academy just to be with him.

    The two friends navigate freshman and senior year. Being a natural athlete, Kokubunji excelled at everything effortlessly. The only thing he struggled with was hiding his true feelings towards Ishibashi.

    I really liked the manga’s military navy setting. The story itself is light-hearted and cute. Kokubunji’s total adoration for his friend was super sweet and pure. I loved how the two friends progressed into boyfriends. It just felt natural. The scene where Kokubunji fried his brain when Ishibashi kissed him was hilarious!

    The artwork is not that unique but I loved the way the mangaka drew the expressions. Especially Kokubunji’s. The man has an epic resting bitch face. His going-gaga-over-Ishibashi-while-trying-to-keep-it-cool face was super funny. He gave off this intimidating aura but he’s really just a big dork.

    Bonus here was Sakura-senpai, Ishibashi’s roommate. He is a great character. Kokubunji thought their senpai was after his best friend so his hackles were up. Later, it was revealed that their senpai was actually, quite sneakily, working to turn the friends into a couple. They also learned that Sakura has a boyfriend. I’d love to read their story too!


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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Kemonomichi wo Tadotte

    Kemonomichi wo Tadotte – Satsuki Yuki

    One full moon night, a man suddenly meets the werewolf “Kuro”, hiding in the back alley. Immediately fascinated by the werewolf’s overwhelming presence, all reason is lost in the face of pleasure.

    Kemonomichi wo Tadotte is a rare werewolf manga with actual knotting. Beyond the smut, this is really a tender kismet romance between two werewolf breeds. In this world, werewolves who stayed in the forest are called ‘kuro’ while those who decided to blend with humans are called ‘shiro’.

    One day, a shiro found a kuro on the streets on a full moon night. He convinces the wolf to stay with him for the night. The kuro found it difficult to accept such kindness until the moon compelled him to take the shiro.

    What I liked best was the twist later on. It’s the typical childhood connection plotline but it gave the story weight. And elevated what would have been nothing but more than an excuse for some knotty sex into a compelling love story that made me want more of this couple.

    This oneshot has great potential! Turn this into a series please.


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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Coming

    Coming – Niyama

    Closeted middle-age man logs in on an site to find a friend. The man who turns up was…?!

    Coming is an age-gap romance of a 45 year old salaryman, Shouichi Koga, who was inspired by a celebrity who recently came out about his relationship. He used a certain website for gay men to find a friend.

    Poor Koga. When he said friend, he really means an actual friend and not a code for something. Lucky for him, the man who turned up was Rei.

    This is a super cute one-shot. Koga is adorably pure and shy. Rei is a younger, very toppy guy who was eager to show him the way. I love their kind of younger seme x older uke combination. My favorite part is Rei going, OMG Koga is so cute! I can’t even!!!!

    I really want to read the sequel and see where this inadvertent hookup is heading.


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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    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: 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.