• 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.

    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: 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
  • manga,  Uncategorized

    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: Suki, Dakara Furetai

    Suki, Dakara Furetai – Noda Matsumoto

    With the help of a friendly ghost, Masaki, Ono-sensei can examine his young patient’s teeth without much fuss. It seems that only Ono-sensei and children can see Masaki. He brings a calming presence, which is convenient for children at the dentist and for Ono-sensei as well. But is he really a ghost? He doesn’t remember much about his past but for some reason, he’s very attached to Ono-sensei. So much so that Masaki hangs out around the office and even walks Ono-sensei home. Once they reach the entrance to Ono-sensei’s apartment however, Masaki is asked to stay out. Ono-sensei doesn’t want Masaki to know that something else haunts him behind closed doors.

    I Want to Feel You Because I Like You is a ghost love story with a twist. I normally avoid ghost stories because they usually end in tears. This one is a tearjerker as well.

    Ono is a dentist who can see Masaki. Only he and children can see him. Masaki helps calm the young patients. His presence also helps Ono through some very rough patch.

    The manga slowly goes from light-hearted to heavy. As the story progressed, we learn more about Ono. He suffers from recurring nightmares and has what appears to be a terminally ill lover. A touch from a someone he couldn’t see calms him when the dreams were really bad.

    The story deals with grief and healing. While we witness Ono’s heartbreak, there still a feeling of light at the end of the tunnel. I had some inkling of where this was going and I’m glad I was right. There was a new beginning. Although, this has another surprise which comes with a warning that if you don’t like shota, best not read this.

    0
  • manga,  Uncategorized

    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.

    0
  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Restart

    Restart – Harada

    A one shot about two fuck buddies and their complicated relationship.

    Restart is a one-shot by Harada whose style I’m getting more familiar with. Like One Room Angel, this features MCs who are typically outside society.

    Miki and his unnamed lover started off as a “make-believe relationship” or as Miki puts it “fashion relationship“. Then he dashes off to Thailand with the intent to become a woman because he wanted to bear children. He gets hit by a tuk-tuk and returns home with a faulty memory.

    His lover started thinking deeply about their relationship when Miki got excited about Japan’s new same-sex partnership law. It was sweet how Miki’s lover takes care of him. He tries to maintain the carefree nature of their relationship and I love that he lets Miki be himself.

    This is a deeply nuanced psychological story about homosexual relationships and being different. The art almost has an unfinished look to it. The characters are dressed with edgy fashion, tattoos and piercings, reflecting their status as outsiders. The two are seen holding hands in public and we see the reactions from other people.

    The mangaka’s stories usually has shades of angst, sadness and bittersweet endings. This one is no different but has a lighter, more hopeful feel to it because the two lovers were happy and still together (and alive) till the end.

    0
  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Ginza Neon Paradise

    Ginza Neon Paradise – Unohana

    In 1940’s Japan during the war, long-time friends Aoi and Takahiko part ways as Takahiko is enlisted. For years, Aoi stayed in their hometown with the looming worry that his friend might not come back. He never received word from his friend and so he feared the worst. Now, Takahiko shows up all of a sudden and Aoi is not sure to what to make of this. Anger, relief, paid, all of these emotions overwhelm Aoi as he was certain his friend was gone because he never received a letter or any indication he was alive. Can the two reunite as friends or are they long past the point of friendship?

    Ginza Neon Paradise is a historical, childhood friends to lovers drama set in post-war Japan with flashbacks to the war time period.

    Aoi and Takahiko couldn’t be more different from each other. One was a serious bookworm who later became an interpreter for the American army, the other was a carefree womanizer who was disinherited by his grandfather.

    The two were separated when Takahiko was drafted. After 3 years of radio silence, the solder finally showed his face and was now an actor.

    I called Takahiko carefree but he’s really a callous good-for-nothing who trampled all over his friend. He lives with Aoi and frequently comes home smelling of booze and women’s perfume. He put Aoi through a wringer. The man was one of my least liked seme.

    I preferred the kind-hearted American Lieutenant Walter, Aoi’s boss, to the deadbeat Takahiko but alas, Aoi’s heart was forever loyal to his friend. Takahiko did redeem himself at the end. But barely. There was even a ridiculous fight because he was jealous about Lt. Walter’s attention towards Aoi. Tsk! What an ass.

    Unlikable love interests aside, this manga did a great job rendering a slow-burn, angsty, passionate love story amidst the backdrop of post-war Ginza. There were some liberties taken to eliminate homophobia but it retained most of the historical elements such as the bomb wreckage, poverty, shy interactions with the Americans, the glittering clubs, etc. My favorite part here was them walking around the city in the middle of the night just feeling the vibe. I always wanted to do that

    All in all, this a sepia-tinted homage to a district that never lost its luster.

    0
  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Bitter Like Light

    Bitter Like Light – Nago Nayuta

    A Like a Sugar Spinoff featuring Morisaki and Taguchi.

    Cheerful, soft-hearted Morisaki and cool, silent Taguchi have been friends and lovers since their high school years. While their relationship has not been without its challenges, they’ve managed to get past them and live happily together…

    But they’re not actually “living together,” unlike their friends Yoshimura and Shima, who shacked up halfway through their college life. Will their friends’ decision inspire Morisaki and Taguchi to start thinking about their future?

    The volume comes with an extra story of Morisaki and Taguchi getting it on in the hot springs!

    Bitter Like Light is the spinoff of Like A Sugar which I have yet to read. It opens with an atypical third party POV where a young uni student frequently hears his next door neighbor having sex with his girlfriend. He secretly admires and cheers his neighbor on only to later discover, the girlfriend was a boyfriend.

    Then the POV shifts to both MCs , two high school friends turned lovers. They had opposite personalities. Taguchi was impossibly cool and unflappable while Morisaki was the more excitable and blushy one.

    The story depicts their relationship’s progress through day to day as they interact with friends, plot their future careers and internally agonize over living arrangements when they see their other couple friends from Like A Sugar moving in together.

    Went gaga over Taguchi who looked like Kuroo from Haikyuu!!! His cool as a cucumber persona was virtually impossible to break leading his boyfriend to scheme how to break his composure. The great thing here is that while he is indeed super chill, he’s not a frosty asshole. He’s a really nice guy and you can clearly see he adores Morisaki. Because Morisaki IS adorbs!

    The neighbor appeared a few more times in the story. He became friends with the couple and even offered support. I hope he gets his own gay-for-you moment.

    I love the art, especially the character designs. It matches the character personalities. Overall, the manga was executed really well both visually and story-wise.

    0
  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Kimi ni wa Fureru to Naru Toko ga Atte

    Kimi ni wa Fureru to Naru Toko ga Atte – Hayane Dento

    Touji is an average high school student who is terrible at dealing with people and struggles with physical contact. On one rainy day, all of Touji’s struggles come to a head when he encounters Itsuki Yato, a fellow classmate who touches him casually even when they first meet. Even though Touji isn’t great at socializing, Itsuki goes out of his way to talk to him and spend time with him. Gradually, Touji starts to want to learn more about Itsuki…

    Every Time We Touch, I Hear That Sound is a slow-burn, friends to lovers manga with a gentle, peaceful vibe of lazy summer afternoons.

    Introverted, socially awkward Touji meets extroverted, touchy-feely Itsuki on a crowded train when Itsuki’s earbuds tangled with Touji’s button. The two struck up a friendship. Or more like, Itsuki decided to adopt the shy high schooler.

    Itsuki’s sunny personality and talkative nature drew Touji to him. I love how he saw beyond Touji’s fumbling attempts to converse to the true personality hidden underneath. He helped give him the courage to come out of his shell.

    The two lived near a mountain. Touji is most comfortable when exploring. His character shone the brightest when he is at home on the slopes.

    I love how these two boys were connected by the local festival. This is where things came full circle and where Touji showed his mettle and Itsuki found his god.

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