• manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Itooshiki Hibi

    Itooshiki Hibi – Sono.N

    A 50sX60s BL. We met when we were 18 and 28, from that time… until now, I’ve always loved you.

    “I’ll wait no matter how long, even 10 years or 20 years. Even when we’ve become old men.”

    Following the life path of two people from different generations – This is a tender life story. Akihiko, an employee in his 50s and Makoto, who’s 10 years older than him, are lovers, sons and family. From when we meet as tutor and pupil, things that have changed, and things that are unchanged…

    Old men yaoi with plenty of old men sex? The ultimate relationship goals!

    Our Lovely Days is one of the most heartwarming portraits of a happy couple’s lifetime of love and togetherness. The story opens with the two men in cozy domesticity. Makoto is in his 60s, already retired, and bored puttering inside the house alone. Akihiko is in his 50s, already keen to retire and putt around the house with Makoto, but still has 10 years to go.

    The two are still as lovey-dovey as they were young, still active in bed, though with their age, admittedly need magic pills to get going. And boy, do they keep going, even well into their 70s and 80s.

    The chapters flash back to the decades they were together. They first met when Akihiko was a senior high schooler struggling with his entrance exams, and Makoto, then 28 became his tutor. Soon feelings developed, Makoto as the adult, tried to step back but Akihiko was determined, using his crush as the motivation to ace his exams.

    The succeeding chapters were about their lives as working adults, later becoming a family, up until the inevitable ending that one makes peace with. This is a couple who are not only husbands but also each other’s best friends. They communicate their feelings openly, talk about each other’s hobbies, and affectionately notice how the other has changed throughout the years.

    One interesting thing in Japan where same-sex marriage is not allowed, is that gay couples use adoption as a way to become legally recognized as a family. In this case, Makoto adopted Akihiko as his “son” and with that, they were essentially husbands. Akihiko takes Makoto’s last name.

    In the mangaka’s note, they said they set out to write a straightforward happy ending. It is the simplest plot there is yet rarely written. We do love our plot twists, angst, and conflicts. But here the mangaka created the most basic story and they went HARD! Read this and I dare you not to bawl!

    It’s one of the most emotional, uplifting manga I’ve read!


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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Sugar Dog Life

    Sugar Dog Life – Yoriko

    Isumi Sakuraba, a university student with a short stature and baby-faced complex, is mistaken for a minor and is guided home by police officer Amasawa. Although he was a real student who showed his student ID, he later met Amasawa again at a convenience store where he worked part-time. Amasawa, who works at a police box nearby, became a regular customer and asked Isumi for a recommended dinner every time they met. Though Isumi felt awkward, he was worried about Amasawa’s eating habits, uttered, “Why don’t I make food for you?”

    Hands down, the cutest gremlin uke!

    Sugar Dog Life is a grumpy/sunshine romance between a smol, fangy university student and the friendly neighborhood police officer. Isumi and Amasawa meet when Isumi is walking alone in the dark streets, looking like a young kid, and the officer tries to escort him home.

    Isumi belongs to the cooking club and works part-time at the convenience store. Upon learning Amasawa always eats convenience store food, he volunteers to cook for the officer.

    I loved the character designs! Isumi’s grumpy face is super adorbs, and being chibi size and feisty, he’s the floofiest thing I’ve ever seen!!! I loved how Amasawa, with his chill, sunshiney vibe, and tall physique, is a wonderful foil to Izumi’s character.

    The romance was surprisingly laidback. The two didn’t dive headfirst into a relationship. They took a step back and waited to see how they truly felt. Nobody had a hissy fit. It was all very level-headed and mature. Even our grumpy boy Isumi, who reminds Amasawa he’s an adult too.

    It made the manga’s pacing off for a bit but the delayed gratification led to a satisfying conclusion. The romance itself is pretty standard, but the play of opposites, the height difference, the contrasting personalities, and even the age gap, were deployed to maximum adorableness, elevating the entire story to another level.


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  • Uncategorized

    MANGA: Tokyo Hikari Auction

    Tokyo Hikari Auction – Tokiha Kanenari

    In the district of desire, Tokyo, there is an auction hall that once shone bright, bringing in huge amounts of money with black market dealings. Now, after being hit by the recession, it’s set to fade away without a hint of its former glory. At that run-down black market auction hall, a gambler, Sengoku, who’s covered in debt is being sold. Not wanting to be left with leftover stock, the auction master, Tsubame, decided to buy him for two yen only to free him afterwards. Because of that, Sengoku took an interest in his new owner, and even offered some “special services…?!”

    The cover intrigued me to no end. Here you have a fully-clothed eye-patch guy I would typically peg as a dominant villain type, being manhandled by a shirtless, muscled guy in chains. With the title Tokyo Hikari Auction and the scattered money, plus the gavel in the eye-patch guy’s hands, we could assume someone, the guy in chains most likely, was sold.

    So, how did they end up like this?

    This humorous, psychological tale of a happy slave and his reluctant master is one of loneliness, aimlessness in life, and gambling addiction told with the infectious good cheer of Sengoku. This man signed himself up to be sold to a slave auction and waited for his fate to be decided with such genki spirit you’d think he’s the one offered slaves at his beck and call.

    Scarred and dour auction master Tsubame was irritated and annoyed by the cavalier attitude and how Sengoku was starting to get under his skin. A series of events led Tsubame to free the other man, who then promptly offered himself to be Tsubame’s slave.

    It was the start of a deceptively toxic relationship where Tsubame tried devious tactics to get rid of the devoted Sengoku, only for them to backfire, and he ended up with warm fuzzies. My favorite part is watching Tsubame feeling his feels despite trying really, really hard not to feel them.

    Because who wouldn’t when our boy Sengoku is always eager to please and hellbent on doting on the sad solitary Tsubame who put his life on the line for an aimless stranger like Sengoku twice? Our boy is holding on to his man tightly and employing his nifty tricks to thwart smiley psycho slave masters from stealing Tsubame away.

    The smut is plenty and hella sizzling to complement the endearing, slow-burn romance. Overall, deep and passionate and yeah, maybe a little fucked up.


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  • Uncategorized

    MANGA: Issho ni Itadakimasu

    Issho ni Itadakimasu – Mike Nako

    Ryo runs a small bento shop in the shopping district. One day, a hungry young man went down at the storefront and collapsed from hunger. His name is Kotaro, a fledgling novelist who speaks inaudibly quietly with unkempt glasses on his unkempt head. It seems that Kotaro couldn’t write his debut novel, and has been running away from his responsibilities. Up to the point that he can’t get a normal job to pay bills and his electricity, gas and water were cut-off. “Ryo-san’s bento tastes like a family.” He grew up in an orphanage and was happy to eat while saying that he had never had a meal with his family.

    I was looking at the cover and had to go grab a bite because it made me hungry. That soy tofu is a fave of mine.

    Let’s Eat Together is a mellow story of comfort food and following your dreams.

    It started when Ryo, struggling to keep his father’s bento shop open, found a stranger passed out from hunger. He promptly housed and fed the man and asked about his circumstances.

    Kotaro’s tale of woe was a series of unfortunate events the likes of which are only found in soap operas. Starting with his attempts to write a novel that went nowhere…

    The two agreed to cohabitate. Kotaro helped with the chores, and Ryo fed and cheered on Kotaro while the aspiring novelist tried to finish his work. Kotaro then used his wordsmith skills to help the bento shop get a much-needed boost.

    Of course, they ate scrumptious meals I wished I could snatch off the page.

    It was almost a dream-like idyll. The only fly in the rice bowl is the jumping-the-gun scene that created unnecessary conflict.

    Still, this has such a chill vibe full of cozy, domestic scenes and two men caring and supporting each other selflessly. Savor this comfort food to the soul!


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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Matte, Suki.

    Matte, Suki. – Omayu

    “Because when we’re together, you make me feel like the most loved person in the world.”

    Haruto, a hairdresser, is dating Aoi Kuga, an actor who is rapidly gaining popularity.
    Aoi, being the doting lover he is, comes to see Haruto even if he only has 5 minutes of free time. Haruto likewise spoils him everyday with mutual love.
    When Aoi receives an offer to star in a movie, Haruto is also assigned to the same site as a hair and makeup artist…
    Can they keep their love from being found out!?
    Wait, I love you. A righteous love that will endure!

    Oooh, an established couple, everyone!!!!

    Very rare it is to get an established couple in an original story and not a sequel. And gorgeous character designs too!

    Wait, I Love You is the sweetest, most wholesome relationship I’ve seen for a while. Hairstylist Haruto is quietly supporting his boyfriend, up and coming actor, Aoi, because they had to keep their relationship a secret. It might negatively affect Aoi’s rising popularity.

    Haruto was the one who helped Aoi get his big break after the hairstylist gave the then-college student a free make-over. Aoi knows a treasure when he sees one and promptly grabs the talented hairstylist. With each one in high demand in their respective careers, they barely saw each other. Still, Aoi is holding tight to his adorable boyfriend, always making time out of his busy schedule to see him. 

    After all these years, Aoi and Haruto are still madly in love and can’t get enough of each other. They had a chance to work together in a movie shoot and the dorks had to force themselves not to make heart eyes at each other. These two are giving me life!!!

    While the boyfriends remain a solid unit, most of the conflict, barely there as it is, comes from the effort of keeping it on the down low and pot stirring by Aoi’s co-star, a former child actor and current It Boy.

    I loved how the title captures the spirit of the story. Hastily uttered words of affection amidst crazy busy work schedules of men who know how to keep their careers safe and their boyfriends close. Goals!


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  • Uncategorized

    MANGA: Shikabane to Hanayome

    Shikabane to Hanayome – Akagawa Sagan

    They were the only two brothers in a sprawling family mansion. At the end of a gruesome battle for succession, the younger brother, now head of the family, held a solemn wedding. The bride’s face remained hidden from everyone behind a thick veil, and she became rumored as “the faceless wife.” But in the bridal chamber on their wedding night, the face revealed is that of his elder brother, who was supposed to be dead.

    From the mangaka who brought us the bitterest bittersweet space-age romance, Hate no Kouya de Vacances WoAkagawa Sagan presents another deeply angsty and hella thrilling psychological forbidden romance of the brotherly kind. 

    Content warnings: incest, violence, zombie sex

    The Corpse and the Bride is a tragic tale of a family torn apart when two half-brothers are pitted against each other by a father who prefers his beloved mistress’s son, the younger brother Jin, and a mother protecting her legitimate son, Lee, who should have been the rightful heir.

    Unknown to the parental units, the two brothers bonded and became each other’s close confidant. When it was time for them to marry, they put off choosing a bride for as long as they can. Until one day, the younger brother Jin is set to marry a woman. On the day of the wedding, a tragedy occurs that wipes out the opposing faction, including Lee, and leaves the bride with hideous scars. 

    Then, a year later, Jin and his mysterious bride, a veil covering her face, were finally married. The lady of the house never showed her face, nor did she speak.

    I had my heart in my throat the entire time I read this. The setting is China, and it is a horror story involving necromancy and Chinese zombies. I had no clue where the story was going. I would have sunk into a pit of despair at some intense scenes had I not cheated and read reviews looking for clues that this ends, if not happily, would at least not reduce me into a bawling mess.

    At its core, it is about love between two brothers, a possessive, obsessive love that defies even death. Many tried to keep them apart. They were forbidden to interact since they should be enemies. Then, they were forced to marry other people, only to be betrayed by an unlikely character.

    The manga started with mystery, and just as we were getting a clearer picture, it exploded into kick-in-the-gut moments. Then, as if to make up for all the drama, the mood gradually lightened, even became humorous, and I breathed a sigh of relief. If the wacky shaman is making jokes, things are definitely looking up for Jin and Lee.  

    Overall, dark, passionate, and fucked up yet so…right?

    P.S.

    Strictly FICTIONAL brotherly love only.


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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Randen to Saga

    Randen to Saga – Aikawa Fuu

    Delinquents Randen and Saga are two friends who met by chance. When Saga accidentally gets seriously injured in a fight, Randen licks his wound and he recovers instantly! What is Randen’s mysterious ability?

    Delinquents with golden hearts are some of the best characters out there. Here we have the infamous and feared bad boy Saga, known to be TROUBLE and a very strong fighter. He’s always seen fighting, either because someone would ask him to help fight other troublemakers, or more often than not, he’s secretly helping a bullied schoolmate.

    His best friend is Randen, a half-American, half-Japanese transfer student, well-liked but also an equally strong fighter. He’s the only one who knows about Saga’s true nature. He’s always tending Saga’s wounds when one day, Saga was seriously injured by a blade. Concerned for his friend, Randen licked the wound and suddenly, it’s healed!

    This is where the real fun starts!

    Randen and Saga is a super adorable dumb-and-dumber romance with a touch of paranormal. In healing Saga, Randen casually reveals his two biggest secrets: his healing abilities and that he likes Saga.

    Our boy’s head exploded at the part where Randen likes him, so he’s acting like nothing happened and ended up being an awkward dork. And Randen cheerfully pursues his best friend while they hang out like they normally do. Except now, Saga gets licked when he’s injured. And OMG, it’s ridiculously cute!!! 

    The POV was initially in Saga’s but flipped to Randen’s in the middle. We see how the boys became friends, and that one time Randen stealthily healed Saga. Ack! That scene went right in the kokoro!

    Loved the dynamics of Saga as the tsundere and Randen as the yandere, though these were portrayed lightly. Saga’s approach to protecting his friend is more direct, usually sacrificing himself, while Randen cunningly blackmails anyone who threatens Saga and does it with a smile.

    These two are giving me so much life! One of my favorite best friends to boyfriends stories ever!


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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Migite ni Miemasunoga, Ore no Kareshi de Gozaimasu

    Migite ni Miemasunoga, Ore no Kareshi de Gozaimasu – Utsumi Long

    Miyata is a handsome tour guide in Kyoto working alongside the disheveled bus driver Shougo-san. Miyata is bored by his job and also highly dislikes his collegue, but when he finds Shougo-san weeping after being dumped by his girlfriend he strikes a conversation and notices the beautiful face underneath the shaggy hair and glasses. Follow the heartwarming pair as they both grow and learn to love each other.

    To Your Right, You Will See My Boyfriend is a fantastic take on that oldie but goldie megane trick.

    Miyata found his colleague Shougo drunkenly weeping because his girlfriend dumped him. When Shougo took off his eyeglasses, Miyata was awestruck by how beautiful he was! Upon learning of the bi-curious Shougo’s interest in anal, the out-and-proud Miyata immediately grabbed the chance because heck, our boy has been blue balling it for months. 

    Thrilled to find that they had amazing sexual chemistry, Miyata decided to ask Shougo out. What’s a straight guy to do when dating a man for the first time?

    For manga that starts with sex and is all about a happy sex life, this one is pretty wholesome. The romantic development is perfectly paced and one of the most well-executed. Shougo’s coming to terms with his sexuality and feelings for Miyata was heartfelt yet light-hearted, in keeping with the vibe of the manga.

    Miyata is aware of his good looks and knows how to use it. Still, he is a loyal boyfriend and a generous lover, game to whatever sexual fantasy Shougo imagines. My favorite part about Miyata is how our boy is so damn proud of Shougo. He talks about him all the time! He would have shown off his boyfriend to all his friends had Shougo not been too shy.

    That’s why the title is such. Miyata, the tour guide, proudly showing off his Shougo to the world. How freaking romantic is that!!!


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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Hitori de Yoru wa Koe Rarenai

    Hitori de Yoru wa Koe Rarenai – Matsumoto Yoh

    1950s Japan. Ex-soldier, Seishirou, is working as a waiter in a cabaret near an American military base, passing his days in a stagnant cycle. One day, he is approached by Jim, an American soldier who speaks fluent Japanese. Seishirou is moved by Jim’s soft smile, and Jim soon confesses his interest in him. Seishirou sees this as a chance to change his life.

    I Can’t Stand Another Night Alone is a historical enemies to lovers romance set in post-war Japan.

    Seishirou, a.k.a. Sei, is an ex-soldier working as a cabaret waiter. Because of his PTSD, he has trouble sleeping alone at night and has to resort to staying over his friends’ places. An American soldier, Jim, befriended him, and soon they started hanging out.

    Jim loves Japanese culture and is fluent in the language. It’s quickly apparent that he has more than friendly interest towards Sei. Seeing it as a chance for a better life, Sei went along for the ride and started seducing the American.

    So it wasn’t much of a romance at the start, with Sei and his ulterior motives. On the other hand, Jim was obviously quite smitten and even invited Sei to live in his house, especially learning about Sei’s insomnia.

    The two looked good together AND were good together, but it was hard to root for them. It wasn’t until the drama at the later part that the feels kicked in. It was almost too late as it was heading towards tragedy.

    But do not let this discourage you because it does not end in tears. It was a rather bittersweet ending but still a happy one, so it’s a win.

    I liked this manga but don’t feel that passionate about it. Something about the storytelling needed to be tweaked slightly though I can’t put my finger where exactly. It’s emotional and poignant enough, but lacks that oomph to make it great.


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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Sleeping Dead

    Sleeping Dead – Asada Nemui

    Earnest and well put together, Sada is a teacher that’s popular among both his colleagues and students alike. One day after school, while he was on patrol, he saw a suspicious figure attacking a female student with a knife. Unable to escape in time, Sada ended up losing his life. However, Sada woke up on a cold slab…

    Asada Nemui-sensei is a mangaka whose works always stir conflicting emotions. From the icky yet funny tale of two brothers engaging in unbrotherly shenanigans in Ani No Chuukoku to the highly emotional story of loneliness that went straight for the jugular in Call, their stories are weird but so very, very compelling.

    Sleeping Dead is another example, where your feelings are pulled in different directions.

    Content warnings here are cannibalism, non-con bondage, non-con touching, bullying, rape, childhood trauma, animal abuse, and non-con amputation.

    This is a stomach-churning horror story of a well-liked teacher turned into a cannibal zombie by a mad scientist. This is also one hell of a Stockholm Syndrome romance between a gay man and a could-be asexual, could-be neurodiverse loner so rigidly scientific in his mindset that torture and murder are just processes in an experiment.

    Also, the mangaka doesn’t give us an if-evil-why-hot-villain you would immediately absolve of sins. Mamiya is a prematurely balding man who looks older but is the same age as his unwilling experimental subject, 30-year-old Sada, who looks conventionally attractive. The scientist is also one cold motherfucker.

    To say their relationship is fucked up would be a huge understatement. Mamiya treats Sada like the research subject he is, strapping him to a table, conducting painful tests, and cutting him open without anesthesia.

    The scientist and the zombie discuss kidnapping and murder at the dinner table since Sada can only survive by eating human flesh and blood. Logic justifies the kill, conscience considers morality, only for necessity or risk of exposure to force their hand. There’s also a low-key revenge scheme that may or may not be going on. Mamiya shrugs it all off, while Sada has to come to terms with his current state and actions.

    Then, oh so stealthily, so very slowly, feelings started creeping in. Mostly because Sada is a good guy who still treats Mamiya decently even after everything. Despite being bigger than the scientist, it didn’t even cross his mind to punch the guy. Instead, he just tried to get along with him and thus brought out the good and vulnerable in Mamiya’s off-putting personality.

    This is where I feel conflicted most because I started to see Mamiya’s redeeming qualities despite not wanting to like the bastard. I get pulled into their connection and end up rooting hard for this unlikely couple! And OMG, they are so adorkably awkward and surprisingly tender!

    Then, they proceed to gut me with that ending…FUCKING HELL!!!

    All in all, this manga is twisted, gory and the very definition of oddly compelling!


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