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Boys’ Love Reads – August 2015

"Boys' Love Reads" is a series of bite-sized yaoi and shounen ai manga reviews. This is its first instalment. 

Koujitsusei no Tobira (向日性のとびら) by Shoowa



Synopsis
Upon passing away, Merner Buegette leaves his bachelor brother, Cys, with his adopted teenage son, Kai, and a mysterious memory card with a password. He gradually becomes attracted to the beautiful, soft-spoken boy 14 years his junior – but as time passes, it becomes obvious he’s hiding a secret… Just where did he come from and what is his story?

Rating: 4.5 / 5

An enjoyable read with a good balance of angst and sweet moments. The French setting is quite nice and the art is lovely too. Kai is your classic likeable uke, and Cys is your run-off-the-mill stoic older man seme. It becomes a thriller mystery type story halfway through.  The story itself is interesting and had the potential to be developed into a more intricate and complex plot to span across many chapters. Although it became a bit confusing and rushed at one point, the mangaka managed to wrap up the story pleasantly.


Koi No Mannaka (恋のまんなか) by Matsumoto Miecohouse


Synopsis
Ichinose, the shy student with top grades, is sex friends with Matsubara, a boy who doesn’t take anything seriously. Though starkly different at first glance, they share a similar wish to escape from the cages of their family – Ichinose from his smothering mother, and Matsubara from his wandering father who comes and goes as he pleases. Can their relationship grow into something more from Ichinose’s one-sided love?

Rating: 2 / 5

Tries to be dark and disturbing at some points but just looks cliché and stiff. Predictable progression and cookie cutter characters. It just lacks feeling. However, the art is nice, in a different way. 


Koi to wa Yobenai (恋とは呼べない) by Eda Yuuri and Machiya Hatoko


Synopsis
Upon being dumped by his lover on Christmas Eve, Ei returns home to find a man sleeping outside his apartment in the cold, snowy night, with a kitten in his coat. Out of sympathy, he allows both of them to stay in his apartment. Thus begins the life of Ei, a serious but kind man, and Junpei, a person who has closed off his heart to love. Can Ei break down his walls and free him from the past?

Rating: 3 / 5

The romance builds slowly in this manga. During the first half of the manga, you’re not even sure if Ei and Junpei will end up together due to the appearance of certain characters. It’s that ambiguous. This is probably one of the more realistic yaois due to the slow pacing and matured mindsets of the characters.  



Koishite Daddy (恋してダディ) by Kitazawa Kyou



Synopsis
Satou is a divorced father who is single-handedly raising his child, Rin, after his wife left him for another man. His neighbour, Takahashi, is a gay university student who loves kids. They end up dating and living life together as a family.

Rating: 2.5 / 5

Super fluffy read. The couple looks good in that typical yaoi good-looking way. But the real stars of the show are… Rin and Kyo, his kindergarten buddy who has a crush on him! Omg they are SO cute. The manga should just revolve around them growing up together. 


Konbini-kun (コンビニくん) by Junko



Synopsis
A middle school drop-out and NEET to boot, Endou tries to be more productive and sociable by working at a convenience store. There, he meets Yamai, a student his age whose delinquent looks hide a courageous and benevolent personality. Just when they become good friends, Endou’s ex-schoolmates drop by the store, bringing back painful memories that threaten to hurt their relationship.

Rating: 3.5 / 5

The dynamics between the two main characters is really interesting; I like how there’s a lot of tension and apprehension towards each other at the start, which changes to understanding, and finally attraction. And who doesn’t love a bad boy plus awkward shy kid pairing?


I'm the Main Character of a Harem Manga, but I'm Gay so Every Day is Hell for Me (ハーレム漫画の主人公だが同性愛者なので毎日がつらい) by Ryosuke Kataoka


Synopsis
A look into the daily life of a homosexual living in a harem manga.

Rating: 4 / 5

I love it when mangakas poke fun at manga clichés and turn them upside down by adding in satirical and unexpected elements. This is a perfect example and the title is pretty self-explanatory. I would have given this a full ‘5’ if it was just longer. (This is a one shot by the way *sob*)


Sonna Me De Mite Kure (そんな目で見てくれ) by Moudama Chokusen



Synopsis
Rich, smart and athletic, the incredibly narcissistic Mikado is used to getting whatever he wants and being worshiped by his peers as a school idol. Bored of this lifestyle, he wishes for something crazy and exciting to happen to him. But he probably wasn’t expecting it to come in the form of a boy named Haru, the only schoolmate seemingly oblivious to his charms. How could such a person possibly exist?!

Rating: 4 / 5

First off, the cover is intentionally extremely misleading. The way the characters act is ridiculous but that’s the whole point. This is a gag manga. It’s a comedy slash slice-of-life slash school story with a shounen ai twist. A really sweet and entertaining read! 



Hyakunen Kesshou Mokuroku (百年結晶目録) by Aoi Aki


Synopsis
Bent, a travelling mineral researcher, meets a boy in a cave with eyes that glisten rainbow colours. Named Iris, he comes from a desert tribe that survives by eating mineral stones.

Rating: 2 / 5 (If it didn't have nice art, it'll be like a '1' instead)

Elegant art with a fantasy undertone that comes from the mineral theme. I quite liked the serene vibe, but the characters were boring and the romance, shallow. 

Honeydew Syndrome by Aliena Shoemaker and Chloe Chan


Synopsis
Metis, a self-proclaimed “not emo”-emo kid, has hated Josh, a “not so jock”-jock, ever since the latter punched him in the face. It’s practically a nightmare come true when Metis finds out they’ve been paired together for a class project. However, Josh seems to have completely forgotten about what had happened between them…?

Rating: 3.5 / 5

The drawings are rough and a bit inconsistent but the characters always look good nonetheless. The witty bantering and western school setting makes this a refreshing divergent from the usual shounen ai fare. (Though technically this isn't even a manga in the first place) This is literally like some teen-bopper Nickelodeon high school drama, except that it's about two boys liking each other. Can I get a 'hell YAS' here? Love the angst between Metis and Josh in the beginning, though I feel that the romance was a bit rushed in the end. Wished that their relationship was developed more. 


Birthday (誕生日) by Sugimoto Ami


Synopsis
After a failed suicide attempt, Koyama is hospitalised to undergo rehabilitation. There, he strikes up an unlikely friendship with Kuro, a spirited and intelligent boy who dreams of overcoming his illness and leaving the confines of the hospital to see the world.

Rating: 4.5 / 5

Really, really sad. Despite being only two chapters long, it was memorable and emotional.  


Not Equal (ノットイコール) by Ike Reibun


Synopsis
Ryou’s parents divorced when he was a child. He decides to visit his father on a whim and is stunned by how young he looks. While staying at his home, he is accidentally transported back into time and encounters an adolescent who strangely resembles his father…?

Rating: 3 / 5

The supernatural element is quite unconventional. A bit confusing at times, but it makes the father-son romance believable. Incest can be fairly icky, especially when it comes to direct family, but this manga manages to pull it off. 


Itou-san (イトウさんイトウさん) by Kuraka Sui



Synopsis
Kyousuke has been working as a prostitute since he was a child. Every Tuesday, he is visited by Ito, a gentle, enigmatic man who wears strangely-patterned ties. He will chat with Kyousuke but never ask for sex. One day, Ito offers Kyousuke a briefcase full of money, telling him to leave this place and live a better life. The boy doesn’t realise it yet, but there’s something very strange and dangerous about this man…

Rating: 5 / 5

Creepy, unsettling and intense, this is psychological yaoi done right. (Don't  be fooled by the cover!) The art reminds me a little of MPD Psycho; it suits the horror-esque feel of the story well. I really liked Ito’s design – his model is actually a pretty common trope in a lot of manga, but not typically used in BL. Pick this up if you want something dark or different. 


Hoppe Ni Himawari (ほっぺにひまわり) by Mita Ori


Synopsis
Yone-chan is a chubby, cheerful kid who loves to eat and garden. He admires Arai-kun, his tall and mature classmate who always looks out for him.

Rating: 3.5 / 5

This is only my second time stumbling upon a BL manga that features an overweight character. It’s a really cute story of pure love that is based on attraction to personality. Recommended if you like light-hearted, school settings.  



Written by Faelan

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