Toko Kawai – June – 2010 – 1 volume
My Toko Kawai marathon came to a halt, but not because I didn’t read anything. I’ve just been bad about writing up all the BL I’ve been sucking down lately. I still think she’s fantastic, and hopefully I’ll get to Our Everlasting and Loveholic before too long. Cafe Latte Rhapsody is the easiest to write up, so I’ll tackle this one first.
This was probably my least favorite of the books I’ve read by Kawai, but it’s still a solid and very cute read, and I would rank it above a good chunk of the BL I’ve read. Hajime, a bookstore employee, notices a frequent customer named Keito. Keito looks scary, and others get a bad impression of him because of this, but Hajime knows that Keito is simply a sensitive and quiet guy stuck in an enormous body. He also doesn’t speak Japanese fluently, so he sometimes has a slow and halting way of speaking. When he’s accused of shoplifting, Hajime stands up for him, and the two become friends. Hajime is gay, but Keito is not, so their relationship is merely friendship at first. Raising some kittens together brings them closer, and it’s Keito that falls for Hajime and finally admits, very carefully, that he may have feelings for Keito.
This is an adorable and mostly drama-free read. There’s a little bit of a dramatic conclusion, but even a situation where both suspect the other would be better off with someone else doesn’t feel like much drama in a book like this. Mostly it’s Hajime taking care of Keito, who offers his bumbling affection in the best way he can. There are various shorter stories that make up the plot, but overall, it’s mostly just about Keito and Hajime being in love. As the best romance books are, of course.
That’s kind of why I didn’t like it… I could tell about a third of the way through that this was mostly going to be fluff. It’s really good fluff, very adorable, and both characters are well-developed and easy to like. I just found that I wasn’t that caught up in the story or their relationship, since it was relatively solid and drama-free. All the same, sometimes you’re in the mood for something light, and this is definitely worth a read in those situations. It’s absolutely adorable.