Saori Mieno – Digital Manga Guild – 2011 – 1 volume

You may notice a trend developing, where I just hang out at emanga all day and wait to see if any DMG releases are coming out. And lacking that, I go back and read one of the old BL novels like the sad addict I am. This book came out the other day, and I read it immediately. There was just something about the long, awkward title that got to me.

Unfortunately, this is an older-younger relationship story, and I’m never a big fan of these. Nozomi walks into a cafe one day and meets businessman Hanawa. Nozomi connects with Hanawa immediately and chats with the man, knowing full well he should not be. But Hanawa looks just like Yuugo, an old friend of Nozomi’s, and despite knowing it isn’t fair to Hanawa, Nozomi begins to grow closer. But in the process of connecting, the two keep missing one another. First Nozomi makes a move, then refuses to see Hanawa for a while afterwards. Then Hanawa misunderstands Nozomi’s interest as his nature, since Nozomi makes it clear that he dates a lot of guys. Then Hanawa pulls away when Nozomi gets closer. All the while, Yuugo lurks in the background, forever between Hanawa and Nozomi.

This was a very sensitive, slow-moving story, and a lot of work goes into establishing the relationship between Hanawa and Nozomi. It’s not sexual in nature (though the epilogue goes there, it’s set a year or so in the future while Nozomi is in college), which eases my mind quite a bit about the older/younger thing. Both characters are likable, and the story does a good job of showing both sides when there is conflict between the two. I also liked that there were plenty of side characters around to offer advice, since romances like this tend to leave such characters out of the picture.

Despite all that, this type of story isn’t really my flavor. Unless the characters are very likable, I have a hard time with slow-paced stories like this, with nothing else to offer the reader. Though they were both developed well, there wasn’t a whole lot to either Hanawa or Nozomi that wasn’t directly connected to their love life. There doesn’t have to be in this type of story, to be sure, but usually when this much work goes into development, there’s a little more for the reader to sink their teeth into. Similarly, despite the fact that it was extremely well-written, I wasn’t really able to connect with either Hanawa or Nozomi, which also hindered my enjoyment a little bit.

I usually go for a more bodice-ripping, drama-filled story than this, but I still thought this was a very good read. It’s definitely a nice, sensitive, slow-paced story, and has a bit more going for it than your average BL book. The older/younger relationship is handled in a very tasteful and mature way, and I liked the gradual growth between the two main characters, as well as all the interaction we saw with side characters. While it wasn’t my favorite, it’s probably one of the better of the DMG books I’ve read so far, and might be worth a look for anyone interested.