I put off writing this list for as long as I could, as I had about eighty separate volumes I owned personally to take a final look at before I narrowed my choice down to my top five — that was pretty hard, lemme tell you.
Like the previous lists, the selection was based on my personal tastes, as opposed to sticking to a strict set of criteria. Feel free to agree or disagree with my choices in the comments box 😀 Anyway — on to the list!
Kimi no Tori ni Naritai
KimiTori is one of those titles that if it were handled badly, it will piss you off royally and you will swear never to read manga again for the rest of your life. Fortunately for all of us, Homerun Ken decided to change the ending at the very last minute, so what we have instead is a wonderfully moving story of first love.
Full of small heartbreaks and hidden sacrifice, this story of Kei, his sister Moe, and their mutual love Fujii is ordinary enough to be believable. I just love the quiet way the story unfolds, doing away with the need for graphic displays of love and tragedy and loss of limb (ah BRONZE, I love you too but sometimes you are just batshit insane).
Ikujinashi no Shiawase
The funny thing about this collection of shorts by Naono Bohra is that I was much more involved with the secondary story rather than the title piece. “Ikujinashi no Shiawase” — or “The Happiness of a Coward”, is about a poor university student who falls in love with his gruff but caring landlord; it’s pleasant enough, but for me it does not compare to the second story “Koi no Dorei” (“Love Slave”).
In “Love Slave”, the young manager of a host club is secretly in love with the club’s owner — who as a young man, adopted him and raised him like a son. What he doesn’t know is that the owner also likes him, but refuses to make a move on him because of their paternal relationship. The book is a sizzling mix of drama and pr0n — read with caution 😀
I first encountered Ougi Yuzuha’s work with her hilarious one-shot “Pure Love in Roppongi”, and I was reeled in by “Darling” hook, line and sinker by a single line of dialogue: “I will un-gay you!” 😀 Nothing was further from the truth, of course — considering that this is a BL manga. The intricate dance of avoidance performed by the protagonists Miura Tomomi and Hashimoto Rio is both uproarious and endearing.
King’s Game is perhaps the only “fantasy”-style manga to make it to my list, which is surprising considering the volume of BL work that are set in exotic locales and fictional kingdoms. Maybe I prefer realism, no matter how far removed it actually is from reality? ^^;; Anyway, Ousama Game is about two warring neighboring kingdoms who struck an uneasy peace by taking one prince hostage from each royal house.
As the Second Prince, Renge is being held captive by King Ouga, and he is appalled by the way he has been mistreated by the king. Ouga keeps telling him outright that his cruelty was the direct result of Renge’s past actions, but Renge does not recall ever meeting the King before his captivity. With political machinations wreaking havoc on their tenuous relationship, you’ll keep reading and reading this volume till the very end.
Kimi ga Koi ni Ochiru
Tsukasa has always been in love with his older brother Reiichirou’s best friend Haru, but he never did anything about it until one day Haru simply disappeared. Years later, Haru and Tsukasa meet again by chance, and this time Tsukasa is determined to tell Haru how he feels. Haru on the other hand, has been in love with Reiichirou all this time, and is confused as to how he should treat Tsukasa.
To complicate matters further, Reiichirou is also trying to woo Haru not knowing about Tsukasa’s feelings. Confused yet? 😀 Then go ahead and read the manga to unravel the tangled relationships of three handsome young archery champions.