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The art is rather unique. The men are definitely masculine, though not brawny, and she avoids the androgynous bishonen look so common in shoujo and yaoi manga. One of the men even sports a bit of a beard and some interesting sideburns, and it makes for a nice change from the usual fare. The writing is slightly quirky, and while there is angst, it is not over the top or played for an over dramatic effect. Watching two adult men work through feelings they find perplexing and surprisingly deep is a real treat, and it is as well done as I would expect from the writer of the classic "Words of Devotion". The sex scenes are tender and romantic, but not overly graphic, moving at as gentle a tone as the pace of their love story does. The story is episodic, but then these two men don't work in the same department nor do they live close to one another, so the story flows naturally from chance encounters at work and while out and about , moving forward from these casual encounters to more deliberate arrangements to meet and then to date.
With a likeable cast of characters that have distinct personalities sense of personal style, the reader is drawn to each of them as if they are making real acquaintances. Sudou's polar split in his personality is easily understood once one gets to know him as it is not so much a dual personality as t is a social ineptness. He has known the band members for quite some time, and they are at ease with him, and he with them, and he sees them as safe, fun acquaintances. Work is work tough, and he doesn't grasp the social niceties of office politics, thinking he has no personal connection to them beyond work. This of course leads to his troubles, as misunderstandings ensue.
It is all due to personal inexperience in social situations, with him being barely out of school and into work, while the slightly older Hirokawa not only has social and business experience, but a knack for dealing with others that comes in handy for the type of position he holds in the company. His natural flair for looking beyond the obvious and using what he finds to market a product is put to good use when he encounters Sudou, offering his advice and observations to the younger man, who finds that the simple actions help make him more likeable socially to his co-workers. Hirokawa's interest in Sudou deepening is done naturally, and he is mature enough to accept it for what it is. Sudou's own bad relationship experience and social ineptness leads him to question things, and even cause him to look introspectively at whether or not his needs and feelings emasculate him.One comes away from the story fully satisfied, wishing this couple all the best as they move ever forward in their new found love, yet also wishing for slightly more.
Posted December 17, 2008
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