ARC was provided by NetGalley and Tokyopop in exchange for an honest review.
This review is being published after the release date (July 21st, 2020)
Content/Trigger Warnings: Adultery, cheating, memories of parental emotional and verbal abuse, parental neglect, internalized homophobia, homophobic comments, abandonment
“And then, like tumbling down a hill… I fell in love with Kasumi.”
I loved this so, so much! You hear me talk about manga so much and I can honestly say this is a new favorite. I love how there’s so many important topics mentioned throughout this book and these two boys, these two cinnamon roll boys are so precious! I just really enjoyed this manga so much and I’m low-key hoping we see more.
Kyousuke Shiina is a talented and ambitious graphic designer who’s secretly in love with him childhood friend. When this perfectionist of a hard worker isn’t pulling all nighters at his office with his team, he’s whipping up delicious food in the kitchen or spending every moment with Katsumi.
Katsumi Amemiya is the polar opposite of Kyousuke; quiet and shy, klutzy to a fault, and disorganized like a whirlwind just flew through (not even joking, those rooms are pure chaos). Katsumi has been friends with Kyousuke ever since grade school, when Katsumi had no friends, nothing to live for, and by some miracle, crossed paths during after school hours and a wishing tree.
“If I’m going to share my life with anyone… I wish I could be with someone who really loves me.”
I loved both of these characters so much. Thanks to a very dear friend of mine, I’ve fallen in love with the grumpy-sunshine love trope and that’s exactly what this relationship is. Katsumi is always feeling the weight of abandonment and lonliness, always in the darkness that his life has given him. While Kyousuke tries to always forge ahead with charisma and determination, always trying to make everyone happy and smiling at what he does. Though these two may be opposites of each other, they balance each other’s personalities so well and work beautifully together. We also have the friends to lovers arc with these two and I loved it so much especially due to some of the time gaps.
With all of this being said, Kyousuke grew up in a household that was very homophobic. Due to the way his father continuously says how wrong it is for someone to be gay or how it’s “gross” leads to Kyousuke internalizing that homophobia against himself. Kyousuke ends up grappling with some deep feelings and grapples with the thought that he’s leading Katsumi down the “wrong path”. So he tries to avoid leading Katsumi on as much as possible. On the opposite side of things, Katsumi has always been open about his love for Kyousuke since the beginning. After Katsumi confessed his love to Kysousuke in the past, Katsumi has no reason to believe his charming best friend could ever find a reason to love him back.
“Maybe the love I’m feeling… doesn’t even begin to describe it.”
I was fully wrapped up in my feelings. I ended up crying during the entire ending of this book and my heart broke repeatedly for these two cinnamon rolls. When they’re together, they just ignite in the most precious way and they deserve all the love. This was a story line that I loved and I appreciate so much. This addresses how there countries out there that still don’t accept anyone who is lgbtq+ openly and how the homophobia is laced all throughout society (even in the homes you grow up in). There’s also an underlying topic of adultery that isn’t often discussed and how media can sometimes encourage that kind of behavior in relationships. I also appreciate that the topic was handled with a woman being the adulterer when far too often we see men being the ones who commit adultery in literature or films. And I have to talk about the fact that Katsumi is bisexual character! I live for books that have bisexual representation in them especially when it feels like literature often forgets about bisexuality and pansexuality (sometimes).
I also want to take a moment to remind anyone who decides to pick this manga up, that this is an adult romance. Yes, there are explicit scenes between both the characters. If this is something you’re not comfortable with this or you’re not sure how to feel, I recommend picking up a different manga. And if you’re someone who is comfortable with graphic yet brief depictions of sex, I definitely recommend this manga! Those scenes were a solid ten out of ten!
“But just seeing him and shooting the breeze and laughing together… That’d be enough for me.”
Overall, I loved this. I sobbed, I died a little inside, and then I was cheering. The story line moved at a solid pace and it was hard not to get wrapped up in the story. I mean, I had to pause my reading to remind myself to hydrate because I was so eager to find out what would happen. And as I mentioned, this book has some great topics and this book also shows that those who feel they’re too broken to find love, can find love. I truly enjoyed this and I think many other manga readers will enjoy this book. A soft reminder, this is an adult romance and there are explicit scenes. But I can’t recommend this manga enough and I’m eager to see more work from Edako Mofumofu.
The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.