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The year is 1941, right in the middle of World War 2, Showa era Japan. The country’s citizens teeter on a sense of pride for their nation, and yet a small, unnerving undertone as small towns are regularly involved in bomb raids.
In the middle of all this sits Haruomi and Soutaro. While they used to be childhood friends, they’ve since spend years apart after an odd argument when they were children. Soutaro was Haruomi (“Haru”)’s main fan — as Haruomi would often, as a young boy, dress up in women’s attire and perform traditional, beautiful dances.
He was bullied for this, and yet Soutaro remained firm in his belief that Haru was cute. Haru didn’t mind being called cute by Soutaro.
That all changed after Haru cut his longer locks, causing Soutaro to lash out at him. Soutaro felt that Haru cut them because Soutaro’s unwavering praise and compliments made him uncomfortable. When in actuality, the reason Haru cut his hair was much different. Nonetheless, he wasn’t called “cute” again as a child by Soutaro, and Soutaro moved abroad.
Now, Soutaro is back in Japan, and eager to reconcile with Haru — even if that means concealing his original identity out of fear Haru would reject him.
Opinions / Analysis
This manga does a fantastic job of blending the era in which it’s written. During this time, many men were forced into the draft, leaving their wives, partners, children, jobs, and identities behind. The threat of death and domination existed solely by living.
Minor spoilers from this point forward.
One character later in the story is introduced as Soutaro’s potential wife. She is a widow and fears heavily that Soutaro may perish just like her past lover did. She has a fear of abandonment in this way. Likewise, Haru also has a fear of abandonment, likely stemming from Soutaro going abroad.
What’s interesting is that this fear of abandonment was likely present in even everyday citizens of Japan, even if their own loved ones hadn’t died yet. The ever-present threat of death likely scared the hell out of them.
Haru and Soutaro’s dynamics are hard to get a read on. I didn’t get a lot of relatability from either character, meaning it’s a bit harder to see if they’re a good fit for each other. But, well, we all become a bit different and strange when we’re with someone from our childhood, right? They know so much about you, after all.
I’d like to see more manga from specific historical periods! Are there any that are your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!
Check out our other coverage of Shounen Ai series here on LAN:
Cops in Love – Boku no Omawari-san Review
Playing Cupid – Cupid Is Struck By Lightning Review