Oct 25, 2019
For such a quick read and a common plot, this is really well done.
The emotions run high without feeling forced or cliché, and the characters feel more genuine than the usual tropes you see in shounen-ai one-shots. The awkwardness of your best friend confessing their love to you; the heartbreak of not hearing it back; the rush to untangle your feelings for someone before it’s too late: it’s all written in a very real way that makes you feel for the characters. I wasn’t expecting to be so impressed with how authentic the emotions felt. A lot of this is due to the excellent
use of “show vs. tell”, which isn’t easy to find the right balance of, especially in a graphic format.
I will say I was worried at how the story was going to be handled. There’s a lot of problematic “friends turned lovers” stories out there, where one friend is guilted into loving the other, and I was concerned that was where the story was going, but was pleasantly surprised. Kazushi respects Haru’s feelings and refuses to make him uncomfortable, even when Haru eggs him on out of frustration and confusion. Despite the awkwardness of unreciprocated feelings, their friendship always comes first, especially for Kazushi, and I loved seeing that validated. Haru’s eventual reciprocation doesn’t feel at all like guilt, and that’s really nice to see, especially in a genre where problematic tropes tend to run rampant.
I was also really impressed from the offset at how casual and natural the dialogue is. Its easy to believe that Kazushi and Haru have been friends for a long time from their early interactions, which is important for the rest of the plot. The panels don’t feel cluttered with unnecessary jokes or comments, but they don’t feel lacking or clunky, either.
Every scene, as well as every character, has an importance to the story, so there’s nothing unnecessary and no clutter. Even Minota, the main couple’s mutual friend, isn’t a throw-away or simply used for exposition; he’s a developed character of his own who helps further the story and encourages Haru to realise his true feelings. “Third-wheel” characters who aren’t completely unnecessary are pretty rare in this genre and it’s a nice change of pace.
The art isn’t a masterpiece, but it isn’t terrible, either. I feel like Kazushi looks a bit too mature in some panels, especially opposite Haru, and especially since he doesn’t really fit the “aggressively-pursuing seme” trope. The full-body anatomy really isn’t good, either. Most of the characters look like their clothes are way too big for them, shoes included; it makes the anatomy look really weird in most panels where it’s not a close-up shot. I do like the light pencil strokes and almost watercolour-like shading on the chapter covers, though.
Overall, it’s an unexpectedly good one-shot with authentic and relatable emotions and characters. A pretty enjoyable hour-long read.
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