Haruko sensei has a very mature and sophisticated style. Her art is clean and neat, her characters are decidedly not cute (I haven't read Itoshi no Nekokke yet, and it looks a littler cuter).
, and her stories are not romantic at all. They are realistic, harsh, and in the case of this manga, rather depressing. The characters receive a real life ending, not a happily ever after. All in all, fairly atypical of a yaoi manga.
I cannot say that I liked this manga. I enjoy feeling happy, and this manga did not make me feel happy. But there is no question that this manga
was breathtaking and memorable. The characters are not especially likable, but I felt for them none the less, and the manner in which their story evolved was tragic and heart wrenching.
I think what hurt the most was that Sakuma and Kumi feel stuck. They are stuck in a miserable place, feeling miserable, and making each other miserable. What's worse is that perhaps, if they tried, they could change the narrative, find a place and a relationship that makes them both happy. But whether because they are too broken or too downtrodden, they will not try. They will just continue on existing miserably, and that's what made this story a true tragedy.