You can say there are roughly two types of shounen-ai manga.
The first type deals mainly with seduction. It may sometimes go a little further into one of the characters psychology. Just like the typical yaoi, without the sex, or like the typical shoujo romance, but with two guys.
The second type digs deep into the characters minds, it deals with their inner conflicts. Highly introspective.
This manga goes into the second group. Most of the chapters don´t even show a kiss between the characters. It is all about their inner conflicts.
Story (somewhere between an 8 and a 9)
I don´t think all the stories deserve a high
rating. Some are better than others. The second story, "The voices of Cicadas", isn’t that unique. But there are some masterpieces. I think "To hate without trying" and "Loundream" are the best, especially "Loundream"... this story alone makes the whole manga worth reading and worthy of the rating I´ve given it. 10 for this particular story.
The best thing about "Loundream" is that it is not driven by the characters sexuality. The story would work even if it wasn´t a gay couple, a proof that sexuality isn´t the only conflict or concern of gay people, and that mourning doesn´t know about gender.
"To hate without trying" has a simple plot, but the mood is just great and it has a gratefully surprising ending.
For some reason there is a bittersweet gloomy feel to the manga, even when most of the stories aren´t sad. Some have a very happy ending. It may be because I found "Loundream" so shocking that I may have transferred that story´s atmosphere to the whole manga. But, as a matter of fact, even "Loundream" isn´t really that sad, if you choose to interpret it as the strength to overcome a painful memory, and turn it into an endearing one.
Characters - 8
There is a melancholic feel to most of the characters. Some of them have a great deal of trouble accepting their sexuality. As it usually happens with one-shots, the stories don´t rely on character development. We just get to take a glance into their minds and lives. But you can say, without a doubt, that the author does not resort to any stereotypes. They are down to earth characters, with complex thoughts, conflicted. Even when most of the stories in this book are one-shots none of the characters comes out being flat.
Art - 8
Bear in mind that you will definitely see no bishounen in here. The art is very mature and kind of rough, with lots of contrast and dark panels which go very well with the oppressive and gloomy nature of some the characters feelings. The cover art is much softer than the interiors.
Enjoyment - 9
For those who love good one-shots, this manga is definitely worth reading.