I find it one of the most amazing yaoi mangas I've read, along with 19 days from Old Xian. Because it breaks some cliches heteronormatives stereotypes of yaoi that I long so much for their fall for more humanistic representation of LGBT couples in mangas. I loved the art above all, the atmosfere, it's beautifull, and how it shows the issues the characters struggle like homophobia, sorrow and loss of somebody to death, self aceptance, sexuality, developing a relationship, dealing with normativity pressures, family bonds, work, the person in it's culture and how they negotiate with that... Is so deep, and also so delicate how
it treats it, not in a dramatic way, always with sensitivity, even if it treat psychological themes and some dark themes it is not a heavy mangá, ir mantains the beautifullness of life in each panel, is always very delicate how it bring these issues... is amazing, realistic, human. It's not dramatic, nor tragic, it is about reinventing one life, about two persons who create a new life together. The story, the art, is beautifull. I am waiting for the other volumes to see the issue of sexuality, I hope that they will be a reversal couple because this heteronormative dynamic in yaoi is so oppressive and we need other representations... It is amazing because it shows both characters discovering their sexuality together, in an egualitarian and consensual way, and even it is yaoi labelled, it is because it shows sex, but the story don't develop because of it or for showing it but because it is part of their life and of one's life, specially we don't see how a non-straight couple works out this and how deal with it, it's surronded by invisibility while straight people know what to do in first time sex with someone. It shows the development of intimacy between two boys where one is struggling to accept himself as gay and it has blocked the living of one's sexuality in fully manner, and the other never tought that would fell in love with a guy. It's a courageous act to break taboos. There is an openness on the side of Mio to live this experience without judgment but for his boyfriend it's complicated to fell free being intimate to someone due to all the hurts of homophobia and feeling 'not-normal'.
It is amazing that the character Shun say he is gay, this word, and got out of the closet for the family in a public ceremony. And there is no misoginy. Is the first yaoi were I see a LESBIAN COUPLE, who are friends of the gay couple! And the women aren't mistreated, the ex is now their friend and help the relationship and recovering family ties. The manga shows the promoting acceptance of homossexuality in a japanese traditional family and the recovering of this space.
I guess the chapters of the continuation of the history are still being released and translated... I find their sexuality very consensual also most of time except for some stuff that can be problematized. It freaks me out the normalization and eroticization of problematic and oppressive patterns of affection and desire yaoi and I try to rescue the good works that we are able to find. And surely this is one of these good works that need to be recognized.
Harukaze no Étranger is truly what I wish all "yaoi" manga could be. It's so high above any other manga of this genre I've read, it makes you wonder why more authors haven't taken this approach--treating their characters as humans instead of sex objects.
I have stayed as far as possible from the yaoi genre for a variety of reasons; it's horrifyingly homophobic, it's fans are toxic, and in general it's story-lines and art are very weak. It's obvious that yaoi exists to fetishize gay male relationships and nothing else. It's disgusting. It's offensive.
Harukaze no Étranger, along with it's prequel, Umibe no Étranger, don't fit
a single one of these descriptors. They made me care about their characters; they were actually CHARACTERS! They have personality, and realistic problems such as coming to terms with their sexuality and dealing with homophobia.
The art is absolutely gorgeous. I think Kii Kanna's art style is one of my favourites in general, and it's definitely the nicest I've seen in a yaoi or shounen-ai manga. It flows very well and the coloured pages/covers are just such a treat to look at.
My favourite thing about this manga is that the story feels real. The characters, Shun and Mio, really feel like people, and not just a toy to make the viewers squeal. They love each other as regular people would, because they ARE regular people. Sexuality shouldn't define a character. Sexuality shouldn't even be the focus of the story in most cases, and Harukaze no Étranger executes this perfectly. It's the story of a novelist, his boyfriend, and family. It's beautiful.
To close this: if you're still on the fence about reading this one, I strongly recommend it. Especially if you're lgbt. There's something truly liberating about seeing characters like you just being human and being in love.
What it means to love someone? What it takes to love yourself?
*A spoiler free review* about both Umibe no Étranger and its sequel Harukaze no Étranger. The story is a direct continuation so it feels fitting to consider them as one.
First of all, this is not your average yaoi centering around sex, lust, roles and power. This is a slice-of-life story about two people who fall in love and how they deal with the issues they encounter when their relationship develops. The plot is not complex, it concentrates on main characters’ everyday life and we get to know more about them and their past
while they get to know each other better.
The fact that the protagonists are both male brings up questions about sexuality, self-denial and acceptance, and the characters are also brought to face other difficult matters like death, loneliness and depression. Despite the heavy topics the story deals with, it never feels dark but maintains a rather positive and warm ambience.
Kii Kanna’s art is soft and delicate and something I wouldn’t normally expect to find in a manga tagged with yaoi. It’s almost like illustrations you would expect to see in children’s storybooks. The characters are expressive and super cute which matches the dreamy atmosphere of the story.
There is a small but diverse cast of characters, who are all sympathetic and bring their own aspects to different issues. They don’t feel too generic and their interactions are refreshing, realistic and enjoyable to read. The main duo of Shun and Mio is adorable with their distinct personalities and their relationship has moments from solemn to comical, sweet and intimate.
I was captured by the slow spinning, dream-like magic of Shun and Mio’s romance and read everything available in one go. The characters are appealing, the story is thoughtful and beautiful and the overall feeling you’re left with is relaxed.
This is one of the best BL romances I’ve encountered and something I’d recommend not only to fans of that genre but to everyone who likes to read some smart slice of life and romance with real-life feeling and mature tone. Don’t be immediately put off by the yaoi-tag, because while there are some sex scenes, they are not the main point and always have something to add to the story or characters’ development.
The story is still ongoing and hopefully we’ll get more of Shun and Mio in the future.