A gentle and poignant story about two school friends Nao and Keima. After trying out some drugs out of curiosity, they "accidentally" take their relationship one step further. The lovable and carefree Keima seems oblivious to the more solemn Nao's feelings for him, but their relationship subtly develops as they grow throughout high school.
Honestly, this is probably my ultimate favourite manga from the bl genre. And this is probably more gushing than reviewing. But bear with me.
It seems like there's barely any plot, at first glance it's just about two high school best friends messing around until things escalate. But of course it's much more than that.
Ido Gihou's works are noticeably atmospheric and introspective and this one is not an exception. However there is a lot going on also, and things don't stay stagnant. The 6 chapters read like a novel does and I found myself completely immersed while reading.
This manga really is a
slice of life manga, but one that feels very very real. Every chapter is crucial and every mundane interactions hold charged emotions and meanings. This manga really struck me with its lyrical pacing and story-telling, it really affected the presentation of the emotions conveyed.
I think the beauty of this manga is how each and DETAILED every panel of the manga is. From the dialogue, art and character quirks, everything feels very real, very rich. You can feel them gasping, trying to hold their tears in, tender achey feelings just OOZE off the panels. Also Ido's line works and screentones are so fluent and pretty it's the whole manga is eye candy to be honest.
The thing that really pushes me to rate this a 10, is the final chapter. At the final climax everything feel so overwhelming yet so beautiful, and it leaves you with this sense of awe. Bittersweetness, love, regret, gratefulness, affection, it's all there to hit you like a ton of bricks. These are fictional characters, but the the emotions between them feel Very Real and You Will Feel it.
You also get to see little glimpses of their lives outside of their relationship, and they're not overplayed for extra drama, yet they're not irrelevant either. You see little cameos of their friends, family, and their short appearances adds to the richness of the characters and their drives. It's worth noting that they come in nearly at the end of the manga, and I thought it was very clever story-telling, and you'll know what I mean when you finish reading.
Most people pick this up expecting this to be a fucked up, drug use manga, but it really isn't. It is one of the stranger sides to this manga but it's not central to the plot.
It's a shame because a lot gets lost in translation in this manga, so if you can, I recommend reading it in japanese or at least korean.
However, just for the electric art (especially the kiss scenes, oh my god the kiss scenes) it's something very worth spending your time reading, I assure you.