I tend to stay away from BL manga, primarily because of that completely ridiculous notion that I should apparently find guy-on-guy rape titillating. So when I stumbled upon a manga that contained yaoi but, to my knowledge, none of that garbage, I naturally became quite excited and couldn't help but jump straight into it. Doukyuusei is a shounen-ai manga (or yaoi, if you prefer to call it that way, as I do; there isn't any sexual content, for your information, although there are some kiss scenes) by Nakamura Asumiko. The story follows Kusakabe Hikaru and his meeting with Sajou Rihito at the all boys' school
they attend together, and the development of their relationship.
The main issue with Doukyuusei's first chapter is that we are thrust right into the story. This leaves us feeling disoriented with the setting and the characters. We aren't even sure who the main characters are at first and who is narrating the story, nor are we given an introduction to tell us what our primary protagonist's name is. What makes things even more confusing is the odd way the dialogue is organized. It is quite difficult to discern who is talking and following conversations is nearly impossible the first time around. The panels are quite haphazard and it definitely isn't a manga for the type of reader who doesn't think, not because of its deep subject matter (it's quite simple, really) but because of the abstract way it is constructed. Time leaps are pretty poorly written, and, overall, piecing out how events take place is more a matter of figuring it out from characters' conversations than actually seeing them happen.
Well, that all sounds pretty negative so far. And I even gave Doukyuusei a pretty good score. Is there anything positive to say about a manga that is more abstract (and not in a good way) than anything in its method of storytelling? The good news is that the majority of the issues I've outlined are mainly in the first chapter. The subsequent instalments are far more comprehensive and pleasing to read. Perhaps the author was trying out a new style, or perhaps I got used to the way the manga was written. Either way, I very much liked reading Doukyuusei, flaws and all.
It doesn't really have an over-arching plot, aside from the unfolding of Sajou and Kusakabe's love affair. It is a slice of life told mainly from either of their viewpoints, with a one time dip into the mental processes of Hara, their music teacher. That doesn't change the fact that Doukyuusei is absolutely, incorrigibly, completely adorable. It's a very light manga, and while there is the occasional teasing of deeper psychological issues, it's mainly fluff and the perils of growing up and figuring out what you want to do that the manga focuses on. Despite not being particularly jaw-dropping or amazing, it's definitely a stellar manga for a genre rife with cliches and general unpleasantness.
The characters are very much human, both likeable and irritating at various moments. We may not learn a lot about them and there may not be a lot as far as development goes, but they feel realistic. Reading the manga, we discover their quirks and thoughts and personalities, even if their backgrounds are only revealed little by little. Neither Sajou nor Kusakabe feel typical to me, so I don't think they're all too cliched. They may seem like your standard yaoi leads to those who are more seasoned with the genre, however. Kusakabe is a fairly happy-go-lucky student who is a part of a band. Sajou is a serious, studious young man who consistently has quite good grades. The only problem is that he's pretty bad at singing. This is the aspect that draws our two main characters together, just by chance.
Since Doukyuusei is a romance, it is important to know that their relationship rolls along at a pretty even pace. It doesn't seem forced, nor does it play out as simple pandering. It's a quiet sort of relationship shoved forward by raging hormones. The characters are pretty comfortable with the relationship as is, even if Sajou is quite endearingly awkward about it. It makes sense given his natural inclination toward introversion, after all, and it's not as if he's completely against his relationship with his classmate. He might be an awkward turtle, but the romance is consensual, a nice change for the subject matter.
This brings us to the art. Nakamura Asumiko's drawing style is highly stylized and original, and almost immediately recognizable. It is pretty, but somewhat difficult to get used to at first. While not necessarily detailed, there is a certain artistry to the wispy, pencil-like strokes that make up the drawings of her characters. The backgrounds, however, are rather lacklustre in comparison. Sparse and only vaguely detailed, if even that, the cream of the crop is definitely Nakamura's character designs, which are fluid and original.
Doukyuusei is a short yaoi manga well worth your time, even if you're not usually into the genre. As I mentioned before, it doesn't have any themes of molestation or abuse between Sajou and Kusakabe, and it is definitely a fresh, welcome addition to the genre.
So, this is my very first review. Whether it is enjoyment or disappointment that I experience, I feel that I do not need to review what I have read or watched with others. Contemplating the work itself and how I felt about it to myself is good enough for me. However, this manga in particular made me feel something I haven't felt in a long time, and when one feels so passionate about something, whatever that something may be, they feel the need to share it. They feel that it is absolutely necessary for everyone to know about it. That is how I feel
about Doukyuusei. Only finishing this manga about 10 minutes ago, it has left me in a daze. I feel bubbly and happy, as if I were in the 3rd grade, playing in the back yard with my brother on a hot summer day.
Now, I have read a lot of BL manga before. I am not going to deny the fact that I enjoy this genre. However, very rarely, at least for me personally, do I stumble upon a BL that makes me cry and feel so attached to it's story and characters.
Firstly, I must address the art in this manga. At times while reading, I would simply stare at the art for minutes. The art is so unique and interesting. I have never seen a style like it ever before. Just viewing the art made me feel some sort of way. At times, there was no need for words to be spoken. The character's expression and body language would express whatever they needed to say clearly.
Story wise, I wouldn't say that I haven't seen some parts of this manga in other BL manga before. I think that at one point in the manga the author mentioned that they meant to include some cliches. So yes, the plot is not something that complex and the story is not something that I haven't seen before. However, for some reason, it was amazing to me. The two main character's developing relationship and love for one another was steady and gentle. The story although not extremely deep for some reason gave me a feeling of joy and warmness. I think the way it flowed and the author's portrayal of an imperfect, high school love is what made it worth reading.
Regarding the characters, I think they were elegant, quirky, but also realistic. I really enjoyed the contrast between the lovers. One being an outgoing musician while the other being a introverted scholar. The way their relationship clashed at times and also flourished was extremely fascinating to witness.
My enjoyment for this manga exceeds the bounds of just simply enjoying something. This manga made me feel like a kid, witnessing two lovers just being in love and searching for a way to reach one another. I myself felt love for the characters being together, rooting them on whenever they talked. Overall, I highly recommend this manga to anyone wishing for a sweet story about two high school students slowly falling in love. I hope that more people will see how truly outstanding this manga is.
I read the manga and it was pretty bad. The story moved on way too quickly. The main characters and their relationship didn't get the time to properly develop or even be properly introduced. As soon as something started to "calm down", something new and bigger would happen right away. I really missed more of the peaceful and cute scenes that would allow us to really get to know the characters, story and setting better. Some of the scenes were very unique and interesting. But the moments could always somehow be easily ruined. Not all of them were though, luckily.
Overall it was an adorable story
with an adorable little pairing, all I wanted was to get time to understand what was currently going on before the plot just moved on. This manga made me smile, laugh and groan in frustration.
I liked the artstyle. Sometimes it could be viewed as a little sloppy, but I still thought that it was very artistic.
If you're only planning to read this manga so you can watch the movie afterwards, I recommend skipping the manga and dive right into the movie. They don't really change anything about the story, if anything they improved it. They stretched all of the short moments out all the way and spent their time well, which is great. I did really like the idea of this story, but the way it was told in this manga bugged me a lot. It surprised me how the movie creators changed everything that nagged me and made it better. The movie is probably my personal favorite now.
A song that has connected us using this tender red string of fate. With your eyes that reflects the beautiful budding leaves, I want to see you again.
Nakamura Asumiko, known as an author of many stories with cognitive storylines, once again breathes new life into the shounen ai genre with her replenishing and distinctive art.
The story follows the life of Kusakabe, a student who is whimsical and has an easy going attitude. One day, he notices his classmate, Sajou Rihito not participating during a choir practice. He seems surprised but ignores it. That afternoon, during dismissal, he forgets his lunchbox, returns to the room and
hears someone who was singing the practice song. He discovered that it was Rihito behind that voice and voluntarily tells him that he can be his practice partner. The days where the two of them bond with the lyrics and notes has given Kusakabe a chance to know Rihito better. What more awaits at the end of the road the two are taking?
Comparing with the other works of Nakamura like Double Mints and Coponicus no Kokyuu, Doukyuusei is more compassionate in nature. It strokes the slice of life genre and platonic romance.
Nakamura’s art style has a grotesque attitude on it. It’s somewhat strange, deformed and surreal but is absolutely beautiful. The character contours and backgrounds are made most of copious emotions. It lacks shadowing but keeps up with the lining. The art is near to extravagant and far from average.
The boy meets boy plot is simply mediocre with the usual developments. Repeating to what I have said earlier, the plethora of emotions makes up the most of the mainstream story. Flowing naturally with the current of the sequence of events.
As for the characters, the myriad of discourse and feelings makes it complicated. The lines of the poem from the classic class and the Budding Leaves song not only matched the atmosphere but it denotes the main events as well. The delivery of the innocence of their uncommon relationship without chasing skirts is also impressive, pointing out a vast of flaws in a relationship, jealousy, rivalry, love and the like. Hana-sensei’s personality is also note worthy. Suffering from an unrequited love with Sajou and with the discovery of the relationship of the main cast. It tells us that love isn’t always of happy moments. It is imperfect, unjust, and prejudiced.
As far as I can tell, Doukyuusei is one of the best works of Nakamura and is indeed another promising title. The superiority of art and the balanced stream is something worth reading for.