Morozumi Sumitomo “Akarui Kazoku Keikaku”
Morozumi Sumitomo is an artist whom I like almost specifically for her plots. I’m not very into her art style until I’m in the middle of reading something by her and am struck but just how well her art style suits to types of stories she writes. And Akarui Kazoku Keikaku is no exception to this.
Akarui Kazoku Keikaku is Morozumi-sensei’s first Tankoubon, released under Tokyo Mangasha’s Marble Comics line. The first three chapters are related, but the other four are random oneshots. I read it once a long time ago when I wasn’t really into BL manga as a fandom so much as a random way to pass time, and at the time I remember liking it quite a lot. But on this second read-through form today since I bought it to use up my NetComics money, I find myself seeing it in a whole new light. I didn’t know it was possible, but I liked it even more this second time.
The first story revolves around two boys, Yoshizumi and Shibutani, through four or five years of their lives. Shibutani is a boy who is frivolous about love, causing him to continually get dumped by all of his girlfriends not long after they start dating. However, this all changes when he happens to meet Yoshizumi at the station—but Yoshizumi disappears without asking for anything more than the time. The next day at school there’s a new student, and guess who it is: Yoshizumi! The first two chapters follow their slow and slightly painful process of falling in love. The third chapter reintroduces them as adult college students living together and very much in love, but Yoshizumi is dealing with his insecurity over the fact that Shibutani was straight before they met.
Chapter four is about the relationship between a person with a mask fetish and the man he meets and falls for. Chapter five is about the awkward but adorable relationship between two people who didn’t start out as friends before dating. Chapter six is about the frustrations a couple share over having anal sex for the first time. (With added realistic bits like using an enema before sex and preparation and condoms and discussing it before-hand!) The final chapter is about a young pilot who has no motivation until pushed by the ghost living beside him and his irritated colleague, and it’s not really very BL-ish but it quite good nonetheless.
These were really great stories—very well-written. For the most part I was smiling like an idiot the entire time except for when I was close to tears during chapter three. Morozumi-sensei also has a good sense of humor to break up all the fluff and seriousness, with weird things like a boy complimenting his lover on how hairy his body is and then Morozumi showing an example image of a porcupine. Body hair, heterosexual sex, poop—everything is oddly realistic but not without the stereotypical BL romanticism. It’s quite nice.
The characters are all engaging and cute and quite sincere. I really liked Yoshizumi, since I’m always a sucker for the silent and suffering type. But my favorite relationship had to be the one from chapter six, between June and Ken. They were both absolutely adorable and in love, and it was sweet in the most boyish and crazy and dorky way. When they talked about how they were willing to get past the whole dealing with poo thing just so they could have real intercourse made me cringe and ‘awww!’ at the same time, and I loved reading the phrase “we were lucky enough to both be born as men” since so many other BL manga instead deal with one of the lovers wishing they were female instead.
All in all, I found this manga absolutely adorable and definitely a huge bright spot in the hundreds of BL manga I’ve read. Highly, highly recommended! You can read the translated version by buying the online scan time for CHEAP from NetComics under the name Merry Family Plan, or you can buy yourself a hard copy of the book on the English version of Amazon. Or if it’s the Japanese version you’re looking for, it can be purchased on the Japanese Amazon website. Either way, this is totally not a BL manga you should pass up.