Ootsuki Miu “Melancholic Mellow Mellow”
Melancholic Mellow Mellow, released in late March of 2010, is Ootsuki Miu’s ninth tankoubon release and her third to be released under Gentosha’s LYNX Collection. And they’re evidently planning more as well, considering right after this tankoubon was announced Ootsuki Miu then had a completely unrelated oneshot running in the new issue of Comic Magazine LYNX. It has ranked as high as #9 on Chill Chill’s top manga ranking, and at the moment I’m writing this it has four reviews on Amazon.jp, three of which are five stars. (The other of which is two stars, but she said Ootsuki Miu’s inside art is unattractive so she can diaf for all I care.)
Before getting the tankoubon for this one I had only seen the last chapter, so reading it was pretty much completely new to me. All I knew before-hand was the seme was a bit of an ass, there was a cat and the uke was very pretty. Which, give or take the cat, is pretty much your regular day in Ootsuki Miu Land.
The general premise of the story is that Yuuta is letting his high school kouhai Madoka shack up with him after Madoka gets kicked out of his girlfriend’s place after being unfaithful. Madoka supposedly used to be a cute, friendly kouhai but he seems to have changed for the worse; not only is he rude and rebellious to people who’re doing him favors, he’s also lazy and a leech. One night Madoka comes home wasted and evidently horny and decides Yuuta’s body is just as good as any girls’. What will this do to their relationship? Will Yuuta forgive and forget and will they go back to being friends? Or will this sudden surge of passion transform their relationship into something different?
The book starts out with the chapter I described, in which we are introduced to Yuuta and Madoka and their current circumstances. Madoka is currently living with Yuuta after getting the boot from his girlfriend, but he’s not being a polite and appreciative guest—he insults the food Yuuta cooks for him, doesn’t do any chores, and doesn’t pay any rent. But Yuuta has fond memories of the music club kouhai that Modaka used to be and he doesn’t want to kick him out. Even after getting raped by him he can’t bring himself to hate the younger man.
And so Madoka keeps living with him, and somehow this new physical relationship continues. More and more, Madoka tries to keep pushing himself into Yuuta’s life. Part of him is still the same rude and forceful young man as always, but suddenly Yuuta is noticing an odd loving side of Madoka—one that kisses him softly on the head during sex, is suddenly more polite about food and more insistent about them being together more often. And this side of Madoka takes its toll on Yuuta, who’s thrown into an extreme feeling of confusion by these two contradicting sides to his friend.
In chapter three we get to see a little into Madoka’s thoughts, and we see that he’s liked Yuuta ever since high school. Yuuta was the only other club member who treated him as a friend as much as a kouhai and Madoka thus grew a strong affection toward him—one which turned into attraction when Yuuta kissed him once as a batsu game. When they suddenly meet again through a mutual friend Madoka is shocked but he quickly takes advantage of the situation to capture Yuuta in his grasp by asking if he can stay with him.
Back to the present, we once again have Yuuta’s POV. There’s a girl he likes at his part-time job who’s cute and gentle and has soft little hands—the complete opposite of Madoka, who’s crass and hard-bodied. Yuuta doesn’t know what to do. What are these mixed-up feelings for Madoka? Does he want Madoka to go away, or does he want him near? But before Yuuta can even answer that question himself, the landlady finds out about Madoka shacking up with Yuuta and Madoka gets kicked out. Yuuta, upset, considers “nothing good comes of me being with him but, even so, why can’t I let go of his hand?”
Thus starts Yuuta’s life of freedom. No Madoka means no complaints, less dishes, and more sleep due to him not being felt up and fucked every night. But something is still missing—the loss of Madoka’s presence just makes Yuuta even more confused. When he wakes up to a the sight of black hair besides him he’s shocked, but it only turns out to be a black cat that snuck in his window. He goes to their mutual friend to ask about Madoka’s whereabouts but is given a vague “he might have gone to live with some girl”. (When, in reality, Madoka is hiding out in the back room of the shop and doesn’t want to see Yuuta.) In Madoka’s absence Yuuta dreams about their sexual encounters, and while the sex still feels weird and uncomfortable to him he considers that the kisses drew him in. Then the cat comes back and is like Madoka in another body—he invites himself in and treats it like his own home. All this does for Yuuta is cause a stir of uncomfortable memories as he murmurs Madoka’s name and pets the cat lovingly.
Back at his part-time job Yuuta is invited out by Kawakami, the cute girl he likes, for dinner with just the two of them. They go out and have fun, and Kawakami seems interested in him on more than a platonic level. Blushing, she asks Yuuta’s ‘type’. After considering it for a moment, Yuuta pretty much describes the opposite of Madoka: someone who isn’ｔ selfish, tyrannical, who thinks of other people and doesn’t do rude things. Kawakami invites him to have tea at her place after they discuss this a bit, but then Yuuta thinks he sees Madoka walking in the distance while cuddling close to some woman. Tossing only a quick apology over his shoulder to Kawakami, he runs after the person—only to realize he has the wrong guy. He curses himself a bit for being so stupid as to run after Madoka and abandon Kawakami, and then realizes how horrible he felt inside when he’d thought it was Madoka cuddling happily next to some new woman. Anguished, he crouches down at the side of the road, covering his face, and cries.
Six chapters in and Yuuta’s life is on a downward spiral. His new cat doesn’t seem interested in him in the morning, and when he goes in to work the girls are all giving him the cold shoulder because they heard about what happened between him and Kawakami. He sits on the computer pointlessly at work to avoid the female staff only to be reminded of Madoka’s disappearance from his life and then be chewed out by his boss. On the way home he brings a snack for cat!Madoka… only for the cat to prefer a cute girl with a can of soft food over him. He gets drunk and rushes to Icchan (his and Madoka’s mutual friend) to whine about how his life is horrible and everything is Madoka’s fault, clinging to Icchan in a sobbing drunken mess. But just at that moment Madoka walks in—and is less than pleased to see Yuuta cuddled up to Icchan. In a blind rage, Madoka rips Yuuta from Icchan’s arms without even thinking, shocking Icchan and knocking Yuuta unconscious.
Back at Yuuta’s place they argue. Yuuta blames all of life’s woes on a confused Madoka, who says he had nothing to do with anything. Then Yuuta, upset, asks “why did you have sex with me? Why did you kiss me?” He says he thought Madoka felt something for him, to which Madoka responds that he was scared—he didn’t think Yuuta liked him, since Yuuta would always reject his advances. When they finally kiss and seem like they’re about to make up, Yuuta pushes Madoka away again and repeats the horrible things Madoka does—the same things he said to Kawakami as things he didn’t want in a lover. But when Madoka asks with a stern face “you hate me?” Yuuta only says in a small voice “suki”. Madoka asks if Yuuta is crying, but when Yuuta looks up in irritation he’s met with Madoka’s emotional expression and the admission “I also feel like I’m going to cry”. An oddly sweet make-up scene.
However, there to break up their blissful lover’s reunion is the reappearance of the landlady. Not only does Madoka end up answering the door for her, the landlady then sees cat!Madoka as well. Truly, Madoka is like one huge blemish on Yuuta’s life. After the landlady kicks Yuuta out, Madoka invites him to live at his place. It turns out that’s what he’s been doing the whole time he was avoiding Yuuta; he was working and living at Icchan’s until he could get a place of his own. And this place has two keys, one for each of them.
Then the only thing left of this story is a smutty omake of their newlywed life lol.
After that and the final chapter in the book is a oneshot from earlier in Ootsuki Miu’s career (2008) called Flower Shower. A somewhat bittersweet story about two young maen who had once said they would marry each other, but now one is getting married to a lovely young woman and the other can only watch from the sidelines.
Anyway, now that I’m done with the unnecessarily long recount of what happens… orz I really liked this book. My mind wasn’t blown away by any deep or powerful emotions, but it was a fun and interesting read and definitely something I will go back and read many more times. I’ve seen complaints saying that there’s no reason for Yuuta to fall for Madoka, but I don’t think that’s necessarily true. At one point Icchan pointed out that the way Madoka treats Yuuta is different from how he treats other guys, and that was true—though Madoka isn’t a gentle, ideal lover by any stretch, you can tell he cares for Yuuta with his gentle kisses and how he acts like a little puppy, always following Yuuta around. I think it’s understandable that Yuuta would accidentally start falling for him.
Ootsuki Miu’s specialty is like that—she’s good at writing no-good, asshole men that you end up grudgingly liking. She seems to have this crazy special skill that makes her nasty, good-for-nothing men incredibly likable, whether it’s because you pity them or because you really, truly find their personalities refreshing. That’s what she did again here. Madoka is a bit of an ass, he’s manipulative, and he’s a leech. In real life I wouldn’t touch a guy like that with a ten-foot pole, but in a story like this you’re allowed to find nasty guys like that charming. So seeing Yuuta fall for him isn’t all that far-fetched, imo.
I enjoyed the way Ootsuki-sensei depicted Yuuta’s mental struggles over his conflicting feelings for Madoka. I liked how he knew Madoka was bad news—he didn’t naively go around thinking “I’ll change him for the better!” But nonetheless he allowed himself to get swept away by his feelings and by the gentleness Madoka sometimes directed toward him yet showed no one else. It was cute.
My favorite scene (aside from the sex scenes hur hur /pervert) is probably when Yuuta thinks he sees Madoka in the crowd with that woman, and suddenly realizes how much that thought upsets him. It all happens so fast so you know Yuuta has no time to think it over, and it is a huge twist in the plot pointing to the fact that though Yuuta did like the gentleness and femininity that Kawakami offered, what he truly loved was Madoka. Regardless of Madoka’s many bad qualities, there was something about him that Yuuta couldn’t help falling for.
Anyway, I recommend this book to any fans of Ootsuki Miu, obviously, and everyone else who can step away from reality for long enough to not be bothered by the idea of falling in love with such a no-good man. It’s cute and fluffy and maybe a little bit plot-less, but a fun read. Not to mention Ootsuki Miu’s art is as beautiful as always. ♡ Which, of course, is nothing that I hadn’t expected.