god damn it Punch Up.
In this post there will be SPOILERS past the scanlated chapters of Punch Up. So don’t read this if you’re keeping up with the scanlations and not the magazine. (Unless you want to be spoiled. If that’s the case, right this way please!) But since the scanlations left off on the worst place ever I decided I’d stop being a lazyass and try to put my Japanese to the test and downloaded the up-to-date chapter scans. So now here we are. WOO.
This is partially because I feel all sl;dgjsd;gljs;d jittery after reading it, and partially because my friend asked for spoilers rofl. So. Here we go!
Again: SPOILERS. SPOILERSSSSS. If even one person whines at me in the comments of this post going “jeez thanks for spoiling it!” I will cut a bitch.
First off, to explain the general plot of the chapters for Abscondite. /o/
After his accident, Kouta comes to in the hospital where Hisashi and Yuuya are already there after hearing the news. Kouta asks for his sister, which was kind of… what? Why is he asking for his sister, of all people. But then we realize why when Hisashi and Yuuya storm in and he asks them “who are you?”
OH SHI—the dreaded amnesia plot!
Kouta’s sister (even though Kouta calls her ‘aniki’ in the manga, she’s technically trans and seems to have gotten the surgery, so… I’ll refer to Kiyoto as a ‘she’) comes and talks to the doctor where we find that Kouta’s memory has regressed back to his 15-year-old self. He’s to the point where he doesn’t even remember Yuuya. Then Maki comes storming in (knocking down Kouta’s sister and waking Kouta up from his rest) and starts sobbing all over him, sufficiently freaking Kouta out. Kouta punches and glares at Maki, all the while Maki doesn’t realize that he’s been literally forgotten. Then Kiyoto comes in and comforts Kouta and says they’ll do all they can. When Kouta brings up money issues, Maki steps forward and says he’ll take care of it since “I’m your lover”, etc. To which Kouta asks “he’s brother’s new lover?”, making Maki look confused. So Kouta’s sister brings Maki out of the room and explains the issue.
Then we go back to the hospital room where douchebag Yuuya is sitting with Kouta. Yuuya is being all “~I blame myself for this~” and dramatic and shit, and Kouta asks what was up with Maki—why was he crying, and such. Yuuya asks if Kouta is interested in Maki (not romantically; he means as a vague, curious way) to which Kouta replies ‘not particularly’. But Yuuya admits that Maki is actually Kouta’s lover in the present. Kouta is less than pleased that he turned out ‘like his brother’ and says that there’s no way that’s true—he’ll go on to date girls and get married and raise a family. Haha fat chance, Kouta, you totally take it up the butt.
Then Yuuta leaves the room, where Kouta’s sister finally realizes he exists. Because he and Maki just love baiting each other, Kouta’s sister finds that Maki and Kouta live together as live-in lovers. When a nurse tells Kouta’s sister that Kouta can actually go home for now, Kiyoto and Maki argue over which house he’ll go to, and Yuuya cuts in saying that they should let Kouta decide. Ultimately Kouta decides to go with Maki (because of his bad experiences living with his sister and also because Maki tempts him with the fact that they own two cats; Maki also says “I don’t know how to take care of them. Without you, both they and I will wither”—it was kind of sweet, I thought) but Kouta is still uncomfortable about their supposed intimate relationship so he doesn’t exactly warm up to Maki’s existence. But he doesn’t seem to think Maki is a bad person or anything.
When they arrive at home Kouta is lovingly mauled by their two cats, whom he doesn’t recognize nor remember the names for. Kouta then requests a bath, during which he thinks things over and is astounded by his supposed adult life as well as his adult body. (He also seemed to find his own dick impressive lmao, but no comment on what he thinks about being a hairless adult male.) But when he gets out to find that Maki left him a tiny thong as underwear, he’s less than pleased. Maki tries to fool him into thinking that’s really the kind of underwear he used to have, but it doesn’t work. Too bad. There’s some slight comedic relief before Maki tells Kouta that his clothing is in the cat’s room. Kouta asks why his clothing is in the cat’s room and not his own room, and Maki says that Kouta never had his own room since they always slept together. Kouta looks slightly disturbed by this. Maki tries to pull him toward their room, but Kouta freaks out and resists.
Then there’s some talk between Hisashi and Maki at work, the main point of which is Hisashi pointing out that Kouta is no longer the Kouta that loved and belonged to Maki. Then there’s a cut of Maki reaching out lovingly to a sleeping Kouta, but then he stops himself short and leaves the room. Kouta then opens his eyes and thinks “a person I don’t know, a place I don’t know; what kind of punishment is this?” He wakes up the next morning to a note from Maki and a cellphone (his old one? idk) with the background set to an adorable picture of him and Maki and their two babies. But he doesn’t know what to feel when he sees it. He doesn’t understand this ’19-year-old self’.
Kouta then goes out for a walk and encounters Yuuya. They talk a bit and Yuuya concedes that he’s Kiyoto’s previous lover, but says nothing more about his relation to Kouta. Kouta admits that this all feels like a punishment to him ever since he left the hospital, but before he can explain himself Maki walks up aaaaand that’s where the chapter ends.
Chapter nine, Maki is pissed and orders Kouta to go home with him. Kouta rips his arm away from Maki’s grip and says he can walk on his own. They go home and argue a bit, and Maki childishly says “in reality, you still remember [Yuuya] don’t you?” and looks upset, which Kouta doesn’t understand since, uh, he doesn’t remember Yuuya. Maki rushes back to work, and Kouta is left with his thoughts again. But then later that night Kouta wakes to the sound of Maki finally getting home (and also because he’s hungry lol). But when he goes looking for Maki he finds the older man collapsed on the couch in exhaustion, already sleeping. Upon taking a closer look, though, he realizes that Maki is actually relatively attractive and elegant—completely different from the sleazebags his sister used to bring home. Maki talks a bit in his sleep, startling Kouta (and embarrassing him, as he’d been staring quite intently at Maki the whole time), and he then murmurs Kouta’s name. But that’s quickly followed by a groping motion with Maki’s hands, which makes it slightly, err, less romantic.
Maki wakes up the next morning to find Kouta took off his glasses and covered him up, and is in the kitchen preparing food. Which makes Maki realize that he forgot to buy food for Kouta the day before, and he also didn’t eat. Kouta looks exasperated and decides to cook for the both of them, saying he wants to do what he can to help out. Maki smiles at this and, when questioned, says it made him feel like this 15-year-old version of Kouta really is Kouta after all. Then on the way to the hospital there’s some conversation (in which Maki even asks Kouta if he’s thinking he’d be better off dead, to which Kouta luckily replies that he isn’t) and then Maki, in hopes of making Kouta feel better, brings Kouta to his construction workplace so he can meet with all his work friends and ~feel the love~ etc.
Back at home they argue over who’ll take the bed (Maki wins and Kouta keeps the bed since he’s still technically injured) and then Kouta asks why Maki seems so happy suddenly. Maki replies that it’s obviously because Kouta seems happier, which in turn makes Maki feel happy. That night, Kouta lays in bed and thinks things over. Then the next day they show Maki and Yuuya in the office, baiting each other as usual. Poor Hisashi is stuck in the middle. Kiyoto shows up to ask about Kouta, and while Yuuya is leaving Maki complains “he really is a great man—even you and Kouta both want him.” Oh Maki. Get over it already, your jealousy is just making things worse. Maki and Kiyoto bicker over Kouta, etc.
Then at the grocer getting ready for dinner, Kouta runs into Yuuya. ~what a coincidence~ wth they never ran into each other before all this happened, did they? But anyway Yuuya teaches Kouta about food proportions (which he evidently forgot along with the joys of anal sex) and finally tells Kouta his name. Then we cut to Maki and Kiyoto at Maki’s apartment waiting for Kouta, where they’re still bickering but we learn a bit more about Kouta’s home life from when he was little and how he was always sullen and quiet. Conversely, Maki talks about how Kouta smiled very peacefully and was like an angel when they were together before. D’awwww! Then Kiyoto evidently goes home and Maki waits down at the apartment entrance for Kouta, who doesn’t come home until quite late.
When they’re heading inside Maki notices a cute cat toy and Kouta admits he went to a game center. But Maki isn’t angry. Instead, they go in and both prepare curry together. While teaching Maki to cook, Kouta actually smiles for the first time. Maki tells Kouta a bit about himself while they converse and cook, but then while they’re eating Kouta lets the bomb drop—he admits that he’d been out having fun with Yuuya. Maki gets angry, which confuses and irritates Kouta since he doesn’t understand why Maki doesn’t like him hanging out with Yuuya. Kouta asks if he can’t see Yuuya just because he’s Maki’s ‘lover’ and then, upset, says he doesn’t think that way about either of them and that he doesn’t like men like that. Maki says that’s not true, and they argue which just results in Kouta saying he hates Maki.
In the shower, Maki sadly remembers a time when Kouta used to embrace him and say he loved him. Very depressing. But when he gets out of the shower he finds Kouta waiting for him where he’s supposed to sleep. But it turns out Kouta is just there to ask about Yuuya. He asks “what is Fukazu-san to me?” and Maki gets fed up and pushes Kouta down like he’s going to rape him. But when Kouta cries out for him to stop and balls his fist like he’s about to lash out, Maki stops him and says to not bother because there’s no need to hit him. He stops on his own and tenderly holds Kouta for a while before getting off him and telling him the truth—that Yuuya was Kouta’s passionate first love as well as his first man. But Maki says he’ll wait for Kouta to regain his memories and return to his previous self.
Which in turn causes Kouta to realize how serious Maki is about being in love with him. Going to lay down, he realizes that it’s the reality of the situation—Kouta had, in fact, fallen in love with and dated men. With that, he falls asleep.
Chapter ten! Since attacking Kouta, Maki has been sleeping at the office. When he tells Hisashi what he did, Hisashi advises him to cheat if only to get rid of the sexual longing and prevent himself from hurting Kouta, but, joking aside, Maki can’t do it. Then Kouta shows up at the office, worried that Maki is avoiding coming home because of him. Hisashi talks a little bit about the way Maki became because of his love for Kouta (to let Kouta understand a little bit about why this is also a nerve-wracking experience for Maki) and then runs off to catch his train. Kouta considers Maki’s love for him, but then thinks that the person Maki loves isn’t him—it’s his 19-year-old self. Is there a difference??? Oh Kouta bb.
Then Kouta runs into Saiga and they talk a bit. Eventually the topic gets turned to Maki, and Saiga says “even now, you still love that guy.” Instead of vehemently denying it, Kouta asks what Saiga means by ‘love’ and begs Saiga to tell him everything he knows about Kouta’s past. Then rushing on his way back to Maki’s office, Kouta runs into Yuuya again (at least it wasn’t some ~grand coincidence~ this time) and gets distracted talking to him. He admits that he knows what they used to be, and then asks him about their past together. I actually didn’t understand this part so well but he seems to ask Yuuya if he left him because he hated him?? Yuuya says that’s not true, which makes Kouta happy (nooo Kouta, don’t waver now!), but then Yuuya adds that he was wrong from the beginning to hold a 15-year-old? idek I didn’t understand half this dialogue. Yuuya seems to say that it’s better if Kouta doesn’t remember him, which upsets Kouta greatly and for some reason he shouts “it’s better if I’m gone; it’s not actually me that that Maki person is waiting for!” and starts sobbing. Yuuya embraces Kouta but then pushes him away just as quickly and says “your 19-year-old self seemed so happy.” He says that Kouta can still change, so he shouldn’t worry. Then he runs off into the distance. Very dramatic. This leaves Kouta still upset, thinking he doesn’t understand his 19-year-old self at all.
Back at the office, Hisashi tells Maki that Kouta showed up looking to see how he was and to just go home already. At the house Kouta is still upset and thinking over what happened with Yuuya—how he thought Yuuya would be able to save him. But then Maki comes home and, seeing him, Kouta is on the verge of tears again. Aww Kouta. Poor thing. But Maki brought home a game system as some sort of halfass apology gift. Kouta is excited but not convinced, saying Maki has no reason to get him a gift. But Maki says of course he has a reason: the fact that he loves Kouta. Instead of looking repulsed like he did before, Kouta blushes and fidgets, saying that he’s not his 19-year-old self. But Maki responds in kind and seems to lay Kouta’s worries to rest at least a little bit.
The videogame Maki bought Kouta is some dorky boxing fighting-style game, which somehow (lmfao) leads them to talking about masturbation. Which then leads to Kouta admitting that he was molested by some of the men who dates Kiyoto. They talk to each other about this and it’s very sweet and gentle, and then Maki cheers Kouta up by talking about his gayness lol. This actually makes Kouta laugh and gently thank Maki, so it’s going relatively good! The next day at work Maki flails excitedly at Hisashi about his victory in making Kouta at least a little happier and giddily says he’ll be taking some time off.
Then he goes on a ~date~ (kind of, not really?) with Kouta. He asks Kouta where he wants to go, and Kouta says ‘anywhere is fine’ to which Maki replies that he shouldn’t say that since Maki wants to go to a hotel. Eventually it’s decided that they’ll go to the zoo and hnnnggggg SO CUTE OH MY GOD. They spend the day together cooing over animals and just being an idiot couple. But when Maki asks Kouta if he’s having fun, Kouta says he’s not sure. Well. I guess that’s at least a couple steps forward? But when he thinks about it, Kouta realizes that time flies when he’s with Maki. Then they’re home and still hanging out together by gaming. Kouta evidently kicks Maki’s ass, but when he asks for another game Maki says he’s too exhausted. They’re suddenly close and Maki leans in, closing the space between them and kissing Kouta.
Realizing what he’s doing, he freaks out, pulls away and tells Kouta to resist a little. But then he tries to rush off to his room Kouta stops him and asks if he’ll be home tomorrow—since Kouta will be home too and they can spend time together. When Maki goes into his room they show Kouta’s face, and you can tell that he’s actually quite flustered by their kiss.
The next day or so at work, Maki is feeling down on himself for kissing Kouta like that. We find that Maki is actually still worried that when Kouta gets his memories back he’ll decide once and for all that he wants to be with Yuuya. Oh Maki. Just knock it off. They talk about this kind of thing for a while, etc. Then Maki and Kouta are gaming at home again. Maki says he doesn’t want to play the game anymore, so Kouta leans over him and says they’ll instead play a different game—one Maki likes. Maki comments that brats (young people) sure love playing games, but Kouta says it’s not necessarily that he wants to play games. He trails off, though, giving the impression that it’s just that he wants to spend more time with Maki.
Maki’s hand then reaches up and touches Kouta’s hip, gently moving under the fabric of his shirt a bit, and he says that it’s okay if Kouta hits him. Maki taunts him a bit sexually, but when Kouta, again, doesn’t resist he says that Kouta shouldn’t give in so easily. When Maki moves like he’s about to get up and leave, though, Kouta grabs onto him and says “since we’re lovers, I think it’s okay. So just do it; do what you wanted to do with me.”
Aaaaaaaaaand. That’s where it leaves us off. I might have gotten some details wrong since my Japanese is so shitty, but I think that’s pretty much the general plot for chapters eight through ten. /o/
AS FOR MY THOUGHTS. Urgh. I’m not sure what to think rofl. For one, I’m trying to figure out why Kouta thought Yuuya could ‘save’ him. Is it because Yuuya was the one who knew him first of all the people he didn’t remember, so he assumed Yuuya would be the one most willing to accept him as he was? Or was it because he still feels some underlying attraction to Yuuya and what he stands for in Kouta’s life?
And Maki. Maki, Maki, Maki. Would he just get over Yuuya already? He needs to realize that it’s less Kouta’s ongoing attraction to Yuuya and more his own jealous rage that’s fucking up their relationship. If he’d just stop talking about Yuuya all the damn time maybe Kouta would stop thinking about him so damn much too. That being said, I’m glad Yuuya seems to have pushed Kouta away. I’m hoping this will be the last of Yuuya’s relationship with Kouta—I don’t know how much more of this whole love triangle ordeal my heart can stand. If Kouta at any point really does go back to Yuuya, I might have to buy BExBOY GOLD just so I can throw it across the room in a fit of fujoshi rage.
But rage aside, I’m glad Kouta seems to be warming up to Maki a lot more—especially in the latest chapter. I’m glad that he seems to really want to have sex with Maki not only because he thinks it would help him regain his memories or because he thinks he owes it to Maki for his hospitality but because he really seems to be feeling more and more of an attraction toward Maki as a person. I’m worried about the different directions this can go in, though. If Maki has sex with Kouta, it could either turn out well or scare Kouta off because it’s still too soon. If he doesn’t have sex with Kouta, it could be because he’s considering Kouta’s emotions and Kouta will appreciate it or else it will make Kouta feel unwanted and unloved and cause another crack in their slowly-healing relationship.
What the hell, Kano Shiuko, are you the new Takaguchi Satosumi? What is with all the drama in these chapters when the first volume and a half was so fluffy and nice? I’m nursing an ulcer reading this series, god damn. But anyway, all of my questions and rambles were probably answered in the parts of the dialogue that I had trouble reading, so I’ll just have to wait for the scanlated chapters to be released.
But! Let me flail for a second:
IS KOUTA NOT THE CUTEST THING YOU HAVE EVER SEEN? Oh my goddddd I absolutely adore him. He’s just so fluffy and sweet. These chapters are so heartbreaking if only because I just want Kouta to be able to live happily ever after with the man he loves. ;A;