Ogura Muku “Mizuiro to Pink, Sorekara Daidai”
This is probably the fastest actual review I’ve ever written, because usually I get a tankoubon in the mail and then spend the next week lamenting that my Japanese probably isn’t good enough for me to properly understand it anyway and so I put off reading it forever and ever. I’ve done this for pretty much every single tankoubon that has come in the mail, except for this one. I don’t know if it means I’ve become more confident about my Japanese or because I was just that excited to finally read something new from Ogura Muku, but I’m willing to guess it’s probably the latter.
Ogura Muku’s Mizuiro to Pink, Sorekara Daidai is released through Chocolate Comics and originally ran in a variety of different publications from Koi JUNE and Guilty XX all the way to Chocolates own novel magazine. The tankoubon was released June 30th and is currently #6 in amazon.jp’s top selling BL comics list. Sadly it has only ranked at #35 so far on Chill Chill but I’m hoping that’s just because it’s still such a new release.
There are twelve chapters in all that separate into six different stories—mostly oneshots with omake, but then a slightly longer story near the end. My copy came with a little paper thanking everyone who purchased the book. The layout and art is very lovely, as expected of Ogura Muku—soft, gentle colors and gorgeous character drawings. Instead of being in the back of the actual book her author omake is on the cover under the dustflap, and this is where she explains her thought process for the stories.
This book spans two years of Ogura Muku’s career, from the time between 2008 to 2009. Due to variety in the publications the stories originally ran it, it feels less cohesive than her previous works. Some stories are very sexually explicit and some are sugary and sweet. But rather than feeling that this negatively impacts the book, I find it enjoyable as it shows a wide spectrum of Ogura Muku’s potential. There’s a little bit of everything for everyone.
The title story, originally published in volume 17 of Guilty XX, is about two high school boys awkwardly and adorably having sex for the first time. The second story, ‘Naita Shiroi Oni’ which was originally published in Shousetsu Chocolate, is about a young man and the young prostitute ‘oni’ he stumbles across in a haunted house while looking for his cat. Story three, ‘Nemureru Kimi no Matsuge ga Yureta’, was originally published in AQUA’s web magazine BL Kingdom and is about a teenage boy who is reminded of the time he kissed his sleeping friend every time it’s his duty to wake his friend up. Also from AQUA’s BL Kingdom is ‘Kira Kira no Sekai’, a story a bout two childhood friends who meet again after some time apart—but one boy has become reclusive and unsure. From Koi JUNE is ‘Mokuyoubi no Yuuutsu’, a very short and sexual story about a young man who’s in love with the man he sees only on Thursdays. Finally, partially published in Shousetsu Chocolate and Guilty XX—‘Sensei Ano ne’ and ‘Sensei Sore de ne’ respectively—is a story about two young men who work as sensei at a pre-school, one who thinks he will never love again after a terrible relationship that left him heartbroken and the other who may or may not be interested in him.
As I said previously, I ate this tankoubon up very quickly. I have to admit, my love for Ogura Muku had been slipping lately—I do love Castle Mango, but because it’s not written by Ogura Muku it doesn’t have that wonderful Ogura Muku atmosphere to it. It’s more angst-y than her usual works and made me miss the reason I started loving Ogura Muku so much in the first place: also because of her beautiful art, of course, but mostly because her stories always leave me smiling near the end. Admittedly I loved Castle Mango chapter four enough for me to already feel my Ogura Muku love renewed, but this tankoubon truly cemented it. Ogura Muku is fantastic, and I will hopefully never lose sight of that fact again.
I especially loved the first and last stories. ‘Mizuiro to Pink, Sorekara Daidai’ was quite explicit compared to Ogura Muku’s other works. I was honestly surprised at how dirty it was, but you won’t see me complaining. It’s not a pointless sex scene—it’s the very cute, awkward first time for a pair of unsure and adorable young men. I think it was handled wonderfully, from pitifully fumbling with buttons to having to deal with the awkward silence caused by random interruptions like the phone or someone at the door. It seems like everything that could possibly go wrong does, in fact, go very wrong. But in the end they’re able to consummate their love for each other and its adorable. You can just feel how much they adore each other. So cute.
The other story I loved was the combination of ‘Sensei, Ano ne’ and ‘Sensei, Sore de ne’. The drama and angst caused by Tachibana’s previous relationship is a big part of the story but it’s not overwhelming and depressing if only because it’s broken up by the adorableness of all the pre-schoolers at their workplace and also by Kitagami being so misunderstood due to his gloomy-looking facial features. This story is so wonderfully fluffy and cute it’s pretty much a huge reminder that Ogura Muku’s fluff still prevails, regardless of if her art style is changing or if she interjects more serious and angst-filled stories in every now and then. Not to mention the characters are just generally so lovable. The older female sensei is very kind and actually plays a part in the story and all of the kids are so cute. Seriously, adorable. Shuu-kun, especially, was just too cute. He probably is completely valid competition for Nobara‘s Mone-chan in a contest for the most adorable child in a BL manga.
Anyway, I can only say that I’m incredibly happy to have bought this tankoubon. It was worth the money and excitement I put into it, there’s absolutely no arguing against that. Some people might find the fact that the stories are all over the place to be a distraction, but I like this large and varied look into Ogura Muku’s career from the past two years. My love for her has been renewed 100 fold and I can definitely promise you’ll never ever see me complaining about the differences in her art and writing style from her past to now. No matter how much she changes in the future, I have faith in her to keep putting out interesting, quality stories like the ones contained in this compilation. I’m definitely looking forward to any upcoming book releases from her, regardless of the publisher or story type.