Sunae Hata “Neko no Me no Horoscope”
Neko no Me no Horoscope is Sunae Hata’s second tankoubon and is a collection of all the stories she ran in Comic Anthology Canna through 2010. So far the book has gotten fairly good reviews, most of which are based off her ability to write very likable, cute characters. Which is definitely something I agree with—Sunae is very good at character-driven, silly stories that are incredibly fun to read.
The tankoubon actually holds four different stories, all of which are oneshots with the exception of the title story. Neko no Me no Horoscope has two chapters and one short extra, revolving around a young man named Yoshihiro. Yoshihito is attractive, well-liked and good at his job, but he doesn’t stand out much and doesn’t have a girlfriend. But his parents keep bugging him about marriage. Down in the dumps from the last call from his mother he stumbles across ‘Furusato Megumi’, a horoscope parlor. But when he walks in he’s greeted by a teenage girl in a maid costume and a no-manners young man. Kind of a bad first impression.
But after he gets to know their story, Yoshihiro ends up being touched by the brother-sister combi of Mitsuki and Keiichi. The reason Keiichi runs the suspicious horoscope parlor is because he needs to try his best to support Mitsuki all on his own and they’re just barely making it. Yoshihiro, on the other hand, has plenty of money and many other talents to share (baking, for one) and he has no one relying on him. So he offers to help them out. In reality, though, the second impression was the wrong one—Keiichi is actually a very unreliable young man, never paying Yoshihiro back and instead wasting their store profits on extravagant cosplay costumes for Mitsuki. But Yoshihiro is stuck to them whether he likes it or not. Eventually—eventually!!—he’ll get Keiichi to pay him back!
But there seems to be an ulterior motive behind Keiichi keeping himself indebted to Yoshihiro. For instance, why does he always force Yoshihiro to come back? And why is he always telling Yoshihiro to marry Mitsuki even though Mitsuki shows almost no interest in him? More and more, these things aren’t adding up. But Mitsuki knows the secret, and luckily she has as little tact as her brother and sees no issues with tattling on Keiichi’s secret feelings.
The second chapter is about Keiichi’s insecurity in their relationship and jealousy over Yoshihiro’s kindness toward Mitsuki, and the extra is just a silly short about Keiichi and Yoshihiro’s first time.
Story two, Amakunai Spiral, deals with Yoshino who’s a cute, short young man with a complex toward his height, and his meeting with a kouhai during a school reunion event. Uesugi works as a designer-hopeful at a top-class lingerie company and wants to help Yoshino out with money by offering him a chance to take part in their underwear survey. However, there’s a price: Yoshino must also try on the cute for-women panties that Uesugi designs and let Uesugi take pictures of him in said underwear. Will this really help Yoshino combat his height complex? And why in the world is Uesugi so interested in him in the first place?
The third story is titled Nakanaide Glider and is a cute oneshot about Makoto and Michio, two childhood friends. When Michio suddenly comes out to Makoto, Makoto’s only response is disgust toward himself for little Michio suffer in silence for so long without realizing it. He’s perfectly willing to listen to Michio go on and on about all the men he finds attractive, but more and more he can’t keep down the lingering question in his mind: why isn’t Michio interested in him? The more he asks himself this question, the more he can feel his own feelings of attraction toward Michio rising in his chest.
Story four, Saitei na Anata to Aki no Sora, deals with Nanami and Kanou. Nanami is in the same movie-making circle in college as Kanou, but he doesn’t know what to make of Kanou’s personality. He’s happy-go-lucky and fun to be around, but also hard to get close to. Kanou is always breaking up with his girlfriends because he’s too obsessed with making films, and they always ask “which is more important, me or the movies?” Of course, his answer is always that his movies are more important! So what about Nanami? What if Nanami leans down and kisses him and asks “which is more important, me or the movies?” For once, Kanou’s answer isn’t so simple.
Anyway, I really enjoyed this book! Not like I was expecting anything less from Sunae Hata, to be honest. While her stories are not very deep, they’re just so simple and sweet that I can’t help falling for them. I love all of her different characters and their personality quirks—I don’t think Sunae could create a ‘perfect’ character if she tried. It’s their faults and annoying habits that really make them charming, which is what I love about her stories.
As far as sexual content goes, however, this book isn’t particularly swimming in it. Only two of the stories have anything more than a simple kiss, and the sex scenes in them aren’t very hardcore at all. Just light fanservice here or there—it’s mostly cute interactions between cute characters in a cute setting, high on comedic value.
While part of me wants to say my favorite story was Amakunai Spiral just because of all the boys-wearing-panties fanservice, I think I have to admit that I really really loved Nakanaide Glider. It’s actually the story she debuted with in Canna, and it really made an impact on me. I was happy to see a story with a coming-out scene, for one, but also the fact that the coming-out scene was very sweet was a nice touch. It was just too adorable that Makoto’s only regret toward Michio’s coming out of the closet was that Michio hadn’t told him sooner and had been suffering in silence. Ahhhh if only all people thought that way! \*w*/
A really super cute collection of stories—I definitely recommend them if you’re ever in the mood for something straight-forward and fluffy, but also very silly and cute. That’s definitely the type of story that Sunae Hata excels at. I look forward to her releasing her third tankoubon with even more adorable characters for me to fall in love with.