Hakutou Noriko “Suki, Kamo”
I admittedly can’t really say I’ve been a huge fan of Hakutou Noriko’s works. She’s kind of one of those artist who releases stories I enjoy but they just don’t leave much of an impression on me. Granted, I’ve only read like three of… seven? Eight? idk but I don’t know if I’ve read even half of her releases. So I took a chance with this one because the cover just seemed so promising and I do like Hakutou Noriko’s art so I figured it couldn’t hurt.
The story for Suki, Kamo (or “I may love you” in English) revolves around two college-age men Ooshima and Mukai. They live next-door in the same apartment building and while Mukai evidently gets treated to Ooshima’s… err… ‘nightly events’ it isn’t until Mukai strikes up conversation when Ooshima stops by the convenience store he works at that they actually speak for the first time. Initially Ooshima is totally not interested in becoming friends with Mukai—Ooshima is a quiet studious type and Mukai’s naive, happy-go-lucky personality doesn’t suit him. But Mukai is a little slow on the uptake and follows Ooshima around like a lost puppy until Ooshima is killed with kindness and finally gives in.
But the problem here is that Ooshima is already in an unrewarding relationship with another classmate named Shousuke. And while Ooshima is really serious about Shousuke—who is very gentle and passionate toward him when they’re alone—Shousuke claims he doesn’t ‘do’ committed relationships and completely ignores Ooshima when they’re out in public. So the doting, excitable Mukai is perhaps a little too tempting for Ooshima who is drawn in by the idea of a lover who is always open and sincere. Will it be possible for Ooshima to get over Shousuke and move onto greener pastures? Or will Shousuke finally be forced to give Ooshima the love he deserves when faced with the realization that Mukai and Ooshima are starting to get much, much closer than just neighborly acquaintances?
There are also two other oneshots in the book (the title story is four chapters which is long-ish for a BL comic). The first is Pink na Kajitsu, which is a story about a guy whose boyfriend likes to play with his nipples a little too much so they’ve become bigger and more swollen than what you’d usually expect to see from a man’s chest. Thus, the idea of a shirtless beach trip is less than appealing and a possible cause for embarrassment. Or sex on a secluded beach—whichever comes first. The second story Aigan Kareshi is a little on the shorter side, and is essentially about a man being visited by an old lover once news of his failed marriage surfaces and raises the possibility of rekindling their relationship.
I realllllllly liked this book. I already knew I’d enjoy it just from seeing the cover, because like I said in my previous post I am a huge sucker for the type of plot where one character is saved from an unfulfilling relationship by accidentally falling in love with someone else, and thus has to deal with the personal struggle and guilt of deciding to either chance unsuccessfully trying to make their relationship work or move on to someone they feel more strongly for and starting a new phase of their life. And this book doesn’t necessarily compare to other BL comics I really love with such plots (Matsumoto Miecohouse’s Sawatte mo Ii ka na being the shining example) because the drama and guilt caused from Ooshima already being in a relationship wasn’t really that big a deal, but somehow I just found Ooshima and Mukai’s love really rewarding. In particular because you could see the negative effects of Shousuke’s treatment of Ooshima in Ooshima’s lacking confidence in the first part of the book, but by the end you could tell that his love and friendship with Mukai had given him the strength to sincerely tell Shousuke that he loved him but it wasn’t going to work in the last chapter. In the first part of the story Ooshima just suffered in silence so it was nice to see that kind of awesome personal growth from him.
and it helped that Mukai was just totally my favorite type of seme character. I always fall for those really sweet, really loving ones—not possessive or domineering or creepy stalkers but always there with a shoulder to cry on and loving reassurance. He was just perfect and exactly what Ooshima needed. And don’t even get me started on Ooshima—he was also super cute and I loved how he initially seemed like a cold emotionless jerk for constantly rejecting Mukai’s attempts at friendship but in the end it was made obvious that he is just very socially awkward and lacking confidence and he does want friends and does want to be loved but he just doesn’t know how to achieve it. I thought that added some nice depth to him and really endeared me to his character.
and oh man the scene where Shousuke barges into Ooshima’s room and essentially tries to rape him and Mukai comes in and mistakes it for them still being together ahhhhh. Mukai’s empty expression when he just apologized and left killed me, and then Ooshima crying and forcibly telling Shousuke to get out of his apartment. I got a little choked up. ;;
As for the other stories, the final oneshot was kind of ‘eh’ for me (idk it was just too short and I didn’t find myself invested at all in either of the character nor the scenario) but I did like the nipple story a lot. It’s not really a deep or emotional story at all but I really liked the banter between the characters—usually I prefer stories where the relationship is just starting as opposed to stories where the relationship is already established but these two were just so playful and cute and comfortable around each other so it was really fun. Also I loved how the uke character was all freaked by how big and swollen his nipples were yet when they were having sex he admitted how much he liked having them played with and thus we knew why the seme character (look at me being too lazy to look up their names) played with them all the time. I know I say it alllll the time, but I just love scenes where both characters are equally involved and seem to be equally enjoying everything. One character constantly saying “no no stop” and denying any enjoyment they may be feeling has a time and a place and that time and place is in rape-play stories man not my cute consensual sex BL releases.
ANYWAY here are some sample photos for you all:
General overview: if you’re looking for a book that’s super deep and meaningful and dramatic and angsty I wouldn’t really recommend this one. It’s pretty light and has lots of comedic scenes to even out the angst, and plenty of pervy fanservice to distract from the serious issues at hand. But this book definitely made me feel some kind of emotional attachment and I think that’s a pretty big important factor when I’m reading BL so I highly enjoyed it. If you’re looking for something cute with just a tinge of bittersweet then this comic is probably right up your alley! (Especially if you’re in the mood for some dirty scenes with really great nipple play, just sayin’.)