Aniya Yuiji “Mic & Neo”
whoaaaa another post and it’s only been like a couple days! I’m on fire! But actually I just read Aniya Yuiji’s Mic & Neo (Miku to Neo, however you wanna romanize it idc) and my heart is BROKEN so I thought I would talk about it a bit. Fun fact: Mic & Neo actually came out in late May and I bought it dutifully as soon as it was released, but I couldn’t convince myself to read it until just now. Somehow it just feels like this is going to be Aniya Yuiji’s last real BL release so the idea of reading it was like… idk that feeling you get when you don’t want to finish that long video game or book or show that has been part of your life for a long time. (Also I wasn’t so sure I had the level of Japanese skill necessary to understand the plot since it’s more than your average high school romance, ehe ★)
And I’ve been waiting for this story for a long time—it’s been running in OPERA since 2009 and was in the first issue of OPERA that I ever bought and I’ve been constantly pining since for the damn thing to be compiled and released. Yet I still put off reading it for two months when it arrived. Go figure.
after reading it, I can say one thing for sure: Mic & Neo really isn’t a story you can do justice for in a short description. There’s a lot going on for a two-volume book filled with gags and angst and gratuitous makeout scenes. But I’ll try! Essentially the plot is this: A young man tries to hang himself in the woods but unfortunately fails and is found by the not!priest of the nearby temple. And to make matters worse, he completely loses his memory from the ordeal and has nothing to go by except a children’s backpack full of cash, some Gucci loafers, and a keychain nametag with the name ‘Miku’ on it. From that point forward the amnesiac is christened ‘Mic’ and stays with the Maeda brothers Banbi and Neo while he waits for his memories to resurface.
their life together goes pretty swimmingly at first—eating together, joking together, getting to know each other. But then, initially caused by Banbi’s eerie Buddhist morning prayers, Mic starts to lapse into periods where his memories start to resurface and everything else goes blank. Only Neo seems able to pull him out of it—or to be the cause of it. So during an impromptu makeout session Neo takes note when Mic, crying with dark unseeing eyes, mentions ‘Rikako-san’ and decides he’ll do a little investigating of Mic’s past on his own.
and thus we meet Neo’s old teacher, Eijou-sensei. Eijou is a mysterious presence (we never once get to see his entire face) who is obsessed with Neo. When Neo was still just in high school he stopped Eijou from slitting his own wrists, and Eijou became smitten with him and their relationship quickly developed into a sexual one. Eijou is the one who taught Neo about the pleasures of sex, promised Neo he loved him and they would be together, and then quickly cursed Neo to never trust love or lust again. But Neo is willing to use Eijou’s connections to find information on Mic, even if it means getting sexually involved with him again.
though the Mic now seems like a gentle, sweet man his past slowly starts to reveal one covered in death. While Mic is still struggling to grasp the memories floating through his mind like dreams, Neo is slowly becoming more and more horrified reading through the case files on Mic’s previous life. And as they’re getting more intimately involved, Neo’s too filled with guilt and his own fear of intimacy and he can’t deal with Mic’s words of love and adoration. Mic’s past and present are too much for him—who is Rikako? And who is Miku? And what’s going to happen when Mic suddenly remembers everything again?
(kinda spoilers now!! don’t read the opinion part of the review if you don’t like being spoiled!)
oh mannnn this book. While I still think there are bits and pieces I failed to understand entirely (scanlation anyone? No? Maybe? yeah okay I’ll read it with a dictionary next time…) I still feel like I got punched in the face with all the emotion I barely saw coming. I really don’t want to give away the ending, but it legitimately shocked me. Maybe people who’re smarter would have seen it coming, but I totally didn’t. I wonder if this is what getting kicked in the balls feels like.
it’s pretty amazing how Aniya Yuiji can have a book so full of jokes and gags yet leaves you feeling like you just got spit on. She has all of her silly moments, all of her pop culture references , sometimes shoved right in the middle of an angst scene or perhaps right before one and then WHAM Mic’s eyes go blank and everything gets serious. Mic’s past is horribly painful—to lose the only two people in the world you sincerely care about so close together. (Well……. he didn’t lose Miku but like I said that’s too big a spoiler to give away rn.)
the stuff with Neo and Eijou was a bit stomach-churning for me. Eijou was a pretty creepy character—I mean, christ, he nearly kills himself and then quickly moves on to sexually exploit one of his students. Plus he ties Neo to him by saying Neo is the one who ‘saved’ him and that he loves him and Neo is his entire existence. So to have to acknowledge that Neo is still addicted to the feeling of Eijou inside him, still strangely attracted to the way Eijou makes him feel even though Eijou married and tossed him aside, was just…. eeeeucchhh gross. Oh humans, how they work in mysterious ways when emotions are involved. But it made me happy that he wasn’t willing to let Eijou fuck him anymore—even if he was too afraid to admit even to himself that he’d fallen in love with Mic, that still felt like too much of a betrayal.
Neo’s fear of rejection and loss, though, is what killed me near the end. When he finally just told Mic to get lost and go back to where he came from, and Mic actually left because of it, I just about died. And then Mic showed up afterward, having regained his old memories yet entirely lost his new ones—completely forgot about Neo. So Neo’s fears ended up coming true. A legitimate self-fulfilling prophecy. How fucking terrible. Aniya Yuiji how could you do that? That’s just… orz;;;
(also I have to say that even though Mic had a relationship with Rikako I like how they were never actually fucking. I always feel kinda ‘ehhh’ when a dude goes from being super straight and then suddenly WHAM GAY RELATIONSHIP. It would be nice if that was the kind of world we lived in, but it just throws me off in BL comics. So when Rikako was like ‘lol it’s okay we don’t have to be lovers or anything I know you don’t do it with women’ I was kind of relieved. Though I still think Mic was bi since he did seem at least vaguely interested in Rikako sexually—I mean, when she rejected him he didn’t seem that pleased about it.)
as for the ending I really don’t want to give away, I’m still unsure if I want to consider it a ‘happy’ end or not. Yeah, Mic and Neo ended up together but… idk man. It’s still so sad and horrifying and I just don’t know how to react to it. sob I’m sorry to be so vague during a review but it’s seriously supposed to be a surprise ending ahhh. If you really want to know the plot twist then ask and I’ll tell you but. Yeah. idk. It’s made better by the extra chapter, when they’re all living together with Miku, but. Mic is still….. orz
anyway—! General insecurity over if I should be laughing or crying over the ending aside, I honestly really really liked this book. As you can tell by the fact that I instantly was like “HAVE TO WRITE ABOUT IT!!!!” as soon as I finished—that’s generally proof that a book had a pretty big effect on me. Otherwise I just put it down and am like “oh that was nice maybe I’ll talk about it later” and that’s that. But Mic & Neo had all the silly parts and the sexy parts and the sad parts and, horrifyingly enough, it just made me love Aniya Yuiji and her storytelling and characters and art and just everything even more than I already do. It’s hard to say just what type of person would like this book, because like I said it’s not 100% serious but it’s also not 100% silly, it’s not 100% about two dudes banging but it’s also not 100% huge serious dark plot. It’s got a little bit of everything for everyone, so I totally recommend it to anyone who is not in the mood for fluff. If you’re in the mood for fluff don’t touch this book.
I beg of you.
Don’t do it.
BUT EVERYONE ELSE this book is legit great and another wonderful release by Aniya Yuiji and the characters are all so charming (except Eijou ewwwww) and sad and multifaceted and just UGH ANIYA YUIJI!!!!!!!! /SHAKES FIST INTO THE NIGHT SKY