I found Doushitemo Furetakunai by using the search terms ‘straight seme’ on Baka-Updates. I sorted the results by release year, under the assumption that maybe things produced more recently might have decent art and a more modern sensibility.
What this does have, however, is a live-action movie that pretty much goes line-for-line (though having watched several minutes I feel like the manga does a better job with the initial characterization). But, so, with this one, you have your choice: you can either watch it: http://kissasian.com/Drama/Doushitemo-Furetakunai/Movie?id=22485 or read it: http://www.mangahere.co/manga/doushitemo_furetakunai/.
Doushitemo Furetakunai is a slice-of-life office romance. Apparently, straight male Japanese office workers are very susceptible to Teh Gay. I don’t know if it’s all that nomikai, the after-hours drinking, or what, but you really have to be on your toes or a drunken meeting in an elevator might make even the straightest of the straights change their tune.
Enter Togawa, drunk at 8 am, into said elevator, where he meets shy, vaguely-autistic Shima. Apparently, as late as 2008 it was still pretty common for Japanese businesses to allow smoking in the office… sort of. Or at least when Togawa smokes in the office, people put up with it, with only the most mild, “use the smoking area” admonishments. (As an American where smoking is pretty much banned in most public spaces, it’s very off-putting to see both in the manga and the live-action movie.)
But, this gross drunken meeting is Shima and Togawa’s meet-cute.
I’m not exactly sure what about this we’re supposed to find charming, but Togawa does grow on a person. Maybe we’re supposed to be shocked and turned off, so that later when he’s shown to be sort of a nice guy, he seems that much MORE amazingly nice. But, Togawa is a classic red oni–loud, aggressive, fun-loving, and crassly charismatic. I think I tend to personally gravitate towards characters like this (see: Renji from Bleach, Mugen from Samurai Champloo, Jin Tadokoro from Yowapeda, and a half-dozen others,) because they give me hope that my own personality wouldn’t be absolutely horrifying to the Japanese.
As the manga progresses, Shima is slowly bullied into liking Togawa. Togawa basically inserts himself into Shima’s life, inviting himself to share lunch with him, taking him out to eat… and then finally there is kissing and the classic straight guy excuse, “What? You were so cute I couldn’t help myself!”
The romance kind of sucks. There’s only implied sex in the manga (didn’t get that far in the movie yet), so I guess the real heart of this story is Togawa’s backstory. His whole family is dead–there’s suicide and houses burning down, it’s all bad. Due to this, Shima doesn’t think that their relationship can be more than physical, but it’s very clear that Togawa wants a family, particularly kids (the Japanese have NOT figured out adoption and I swear to all the gods this is the only thing that makes me want shake my computer screen and shout ‘come to America, boys, you can adopt!’ Or Canada! Get out of Japan and this won’t be such a f*cking deal breaker for you idiots!”)
But that would deflate the angst, so that doesn’t happen.
They do at least work things out and we get a love confession from Togawa at the end. I’ll be curious to finish watching the movie version of this because, Togawa and Shima’s story is basically over in two chapters. The rest of the manga follows people who seemed like side characters, Onoda (a bespectacled bestie who is the ‘straight’ best friend who is sympathetic to the gay romance) and a salesman guy from the place Shima used to work, Deguchi.
Helping Togawa and Shima hook up makes Onoda think about his own attraction to Shima, and he talks to his drinking buddy Deguchi about it, without realizing that Deguchi is a flaming homo.
I liked their story a bit more than Togawa/Shima, if only because Shima was a bit of a crier, and that’s a turn off for me, as has already been discussed.
Anyway, in the Onoda/Deguchi storyline we finally actually get the scene I’ve been craving where the straight guy actually READS THE INTERNET for clues on how to do Teh Gay and pushes Deguchi to take him to a gay bar so that he can actually sort of absorb a bit of gay culture before instantly hopping into bed and being converted by magical yaoi sex.
Magical yaoi sex is a pretty powerful conversion tool (as it were!), but it’s nice to see gayness acknowledged as something a bit more than just sex. I mean yes, for some people, the Gay Agenda is living a normal life with 100% more gay sex, but to pretend there hasn’t been an actual culture that goes beyond the mainstream house with the picket fence is disingenuous as well. I mean, I’m fine not always having stories match reality, but that just means when I do find moments like this, small though they may be, I cherish them.
So, yeah, this one was interesting. We’ll see how much more of the live-action movie I can handle….