Spicy & Sugary by Norikazu Akira

Continuing down various titles with “Coming out of the Closet” as a theme according to Baka-Updates, I found another one that could barely be considered a coming out story, since the big news is that one of the two heroes is… *gasp* BI-sexual…

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However, I should have realized when I started enjoying the STORY of Spicy & Sugary that this was from the same author as Heartstrings.

SPOILERS

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The meet-cute is kind of random.  Police detective Nagai Tomaki agrees to let his old high school friend Kitahara Natsuo crash on his couch for a few weeks. He’s not sure why he agrees to this arrangement at first, Kitahara was never a special friend–or even all that close. In fact, they mostly chatted when other people were around.  But, Nagai had been living alone and Kitahara is a good cook. So, they just set up a cozy little household together. Cozy and platonic.

But, Kitahara is kind of a drifter and, so, one day, he announces he’s leaving.

When he goes Nagai finds himself missing Kitahara a LOT.

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So, when, months later Kitahara shows back up, Nagai lets him back in again.

This probably would have gone on forever, except that the next time Kitahara wanders off, Nagai discovers that part of the reason Kitahara is always on the move is because the son of a powerful mafia boss is after him.  Luckily, Nagai’s area of specialty is organized crime.

I don’t really want to spoil the plot for you because, as I said, I actually ended up reading this whole story.  It’s not super long, There are 8.1 chapters listed on Mangakakalot, but only seven of them belong to Spicy & Sugary. The other 1.1 are a random side story about two guys who try to have anal sex, but never manage it.

As I said, the only big “coming out” part of this story is the revelation that Kitahara is bi.

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“You’re a sodomite?” “Um, no, not exactly. You know people don’t say that any more, right?”

You could make the case, given the above panel (and a few that follow it), that maybe this coming out isn’t so smooth. Nagai also spends a lot of time after this announcement feeling very self-conscious around Kitahara, which isn’t helped by the fact that Kitahara likes to tease him….

…. because, of COURSE, Kitahara has been in love with Nagai for a while.

It takes some doing, but Nagai comes around to the idea, too. Again, it’s pretty typical, but when Kitahara’s life is in danger, Nagai realizes that he’s desperately in love, too.

I guess that’s part of what I enjoyed here. The romance is slow-burn in a way that felt like a realistic build. Nagai’s slow realization isn’t any more of a deep introspection than we’ve seen in any other yaoi, but at least it’s… romantic?

I don’t know.

I think it helps that I like the art style a lot, too. Would I recommend this one?  I totally would. It’s also not much of a commitment and the weird little sexy add-on is funny in its own way. My only caveat is the same on as for Heartstrings there isn’t a lot of sex. Nagai spends a lot of the manga thinking he’s straight, so…

 

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