My library has this shelved in the juvenile section and I have to wonder if anyone on staff actually read the manga. I mean, it’s a very sweet interspecies Boy’s Love. At least it’s not graphic sexually, though it is chock full of massively tragic/violent backstory. I mean, when TV tropes notes that it hits, “No Party Like a Donner Party” you’ve got to be like “WUT??”
Yet I read the whole thing.
AND ordered the next two volumes.
I mean, it is very sweet. I could see how you might initially think: “This is darling! Little junior would love this! It’s about a polar bear! And his seal… friend!” because parents have an amazing ability to intentionally miss the part where the polar bear legit says “we can be sexual” and, what the heck, the art style is vey cute (kawaii, even.) And, sure, if you squint, the relationship misadventures are adorable, though ACTUALLY very one-sided, kind of classically stalker-y. (You keep saying ‘no,’ but I just hear: ‘yes, yes, YES!’) Just the kinds of friendships you want little junior emulating, right??
So, the Japanese know that this is a manga best consumed by people who are a bit older, have a little perspective, and can both recognize the humor while understanding that it’s entirely absurd. I mean, maybe kids these days are mature enough to suss that out, too? On the other hand, I’m also 99.9% sure that that kind of thoughtful analysis of child psychology didn’t figure into my library’s cataloguing decision–I bet my library saw cute animals and thought: children.
But, should you, my adult and teen readers pick this up? Oh, goodness, yes! I mean, I was a tiny bit taken aback by some of the eat or be eaten backstory bits (see Donner Party reference above,) but the arctic is a harsh environment, so I rolled with it. Plus, it is legitimately hilarious if you know anything at all about BL/yaoi conventions.
“Wall Pin of Love,” anyone?
If you want to try Koi Surf Shirokuma / Polar Bear in Love you can find it at Mangakalot.
Happy hunting (as it were!)