Isso Koe ga Nakattara by Saruwaka Chimi

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Continuing the ‘sexy janitor’ theme, I read Isso Koe ga Nakattara, about a janitor with a stutter who longs for the well-spoken executive at the office he cleans.

SPOILERS

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This story is insanely sweet. There are no smutty bits at all, so hopefully you’re in the mood for a bit of office drama.

Apparently, in Japan, if you want a job where you don’t have to talk to people, being a janitor is ideal.

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Unlike the previous janitor-hero, Rokuse doesn’t love this part of the job because he’s an antisocial ex-con, but because he has a terrible stutter that he’s deeply embarrassed about. Given the multiple flashbacks to all the bullying he suffered for it, I don’t blame him one bit.

Rokuse has a kind of a crush on the handsome manager, Takashina Tooru, whom he admires for being suave, sophisticated, and able to command a room with his confident speaking. Rokuse really wants to be like him (or be liked by him.)

Meanwhile, Takashina is the object of a lot of people’s admiration, it seems. His subordinates mark it as a lucky day if he actually acknowledges their presence. To be fair, I am a little concerned about the HR policies in Japan regarding sexual harassment, given this exchange:

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But, only because it is followed by this reprimand:

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My wife manages a big department at her work and I had to share this with her because… I can NOT imagine an HR department that would say to any employee–male or female–“Look, buddy, just let the ladies in the finance department sexually blackmail you. It makes for a more congenial work environment.”

Because my favorite part of this, which I won’t cut and paste, is that when Takashini goes back to his department after gaining access to the accounts, he asks one of his guys, “How long do you think this would take you?” Guy looks at it, “A couple hours?”

So, I mean, that lady in finance was full of CRAP.

She just wanted to date him and was willing to hold up company business for DAYS in order to get it. And, he’s the one who gets the stern talking to???? WHAT HAPPENED TO COMPANY UBER ALIS????  JAPAN, I THOUGHT I KNEW YOU.

This is literally not what the story is about at ALL, however.

Instead, the meet-cute for our two love birds is a missing USB drive that Rokuse finds as part of his janitorial duties. Of course, it turns out to be vital information that Takashini needed that could not be easily duplicated, so when Rokuse works up the courage to hand over the drive, Takashini is extremely grateful. Rokuse basically saved the company some massive deal and hours of work, and so Takashini desperately wants to reward him with some favor or other, like lunch out or some such. But, it’s so hard for Rokuse to talk that he ends up running away from the one man he most desperately wanted to get to know.

The rest of the manga is basically Takashini tracking down Rokuse and convincing him to hang out.

Takashini is absolutely gay. Not only do we get the “forget it” moment with the finance lady, but whenever he has a job he wants done, his go to guy is his cute  male administrative assistant. I think one of my more favorite moments (besides the bad HR) in this manga is that at one point, Takashini forgets himself and does that yaoi thing of trying to touch Rokuse’s mouth with his fingers and then jumps away guiltily. It’s subtle enough that the read can buy that Rokuse doesn’t really register the moment, while signaling to the audience OH, TAKASHINI IS SUPER INTO HIM ALREADY.

Which I kind of liked, because even though Rokuse seems to be classically pursued here and a little too terrified and young looking to hit my buttons, there’s a lot about this relationship that I found charming.

For instance, at one point Takashini takes out all the books he can find on stuttering from the library, in an effort to understand what’s going on with Rokuse. He still makes some ableist mistakes/assumptions, which Rokuse is heartbroken by, but Takashini is MORTIFIED when he discovers what he’s done and apologizes.

Between all their nice relationship moments, the office drama continues throughout the whole six chapters of this one-shot. Possibly because the train wreck of an HR nightmare, I found myself enjoying this story, despite it’s profound lack of smut.

I think you’d have to be in the right mood for this one, but I found it a fast and entertaining read.

2 thoughts on “Isso Koe ga Nakattara by Saruwaka Chimi

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