Twittering Birds Never Fly / Saezuru Tori wa Habatakanai by Yoneda You

Following long-time reader and commenter AuntyA’s advice, I read the rest of Twittering Birds Never Fly / Saezuru Tori wa Habatakanai of which there are 26 chapters available on Mangakalot.com, (linked.)

Wow.

This is a good one.  If you’re the sort who likes a decent plot to go with your hot, hot sadomasochism of dubious content, this is definitely for you.

Following the events of the first chapter (which I reviewed separately), Yoshiro and his straight-laced doctor friend, Kageyama, are all grown up.  Yoshiro has fallen in with the mafia and has taken to bringing his underlings in need of an off-the-books hospital visit to Kageyama’s clinic.

It’s here that Yoshiro brings “Mad Dog.”  Kageyama who has previously been mostly straight, falls instantly in love. The first few scenes involve their getting together. Meanwhile, disappointed that he doesn’t get to keep “Mad Dog” (or, probably more accurately, that he can’t get Kageyama to fall in love with him,) Yoshiro goes about his very slutty business.

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So. MANY.

Until he meets Doumeki, a former cop, who was imprisoned for nearly killing his own father.

Doumeki is also impotent.

Yoshiro seems to take the latter as a kind of a challenge and he hires Doumeki to be his bodyguard.  Their relationship is the core of the rest of the story.  And, ah, what a story! There is intrigue! Angst! Tragic backstories! Smutty sex! Sexual tension!  ROMANCE! And really broken people being stupid to each other in a way that I really, really enjoy reading, particularly in my m/m slash and yaoi.

I actually like this one enough that I don’t want to spoil any of it for you.  I highly recommend you read the rest and/or support the official publisher.

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Saezuru Tori wa Habatakanai by Yoneda Kou (“Tadayoedo Shizumazu, Saredo Naki mo Sezu”)

I found this chapter “Tadayoedo Shizumazu, Saredo Naki mo Sezu” separate from its collection Seazuru Tori wa Habatakanai by Yoneda Kou at Mangago.

Baka-Updates lists a breakout of the other chapters of Seazuru Tori wa Habatakanai (which appears, if I’m interpreting this correctly, to be the main story that gets continued in further volumes.)  I’m planning on reading all of the chapters I can find scanlated, but because this does stand alone, I’m going to go ahead and review it separately from its volume mates. However, I will tag them all under the volume’s title. (I suspect it doesn’t really matter much to most of my readers here, what constitutes the full volume, but having read a lot of these one-shot collections I’m always curious how the official tankoban would read.)

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So… continuing our theme of sadomasochism, our hero Yashiro is probably what we might label a sex addict.  The summary describes him as “having… issues,” which he deals with by having tons of rough sex with a lot of different people, though lately mostly men, whom he lets (begs to) abuse him.  Which is a bit squicky, as Yashiro is otherwise described as a “normal high school boy.” In fact, we learn he’s a second year, which makes him the equivalent of an American junior in high school.

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The romance in the story, however, is age-appropriate.  The sex, not so much; the romance, yes.

Our masochist hero, Yashiro, gets noticed by a classmate, Kageyama.  Kageyama is the upstanding son of a family-practice doctor.  He notices Yashiro’s rope burns on his wrists and, in a weirdly adorable gesture, brings him bandaids on the regular.

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I guess this is what passes as a meet-cute when you’re a masochist, eh?

Yashiro mostly still tries to avoid band-aid boy until one day, after a particularly rough treatment the night before, he goes to the nurses office looking for relief from a dislocated shoulder.  The school nurse is on vacation, leaving the student nurse in charge… who is, none-other-than Kageyama.

Kageyama treats Yashiro’s dislocated shoulder and then asks to see his other injuries.  Turns out, upstanding Kageyama has his own secret: he has a paraphilia involving scars, cuts, scabs, etc. Yashiro, being almost perversely accommodating to any kink, is like, yay, feel free to let your hands examine everything!

It never goes further than this between them.  Yashiro tells himself he’ll ask Kageyama to stop once the nurse is back from vacation, but instead they find a storage room to keep at it.

They don’t talk, so Yashiro has no illusions that they’re friends, but Kageyama feels differently.  He’s never had anyone accept his weird fetish so easily, but, on the flip side, Yashiro doesn’t make things easy between them.  If he’s ever asked about anything serious he responds with a sexual joke or a come on.  Even the one time Yashiro goes out of his way to support Kageyama after a family member dies, he still tells Kageyama he only did it because the idea of seeing Kageyama crying was a huge turn on. (Note: that seems to be true.)

This is complicated by the fact that, while Yashiro is bi, Kageyama is fairly straight (neverminding his kink.)

A bunch of emotional stuff happens between them, but ultimately the relationship is untenable.

We end with a heartbroken, desperately lonely Yashiro.

It’s a sh*tty ending, make no bones about it, but I kind of liked this one?  Normally, I’m not happy when the queer guy gets the shaft (and not in a fun way), but I don’t know… maybe I related to this one because I’m interested in the addictive personality type, which Yashiro definitely falls into, Yoneda-sensei’s intention or not.

Plus, I actually really tend to like the tension that Yoneda-sensei builds in her writing. I liked a lot of the the stories in the other collection of hers I read, NightS.  She does, in my opinion, a good job with the interesting, twisty relationship stuff.

Plus, Yoneda-sensei often seems to rate a full-color, first page spread:

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So, you know, that’s nice.

And there’s a nice amount of implied (and some on-screen) kinky raunchiness to counter-balance a very sweet, not-quite, but almost platonic romance.

Since it’s pulled out of its context, this is only one chapter. It’s a fast read. You have very little to lose, if this hits any of your buttons.  For those sensitive to rape/non-con, you may want to pass on this one as Yashiro talks about a past rape, which seems to possibly be an on-going family sexual abuse situation with his stepfather, who is mostly absent, though we have hints in the story that his family sometimes makes reappearances in his life (he’s so flippant about it that it’s actually unclear if it’s entirely in the past or continuing.)

Also, there’s something very non-con about addiction, you know? It seems very, very clear to me that Yashiro is a sex addict in need of therapy and a twelve-step program. In the meantime, he’s very much a slave to his impulses, which is fairly explicit in one scene where one of his classmates confront him because they saw Yashiro go to a love hotel with an older man, whom they describe in very unattractive terms. You very much get the sense in that moment that Yashiro, who is explicitly NOT a rent boy, is helpless to his addictive need for sex.  He will literally take anyone.

So, my caveat is that you should be wary if that sort of thing is a trigger or a turn-off for you, dear reader.

For me, alas, it’s kind of a turn ON, so… as I often say, milage may vary.

 

Ai ga Matteru by Abe Akane

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I found this one by searching under the tag “confinement” on Baka-Updates.  I have no idea why Ai ga Matteru, a sweet, light tale of a bisexual bartender got the tag “confinement.” There is a joke about a monastery… because at one point, our main character, Kiyohito, is so depressed he stops taking lovers and one of the bar’s regulars is like, “I will come here and propose to you every day, because you would be wasted in a monastery!” but that’s like the only even vaguely confinement-related moment in this one-shot.

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Oh, it suddenly occurs to me that I should have done something spooky for Halloween, but, alas.  All you get is a short, cute yaoi about the virtues of shacking up.

The story follows Kiyohito, a long-haired bartender, who likes to play the field. He’s had a  longtime, live-in lover that recently left him acrimoniously and, at the start of the story, Kiyohito is having his first ever pangs of guilt about it all.  He’s decided that if he ever takes anyone in again, he’s going to try to do it ‘properly.’

Enter Hisashi, a clean-cut salaryman wannabe.  We meet him because he’s stumbled into this small tavern on a major bender.  Turns out, he’s just a bit too honest with people and keeps getting fired.  This last time, he pointed out that his boss’s toupee was on crooked, and he got the boot.  Hisashi takes one look at our hottie bartender, Kiyohito, and says, “Mmm, you know what I need? Comfort sex! And you look like my kind of comfort!”

That a paraphrase but even run-around Kiyohito is a little taken aback by Hisashi’s forwardness, but, you know, not so much that he doesn’t accept a little behind the bar blowjob.  Still not satisfied, Kiyohito suggest they move things upstairs, and, you know, so long as you’re already upstairs, why not just move in?

What, are you a lesbian, Kiyohito?  Even we wait until the second date to bring the U-Haul!

Hisashi’s actually currently got a lady friend–we know, because she seems to think that requiring him to wear lacy underwear will deter him from sleeping around… this clearly BACK fires, if you know what I mean… wink, wink, nudge, nudge. But, what self-respecting freeloader would turn down room and board… and an offer to work behind the bar until he can “get back on his feet”? Not Hisashi.

Thus, he an Kiyohito set up house together.  Apparently, Kiyohito’s idea of “doing things properly” this time revolve around keeping things cool and no-strings.  But, you know, they’re living together. Kiyohito falls pretty hard for Hisashi and, one night, decides to kind of have reverse hate-sex, with a constant barrage of ‘I love you’s, despite the fact that it clearly makes Hisashi uncomfortable.

In a surprise to no one but Kiyohito, Hisashi is gone the next morning with a note that says, “Hey, time for me to get a real job!” with the appropriate bunnies and heart that may be required for all Japanese casual correspondence.

Kiyohito is very SAD.  In fact the entire second chapter is panel after panel of VERY sad Kiyohito.

Very.

Sad.

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But, let’s get real. What are the chances of Hisashi not f*cking up another job with too much honesty!  Almost none!  In fact, the first time Kiyohito hears from Hisashi calling drunk because he’s lost a job and is couch surfing. Kiyohito immediately offers him a place to stay, but he says no.

This is the point at which Kiyohito’s friends start to worry that he’s going to join a celibate religious order….

But, Hisashi can’t stay away from that sweet, sweet deal at Kiyohito’s place and, just in time for the story to end, he’s back on Kiyohito’s doorstep ready to move back in.

HEA?  I mean,  is it romantic?  I… don’t know.  If this were Real Life ™, I would be telling my dear friend Kiyohito he’s being a FOOL.  Hisashi is super-cute and everything, but dude is a playa. Has anything really changed?  You always liked him better than he likes you. I mean, SURE, he told YOU that you’re the one for him (suddenly when he needed a place to move into and even confessed that that other time he called? He was actually fine, hadn’t gotten fired and was living in a company dorm, and was just kind of checking to make sure you’d take him back), so…… are you absolutely sure he’s not just saying that because you can literally feed and house him?

The sex in this manga was okay.  I kind of enjoyed the love-hate sex, and it’s short. You could read it while waiting in line at the post office, so there is that.

 

Warehouse by Killer Whale

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And now for a neck breaking, 180 degree turn!

Yesterday it was manga about happy-go-lucky, utterly innocent and wholesome pre-kidengartenders, and today… uh…. well,  let’s just say that when I went looking for something more porn-y for y’all I kind of went a bit overboard.

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Yeah, if you are at ALL squicked by rape and/or non-consent, Warehouse is NOT the manhwa for you.

I’m not quite sure what to think about this new trend towards ultra-violent stalker/kidnappers/abusers, ala Killing Stalking (which I have yet to read, but I’ve read about it), but this is definitely in that vein.

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Like, almost an intentional rip-off… maybe?

Our (anti)hero, Kim Dohyun, is one of those a$$holes that peeked in high school.  He’s 28 now and working a dead-end cell phone scam business. He hates his life and longs to return to his “carefree” (read: delinquent player) high school days.

Well, he gets his wish.

And this is definitely one of those “be careful what you wish for” moments.  It turns out, Kim Dohyun made someone else’s high school memories into nightmares, Sungho.  Sungho kidnaps Kim Dohyun, locks him in a warehouse where he’s recreated a high school gym storage room.  At this moment, I thought: oh, you did a bad thing to this boy, Kim Dohyun, and now things are going to go really badly for you.

Only, Kim Dohyun has no memory of ever raping anyone.  For someone who obsessively wishes he were still back in high school, he seems to have forgotten some fairly salient moments.

Like, you know, having a sexual relationship with Sungho.

I’ll be honest, this part kind of snapped my suspenders of disbelief.  It takes Kim Dohyun a ridiculously long time (and a lot of violent rape) to remember that he used to take Sungho to the gym storage room on the regular for f*ck-buddy ‘fun.’

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Seriously, you can’t remember a guy with AMBER eyes and a dead-man stare??

To be fair to Kim Dohyun, Sungho is about a foot taller than he was back and high school and no longer a little wisp of a boy.  Oh, and he has a scar now.  In fact, Sungho seems to have turned to a life of crime…. or at least on the edge of it. My guess is he’s some kind of bail bondsman or debt collector, the sort that shows up on your doorstep with a baseball bat, if you know what I mean.

Even so, given Kim Dohyun’s constant daydreaming about a return to high school, I have to assume that maybe Sungho is right about Kim Dohyun and he’s just willfully not remembering out of spite.  (In a interview somewhere around chapter 35 the mangaka implies that the reason Kim Dohyun doesn’t have any memories of Sungho is because he lives in he present all the time.  RE-ally, ‘Killer Whale’?  Go re-read your first several chapters where Kim Dohyun is begging for a return to a high school he clearly has TONS of memories of!)

At any rate, should you waste a day on this like I did?  I’m not sure.  I mean, the version I link to has the invisible penises, so you have to use your imagination for the graphic bits. There are several later chapters in which the translation is VERY badly done.  (But, are you really reading for the articles?)

This is definitely a milage may very sort of thing.  And, you know, if you LIKE non-con, there is a WHOLE lot of this:

 

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Yotsuba&! / Yotsuba to! (Volumes 1 &2) by Kiyohiko Azuma

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I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking: “Lyda, where is the porn? We depend on you for all the yaoi porn. Why are you reading this sappy drivel???!!”

I don’t know. My only excuse is that I’ve READ all the yaoi my library has and I had another very sloooooow shift at Maplewood when I picked up Yotsuba&! / Yotsuba to!.

When I hunted around on the shelves, I saw a bunch of other things that I could read–like Hellsing, should I read Hellsing? But, for whatever reason (*cough*Trump*cough*), I have lately gravitated towards simple, sappy, slice-of-life stories about absolutely NOTHING.

Because I’ve read a bunch in a row, I’ve been thinking about slice-of-life for awhile now.

I know why it appeals to me, as a Western reader.  For me, obviously, so much of daily life in Japan is mysterious, foreign.  Just going to the grocery store is kind of an adventure.  I’m not at all familiar with how grocery stores in Japan are laid out, what you can find there, etc., etc.  Because it’s all new to me, all the mundane things have a subtle sort of inherent drama, like the kind of excitement that travel to another country brings.

What do you suppose the appeal is in Japan?

I’ve been wondering how these would read if they were American.  Like, is part of the appeal the ‘wholesomeness’ of these adventures?

Yotsuba is an odd, enthusiastic five year old girl, who is terrible at drawing and invites herself over to her neighbor’s apartment.  The family in Yotsuba&! do the sorts of things you see a lot of in anime and manga, particularly in these kind of slower paced, slice-of-life oriented stories, like a cicada hunt on the wooded grounds of a local shrine. Bug hunting is a thing, apparently.  But, summer bug hunting seems to be somewhat more associated with “life in the country.” So, then, what would that even be in an American story?  What’s the analog? Going fishing at a creek?

When I think about it that way, it all suddenly seems so very… Mayberry.

Which makes me wonder, are there essential Japanese values that are being promoted in these manga?  Especially since there is a tendency in these stories that involve young kids, to have little life lessons about being polite, expected behavior, etc.

….

WTF. Am I reading Japanese propaganda?

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Despite the sinister specter cast by the fact that I might be captivated by what is probably some kind of “conservative/traditional blueprint for the perfect Japanese lifestyle as determined by The Powers That Be/magazine publishers,” I enjoyed Yotsuba&! / Yotsuba to!.

I mean, maybe I’m overthinking this. Maybe the appeal to the Japanese audience is similar to the stories we have here in America about the young professional who goes to live in New York. That’s very much an equivalent, I think. There are life lessons learned along the way… I mean, outside of the fact that maybe part of why this feels a tiny bit more like propaganda is that Yotsuba is shounen.

That’s right, this story about a young five year old girl was marketed to the same boys who read Bleach and Naruto….

Mmmm, back to my propaganda theory then.

ANYWAY. Even though I picked up the first two volumes on a lark, I went ahead and requested volume 3 because there is a tiny bit of a mystery going on about who Yotsuba is.

Normally, in manga, because of the way they’re drawn, you can’t easily tell the “foreigners” from the natives until someone tells you.  There’s at least one scene, early on, in the first tankōbon, in which one of Yotsuba’s new neighbors see her in the playground, seemingly baffled by how swings work.  The neighbor thinks, “Is she just weird or is she foreign?”

A lot is made of Yotsuba’s “weirdness,” even her own father describes Yotsuba as weird when asked for a description of her when she goes missing.

This, by the way, is a very curious moment, since, despite the fact that they are clearly in an urban space, dad is super not worried that she, a five year-old, has wandered off, and keeps insisting to the worried adults around him that “she’ll turn back up. She always does.” This, and the later cicada hunt, made me think that Yotsuba and her family are from the country. Especially since the urban adults were all ??? about her being missing and a lot more worried about it, and no one in the urban group had ever been bug hunting before.

So, I started to think that Yotsuba was just “not from around here” which is a different kind of foreign.

Until.

Until we find out that Yotsuba is an orphan.  Not just a girl being raised by a widower, but an ORPHAN.  Dad adopted Yotsuba… wait for it…. “on his travels.”  Dad is a translator for a living, so apparently this job takes him to the places where this other language (it’s sort of presumed by everyone around him, though it’s not explicitly stated, to be English) is spoken.

In an omake that is entirely from the point of view of the neighbors (a household of all women, which contrasts Yotsuba’s family which seems to be made of her father and his… best friend?… Jumbo, who is JUMBO, as in super tall), we hear them speculate that maybe Yotsuba was adopted in Hawaii, since all she has revealed about where they lived previously was ‘far away, very, very far….’ and ‘left’ (as in the direction).

It’s kind of amazing to imagine a single, young Japanese man just randomly picking up an American orphan and taking her home. I mean, maybe this happens? A quick Google search tells me that this does happen IRL, though most of the adoptees are black.

So, I’m kind of intrigued. I doubt it’s going to be revealed that Yotsuba’s dad is a kidnapper, but I’m curious about how the story of Yotsuba’s adoption is going to be played out. There’s always this assumption that slice-of-life stories attempt to be as realistic as possible (I mean, there are supranational slice-of-life, so…), but there’s often this blindspot when it comes to Western culture/practices.  If she is American, I’m curious if that’s also why Yotsuba, at five, seems to have a lot more trouble pronouncing things and seems to know fewer words than, say, the young girl of approximately the same age in Sweetness & Lightning….

I might just keep reading this for the amusement of reading about how someone of my “ethnicity” is portrayed in a manga.

Porn soon, I promise.

Elegant Yokai Apartment Life / Youkai Apato no Yuuga na Nichijou by Kouduki Hinowa / Miyama Waka

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I blame Trump and his administration for my changing taste in manga and anime. I’ve been so stressed out that what I want from my fiction these days can be summed up thusly: GIMME ALL THE FLUFFY BUNNIES WHO LIKE EACH OTHER THE END.

Elegant Yokai Apartment Life / Youkai Apato no Yuuga na Nichijou is EXACTLY what I want right now, so I don’t know if it’s something I can recommend in good faith. I love it, but you might be bored out of your mind by it.

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Our hero, Inaba Yuushi, is an orphaned high schooler with moderate goals.  After graduating middle school, all he wants is to get into a business school high school and be a salaryman.  Actually, what he wants more than anything is out of his uncle’s house. His aunt and uncle are nice enough, but he’s always felt like a burden there and he can not WAIT to get the f*ck out and start his own life. As it happens, the elite school he was aiming at has a live-in dorm.

Until it burns down about a month before move-in day.

Now, poor Inaba has to scramble.  Of course, aunt and uncle say he can stay, but it’s clear that no one wants this, and so Inaba, who has a job as a delivery boy, is like, “I WILL SOLVE THIS” and desperately tries to find alternate living arrangements.  But, it’s a month out and a bunch of other students were also displaced…. it seems like there’s nothing to be had.

Except, you know, for that ghost child who approaches Inaba while he’s despairing on a park bench, who points to a shady-looking realtor, who just happens to have not only an open place, but it’s cheap and comes with three squares a day.

What’s the catch? Inaba wants to know. Because, this place seems too good to be true.

Oh, well, it’s haunted.

Dun-dun…. DAH! Cue: adventures!

Except Elegant Yokai Aparment Life / Youkai Apato no Yuuga na Nichijou isn’t a horror manga. It’s a comedic slice-of-life manga, whose only real nod towards typical shounen themes revolves around ‘what it means to be an adult.’

Stuff happens in this manga.  There’s magic and some drama around things that happen at school, but, really, at it’s core Elegant Yokai Aparment Life / Youkai Apato no Yuuga na Nichijou is a celebration of old-fashioned communal living.  There are a lot of scenes of eating amazing food in the communal dining room, hanging out with the other apartment denizens (who are, in fact, ghosts, ogres, oni, kitsune, yokai, and mystics,) you know, just celebrating and living life. In fact, there are a lot of deep philosophical discussions about what life is for… (Major spoiler: Life is for living, seems to be the prevalent theme.)

I love this crap.

For the record, I’m mostly watching Elegant Yokai Aparment Life / Youkai Apato no Yuuga na Nichijou  as an anime. Cruncyroll is simulcasting it, and have, at the time of this review, seventeen episodes of it available to stream.

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I did, however, read the first chapter of the manga and it follows quite closely.  Wikipedia tells me that Yokai Apartment was originally a light novel, which might explain its pacing (when I first started watching this I immediately felt a Free! vibe, right down to the ‘how gay is this guy?’)

You don’t HAVE to agree that Inaba reads as gay, but the relationship he has with Hase Mizuki is very explicitly (albeit jokingly) ‘family’ oriented.  Hase basically adopts a child ghost whenever he visits Inaba at the ‘apato’ and refers to himself as ‘papa’ and Inaba as ‘mama.’  They not only sleep in the same room when Hase visits, but in the same bed. Early on, Inaba is very intent on keeping up with Hase and even writes him letters, but they have a ‘you need to be honest with me’ moment when Hase realizes he’s not getting the full story of what goes on and who/what exactly lives at the ‘apato.’

Yes, actually, I do imagine this all as quite innocent, much the way I thought of the boys of Free! as innocent, but, just because I don’t imagine them sexual, doesn’t mean it’s NOT gay af.

Which is probably the other reason I crave this kind of thing. I love stories where not a lot happens beyond everyone getting along and eating good food, and I double-plus love them if they’re gay.

In a side note, anyone who’s known me for any length of time will instantly recognize (probably in the credits, like my son did,) which character I secretly like best of all.  That would be the scruffy redhaired, Akira Fukase–a character we’ve barely even had the usual backstory episode about, who kind of does nothing more than drink and smoke a lot.  Yeah. I just have a type, and that type is inevitably voiced by someone like Kazuya Nakai, probably best known for his role as Muken in Samurai Champloo (and my boy Ryuji ‘Bon’ Suguro from Blue Exorcist).

So, yeah, if you want a story with not a lot at stake but still tremendous fun, try Elegant Yokai Aparment Life / Youkai Apato no Yuuga na Nichijou. There is a link to MangaReader in the first paragraph or Crunchyroll, if you prefer to watch.

Sweetness & Lightning / Amaama to Inazuma (Vol. 1-7) by Gido Amagakure

I should probably start a tag set for “cooking and eating,” so that if I ever want to go back and look at just HOW MANY of these types of manga I’ve read, I can do it easily.

The back cover copy of Sweetness & Ligtning / Amaama to Inazuma reads thusly:

“Inuzuka Kohei is a teacher who has been caring for his little daughter, Tsumugi, on his own since his wife’s death. He isn’t good at cooking, so they’ve been eating packaged meals from the convenience store. A series of events lead him one evening to a restaurant run by the mother of one of his students, Kotori. Her mother isn’t there, but Kotori does her best to feed them both. It turns out that Kotori is often alone, since her parents are divorced and her mother is frequently not around. The three of them begin to meet and cook tasty food together.”

I read all the collected volumes (a.k.a. tankōbon) that my library had which takes the reader up to Volume 7, Chapter 34: “Favorites Lunch with Shumai.”

Mangakalot, which I linked to in the title above, has up to chapter 40, “Cool Milk Coffee Jelly,” which I’d guess to be another volume’s worth. Baka-Updates suggests there are 9 volumes available in Japan.

There is also a full season of the anime (12 episodes) available on Crunchyroll: http://www.crunchyroll.com/sweetness-lightning, which I haven’t watched yet, as I’m currently watching Elegant Yokai Apartment Life.

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As I have mentioned here before, I’m a sucker for slice-of-life stories, but particularly ones about cooking and single/widowed dads figuring out parenting.  So, the conceit of this manga was right up my alley.

Lately, too, I find I’ve been craving low-risk stories.

I don’t know what this craving is about, entirely–maybe growing older? Being emotionally drained by the awful of the Trump administration?  But, for whatever reason, I have been seeking out happy, easy, non-dramatic manga/anime.

I mean, the biggest drama in Sweetness & Lightning / Amaama to Inazuma so far has been about  Tsumugi’s sadness about her mom and fears of death and Hell.  Mostly it’s Dad trying to figure out how preschool works, getting along with the moms, and trying not to act untoward towards his student, Kotori.

Yeah… about that–the attraction between Kotori and Inuzuka is, so far, above board. I am a little worried this is going to go somewhere awkward, but, at least by volume 7, we’ve had several moment of of “I like him” / “I like spending time with her,” but nothing more romantic than that. In fact, at a sleepover school trip in one of the volumes, one of Kotori’s friends reminds her that it’s okay to like someone and not know what to do about it. That seems to be where they’re leaving the attraction, which is okay with me.

Least you think I’m a total hypocrite, I’m NOT entirely comfortable with teacher/student relationships in yaoi, either. I have read them, and I will read this.  As I’ve long said–hey, fantasies are fantasies, so I’m not gonna judge, even if that goes in this direction.  My one and only hard-no squick is incest, and I’ve even read several of those… so, you know.

That being said, I still will put in my vote that I hope that Sweetness & Lightning / Amaama to Inazuma sticks to the platonic vibe it seems to currently have going. I am cheered by the fact that this was published in the category of seinen, rather than say, shoujo, so there is hope for a non-romatic ending.

There sure are a lot of red faces, though.  I mean, maybe cooking just makes people flush?

And Inuzuki and Kotori go to some lengths not to be discovered being together too often…. which bodes ill. I do hope that this isn’t the kind of seinen that ends with sh*t hitting the fan and everyone’s lives ruined and no one happy. (Maybe I’m thinking of josei…)

Anyway, if you’re looking for something with good recipes and ZERO drama, I highly recommend this series.

Now I’m going to go back and hunt through my reviews to tag all the “cooking and eating” manga…..

I may be here a while.