I actually read the second half of this volume, a chapter called, “Ano Koro No Mama De Ite” on a different site, but when I went to Baka-Updates to see more about it, I decided to hunt down the titular chapter as well.
I’m kind of glad I did.
The two separate stories in Otoko Hiromashita are held together by a location, a fictitious gay bar called “Boy’s Club,” where “cute younger men keep other men company.” From the fact there’s a “menu” of waiters to chose from, it’s basically a gay host club.
The first chapter, “Otoko Hiromashita / The Man I Picked Up,” ended up being my favorite. In it, we have the owner, Tamaki, who has the most fabulous, casual-wear wardrobe of any gay guy I have ever read in a yaoi…
The meet-cute involves our hero, Tamaki, finding his would-be love interest in the alleyway, beaten to a pulp. Normally, he’d just call an ambulance and that’d be that, but the guy begs him ‘no cops.’ So… there’s a little hurt/comfort on the couch. When the stranger wakes up, he exclaims that he’s seen a vision of loveliness, a prince, and tries to kiss Tamaki.
Who promptly tosses him out the door.
It’s love at first sight! But, Tamaki is unconvinced. NO, PLEASE, says the guy, “I have nowhere to go.” Tamaki stays strong, though. Thing is, he doesn’t normally go for the rough-and-tumble sort, so… but then he gets hit with something no blue-blooded man can resist: SAD, PUPPY-DOG EYES.
Turns out, Tamaki has always wanted a dog.
I briefly wondered if things were going to get REALLY kinky here, but, as it happens, Tamaki simply adopts this guy, Kouta.
Kouta works really hard to be a good guest, too. He keeps trying it on with Tamaki, occasionally, but he’s actually a big help around the bar. He’s big and strong and eager, so he happily does all the jobs no one else wants–cleaning toilets, carrying in the deliveries, looking scary for the problem customers.
Except when the local mob shows up, then he makes himself scarce. Turns out, he used to run with that gang…and even though there’s not much of a chance with Tamaki, (though when the boss’s old flame shows up Kouta discovers that Tamaki did have at least ONE other fling with a guy with a similar build to his own) he decides to go confront the local yakuza boss and tell him to stay away from “Boy’s Club.”
This results in hospitalization.
…And Tamaki wondering how he ended up attached to this big galoot.
I loved this. There’s only one sex scene, which is a kind of hurried grope, but the dynamic of this hit my favorite ‘odd couple’ buttons. I can’t say you’ll enjoy this one as much as I did, but you really should read it just to see all of Tamaki’s outfits.
The second chapter “Ano Koro No Mama De Ite / Stay the Way You Were,” is the one I actually read first. This story follows “Hiraku”–Hosaku is his real name but he thinks it’s old-fashioned and dorky–who works as a host at “Boy’s Club.”
Hosaku has long harbored a crush on an upperclassman from his old high school. Years have passed, but he still thinks back fondly about all the times he went to the library to borrow books just so he could see Takano-sempai.
He never thought he’d see the object of his affection again–especially now that he’s working in a “place like this.”
But, who should waltz in?
You guessed it in one.
Takano is now a salaryman and his colleague has dragged him out for a little nomikai. Colleague is already drunk enough that he thinks it’d be ‘funny’ to mix it up and go to a gay bar, for giggles. Takano is unhappy about this, saying “this is not the kind of club to visit just out of curiosity,” but goes along, because this guy is probably his senior at the company.
Hosaku recognizes Takano right away, but hopes that his club pseudonym and the years are enough of a disguise. He tries to hook Takano and his office buddy up with another host, but Takano wants him.
In fact, once they’re seated and have a few drinks, Takano cuts right to the chase:
To Hosaku’s credit, he’s like, “D’uh, because I’m super gay and this is the best way to meet hot guys and hook up with them!” Office buddy is like, “Ooh, so, like, I could hire you for SEX???” and before Hosaku can even say anything Takano is like, “NOPE. I’m buying him.”
Upstairs, it seems that maybe Takano is pretty experienced in all this, even if things are a bit rough…
Afterwards, he’s like, “Oh, yeah, and from now on I’m you’re ONLY client.”
Hosaku is all, “hahaha, sure,” but you know this wouldn’t be a yaoi if that was the end of things.
Sure enough, by the final panel, we get a love confession. Turns out, Takano always admired Hosaku back and now that they’ve discovered they’re “the same way,” the long honeymoon can begin.
This chapter had a much longer, more explicit sex scene, so it’s probably best that these stories are read together for maximum… er, enjoyment.
I’m beginning to wonder if 2018 is going to be the year of “eh, I enjoyed it; ah, what the hell.” Last year, I was all about the the slice-of-life happy stories about nothing, so maybe this will be year that I love all the randomly slutty yaoi.