You & Me, Etc. / Bokura ni Matsuwaru Et Cetera is a collection of one-shots by the same author that brought us Acid Town. A fact I didn’t actually notice until just now, though I should have had an inkling, given how much PLOT (and how little sex) is in each of these stories.
The first chapter is “Someday We’ll” / “Itsuka bokura ha” and follows characters we’ll return to in the final, titular chapters “You & Me, Etc.” / “Bokura ni Matsuwara, Etc.”: Iku and Keita. The two are best friends whose relationship becomes fraught when Keita, a rising baseball star in high school, has his career cut short by a tragic accident… an accident he suffered because he pushed Iku out of harm’s way. Iku is horrified that he’s the cause of the end of Keita’s big chance a stardom, but Keita is just happy Iku is alive, because Iku means the world to him. Like, THE WORLD, but that’d be pretty homo, so, you know, things are just TENSE.
At least until Keita decides to just try going for it.
A kiss Iku can’t get out of his mind. From there, the story goes where you might hope, with some extra baseball and a near repeat of the traffic accident to help Iku realize that he Loves This Man ™.
“The Sakura Pilgrimage” / “Sakura no Junrei” follows another set of high schoolers, these two basketballers, Sugaya and Fujishiro. Fujishiro is that enviable guy, the one all the girls giggle after and call ‘prince,’ who is destined for the class presidency, and probably gets straight A’s. Only, turns out, there’s NOTHING straight about Fujishiro. Sugaya accidentally catches Fujishiro making out with none-other-than a teacher! Sugaya isn’t the sort to tell, but Fujishiro makes a point of paying him off, anyway. Things go on like this for a while (a phrase that is actually used a bunch in this chapter,) until someone else spies the lovers and the teacher is fired. Then, Sugaya listens to Fujishiro’s woes and they share a moment of camaraderie, the end.
Yeah, this one is literally about a guy who is kind of bored with life who makes a gay friend. I mean, I can’t say I’ve seen anything like it before, so I guess there’s that.
“The Beautiful Tomorrow” / “Utsukushii Asu” parts 1 & 2 follow Tatsushi Kuwahara, a famous editor/author, and Akira Shinozaki, the son of a beloved professor of Kuwahara’s, who has come to Tokyo… basically to impose on Kuwahara’s kindness. Turns out, his father remarried and his step mom is legitimately evil. When dad died, she kicked him out on the streets. Kuwahara learns all of this, slowly. Not that it matters, he gets used to having the kid around. Akira is a guitar player who is trying to do the breaking in thing, so sometimes he stays out late or… comes home drunk.
Even though initially, it looked like Kuwahara might be straight (he had a female writer living with him at the beginning), he’s fallen for this kid. Hard, I’d say, since right after this attempted love confession, Akira pukes between Kuwahara’s legs, and he still kisses him, later.
I will say that even though kissing is the most you’ll get (beyond one shadowed het blowjob in “Sakura Pilgrimage,”) I ended up reading all of these. I guess I like Kyuugou’s writing style, despite the profound lack of nookie. Milage may vary, however. So I recommend this one hesitantly. I do like how these stories tend to have a note or two of humor among all the angst. Reminds me, as I said of Acid Town, of my own work. (Though my fan fic is a WHOLE lot sluttier.)