The cover of this is so explicit, I had to edit some of it out.
I should probably be embarrassed to admit having read this, much less taking the time to REVIEW it. But, I made a commitment to myself to review EVERYTHING I read that’s manga-related.
Plus, sometimes you just want straight-up smut….
… which Our House Love Trouble, pretty much is. Even the set-up could be the beginning of a Triple-X movie.
We have young, super-ripped Nonohiko.
He’s a college student, who has been working a ton of part-time jobs just to pay tuition. But, this spring, he’s in trouble. The super-cheap dorm that he’d been living in gets condemned and closed down, due to its poor condition. So now, our handsome hero, Nonohiko, is homeless. Some of his friends at college suggest that he look for a “share-house,” which is basically a kind of commune, where a large number of people live together in a big place and share the mortgage/rent. The downside is that you live with a ton of other people; the upside is that it can be incredibly cheap.
Nonohiko finds the PERFECT place.
So, there’s got to be a catch, right?
Nonohiko starts imagining that the place must be some kind of mafia hideout, possibly haunted by the ghosts of all the murders that have taken place there.
Alas, it’s simply owned by a lovely non-binary person, Kitora Kaoru, who really enjoys being surrounded by handsome, young men. “Eye-candy,” as they say. Kaoru-chan, as they prefer to be called, never explains much about their identity.
I should note that I’m using the ‘they/them’ pronoun for Kaoru because it’s what is in the text. Normally, given how they dress, I would assume they are a trans woman:
But, for the most part, in manga written in recent years (this one came out in 2016), there seems to be enough awareness of trans issues that the translators would use the ‘she’ pronoun or just outright say that Kaoru is a ‘new-half’ (nyū hāfu)–a somewhat disrespectful term, but which I have seen in other manga–or just say transgender (toransujendā.)
Instead, there’s a concerted effort, in English, to use ‘they.’ In the scene that leads up to our first completely ridiculous set-up for sex, our hero has gone out and realizes he doesn’t have a key to the place yet. He knows Kaoru is out shopping and thinks to call:
So, yay, for representation!
What happens next is a smutty comedy of errors. Because Nonohiko is on the phone outside the door, Hibiki, a friend of Kaoru, who uses their place for hook-ups with rent boys, mistakes Nonohiko for his ‘date.’
Nonohiko thinks this guy, Hibiki, must live there, since he has a key. When, Hibiki is, like, “Hey, let’s take a bath together!” Nonohiko figures that the ‘skinship‘ of the sento must be part of the ‘hazing’ of the new guy.
When Kaoru comes home to discover the rent boy waiting outside and these two doing it inside, they go into super-protective mode and ban Hibiki from their house.
This only makes Hibiki more interested in continuing to pursue Nonohiko, which is basically, the extent of the remaining chapters.
There’s a lovely reverse slow-burn, in which, realizing that maybe he LIKES Nonohiko, Hibiki tries to have a strictly platonic relationship with him for several months, which of course causes a reversal in roles. Nonohiko suddenly becomes the aggressive pursuer, which leads to love confessions and a HEA (happily ever after) or, more likely a HFN (happy for now.)
The very last chapter, 5, switches perspective to two of the other people who live in the house, a scruffy sculptor and a cute host club host. The host club host is small and childlike, and, it turns out, that is a turn on for the sculptor. So… yeah, milage varies on that one.
But, the whole thing is super-explicit. No invisible penises in this yaoi.
I found the initial story engaging enough–I mean what STORY there is. This is not _quite_ a ‘plot, what plot,’ because it has as much relationship stuff as many others of these that I’ve read over the years. I suspect it gets its ‘smut’ tag because all the bits are there and not censored. (At least we can clearly see that Hibiki uses a condom!)
Would I recommend it? I think you need to be in the right mood for this one. The ‘humor’ is more a light touch, and so for me it was more suspending my disbelief in the silliness of the situations that Nonohiko rolled with (at one point, he’s literally thinking: WHY AM I HAVING SEX WITH A STRANGER?) because how he got there is really pretty convoluted and unlikely.
So, I dunno. I honestly picked this one because I could stand the art and was
horny, er, in the right mood for it.