Bunny Drop / Usagi Drop

On Wednesday night, it was very, very slow on my shift at the library.  I was on “the machine” (a book sorting automated thing) that requires enough attention that it can’t be left while you go off, say, shelving books or something.  So I looked around the backroom for any manga that had a first volume…

And I found this:

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Bunny Drop / Usagi Drop. The back cover copy reads thusly: “Going home for his grandfather’s funeral, thirty-year-old bachelor Daikichi is floored to discover that the old man had an illegitimate child with a younger lover! The rest of his family is equally shocked and embarrassed by this surprise development, and not one of them wants anything to do with the silent little girl, Rin. In a fit of angry spontaneity, Daikichi decides to take her in himself!”

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I’m a sucker for stories like this–the ones that are sort of fish-out-of water fatherhood tales.  Kind of literally nothing much of consequence happens in the first volume, though. Our hero, Daikichi, gets to know Rin and does a lot of fretting about daycare.  It’s only by the very end of the volume does there seem to be a mystery brewing about the identity and whereabouts of Rin’s mother.

Even so, I enjoyed it in the same way I love all slice-of-life manga.  Daikichi’s worries about taking on a job that doesn’t require so much overtime just underscored how different Japanese office culture is from American.

Speaking of work, the lights are hardly even all the way flicked off before most of us library workers have bolted out the backdoor and are in our cars, revving the engines.  I can’t imagine living somewhere where I was not only expected to work after hours, but also hang out drinking and socializing with my co-workers.  Sounds a bit like hell, to me.  (Maybe this is why the office ladies in these manga always quit when they get married and have babies? I think I would FAKE pregnancy to get out.)

Daikichi is likable in that he seems to take his new role as caretaker very seriously, even though little girls clearly baffle him.

usagi_drop_c004.pngI give it a thumbs up.  If you want to read Bunny Drop / Usagi Drop, MangaFreak has it.  If you get super into it, there appears to not only be an anime, but a live-action film, as well.

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Dining Bar Akira / Kuimonodokoro Akira by Tomoko Yamashita

I picked up this volume of Dining Bar Akira / Kuimonodokoro Akira at Quatrefoil, but you can read it on-line at MangaReader.net (linked to the title, above.)  For some reason, Dining Bar Akira has its own Wikipedia page, possibly because there was a drama CD released in Japan?

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This volume is actually a collection of shorts. The table of contents is offered as a menu, which is kind of cute, except that not all of the stories have anything to do with working a restaurant.  The largest one (five chapters, plus an afterward of character sketches,) however, is.

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Is it weird that I’m sort of disappointed we don’t see more about the Dining Bar itself?  I don’t really know what a dining bar is in Japan, even after having read this whole manga.  I wish I knew a lot more about what is served at a dining bar, how they work, what kind of customers they get… anything slice-of-life-y!

Instead, I get a bunch of dude emotions.

Much to my dismay, the story focuses on straight boi, Akira, who receives a love confession from the surly Torihara (pictured above on the left). Having a homo hit on him freaks him out, makes him angry, and, of course, aroused.  Cue: five chapters of a lot of “I hate you!” “No, you don’t!” “Yes, I do!” “Why’d you kiss me, then?”

Except, some how, we never see the kissing.

There seems to be some actual sex going on, but we hardly see any of it, and so occasionally I was confused when Akira grumbles about the fact he’s dating Torihara (Akira grumbles about everything) and all they’ve done is mess around. I was like, “Wait? When have you even touched him, other than to Grab His Arm ™ ?”

Can someone please explain to me when Grabbing Someone’s Arm ™ became some kind of universal romance gesture in yaoi?  I only ask because I’m currently watching Junjo Romantica and it really seems like the Grabbing of the Arm ™ is always stop-framed, given a close-up, and seems to be some kind of visual shorthand for “I am gay and I am making a claim.”

I guess gay dudes are grabby?

Grabby and crabby in this yaoi, anyway.  I did, however, like the one chapter that seemed to be from Torihara’s point of view where, when Akira drags him off to play an early morning game of baseball, he comes to realize that maybe just hanging out with someone is as romantic as it gets. I find this true to life (although, dude, you CAN ask for dinner and a movie night. Honestly, you don’t have to be the world’s saddest sack, begging for love crumbs.)

Sad people in sh*tty relationships does seem to be the volume’s theme, however.  The second story is called “Foggy Scene” about a high schooler who is in love with a straight classmate and, in frustration, goes off for skeevey hook-ups. One of he hook-ups ends up being with a substitute English teacher, who ends up at his school.  He and the English teacher (who is 31 to his 16) strike up a non-relationship/sex thing and the high schooler pines after his straight best friend, until one day the best friend sees him and the teacher getting it on on the rooftop, the end.  It’s called a foggy scene because our hero’s contact falls out and he has no idea how people are reacting to the big reveal of him being kind of slutty.

The last, very short scene is called “Riverside Moonlight” in which our hero wakes up from a wet dream about his pudgy (who is not drawn all that fat, so whatever) co-worker. He then proceeds to attempt to ask him out by basically saying, “Hey, you’re desperate, I’m desperate. I’m good at sex.  What do you say?”

It ends before we find out of anyone says yes or if our hero is just having a mental breakdown in front of his straight co-worker.

I mean, wow.

I feel like Yamashita-sensei is some kind of apprentice/fan of Fumi Yoshinaga-sensei in that there’s this sense that the mangaka is trying really hard to be über-REALISTIC, but is actually just being kind of depressing.  I mean, I get it as a push-back against some of the more ridiculous yaoi tropes, but… I don’t know.

I guess I’ll be honest. If you’re going to give me sad-sacks having meaningless hook-ups and talking about settling for second-best, at least give me super-graphic hot sex, okay?  Otherwise, what’s the point? What am I getting out of my time commitment, as a reader?  I have a couple of friends in my life that might fit the stereotype of unhappy, aging gay men, but they always have fantastic stories of wild sex. So, I mean, if you want to be REAL, at least give me the hot, hot (sometimes funny) sex!

Or at the very least, don’t pan to the left, or have the characters talk about it as an afterthought!

Oishinbo by Tetsu Karina / Akira Hanasaki

Cover art of Oishinbo: Japanese Cuisine

Food! Glorious food!

There are so many manga about food, and Oishinbo: Japanese Cuisine (January 20, 2009; à la Carte volume 20) and Oishinbo: Ramen & Gyoza (May 19, 2009; à la Carte volume 2) are only a couple (–and the only two in this seven volume series that my library had.)

As I read them, I had to wonder: what is the appeal of reading about people appreciating good food?

This is a phenomenon true of things like The British Baking Show and The Iron Chef and a whole slue of cooking competition shows, too, and I’m not sure I entirely understand it. I APPRECIATE it, because I always end up getting deeply sucked into these things, but I’m really not sure what it is about them that makes them at all compelling.

Is it because food is so universal?

We all have to eat.  Most of us, even those of us with unrefined taste, would love to eat delicious food, prepared by experts.

Certainly, for me, reading about Japanese food as a Westerner has the extra layer of getting to learn new things about stuff I’m deeply curious about.  (To be fair, that’s the appeal of any slice-of-life for me.)

Plus, most of these food-centric manga also provide some kind of story in the background.  Even if it’s the kind of gentle concerns of regular life, like you find in What Did You Eat Yesterday?/Kinou Nani Tabeta. Obviously, there are high-drama food-centric manga, too, like Toriko and Food Wars!

Oishinbo is more in the vein of What Did You Eat Yesterday? in that it follows the day-to-day adventures of two food critics/food experts, Shiro Yamaoka and his partner, Yūko Kurita, particularly as they try to gather ideas for a feature article on the “Ultimate Menu.”

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There’s not a lot to spoil in these manga.  They really mostly are about two food critics that work a prominent food guide, going about their business, eating a lot of food, and discussing it.  There are mini-arcs that involve little dramas, like the two twin sisters who married two twin brothers who used to run a ramen shop together until they were awarded a third star and began to argue about who deserved credit for the upgrade. Their fight became so acrimonious that one of the brothers opened up a shop across the street both claiming to be the “original,” and they’re destroying the remains of their customer base by always arguing in the streets.  Shiro sweeps in and discovers that actually their ramen is terrible separately, but amazing together.

A very special ramen episode!

I also really liked the story where a hapless friend of Shiro’s has finally found the girl of his dream.  The problem? She comes from a fancy, upperclass family and he knows nothing of fine dining.  He begs Shiro and Yūko to double-date with him, so he doesn’t flub it.

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As you can see, the art style is very clunky and old-fashioned.

Shiro gets his friend through the meal, but the pressure of it all breaks him. At the end of the meal he shouts, “No! This is dishonest! I’m not this kind of person, I’m just a simple ramen and rice guy! I can’t do this fancy stuff!”  Yūko suggests that if this was so dishonest, maybe they’d better try again at a place he feels comfortable.  So, a few days later he takes them to a hole-in-the-wall for an amazing meal of simple fare.  The love interest has never been to a place like this because all her paramours think she needs the fancy stuff, and so she makes her love confession, and everyone lives happily ever after eating the authentic food of their social class!

There’s an overarching story of the deep rivalry between Shiro and his father, who is a master of all arts (calligraphy, pottery) and also famous for his culinary genius.  Shiro is forever being corrected in the proper Japanese way of doing things, and dad is always being surprised by Shiro’s clever, foodie innovations (though he won’t admit it.)

Alas, none of these volumes are available on-line anywhere I could find; Baka-Updates implies no one is scanlating them.  Otherwise, I would recommend them if you’re interested in food and liked What Did You Eat Yesterday? but wanted a tiny bit more “action” to the plot. If you’re super-curious, you can download a sample chapter of it from its official site on Viz Media. (And of course, they’ll let you buy it right there, if you decide you like it!)

Cover image of Oishinbo

Gekken Shoujo Nozaki-kun (Vols. 5-7) by Tsubaki Izumi

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A few weeks ago, a reader accused me of having crappy taste because I don’t like anything popular. Well, here’s an exception for you.  At least according to Wikipedia, Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun consistently places in the top 20 of Oricon’s weekly manga list (which appears to be analogous to our Billboard 100.)

My taste might still be crappy, but I share it with a lot of Japanese folks, because I think Gekken Shoujo Nozaki-kun is incredibly cute and charming.

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Volume 7, which is available in English (despite what it looks like in the image above,) brings the reader to chapter 71 (out of 85, at least on MangaReader).  Volume 8 will be officially available from Yen press on July 18, 2017.

As I said above, I’m still enjoying the heck out of this manga.  Normally, humor doesn’t work for me in text, but something about Nozaki-kun breaks through and I’m able to enjoy it. There are still puns that sail over my head, but I like the characters and the tone of this manga enough that not getting it doesn’t bother me as much as it usually does.  It’s very possible that I’m still able to enjoy the written humor because I was so very, very fond of the anime —which I can NOT recommend enough, keeping in mind my fondness for slice-of-life. If you prefer high-octane action, this is not for you.  But, say, if you liked Free!, I would think Nozaki-kun would be a good bet for you.

One of the things I’m charmed by in the manga is how, over time, you see the rest of the high school accept Nozaki-kun and Sakura as a couple, even as the two of them continue to be blissfully… well, not exactly unaware of the sexual tension, since Sakura is still in full-pursuit mode, but more like… blissfully unaware of how comfortable they’ve become with each other in the way of Real Life ™ lovers.

Maybe this is why Nozaki-kun is getting the designation of ‘shounen’ despite being a romantic comedy.  The relationship is, despite the humor and classic rom-com antics, really very realistically portrayed (even while all the shoujo tropes are being parodied by Tsubaki-sensei).

The other thing I love about it (and the anime) is its gentleness.  For all of the shoujo send-ups, there’s hardly a mean bone in any character’s body and you can easily root for all of them.

Of course, being me, I also appreciate all the insights into the editorial and production processes in manga publication.  There’s a scene in volume 5 or 6, where the two editor characters Ken Miyamae and Mitsuya Maeno are in a planning meeting for a themed issue of the magazine “Let’s Fall in Love” (Nozaki’s manga) is serialized in.  I found that, and their “all-nighter” in which they wait for a mangaka’s overdue pages to come in (not Nozaki, he would never do that), totally fascinating.

This is the kind of slice-of-life stuff I live for.

I would suspect much of it is fairly accurate since Tsubaki-sensei not only has a lot of experience as a mangaka herself (her other long running series is Oresama Teacher), but, apparently, she has a sister who is also a mangaka (though Wikipedia did not say who that was, exactly.)  She also started publishing while in high school, just like Nozaki-kun. So, that’s kind of a fun detail.

 

Gekken Shoujo Nozaki-Kun (vol. 1-4) by Izumi Tsubaki

I loved the anime for this on-going manga Gekken Shoujo Nozaki-Kun/Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun. When I saw that the Saint Paul Public Library had several volumes of it, I decided to check it out.

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Apparently, the last time I reviewed this, it was on a podcast.  Rather than making you listen to Mason and I yammering on about Bleach and everything else, I will re-summarize everything for you here.

The story behind Gekken Shoujo Nozaki-kun is a cute one.  Our heroine, Chiyo Sakura is super-attracted to Umetarou Nozaki and works up the courage to make her love confession.  She blurts out, “I’m your number one fan!”  Much to her confusion, he takes this utterly in stride and said, “Oh, okay, here’s my autograph.”  She’s very, “???”  Then, he asks what’s she’s doing because the “others” have cancelled (“eep!” she thinks, “he has a harem!?”) so does she want to come back his place right now?  Poor Sakura is completely confused and a little horrified by all this forwardness, until she gets back to his place…

….and is asked to ink a manga sheet.

Turns out Nozaki is actually “Sakiko Yumeno,” a super-popular shoujo mangaka known for “her” sensitive storylines and gorgeous art style.  When I explain this concept to people less familiar with manga, I say, “It’s like finding out the hot high school football player writes Harlequin romances.”

As you know, gentle reader, humor is often a hard sell for me.  But, since I already fell for this particular story in its anime format, I found a lot to enjoy in this manga.  The one thing that’s very different about this manga than most others that I’ve read is that the story is cut up into short, self-contained single-page, four panel stories. It reads more like a comic strip than a comic book.  But, after a while, you get used to it, and like “Judge Parker” or other soap opera comic strips like that, the stories occasionally follow one after the other.

Like in the anime, a lot is made of gender stereotypes and Tsubaki-sensei loves to flip gender roles.  For instance, Nozaki has modeled his heroine after his best buddy, Mikoshiba (aka “Mikorin”). As I suggested in my earlier rant, the ‘oh, it’s so gay!’ is played up often and always for laughs.

I still love this one.

I almost never laugh out loud reading humor manga, but these first three volumes had a couple of moments where I did.  I especially loved the scene when Sakura tries to use Masayuki Hori (the background artist/theatre manager), whois pulling an all-nighter with Nozaki to finish up the chapter for deadline, to find out what kind of pajamas Nozaki wears.  Hori, of course, gets Sakura’s text and just ask.  Nozaki basically sleeps in sweatpants and a tee-shirt, but once apparently an adoring fan of his female pseudonym sent him a frilly pink camisole.  So, Hori texts back: frilly pink.  Sakura is suitably confused/horrified.

What? It tickled me. What can I say?

The one thing that’s very different from the anime, outside of the fact that its still on-going and the anime only had one season, is that Nozaki has a younger brother, Mayu, who shows up from time to time, who is deeply in love with the mangaka who lives in the same apartment building as Nozaki, Yukari Miyako.  He also doesn’t like to talk…. or do anything strenuous.

Here’s Mayu talking to Mikorin….

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The joke here is that Mayu is so profoundly lazy that he will do whatever is easiest, even if it means doing something he hates.

Ha ha?

But, you can also see how these four panel one-shots work.  They all have sidebar titles, too, which help prepare you for the punchline.

I think the thing I like about Gekken Shoujo Nozaki-kun is how utterly clueless and dorky Nozaki is.  Also, as I’m sure I’ve confessed before, I love stories that give glimpses into the life of mangaka (and of course I love slice-of-life as a genre a LOT).  I liked this about Bakuman, too, despite all it’s faults.  At least with Gekken Shoujo Nozaki-kun, the women characters are as weird and wonderful as the male ones, and there is a whole cast of side characters if you don’t end up bonding with the main ones.

The anime is equally charming and is only one season, so it’s a quick watch.  You can catch it on Crunchyroll, if you like.

Princess Jellyfish/Kuragehime (Volume 1) by Akiko Higashimura

I picked up Princess Jellyfish because a friend recommended it to me and I saw that the library had it.

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The premise of this is kind of fun. Tsukimi Kurasita, 18, lives in a commune of self-proclaimed fujoshi and otaku. (If you’re unfamiliar with the term ‘fujoshi,‘ it means ‘rotten woman’ and is usually a designation specifically given to otaku/fannish/geek women who are obsessed with BL or yaoi.  The translator’s notes in the back of Princess Jellyfish also implies that in the case of the women in this manga, it’s more that they are generally geeks, but that there’s specifically an element of defying patriarchal expectations of what makes a ‘good girl’ for anyone who self-defines as fujoshi.)

Tsukimi’s geekery is jellyfish. She’s been obsessed with them since she was a little girl.  She reads about jellyfish, she draws them…. everything. She even has a tragic backstory involving jellyfish and a dead mother.

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The inciting incident of this story happens when Tsukimi happens by a fish store and discovers that someone has mistakenly put a moon jellyfish in the same tank as a spotted jellyfish. They are incompatible in way that’s deadly to the spotted jellyfish and Tsukimi tries to get over her social awkwardness/anxiety to tell the clerk this, but is unable to until a brash ‘stylish’ shows up and bullies the clerk into giving Tsukimi the spotted jellyfish in order to save its life.

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Tsukimi is pretty horrified to discover that after their big rescue of the jellyfish, the ‘stylish’ has stayed over.

Worse, this super-cute girl turns out to be a boy–a beautiful boy named Kuranosuki.  Bringing home one of the cool girls would have been bad enough, but boys are strictly verboten in their commune, which they jokingly call the ‘Amamizukan’ the Nunnery.

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Tsukimi accidentally pulled off his wig and was trying it on in the mirror.

Kuranosuki insists that he is not okama, but cross dresses as a ‘hobby’ and as an easy way to get away from his high-powered political family. (Sure, honey.)

Kuranosuki, who usually hangs out with the cool girls, suddenly discovers the joy of nerds.  Like, they talk about more than sex and clothes! What are these wonderful creatures? I must pet them and hug them and call them my own!

Yes, it’s true. Nerds make much better friends than the clubbing sort. However, the Amars (nuns) as they call themselves, do NOT want men in the commune, so Tsukimi is the only one who knows Kuranosuki is a boy.

But, even as a lady Kuranosuki rubs the Amars the wrong way. They tell Kuranosuki to get lost.  Repeatedly. They have a quiet life. Go home; you’re too friendly.

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But like every privileged rich dude everywhere, Kuranosuki ignores their request and worms his way into their hearts by being persistent AF and buying them stuff. (Niku! The answer to unlocking nerd girls’ hearts, apparently? ‘Niku,’ aka meat. Seriously. Bring fancy meat to hotpot night is apparently the ticket.)

Then, Kuranosuki decides that what Tsukimi needs is a makeover.

And, let’s face it, ladies, makeovers are magic, am I right?

I mean I saw Grease. I know how this works. You get the big dance number at the end and the Happily Ever After if you ‘dress to impress.’

And, sure enough, when Tsukimi is all dressed up, that’s when she stumbles into Kuranosuki’s older brother and she finally feels chemistry for a guy.  Of course, he’s only hot for her when she’s dolled up. In fact, he doesn’t even recognize her when she’s in her natural otaku form.

There’s a subplot that involves the house being bought by a corporation, but mostly, in the first volume (the one I have might be a two-in-one because I have 380+ pages–12 chapters) is about the little three-way that’s forming:  Kuranosuki developing feelings for Tsukimi, Tsukimi’s interest in Kuranosuki’s nii-san, and Nii-san’s attraction for made-up Tsukimi.

I’m not sure how I feel about this aspect of the story.  It will depend on how it ends. I have a very bad feeling that Kuranosuki’s influence is going to end with all the nerd girls dolled-up.  He already has them convinced at the end of this volume that make-up is their “armor” and a weapon they can use as an advantage in the world.

He seems to be right about this.

This depresses me.

But, I’m hopeful that maybe that’s not going to be the point. I’m hopeful, given this is a josei, that maybe we’ll get something more out of it. Although, maybe not, maybe like Kids on the Slope, the whole point will end up being that the nail that sticks up will be hammered down and settling for less-than-your-dream is just fine.

So far, I’m in it for the side characters. I like Tsukimi okay enough to keep reading, and I would like Kuranosuki much more if he WERE an okame or trans, but he’s very NO HOMO, so whatever. I have only so much patience for pretty rich boys.

Currently, my favorite character is Mejiro-sensei, a mangaka shut-in that we never see. She lives behind a door that never opens, and apparently she’s only been seen a few times. She communicates via notes slipped under her door, and sometimes also solicits help finishing her BL manga close to deadline.

I also like Mayaya, who is a Records of Three Kingdoms nerd. I think I like her because she reads the most like a anime fan, plus she’s drawn very non-binary/gender non-conforming.

So, you know, I’m kind of in it for the ensemble cast; I could take or leave the romance.  I’ll definitely get the other two volumes from the library, though. I like the somewhat unconventional art style quite a bit, and I kind of want to see if this whole thing is going to be about the magical GIRL power of make-up and a good hairstyle. (If so, expect angry rant when I finish this series.)

Ten Count (Vols. 1 – 3) by Takarai Rihito

My public library had this yaoi… yeah, seriously.  I noticed it because it was in the NEW! section of the adult graphic novels.  I don’t exactly know how the purchasing decisions get made at the library, but I can’t help but think that maybe, in this case, someone thought they were buying something else.  Because, why, of all the yaoi out there, did the library decide on this one?

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Ten Count is billed as the story of someone with OCD, Shirotani, who falls in love with his therapist, Kurose.  I don’t know a lot about OCD, but a quick scan at the Wikipedia entry on it, tells me what Shirotani really is, is probably more of a germaphobe who has an intense desire to wash his hands. Outside of the hand washing, there doesn’t seem to be any other kind of repetitive thinking or need to obsessively check things.

The therapist meets Shirotani by accident, when he leaps in to save the president of Shirotani’s company from a car accident.  Shirotani has guilt about this because he feels if only he could have touched the car handle maybe he could have warned the president of the impending car crash himself.  So when the president wants Shirotani to hunt down Kurose t in order to thank him properly, Shirotani is all over that.

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Kurose is a weird one, though.

For a long time I wasn’t sure he was really a doctor. There a moment when Shirotani shows up at the clinic when Kurose is working late, and I totally expected the big reveal to be that Kurose was just the secretary or the janitor.

But, apparently, he’s a real therapist, though mostly works with kids.

When Kurose and Shirotani (oh… I see it now, they’re like black & white! D’oh!) meet up, Kurose is like “I see you are OCD. How about, I give you free therapy, and you be my ‘friend.'”

Shirotani is a little taken aback by this, but, dude has the kind of serious medical issue that keeps him from having a lot of friends himself so he agrees.  Cue: romance.

The title of the manga comes from the list that Kurose wants Shirotani to write, a list from 1 to 10 of the things he absolutely hates to do, with one being the least awful and ten being unthinkable.  Shirotani can’t think of the worst thing, but Kurose is very intense yet casual about it, and says, “You can tell me that one later.” This tenth thing becomes a kind of promise between them.

A lot of the early volumes are Shirotani making little break-throughs on the things on his list. Most of them, unsurprisingly, happen because Shirotani really wants to impress Kurose.  Several times, he goes too far, and ends up collapsing, like the time they try to take the train to a restaurant.

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Luckily, you have a strong man to catch you.

At least once, after this point, Kurose leans in like maybe he wants to kiss Shirotani, but then pulls back last minute either citing some bullsh*t reason like, “Oh, I thought there was something on your eyelash” or complete honesty, “Well, since you can’t drink water out of someone else’s cup, no way we can swap spit.” (last part is paraphrasing, of course.)

Kurose has fairly sh*tty boundaries, all while talking the talk of consent.  Shirotani explicitly says, “Don’t, that’s gross,” more than once, and Kurose is like, “Yeah, except, you can keep your pants on so you can handle it, right?”  To which Shirotani ALWAYS capitulates and demurs. Since a lot of this stuff happens when he’s aroused and Kurose has already used that classic “If you continue to see me, I can’t promise I can control my desire to touch you” line, this could be very triggering for some people.

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Because… is it “therapy” or is that dubious consent?  You can be the judge.

Of course, being a well known pervert, I liked it.

My only squick in the entire thing is the couple of very odd moments when Kurose says things like, “Oh, with your hair down you look childish.  You should wear it that way all the time.” Shirotani is even like, “Um, childish? At our age, shouldn’t you say ‘younger’?”

THIS DOCTOR WORKS WITH CHILDREN. CHILDREN YOUNG ENOUGH TO GET CANDY TREATS AFTER APPOINTMENTS.  RED FLAG! RED FLAG! CRIMSON! LAVA-COLORED!!! DANGER! DANGER! BACK AWAY SLOWLY!!!

If only Takarai-sensei could have just skipped those couple of moments, I would have been pretty enamored of this series.  You know me, gentle reader, I love me a slow burn with a kinky twist.  Ten Count is totally gearing up to be that.  In fact, when the third volume ends, Kurose is introducing Shirotani to the idea of a butt plug….

AND Takarai-sensei has these asides at the volume endings, which make it sound like she’s studying up on BDSM relationships, which… well, that would be right up my alley.

BUT… I don’t know. Baka-Updates tells me that Ten Count is up to five published volumes.  I suspect that my interest in this is only casual enough that I will read them if the library continues to buy them, but I’m not sure I want to seek out the scanlations.

Anyone else reading this one?  Got any idea why my library thought it was popular or “important” enough to purchase?