I continue to be amazed that my library not only has this manga, but keeps on buying it:
And, of course, I keep reading it.
The story picks up just where it left off: in the elevator. Kurose continues to blow hot and cold. First, barely talking to Shirotani and acting like they’re going to go their separate ways, and, then, after Shirotani returns a CD Kurose accidentally leaves in the taxi (sure it was an accident!) he has his wicked way with him.
I’m still struggling to like this guy. I mean, their dubious consent sex is pretty hot, but Kurose is baffling to me. Like, would it kill him to be consistent?
In this volume we get Kurose’s tragic backstory.
Apparently, his family home life was fine, except that his parents pretty much ignored him. They clothed and fed him, but there just wasn’t a lot of affection tossed around in this selfish upper-middleclass household. Kurose resorts to trying to pull dirty tricks to get his mom to notice him, but she just couldn’t even be bothered to get riled up about her fancy new dress getting an ink jar spilled on it.
So, Kurose starts doing random vandalism, including tossing a baseball through some guy’s window.
The maid makes twelve year old (? definitely pre-teen) Kurose apologize to the owner of the apartment with the broken window, a recluse germaphobe named Nishigaki. Kurose starts showing up at Nishigaki’s apartment and hangs out with him, uninvited, but tolerated. Kurose gets attached to Nishigaki because he’s an adult who at least seems to notice him. This attachment seems to turn into lust, because they’re getting along pretty well until one day when Nishigaki’s loneliness triggers Kurose to… lick him.
On the abs.
On the naked, under-the-shirt abs.
Nishigaki who is not only a germaphobe, but also at LEAST a dozen years older than Kurose freaks out and says, “What the hell is wrong with you? Get out!”
I feel like this is a pretty reasonable response. It’s really not clear why Kurose went there–like to sex. I don’t get the sense that he only seen his parents giving each other affection that way, except that maybe he just doesn’t know anything about how to be affectionate since they’re so empty.
What is clear, is that he’s feeling possessive of Nishigaki. When Nishigaki is feeling like maybe Kurose had acclimated him enough to having people around that he might consider getting a better job and getting outside to see the world, Kurose doesn’t want him to. He tells him that the world is nothing special. He wants to know why things can’t stay the same, since Nishigaki should have everything he needs in Kurose.
After being banished from Nishigaki’s place, Kurose reads up on germaphobes and shut-ins (a hobby he already had). Though his mother’s gossip circle, Kurose discovers that Nishigaki has disappeared: there are rumors he ran away or maybe killed himself.
Kurose, naturally, blames himself.
He becomes determined to never make this mistake again and gets a degree in psychology.
The problem I have with this tragic backstory is that Kurose is determined never to make another mistake like the one he made with Nishigaki, he’s not exactly going in the right direction. He’s still super-possessive and goes right to f*cking = therapy/love. Literally the stuff that killed Nishigaki–or sent him packing, whichever. (I do wonder if we’re going to have a reappearance of Nishigaki in future volumes.)
Seriously, where did this guy get his therapy license? Off the back of a matchbook?
It doesn’t help, of course, that Shirotani does seem to be more of a masochist than he is a germaphobe, so this cruel-to-be-kind “therapy” seems to be working.
The sex is super-hot, though. So, I might be complaining about the alpha lead a lot, but I’ll be reading the next volume ASAP. I mean, I don’t need my yaoi couples to be perfect human beings (obviously, if you’ve read any of my fan fic), so Kurose’s foibles are more of an intellectual curiosity to me, not a deal-breaker.
Would I recommend it? Hesitantly. You really have to be not only okay, but kind of into dubious consent for this one to work for you.