One of the best I’ve read in recent years! First, the subject matter. I’m pretty wary about reading about disabilities in fiction because they often aren’t handled well. But it’s just done so well here. The story starts with college student Taichi, who comes from a not-so-well-off household and is desperately searching for work. He (literally) stumbles across fellow student Kouhei while on a job hunt, and is incredibly enticed by the delicious bento Kouhei has in hand. However, something seems a bit off about Kouhei and when Taichi consults his friends about it, he gets an answer he really wasn’t expecting: Kouhei is severely hearing impaired.
I read in the epilogue that this is the author’s first bl work and that she didn’t intend the story to be bl at first. Even though she might have been uncomfortable with the format at first I’m glad this came out how it did. It’s so sweet and deliberate, a great first shounen ai work. The pacing is good. Some people might find it a bit slow, but I like how you get to see the characters warming up to each other. The story, the characters- everything ebbed and flowed with subtle realism. The concepts regarding disabilities and alienation were dealt with delicately and maturely. At first I thought the author was going to generalize the concept and go with the one perspective she set up at the start, but she subverted my expectations and handled it really well. The BL content was handled even more so; their relationship was relatable: no loud outbursts of I love yous or melodramatic angst, just empathetic understanding and a kind of pure and endearing love.
Next, the art. I admit, throughout the first volume the faces looked kind of off but it was nothing too unbearable. The second volume is a pleasant surprise because the artwork has improved so much. The faces look a lot better, especially the eyes. It’s nice to see the author improving. Lastly, the characters. Though this is short, the subtle character development and the revelations at the end really makes this worth it to read. I’m definitely going to keep an eye on the author’s future works.