Hello, welcome to another episode of “How can this not be licensed already?!!”. I couldn’t not add a Yukue Moegi story in this challenge, as they are an artist that managed to carve their name and artistic style in my memory. Hakujin to Kurobotan is a story that stemmed from a doujin, actually.
It all started with Nirameba Koi in 2013, a BL manga from the same artist about two high school boys. In it, there was an ugly cat that one of them was taking care of, named Busamen. After Nirameba Koi was finished, Busamen got his own, one-volume story Ore wa Busamen in 2014. A yakuza family’s wakagashira Kuroi-san makes an appearance in the story, who also adores Busamen and cats in general. Busamen and Kuroi-san first gets a one-shot doujin Neko to Wakagashira in 2018, then in 2019 Kuroi and his childhood friend, long time admirer and Busamen-hater Shirakaba get their own story in Hakujin to Kurobotan. These are a lot of continuations, but I actually enjoy when artists add small details from their different works or link them in such ways. It feels like they have created a world where we’re getting glimpses from different sides.
Title: Hakujin to Kurobotan
Artist & Author: Yukue Moegi
Release Year: 2019
Licensed? (Y/N): No.
3-second synopsis: “Who do you love more; me or the cat?” may be a petty thing to ask your childhood crush but it’s nothing compared to lengths you’re willing to go for him.
Kuroi and Shirakaba are childhood friends, one of them a yakuza and the other, a lawyer. Shirakaba is quite an ‘intense’ person, to say the least. When they were small, Kuroi always had unreasonable rumors surrounding him and other kids keeping a distance because he’s the son of a yakuza. Knowing his kindness and fragile character, Shirakaba decides that he’ll always stick to his friend and soon notices his feelings have changed their form. Even today, at the age 37, he follows around Kuroi every day, confesses his love and asks him on a date relentlessly, meanwhile Kuroi is adamant on keeping the safe distance he always kept between them.
I wouldn’t say there were big plot twists or sob stories. Even though it has a yakuza theme, Kuroi’s group is really laid back and it’s not so much about the violence or underworld of crime like Saezuru Tori wa Habatakanai, but more on the main couple’s relationship dynamic and history together. It’s such a short read, too! Still, somehow I found this little story to be packed with emotion.
Yukue Moegi has a very clear, straightforward and concise storytelling, paired with beautiful art style and poignant expressions, their work manages to get the emotions across they want to convey easily. I found this piece, like any other from them, gripping and worth spending time. I highly recommend Hakujin to Kurobotan if you want to read something lighthearted and fun, looking for a character with strong conviction and want to play “spotting Busamen in the panels” game, this one’s for you.
Another aspect I really enjoy is that the artist uses Twitter actively. I’m sure we all share the same excitement when it comes to seeing the process of what we love; be it the early stages of creation, the key animation, the studio itself or management aspects. It’s a blessing when an artist does a live stream of them working or release speed-up recordings. That’s why I also wanted to add the video below. Enjoy, and see you next week!