One glance at the subheader for this title will make you scream Relatable!, even without a context: Can I blame this on my midlife crisis?! Oh, the things I’ve excused myself with that line. Today, I’ve brought you a title from an artist who made it this year’s Kono BL ga Yabai!* Top 20 list, twice! KoiSuru was in 4th place while Cupid ni Rakurai Tsuigeki had tied with Hidaka Shoko’s Anti-Romance at number 19. I’ve also seen a great deal of excitement around the title on Twitter, rightfully so.
Title: Koi wo Suru Tsumori wa Nakatta
Author & Artist: Suzumaru Minta
Release Year: 2019
Status: Completed, 1 volume.
Licensed? (Y/N): Yes, on Futekiya!
Coming to terms with your orientation and your identity may take years, and it doesn’t even end with admitting yourself that you belong to a non-heteronormative category. You have years of inexperience and awkwardness to deal with when it comes to making friends in that circle and blending in, dating or finding partners to have sex with. That also defines Yoshino, the handsome and 30-year-old office worker, who’s been single and a virgin all his life. He slowly came to accept that he’s gay throughout his adolescence, but it doesn’t change the fact that he has no one close to talk to, let alone be in a relationship. He doesn’t expect much, nothing romantic or over the top, just someone who would hold him. Was that too much to ask?
Struggling with these thoughts, one day he overhears two female colleagues talking about a gay bar and it suddenly dawns on him; how come he didn’t think of going to a bar?? Excited and nervous, he finds his way to a bar he found online. There, he meets Rou; a charming, young, confident university student with silver hair. Yoshino gets what he wants, his long-lasting virginity streak finally no longer weighing on him. Where will this one night stand take these two, is the subject of the rest of the chapters.
To be honest, I have no idea how many times I’ve re-read this manga. I stopped counting after a while. KoiSuru is PRETTY with capital letters. Suzumaru Minta’s characters have this… mellow air enveloping them and I love that a lot. And that soothing tone has the story flow seamlessly from beginning to end. I joked at the beginning about relatability, and when fiction is concerned, commenting on how ‘real’ the story feels may not make too much sense. I’d like to add, however, that this story is less romanticized than the titles with a similar setting.
Yoshino’s awkwardness, overthinking bouts, naivety, and eagerness were all portrayed and blended into the story flawlessly. Rou, on the other hand, is this likable, laid-back, popular, and chatty regular of the bar. He does have his shortcomings revealed later on. These characteristics are reflected fittingly in their character designs. Particularly, Yoshino’s naturally somber expression has a certain beauty to it.
One thing I learned through this manga is that I never knew cocktails had meanings/hidden messages? I thought maybe it was something that is introduced in the manga for the plot’s sake but considering the artist didn’t include any additional information, I thought it should be something known. For example, what does giving someone the Moscow Mule cocktail mean? What’s the hidden message that Rou tried to convey? If you know, please enlighten me because Google gave me nothing….
I recommend Koi wo Suru Tsumori wa Nakatta if you want to go on a gentle version of an emotional rollercoaster because this series will play with your heart. But will do it kindly. Although short, KoiSuru manages to flesh out the emotions, establish the dynamics, and get the reader invested right from the start. It is one of those stories that grow on you without you even noticing. I hope I was able to get you interested in the series as well and see you soon ~
(*) Kono BL ga Yabai! is an annual popularity list that awards BL artists in categories such as Best Manga, Seme, Uke, Best Novel categories. To check out the full list for this year, here’s a Twitter source.
A — Ameiro Paradox
B — Blue Sky Complex
C — Coyote
D — Dear, My God
E — Endou-kun no Kansatsu Nikki
F — Full…
G — The Good Teacher
H — Hakujon to Kurobotan
I — Itadakimasu Gochisousama
J — Jealousy
K — Koi wo Suru Tsumori wa Nakatta
L — Love Tractor
M — Momo to Manji