Hello everyone! Today, I kind of cheated my way around for the challenge. I normally take Japanese names into account for the titles I pick, but I didn’t have any other series that I felt so strongly to write about, and I wanted to mention Kigi wa Haru no matter what so I’m sure you’ll let it slide for this once. You know, I’m a simple woman. I see pretty boys and flowers, I click. I certainly couldn’t resist the pretty cover, and the story amazed me all the more.
Title: Kigi wa Haru (The Trees in Spring)
Author & Artist: Nakaoka Naka
Release Year: 2019
Status: Completed, 1 volume.
Licensed? (Y/N): Yes, on Futekiya.
Yugi Yuki is a 3rd-year university student and his good looks have always troubled him. Whether he’s quietly sitting in a cafe or commuting by subway he’s the center of attention. Even at work, his colleague pesters him to join mixers with her but he firmly refuses. One night, he sees a regular customer at the restaurant he’s working, with someone else and overhears their conversation about mixers. Right when he thinks “Ahh so everyone deals with stuff like that,” the regular customer shuts down the other guy saying he’s gay. Thinking that this is his chance, Yugi confesses that he’s gay too, and would like to get to know him, then asks this middle-aged stranger out for a dinner. Sounds good so far!
Koba Haruka is a research professor in Environmental Productivity Department, and the two meet after Koba’s seminar for coffee. While they are exchanging words on their relationships with their family and their sexual orientation, Yugi says that he “won’t tell his mother stuff like he has a girlfriend” and upon Koba’s surprise, he quickly corrects himself that he didn’t realize he was gay back in high school, so he had girlfriends. However, one question from Koba stirs something deep inside him: Does he really like guys?
This manga has some dynamics that I enjoy like the age gap and younger tops, but more than that, I love reading stories on exploration of self or a part of one’s identity. It’s a messy process and until one gets there, if it’s ever possible to get somewhere as we are ever-changing, there may be many steps that are taken in the wrong direction. All these steps tend to accumulate inside and undeniably affect one’s current approach to relationships with others, be it romantic or friendships. That also what makes us ‘us’, whether we like it or not.
These are the circumstances Koba and Yugi meet under, with heavy baggage from their pasts and their wavering feelings. This is the reason why I hold dear these types of stories. Sometimes just having certain feelings towards someone doesn’t magically solve your tangled past, or get rid of your traumas. What those feelings may do, however, is to give you the courage to face them with better resolve, even though you may still take wrong turns or it may get painful to untangle what’s inside. Your resolve and courage may also help others to do the same. Having ambivalent feelings or vague definitions may be the right course at times.
I know I’m being kind of vague about The Trees in Spring, but if the premise is interesting to you, I’d like you to explore the story yourself, hence I wanted to keep the post spoiler-free. As for the art style, it has a more sketchy feel to it rather than clear and sharp lines. The character design is to my taste, and all the interior designs and exteriors got me gushing because everything is so pretty! The series has a serene and calm atmosphere overall, which is something I appreciate. I’d like to say it’s a must-read for every BL fan, but more so for the story-oriented readers like me.
Hope you enjoyed this week’s pick as well! Thank you for taking the time to read and have a nice weekend! I’ll leave you with sweet sketches from the artist Nakaoka Naka’s Twitter. Love the watercolor studies they did for the cover!