Hello! The long awaited weekend for the weary travelers have finally arrived! Hopefully everyone is feeling okay and ready to relax a little.
Today I’m here with a doujinshi that I enjoyed immensely. Before diving into the story and my impression of it, maybe a little introduction to what a does that means might be orderly. Different from commercial works that are released through a publisher, doujinshi are self-published. Although there is a general misconception that they solely contain erotic content, that’s not necessarily the case. There are several websites that you can acquire them, and I’ve been eyeing especially Irodori for quite a while. Thankfully, the festive air of Fujocon became the nudge I needed and I got my hands on Ziki Masaya’s This Is Love. (To read a bit more on doujinshi and its brief history)
Fumihara is our 35-year-old office worker. He’s loved by his coworkers because he’s competent, very kind, positive He’s kind of an airhead when he’s off work, emitting that gap more energy that some of us find adorable, but that’s why we love him. Fumi is not only good at his job but also a very reliable and encouraging mentor to his subordinates, one of them being Higashi. Higashi’s almost completed his second year at the office, he’s known for being cool and not much of a talker. Their coworkers think that these two definitely have lovers; Higashi is good-looking and kind while Fumi is competent and never goes out with the rest of the office for drinks on Friday nights. They are right about them being taken, just that not by other women, but by each other.
Fumi and Higashi coincidentally come across each other at a theater, about to see the same movie. Turns out they are both movie buffs and they quickly become friends, and then something more. Now, they have been dating for a year, but having an established relationship is by no means a guarantee that everything will go smoothly. We go on a journey together with Fumi and Higashi as they question their sexual identities, their outlook on romantic relationships, and expectations from each other.
You must know that a great portion of my manga/comic intake is BL. Even when I want to read other genres, there are times they turn out to be BL in disguise. Being a long-time reader, it’s hard not to notice the shifts and changes in the tropes or themes in the genre. One of these changes is something that I’m particularly happy about; exploration or inclusion of different sexualities. There is an increase in the inclusion of canon bi/pan characters, not as a plot tool (Oh my god, I’ve been dating women my whole life but now I’m interested in this guy?) or for the sake of conflict, but as their identity. This is Love, not in the first book but the following ones, explore Higashi’s self-doubt about not being as ‘initiative’ as others when it came to the physical part of a romantic relationship and whether it means he doesn’t appreciate his partners that much or not. This might be the first BL I’ve read with a demisexual/asexual main character.
The pacing was good, the characters were lovable, and it was such a pleasant read overall! Sometimes there’s a tendency to think if an LGBTQ+ story doesn’t contain enough suffering or doesn’t depict real-life negative consequences, it’s not as ‘real’ or just ‘romanticizing’ the struggles of LGBTQ+ people. I do understand the cathartic effect of such stories or the importance of telling those, and when I state a preference I never mean the other is bad or shouldn’t exist, but I do think we need more stories that focus on happiness and comfort as much as the struggling. This is why I appreciated this series a lot, it has a very good balance of both feeling ‘real’ and not being emotionally exhausting at the same time.
To conclude the review, I cannot recommend This Is Love enough, especially if you are wary of the usual romance tropes and are looking for something different. Irodori has great titles in its library, and you are able to download the doujinshi you purchased as a pdf file with two different resolution options. Although the number of downloads is limited, if you don’t forget to store it in a hard drive or your cloud, then it won’t be a problem. It’s a huge plus in my book that we are getting them as files to download! Overall, my experience with the website was positive as well.
This is all for today! Hope this was an interesting read and you decide to support the series because it really deserves attention. As always, thank you so much for visiting and see you next week ~
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