TGIF! Here we are again with another Fangirl Friday! This week I’m doing something for all of my BL/Yaoi Fangirls out there…Today I’m going to cover the boy’s love manga, Doukyusei. This post will be SAFE FOR WORK…There will be absolutely NO NSFW images in this post, so rejoice (or curse my name), this post can be read in public without consequence!
Also, Doukyusei is licensed in English by Digital Manga Guild (however, while I am grateful for the work they put into translating it, there are some minor faults with their product). Doukyusei and its sequels have been licensed in English by Seven Seas Entertainment. The print of volume one is now available for purchase (the subsequent volumes will be released later this year).
When I heard that this manga was getting an animated film adaptation back in February, I damn near pissed my pants! I absolutely adore this manga, quirky art style and all, and I am more than willing to shell out $60 for the Blu-ray, when it is released in September. This is exactly how I like my BL, I’ll choose slow natural romance over non-con romance any day of the week! This story gave me butterflies, because it very much reminded me of my own experience with first love (though mine was nowhere near successful). I’m still fond of that awkwardly bittersweet time, and this manga captures it perfectly.
Doukyusei (Classmates) is a one volume slice of life, BL manga by Asumiko Nakamura, originally released between 2006-2007. The volume was her first foray into the boy’s love genre and one of her most popular works, spawning sequels and a critically acclaimed animated feature film. The story follows two high-school students who meet and fall in love during the summer of their second year of high school.
A boy met a boy. They were in the flush of youth. They were in love that felt like a dream, like a sparkling soda pop.
-from the cover
Rihito Sajou, is a studious, yet reserved young man and the favorite of all his instructors. While, Hikaru Kusakabe, is a popular slacker and guitarist in a live band, with his fair share of female admires. Two worlds that never should have met, but when Kusakabe catches Sajou practicing alone in an empty classroom for the upcoming choral festival, everything changes. After school singing lessons, cause their worlds to blend, as they grow closer to one another through song. New overwhelming feelings begin to bud in the hearts of these very different young men, the friendly and aimless, Kusakabe and the hesitant and frail Sajou. A light romance between two boys in the springtime of youth, both on the cusp of discovering their futures.
Unlike hardcore boys love, the plot centers around the two male leads gradually falling in love with one another. From the first confusing kiss to the bittersweet pangs of jealousy, the reader rides the highs and lows of their relationship. As the author takes us through a sweet and bubbly first love. Like the fleeting days of high school, the chapters of this manga give the reader a brief snapshot into the relationship between Sajou and Kusakabe as the seasons change. Even though Kusakabe is the main instigator for the relationship, he is very confused by his affections for cool, introverted Sajou. His confusion is especially apparent after he suddenly kisses Sajou after school one day, surprising both of them. Then there’s a cute scene where the pair can’t stop stealing glances at each other from across the classroom during class. Of course this doesn’t go unnoticed by Kusakabe’s friends, who are surprisingly accepting of the relationship. On top of that Kusakabe never pushes Sajou into the relationship, instead both ease into a casual romantic relationship. Throughout the story both boys rely on one another, as they figure out where their futures lead.
This a wonderful story of first love and all the new and exciting aspects of it. The characters are fun and I enjoyed watching them grow over the course of the story. There was a bit of a ‘love rival’ in the form of a homeroom teacher with some unrequited affections for Sajou, but that issue was resolved with little to no conflict. The story is shounen-ai, so there aren’t any graphic sex scenes, the most you get is some intense kissing, but even that is tastefully done, appearing much later in the volume. I highly recommend this manga, it a refreshing take on a cliched topic and I for one am glad to have read it. This is perfect for someone new to BL, or an old fan who just wants to slow things down for a bit.
* The sequels are excellent and provide a more in-depth look into the relationship between the main leads after they graduate from high school.*