TGIF! It’s that time of the week again, it’s Fangirl Friday!! WOOT! I’ve been on a bit of a BL manga binge this week, so it seemed fitting that this week’s post be about one of the titles I read. If you aren’t in the mood for BL, I highly recommend checking out one of my other Fangirl Moment posts (there are a ton to choose from) by clicking right, HERE, I cover a range of topics so I’m sure you’ll find something worthwhile over there!! For everyone else, let’s get this show on the road shall we?
This week I’ll be covering the Kii Kanna’s ongoing slice of life boys love manga, Harukaze no Étranger, the sequel to her 2013 manga Umibe no Étranger. The series was released back in 2014 and as of this writing, comprises of 2 volumes, with a third on the way. While it’s prequel was was licensed in English by Renta!, this series has not been licensed for an English language audience, however it’s currently being fan translated by Stranger by the Sea Scans!
Since this is a sequel I’m not going to include the synopsis from the prequel, since Harukaze no Etranger is a direct continuation of Umibe no Etranger. I highly suggest you read last week’s post to get the background on the character and the story, HERE.
So, while I really loved Umibe no Étranger, I have to admit that the sequel is light years ahead of the first, since it didn’t have to go through the trouble of setting up the relationship between Shun and Mio. The sequel picks up right where the first series left off, and explores the couple’s family situations. Since, Mio is an orphan, the majority of the manga focuses on Shun and his family. Prior to the start of the story, Shun broke off his engagement with a childhood friend and came out about his sexuality the same day, so, his relationship with his parents is a bit strained. When he learns that his father is sick, he reluctantly returns home with Mio to make amends.
It’s rare for a BL manga to delve into more than just the romantic relationship between the main couple, so it was nice to get a bit of background on their family lives. Based on their past experiences, both men view family differently and it was great to see how those differences effected their relationship. Mio, takes to Shun’s family immediately, integrating himself into their activities and events, while Shun, more or less grudgingly goes through the motions. He eventually comes around and mends the relationship with his folks, but it’s Mio that has the most interaction with the Hashimoto family.
There was also a great deal of growth in Shun and Mio’s relationship, the dynamic remains roughly the same, but the characters were fleshed out more. Shun’s past experiences are brought to light and we get to see just how much being gay has effected his life up until this point. Shun harbors some deep seeded insecurities about his sexuality. He is very aware of how people view him and his relationship and that causes a bit of a disconnect between him and Mio, but he does make huge strides in the way he deals with his issues.
Rather than just shutting down Mio’s advances, Shun attempts to meet Mio halfway, whether it’s something small like holding hand in public or going out on dates, it was nice to see Shun being a bit more assertive. However, he is still a bit reluctant about having sex with Mio, not because he doesn’t want to pursue a physical relationship, but because of a bit of past trauma (and no, it’s not rape). Rather than just brushing the issue aside, they actually address the problem as a couple and that’s how Shun and Mio address all of their issues, they communicate which allows them to progress as a couple.
Harukaze no Étranger did a wonderful job of building on the foundation started in the Umibe no Étranger. Both Mio and Shun have come a long way since the prequel and I am excited to see where there relationship goes in the future.