Boys Love

Secret XXX – BL Manga Review

Being stuck at home for what is going on five months has been great for my TBR list (my gaming backlog not so much), so I’ve been on a bit of a manga buying spree. Granted almost all of my new buys have been BL manga, but lets chock that up to the boom in legitimate boys love releases and not on my status as a self-proclaimed fujoshi.

During one of my more recent hauls I snagged a copy of Secret XXX by Meguru Hinohara and I’m going to keep it real with you guys, I have never read anything else by this author. In fact, I wasn’t even planning on buying Secret XXX, the manga I actually wanted to buy was volume 1 of her ongoing series, Therapy Game—which I totally bought btw. It was only after I hit the order button that I discovered that Therapy Game is a spin off of Secret XXXand not wanting to miss out on any details, I placed a second order and I am so glad I did! I wasn’t familiar with Meguru Hinohara’s works before this, so I had no idea what to expect from this one volume story—what I got was a cute story that was equal parts sweet and spicy.

Secret XXX Review ShoheiSecret XXX follows Shohei a college student whose mother is a vet and his father is a zoo keeper so their house is filled with all types of exotic animale. But, Shohei’s favorite animals are cute and fluffy bunnies, there’s only one catch… he’s seriously allergic to them, but, that doesn’t stop him from volunteering at a local pet shop that specializes in bunnies. There he meets the owner Itsuki Mito, who is just as sweet and kind as the fluffy buns he cares for and it’s not long before Shohei finds himself catching feelings for him. But, if Mito finds out about Shohei’s allergy there’s no way he’ll let him keep working at the shop… so Shohei hides the truth and spends his days working side by side with Mito.  Sounds wholesome right? Well, it is!

The volume is split into four arcs: Allergic to XXX, Secret XXX, Relation XXX, and Happily Ever After (the last one serving as a cute 1 chapter epilogue) featuring Shohei and Mito as they navigate the ups and downs of their relationship. There isn’t much in the way of “drama” and most of the issues in Shohei and Mito’s relationship are caused by Shohei’s inexperience as opposed to anything else. The “biggest conflict” in the story happens midway through the volume when Shohei thinks Mito is seeing someone else, but rather than drag that out for several chapters or worse creating an unnecessary love triangle situation, Hinohara wraps that plotline up in a single chapter. Shohei doesn’t blow things out of proportion, rather he gives Mito the benefit of the doubt and TALKS to him about his concerns. I can’t tell you how absolutely refreshing that is, far too many authors like to fall back on drama in lieu of genuine character development and it can be pretty frustrating.

Secret XXX ReviewThe main pair is super sweet—Shohei is just super genuine and cute and Mito, while much more mature, isn’t overly pushy or impulsive. Mito doesn’t pressure Shohei into a relationship and despite being a bit on the inexperienced side, Shohei can be pretty stubborn. They are on equal footing from start to finish; there are plenty of instances where they support one another and when obstacles arise, they talk through them like ADULTS! It’s a surprisingly wholesome relationship and while they do have sex quite a few times in the volume, there aren’t any ickle consent issues like you see in the majority of BL media. The sex scenes are pretty steamy (and surprise, surprise uncensored) and pretty well spread out between the chapters. Sex isn’t the end all of their relationship, and more a physical manifestation of their feelings for one another.

Allergy.jpgWhile the story mostly revolves around Shohei and Mito’s relationship, I really like that Hinohara takes the time to flesh them out as characters—we learn a bit about their pasts, we see them interact with family members and friends. They have lives outside of their relationship and I really appreciate getting to experience that. Some of the side characters were pretty fun, like Mito’s interfering younger brother Minato (one of the protagonist of Therapy Game) and Shohei’s whole family (his brother is also a major player in Therapy Game), and that more than anything gives the story more depth. And who could forget the cute bunnies!! OMG, if you need one reason to pick up this volume, do it for those cuties… they steal every scene they’re in!

All in all, Secret XXX was a fun read, short and sweet with just a dash of spicy to keep things interesting. I love the main pair and I would love to see them again in more of Hinohara’s works! So if you’re looking for a light BL read to add to your library, you can’t go wrong with Secret XXX. 

Where to Read: AmazonSuBLime Manga | Right Stuf 


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2 replies »

  1. Okay, my jaw kinda fell open at the uncensored part hahaha. Also the cute animals really make me wanna pick this up. I haven’t read much BL and I keep telling myself I will, but then get overwhelmed on where to start. I’ll add this one to my list though. 🙂

    Like

  2. I appreciated the uncensored part as well 😉

    But seriously, it’s such a fun and sweet little love story. I’ve really been enjoying Therapy Game as well, can’t wait for volume 2!

    Like

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