SuBLime Manga has been one of the few publishers to consistently put out new boys love titles in English and it is thanks to them that my wallet is considerably lighter as of late. But, you don’t see me complaining, since SuBLime tends to cast a pretty wide net with their localization releases–from supernatural fantasy to slice-of-life shounen-ai, there’s something for just about every fujoshi and fudanshi in their catalog. And if like me, you’re looking for something a bit more wholesome to add to your manga library, look no further than Kotetsuko Yamamoto’s Toritan: Birds of a Feather.
Now, I didn’t know what to expect with this first volume, based on the design of the cover and the title I at least knew it had something to do with birds. So, I went into Toritan completely blind and y’all, this manga is wild (no pun intended).
Toritan Birds of a Feather follows Inusaki a detective and unwitting jack of all trades with the ability to talk to birds–think Ace Ventura meets Dr. Doolittle. Unfortunately, Inusaki hates his “gift” and actively avoids using it whenever possible, that is until he meets a mysterious crow that happens to know his name. Intrigued by his strange new avian acquaintance, Inusaki names him “Kuro” and looks forward to their little chats… and even develops a bit of a crush on Kuro. Cross species romance amiright. Things only get more complicated when Inusaki hears what he thinks is Kuro’s voice, only to find that it’s not his birdie friend, but his landlord’s son, Mitsuru.
Y’all this is such a sweet (weird) series. I don’t know what I expected from this volume, but I know I did not expect for homeboy to start crushing on a crow, and least of all that Yamamoto-sensei was gonna make a CROW of all things sexy af! Yes, you read that right, Kuro is definitely husbando material and IDK if that says anything about my tastes in partners or my bias towards (hot) mysterious strangers–either way Kuro can get it(?). Then you throw in the tall dark and brooding Mitsuru and I am down for the count! I mean there are a lot of *wink* similarities *wink* between Kuro and Mitsuru that are hard to ignore–like oh, the fact that they have the same VOICE! It’s clear that Kuro and Mitsuru are “connected” but, I gotta give Yamamoto-sensei some credit for establishing them as two distinct characters. Like, you know where the story is going with these two characters, but you see them as two different people(?) and it’s fun seeing how Inusaki interacts with both of them throughout the story.
Inusaki knows Mitsuru at the start of the story and it is clear that they have at least a casual relationship with one another, but it’s only after Kuro makes contact with Inusaki that his relationship with Mitsuru really takes off. They upgrade from the usual pleasantries to talking about crushes and I LOVE how open and expresive Mitsuru gets when he is talking with Inusaki. As for Inusaki, what can I say, he’s a fun protagonist–his reactions are hilarious, he can go from cute and blushing to completely over your sh*t in a matter of panels. He definitely was the cause of most of the laughs in this volume, especially his interactions with the birds in the neighborhood–and for someone that hates birds, Inusaki sure does spend a lot of time helping them out. He helps a baby sparrow that fell out of its nest and the little guy pops up every now and again to say hey–and speaking of that, I like that Yamamoto-sensei establishes that even thought the voice bubbles are in English/Japanese, Inusaki actually tweets like a bird when he is talking with the birds.
Honestly, that’s kinda all there is to this first volume, Inusaki meets/crushes on Kuro, the crow and then later starts crushing on the literal boy next door, Mitsuru. Toritan: Birds of a Feather is more of a shounen-ai slice-of-life story, with just a dash of comedy for flavor. There’s nothing especially graphic or mature about it and it isn’t like Mitsuru and Inusaki (or Kuro for that matter) get hot and heavy at all in this first volume. Just a cute chill read. The final volume is set for a 2021 release, but in the meantime, I definitely recommend giving volume 1 a read–if not for me, do it for the sexy crow~
Where to Read Toritan: Birds of a Feather
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