ICv2 Stars: 3.5 (out of 5)
Posted by Nick Smith on June 4, 2021 @ 1:42 am CT
Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: May 12, 2021
Format: 128 pgs., Black & White, 5.75" x 8.25", Trade Paperback
Age Rating: Teen+
ICv2 Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5
This is a gentle and interesting look at the dynamics of a family, one in which the father is rarely present and the mom is constantly dealing with two boys, an older teen and a younger one. The older one is clearly thinking of himself as gay, but trying to stay in the closet. His problem is that he’s a terrible liar, and keeps saying things that have convinced his mother that he probably is gay. She’s happy for him to figure out who he really is, and very supportive, but since he won’t actually come out and say it, she’s stuck at the "trying to be happy and very supportive" stage. The dad, of course, is clueless, but the younger brother is an enigma. He may just be supportive, or there may be something else going on.
Oddly, this manga seems written more for the parents than for the teens, but is marketed as a teen manga. I’m not sure that teens in a similar situation would enjoy a story about people like them being what amounts to comic relief characters in much of the story, but a parent who is dealing with gender issues in the family might very well find it both entertaining and informative.
Unfortunately, it’s got a higher price per page than most manga, and the artwork is good, but nothing special. It’s a bit weak at the start of the story, but got better as the creator gained more skill with illustrating the main characters. Still, this book could fill a niche in library collections, or help fill a need on personal manga shelves.
--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.