One thing I love about buying hardcopies is the book design. Ano Ko ga Kare wo Suki na Riyuu by Mieno Saori (Anoko Kare for short ‘cause it’s too long) has a beautifully printed shinny silver cover and well composed illustration on the cover. The chapter covers are gorgeous as well.
Walking into a random café one day with his friends, Toono Nozomi stumbled upon someone whom he thought he’d never see again, his deceased older cousin, Yuugo. Ever since then, he visited that café to meet the man who looked eerily similar to Yuugo.
Not only his appearance, but the man, Hanawa Kaoru, showed the same kindness Yuugo had and this didn’t help Nozomi from desperately seeking his companionship. So much so that when Hanawa asked him out on a date on Christmas, he jumped onto the wagon and the night ended with an awkard kiss. For a straight guy like Hanawa, that kiss left him questioning his sexuality. Slowly but surely, he fell for pretty feminine Nozomi.
Nozomi lost his parents when he was a kid and had been living with his aunt on his mother’s side. He was treated kindly there by both cousins, Yuugo and Kengo. When he was bullied for his feminine name and looks, Yuugo gave him moral support and encouragement, even directly coaxing him out of a playground pipe while Kengo washed his trashed randoseru. I guess Yuugo won hands down because of his direct approach and Nozomi starts to fall badly for him.
A drama isn’t really a drama when the character doesn’t have emotional strains right? Ever since that faithful day his cousin passed away in a freak road accident, Nozomi’s been suffering through anxiety problem. When Hanawa didn’t turn out on time, or just plain didn’t turn out at all, at the designated meeting spot, Nozomi’s mind started to think that Hanawa might have met some accident too and goes into a mild panic attack.
Then, there’s his cousin Kengo as well. Seems like the story’s hinting that he likes Nozomi but has resigned to the fact that Nozomi will never ever forget his older brother and nobody can ever take the deceased man’s place. Well, how wrong you are boy.
The title of the manga, Ano Ko ga Kare wo Suki na Riyuu, pretty much gave away the main plot of the story, the reasons why the kid likes Hanawa, which is his similarity to Yuugo. Hanawa cut his hair the same style as Yuugo, just so Nozomi will believe in his feelings for him. He even went as far as to say that he didn’t mind being the replacement for Yuugo.
I’m rather on the fence with the plot of the story though. Maybe I’m placing too much emphasis on heavy story and drama for a manga, but damn, don’t you wish some manga would actually pull your tiny heartstring? Anoko Kare has so much potential to be so dark, gloomy and heavy that I could actually feel so much more for the character. Sadly, Nozomi’s too feminine for my taste.
I know I shouldn’t be glad about this and some may not think the same way I do, but thank god Mieno Saori didn’t go for the usual love triangle when an author introduces a protective younger brother who seemed to have some hidden feelings for the main character.
When I’m sick of reading badly written, plotless, PWP manga, I’ll go back to this and it’ll be a refreshing experience all over again. Sure the plot is cliché, but what BL manga or even Hollywood movie isn’t? Maybe only a handful of them are still unique (I’m hunting for these titles down now). As what my lecturer once said, why change something when it still works?
Now the question is, sex? Only two and a half page at the very last chapter. But it begins the chapter with sex, so I’m a happy girl for now!~