“I don’t really know if I’m gay or not, but this is a yaoi manga so I’d better sleep with you.”
Itou Haruya is a struggling novelist who just can’t seem to find the inspiration for his next book, until a chance encounter with seventeen year old Hidaka Maki breaks him out of his routine. An obsessive compulsive with a dislike of being touched, Maki clearly has problems of his own, but nonetheless the two men find themselves drawn to each other in a relationship that proves to have a healing effect on both of them.
First things first, before anyone gets the wrong idea, I’m not turning into an FYG- for one thing, I’m not fat, and it’ll be a cold day in hell before I start squealing and glomping. Nonetheless, for a series of quite random reasons, I ended up reading this one volume yaoi romance whose purpose is, quite unsurprisingly, to take two leads, have them meet, and attempt to get them in bed by the end of the volume.
To be fair, as far as a quick romance story goes, this isn’t too bad, but at the same time, it can’t be said to be particularly good either, simply because it is far too short. Maki starts off as a boy with plenty of issues, but just by spending a few days living at Haruya’s house, he becomes magically cured, with the rest of his problems dealt with in a throwaway “oh by the way, I sent him to a psychiatrist” line in the epilogue. Admittedly, it would have been a somewhat irritating waste of precious time to spend ages on his OCD, but dismissing his problems so easily (for the record, he also has to deal with his dying mother) makes them seem rather trite and not worthy of inclusion in the first place.
Equally poorly dealt with is the presence of the ‘third man’ in the relationship, Haruya’s editor Yagisawa. In an unintentionally amusing turn of events, Haruya and Yagisawa have been dating and sleeping together for over ten years, but Haruya never once thinks that Yagisawa might possibly have feelings for him, and instead just uses him for the sex. It’s this sort of thing that makes the story more laughably cheesy than poignant and romantic.
As far as artwork goes, however, Te wo Tsunaide is on more solid ground- character designs are good if not outstanding, whilst backgrounds and shading are solid. As to be expected, there are sex scenes, and whilst creative angles prevent any glimpse of Liang, they are more detailed and explicit than a mere panel here and there.
I’m not into the whole yaoi scene so I don’t know how this compares to other series of this type, but as a one shot romance story it comes off as reasonably average- too laughably cheesy to be particularly good, but overall not bad for a brief diversion.
Volumes: One [complete]
Creator: Miyamoto Kano