by Edako Mofumofu
Print Length: 272
Genre: LGBT, Romance
Special thanks to NetGalley and TokyoPop for providing me with an eARC.
There Are Things I Can’t Tell You will be available July 21, 2020.
Kasumi and Kyousuke are polar opposites when it comes to personality. Kasumi is reserved, soft-spoken and shy; Kyousuke is energetic and has always been popular among their peers. As the saying goes though, opposites have a tendency to attract, and these two have been fast friends since elementary school. To Kasumi, Kyousuke has always been a hero to look up to, someone who supports him and saves him from the bullies. But now, school is over; their relationship suddenly becomes a lot less simple to describe. Facing the world — and one another — as adults, both men find there are things they struggle to say out loud, even to each other. (Goodreads)
There AreThings I Can’t Tell You is an adult LBGT manga that delves into the struggles of two millennial queers as they struggle to come to terms with their identity. We follow the protagonist, Kyousuke Shiina, as he reunites with his childhood friend, Kasumi Amemiya. The story follows their friendship, relationship, and turmoil as Kyousuke struggles with internalized homophobia. The author takes a light-handed approach with this theme, but still manages to portray the emotional constipation that comes with internalizing and ignoring one’s true feelings. The art adds to this portrayal as the story is overall well illustrated.
This story falls short in how it shows the characters overcoming their internalized homophobia, which is to be expected from an idealistic happy-ending sort of story that ends up coming into being. We are given a lot of background on the relationship between the two love interests that set up our protagonist as having deep set anxiety that certain romantic feelings are “wrong”. For these feelings to be disregarded so quickly for the sake of a happy ending is a little unrealistic. It’s hard to say with certainty though because there are illustrations that imply there is quite a bit of time that lapses from the beginning of the manga and its conclusion.
Would I recommend this manga? For a short feel-good read with a hint of realism, yes. As a wholistically realistic depiction of the queer struggle, not really.