This manga contains two different short stories: “Glass Syndrome” and “Similar Figures in Love”. In the first story, class president Nijou is asked to check up on a classmates, Toomi, who hasn’t been coming to school recently. Nijou finds Toomi alone in his house - his father abandoned him after he stole money from his company. Toomi has turned to posing as a girl online for money in order to have enough money to eat. Nijou finds peace in talking with Toomi, and his touch doesn’t repulse him like other people’s does. Toomi, for his part, sees through Nijou’s incessant people-pleasing traits, and encourages him to stand up for himself instead of do what everyone expects. Nijou starts visiting Toomi’s online chat (without Toomi knowing it’s him), and he starts to fall in love with Toomi. In the second, much shorter, story, a pair of life-long friends share a dorm in college, but Kasumi has had a crush on Chihiro for years. An upperclassman, Saiki, confesses he’s in love with Kasumi and agrees to tutor Kasumi on the piano if he tells him about his unrequited love. Chihiro starts dating a girl he has had a crush on for a while, and Kasumi turns to his tutor for comfort, and possibly for love.
This is a decent single-volume pair of love stories that feature many gay main characters and relationships. Nijou, Toomi, and Kasumi are fairly unhappy, tortured young souls, and to some extent, these stories are about them finding some measure of happiness at last. There is a lot of brooding throughout and lots of inner monologues about feelings for other people, both romantically and personally, especially about self-esteem issues like being worthy of being loved. There are a few red flags with the relationship between Nijou and Toomi - Toomi at one point says he likes making and seeing Nijou cry. The biggest problem I had with these stories were the epilogues and the order of the stories. The main stories are first and then the epilogues for each are in the same order, giving it a sort of ABAB approach to storytelling. Both epilogues have significant time jumps, and neither really leaves the reader with any sort of closure. Both relationships could easily be as rocky as they were when they started out.
There aren’t any sex scenes on page, but it’s pretty clear what Toomi is doing online in order to make money. Nijou and Toomi have some pretty heavy kissing scenes that take place on Toomi’s bed, but it doesn’t go further than that on page.
Sara’s Rating: 6/10
Suitability Level: Grades 10-12
This review was made possible with an advanced reader copy from the publisher through Net Galley.
Publisher: LOVE x LOVE
Publication Date: August 10, 2021
ISBN: 9781427868213 (Paperback)
Tags: Rating: 6/10, Suitability: High School, Manga, Romance, School Age, LGBTQ+
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