Taichi is a struggling college student, trying to juggle working enough to afford food with going to his classes. One day, he literally stumbles upon the lunch spot of Kōhei, who mysteriously hands Taichi his bento box before taking off, wordlessly. Later, Taichi discovers that Kōhei is partially deaf, and his hearing loss has left him removed and detached from society. Kōhei’s hearing began to deteriorate after a sickness he suffered as a child. Taichi sees that Kōhei is looking for a note-taker to assist during classes, but it's an unpaid service. Taichi accepts, so long as Kōhei pays him in delicious lunches. Taichi is a pretty loud talker, so Kōhei finds he can hear his voice, and it soothes him. When Kōhei realizes he likes Taichi more than a friend, and his hearing loss starts to get worse, he pulls away from Taichi, but Taichi's also too attached to his new friend to let him slip out of his life.
The two mains in this series are described as “more than friends, less than lovers”, which really doesn’t come into play until the last quarter of this volume. Boys-love and romance fans might be disappointed with how slowly their relationship develops, but given that there are four more volumes that focus specifically on this relationship, I enjoyed a little bit of the slow, build-up that layered a foundation for these two gentlemen. Yes, Taichi had a though the first time he saw Kōhei that he was extremely handsome, but it wasn’t in admiration until much later. Often times in the boys-love stories I’ve read, the two mains see each other and are instantly in love and embarrassed by their feelings. In this story, we had time to fall in love with each guy as they sort of fell in love with each other. This volume is the first in the series I Hear the Sunspot. The other books in the series are: I Hear the Sunspot: Theory of Happiness (1 vol), and I Hear the Sunspot: Limit (3 vols).
Fumino illustrates using a lot of the characteristics of shōjo manga - some detailed backgrounds, unconventional panel sizing - and the two main characters are usually highly detailed. Both are very beautifully drawn, but a little on the super-tall-and-skinny side.
The two main characters are in college, but there’s nothing in this first volume that would be inappropriate for younger readers.
Sara's Rating: 8/10
Suitability Level: Grades 7-12
Publisher: One Peace Books
Publication Date: August 15, 2017
ISBN: 9781944937300 (Paperback)
Tags: Rating: 8/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Manga, Romance, Friendship, LGBTQ+
I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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