Title: あかりと彼はなやましい (Akari and he are uneasy)
Author: Tsurukame Mayo
Release Dates: February 20, 2019 (Vol. 1), July 19, 2021 (Vol. 2)
Publisher: Libre Publishing (Be Boy P!)
This is by the same manga-ka as Perfect Propose and I liked that one so when I saw that Akari to Kare wa Nayamashii Vol. 2 was being released, I picked up Vol. 1 with it. Apparently it’s a spin-off of Mikami to Sato wa Mada Yamashikunai but you can read it without much knowledge of it as I did.
Right at the beginning of Vol. 1 you learn that Sakurai Akari is the friend of Mikami Yuuto and Sato Ryouichi who have recently started dating. They all go to the same high school, and Akari (who is openly gay) and Sato have been friends since childhood. Akari isn’t too pleased that the two are going out and goes to a gay bar one night eager to find someone for himself. There he meets Wakamiya Mizuki who is helping the owner of the bar (his friend) that night. He notices Akari is a minor and tries to send him home but Akari orders an alcoholic drink and falls asleep. Mizuki ends up having to take him home and Akari wakes up in his bed. Mizuki tells Akari to not come to a place like the bar again but Akari expresses that people like him wouldn’t be able to meet anyone until he is an adult if he didn’t go to place like that. Mizuki responds saying that Akari is closing up his possibilities on his own. Akari leaves the next morning, but forgets his hat. After that he ends up going to Mizuki’s often and spending time with him.
While Mikami and Sato are roommates in their dorm, Akari has to commute more than two hours to school because his parents didn’t want their gay son in the school dorm. Everyone at his junior high school knew he was gay because there was an incident where it was exposed that he was gay. But even at home his parents don’t think highly of him and doesn’t like him being around so he usually hangs around his school area until late. By meeting Mizuki he finds a comfortable place to escape to and is slowly attracted to him. Hearing his stories Mizuki feels sorry for him at first and is kind to him. While finding Akari to be a hassle to deal with, he accepts him for who he is and in the end chooses to be with him on his own accord. As for Akari who was quite reserved (and quite a pessimist), and had an awkward attitude towards love, he learns to open up and to show his true inner self thanks to Mizuki’s accepting and caring attitude.
If you like age-gap couples, this is a manga you may like. Akari is a 16 year old high school-er and Mizuki is a 26 year old office worker in the real estate field. The storytelling in both volumes is exceptional especially the careful emotional portrayal. I am glad the series continued because Vol. 2 is a very good read as it closely looks at their relationship.
In Vol. 2 although in the second year of high school, Akari starts preparing and taking extra classes to be successful for entering university. There is a new character introduced who stirs up things and makes Mizuki worry about his relationship with Akari. In this volume we see the troubles that can develop in an age-gap relationship, especially when one is still a minor with a lot of potential for the future. Mizuki shows he is truly a mature adult in this volume and that he has no intention of giving up Akari no matter what. At first Akari shows some emotional instability, but he becomes a really strong-willed character who will keep developing in a positive way to land a happy life for them both.
As I mentioned in my previous review of this manga-ka’s work, I was not too fond of her art style, especially in Vol. 1. But it improves quite a lot in Vol. 2 to the extent that this manga plot and art are a perfect match and cannot be separated. She’s really good at story development and coming up with memorable character lines. Apparently the Mikami and Sato series is still continuing so I will hopefully pickup the prequel in the near future.
Cover images from Amazon Japan.