Title: と或る主従の恋のはなし (A Love Story Between the Master and Me)
Author: Ariki Eiko
Release Date: June 5, 2021
Publisher: Houbunsha (Hanaoto Comics)
This one is another one I picked up because I liked the cover drawing and also because the story sounded interesting. I love stories with children. This is the first time reading a manga by this manga-ka although I have heard of her before, but I figured you can’t go wrong with a servant x master story.
The story starts when Yuno’s mother who worked at the Mashiro residence introduces her son Saeki Yuno to Mashiro Masaki when they were still young. Yuno then became Masaki’s servant when he was 14 years old, after his mother passed away. Masaki had persuaded his parents to let Yuno stay with them and go to the same school instead of sending him to an orphanage. Masaki and Yuno become close and even exchange kisses. Yuno promises Masaki that he would not leave him, but one day Yuno and Masaki’s younger sister Moe elope. Five years later Masaki finds him working as a detective and raising his son Wakana. He had searched for them because his grandfather died recently and it was in his will to bring Moe’s son to the Mashiro family and share the inheritance with him. Moe had passed away a year ago. Masaki gives Yuno one month so he can say goodbye to his son while Masaki stays with them. Wakana is excited to meet his uncle and the three spend quality time together. Yuno decides that Wakana would be in good hands if he goes to the Mashiro residence, and Masaki suggests that Yuno comes with them as Masaki’s servant. This is so that he doesn’t have to part with his son. Yuno feels that he should not go with them though. Masaki’s secretary Motoki then appears and later tells Yuno that Masaki is getting engaged and if he cared for him he should not come along.
Why did Yuno break his promise? What happened at the Mashiro residence 5 years ago? Why did he elope with Moe when he loved Masaki? Will Yuno go with Wakana to the Mashiro residence? What will happen to Masaki’s engagement? There are so many questions to be answered and unfortunately not all are no fully dealt with. It’s a pretty predictable plot line and a serious topic, but the existence of Wakana and his friendly character tones down the atmosphere of this manga. It is very delightful to see the three together. The manga flows in a gentle manner while it deals with some tough situations for the two. But in the end everything settles in well and it’s a happy ending. Perhaps it falls into place too perfectly that it seems a bit unnatural.
It’s not a fantastic manga but it has its moments. I like the relationship between Yuno and Masaki after they meet again. Yuno is kind and caring, but maybe too kind as he ended up eloping with Moe. And I will give it away (spoiler alert!) but Wakana is not really Yuno’s child but he still treats him like his own. I am glad Yuno and Masaki did not forget their love for each other, even after five years. They are very sweet together.
Even if the plot lacks a bit, the manga-ka is very talented especially with the development of the story and how new information is incorporated into it. The artwork is gentle like the story so it suits it very well. In fact, I would pick up her other titles for the artwork and hopefully her future manga would have more wholesome plot lines.
Cover image from Amazon Japan.