DESCRIPTIONA cat gets a new classmate - a lizard! This uncommon species piques the interest of all his classmates, but Hachi isn't as impressed. At least, until he discovers Aoi has a blue lizard tail which brings some new colors into his world. Young boys fall deal with new experiences in this boys love manga.
HACHI is a lazy, sleepy, and nihilistic cat who is barely making it by in school. He isn't the bad boy type like a bully, but he does fit the punk deliquent class since he skips classes and claims his own turf at the top of the school's stairs. He is careless, but that makes him free from being judged.
AOI is a fish out of water lizard who transfers to the school Hachi goes to. His parents are strict, so he is often find studying which has been rewarded with perfect marks. Shy and timid, Aoi has trauma that he keeps to himself.
WORTH THE READ? Ah, yes, a boys love beastmen one-shot manga: my guilty pleasure. I saw this book forward facing at Barnes & Noble and was drawn into it like a paperclip to a magnet. The characters are cute, and are done in a simple anthro style that plays with differences in species anatomy while still maintaining a semi-humanoid society. The mangaka is clever by having Aoi explain elements of the anthro development of differencing species in the form of talking about his school work. I'm gay, I'm a furry, and I like manga so this was a no-brainer.
I think this has to be my first published gay furry manga that I've read. Beastars wasn't brave enough to make Legoshi gay with Louis, and unfortunately, this manga isn't brave enough to make gay love front facing. Hachi is very touchy and feely with Aoi, but some of this could just be attributed to his cat like nature. While it is implied that Hachi has no interest in girls, it is never said he likes men. Aoi is similar, but it is heavily implied that he is gay in the manga.
Another bad trope I hate about most manga is sexual assault in boys love stories. This manga has 2 scenes of sexual assault, one is graphic and used as character trauma and the other is used as a plot device, oh joy. The story would have been better if Aoi had not been assaulted over sexually assaulted, and Hachi should have had a different form of enlightenment that didn't come from biting his prey, ie Beastars.
I am glad this book exists to show these kinds of boys love stories can work, but I was disappointed with the ambiguity and nonsense violence. I want sappy gross gay love without some horrible plot device. Nonetheless, the art is fantastic and Aoi is extremely captivating. I do not regret buying nor reading this one, but I think us gay furries just deserve better and the American indie comic space checks the boxes I have not seen in manga.
More of Nagabe's work coming soon!