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弟の夫 Vol. 1 & 2

I was randomly clicking around my favorite Yaoi manga site when I came across a one shot manga and the situation is pretty intense. I wasn’t particularly attracted to it but I was curious enough to check more from the recommendations from the same artist. And when I said intense I mean the theme usually are Bara (or muscled men) and they through BDSM, torture, and even rape. It’s really not for the faint of heart. But one manga (or in this case 2), were listed as Slice of Life. And just judging from the cover photo, its pretty safe to read in public.

otoutonootto.jpg

The Title is 弟の夫 (Otouto no Otto) which means My Younger Brother’s Husband. Reading through it, it would seem it’s not by Gengoroh Tagame cause of the story but the art style is definitely his.

Yaichi has a younger twin brother who recently died. His brother’s name is, Ryoji, and he left to Canada where he met Mike and eventually they got married. Mike visited Yaichi’s home where he and his young daughter Kana leave. Because of Kana’s accepting manner (and also since she was excited to find that she got a Canadian uncle), Mike stayed in their home. Though reluctant, Yaichi agreed.

The manga tackles topics of gay marriage and single parenthood. And each chapter not only introduces you to the characters but what they through. My favorite story is chapter 13 titled Hot Chocolate. In this chapter a teenage boy named Ogawa Kazuya (an older brother of one of Kana’s friend) was stalking their home. Kazuya wanted to talk to Mike because he haven’t talked to anyone in person about his sexuality. And I have to say that made me cry so much (just writing about this made me tear up a bit). Cause these kind of things happen in real life. Not only chapter 13 but most of the story.

The story setting is in Japan so you have to expect that their lifestyle is quite conservative. And I have to say it’s quite forgiving cause Japanese (from what I heard) are on the quiet side and would just avoid such conflicts. But can you imagine if this happen in countries where it is illegal to be gay? Where they could throw you in jail, or bully you or even torture you for your preference? It’s just going to be a whole different story and it could be worst than Gengoroh Tagame’s one shots.

Another thing that I enjoyed about this manga is Mike’s Gay Culture Lectures. Basically they are facts that are inserted before a story chapter and it is quite informative. Like in chapter 6, where it was explained what the symbol means in Mike shirt in the cover art of Vol. 1. That symbol, the pointed down pink triangle, were one of the badges used in Nazi concentration camps to identify male prisoners accused of homosexuality. I didn’t really know that, the only thing I knew about Nazi is that they killed Jews. And due to my curiousity I looked it up and I found something a bit more interesting. The symbol that were given to them is now still being used by the gay community except this time the the symbol is not a pointed up hot pink triangle. Talk about pulling strength from the past.

I don’t think the story is complete but it didn’t end in so much of a cliffhanger that I wouldn’t be able to deal. But like I said the chapters tackled different issues in each chapter however you can’t help but fall in love with these beautiful characters and how these situation affect their lives. Also there was this part where Mike thought that he won’t leave yet because of the promise he made to his husband. I think it’s kinda obvious but at the same time I’m still curious. Of course I searched if there are more chapters coming and it seemed that Vol. 3 is already out (it was posted in a different site). I haven’t read it yet to see if it ends there or there is a need for Vol. 4 (yes, that’s how much I liked this story).

While also searching, I found that Gengoroh Tagame is also gay which shouldn’t surprise me but I’m glad that he is writing this story. In this age where there are still people who’ll bully you or downright shut you down for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transexual, it takes courage to tell your story and openly tell the world who you are. I know the world a little bit more accepting but we still have a long way to go. And although I don’t think it’s his personal story, with this story out there I can only hope that somehow someone could at least respect these individuals. No need to accept it immediately but respect is a step closer for the better.

I love this story a lot and believe me if I go to Japan and even if I won’t be able to read it yet, I’ll definitely buy this book.

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