Summary: Yuujirou Matsukaze has been close friends with Rui Hanamine since the two of them were children, and at that time, Yuujirou was the one who stood up for and took care of his adorable, soft-hearted friend. But as it turns out, Yuujirou’s childhood dreams end up growing a little too big to handle ― or, rather, too tall! At over six feet in height, the cheerful and happy-go-lucky Rui towers over his would-be protector… and still has no idea Yuujirou’s had a crush on him since they were kids!
Thoughts:I used to read a lot of yaoi and BL manga back in the day, but over recent years have been somewhat turned off the genre due to its formulaic and occasionally anger-inducing storytelling. I found that the vast majority of BL and yaoi fell into one of two categories:
- One of the men involved was basically coded as a woman because apparently two “manly” men aren’t allowed to fall in love.
- The developing relationship involved one side trying to convince the other that they really wanted it despite objections.
I can, at least, say that Dekoboko Sugar Days only fell into the first category. Rui was definitely the feminine-coded one in this story, being cute, enthusiastic, open with his emotions, wearing a hair clip (which was, ostensibly, to advertise his sister’s store), and and the one who, as a child, needed help getting out of scrapes. Later, his concern that his boyfriend might only want him for his body and not for his personality.
Now, that isn’t to say that men never have such concerns in their lives. But there’s a large amount of BL manga out there where you can see the outdated concepts of, “Which one is ‘the woman’?” at work, and unfortunately, Dekoboko Sugar Days does play with this trope.
The story itself is pretty cute, though. Two guys, childhood friends, each trying to come to grips with what it means to be attracted to each other. There are the usual misunderstandings (“I had a crush on him early on but mistook my feelings for something else,” “I feel awful that he has a girlfriend and don’t understand why I feel so bad about it,” etc), and it never really breaks out of any established comfort zones, but it was a pretty cute story within those limits, I have to admit.
One of the reasons I’m not giving this a star/teacup rating here on the blog is because, well, Dekoboko Sugar Days treads a very well-worn path, not really telling a new story but instead sticking to the tried-and-true. And if you like that sort of thing, then great, because this manga doesn’t break any new ground in that regard. It will give you the exact kind of story you already know you like. And I think a lot of BL manga is the same way. This makes it really difficult for me to rate, honestly, because while I was hoping to see something I hadn’t seen already done dozens of times over a decade ago, it still does that particular job well enough.
Though one area that did manage to surprise me was the way it went from the whole “discovery” phases of Yuu and Rui’s relationship to full-on sex. Again, it might just be my own experience, but a lot of manga that I’ve read has tended to keep the two things apart. You’ve either got stuff that’s focused on sex, or you’ve got stuff that’s about the adorable romantic stuff. Dekoboko Sugar Days acknowledged that teenage boys get horny and might want to have sex, but their entire lives aren’t necessarily consumed by it, and they don’t always discover they have an attraction to someone by getting surprise boners around them. So I will give credit where credit is due there.
So in the end? A cute story about two guys discovering and understanding their feelings for each other, which didn’t break any molds or do anything original, but that didn’t stop it from still being cute. It was a nice fluff read, nothing too taxing, on a snowy winter morning.
(Still, hopefully my next read during Manga Month will be a bit more than mere fluff…)
(Book received in exchange for an honest review.)