Rui is tall, energetic, sweet, and prone to fretting. Yuujirou is athletic, short, and has a complex about his height. The two high schoolers have been friends since they were children. Rui had fallen into a gutter and Yuujirou rescued him. At the time, Yuujirou thought Rui was a very cute girl...and fell instantly in love. Even after he found out that Rui was actually a boy, he couldn't shake his feelings, and it's getting harder and harder to hide them. What Yuujirou doesn't know is that Rui is starting to realize that his feelings of deep admiration for his friend might actually be love.
I hate myself a little for giving Tokyopop any of my money. I'm still bitter about the licenses they left in limbo and series that went unfinished after the company imploded. But this looked really cute, so I ignored my bitter feelings and bought it.
And it was cute, for the most part. The first half was devoted to Yuujirou and Rui's mutual pining. In the second half, they'd finally admitted how they felt about each other but were still feeling their way around being boyfriends in addition to childhood friends. And FYI, unlike a lot of one-shots, the entire volume is devoted to this one couple - no spinoff bonus stories at the end, and no unrelated older works by the same author. I appreciated that, although I wouldn't have said no to a bonus story devoted to Takenaka, the sad stud doomed to unrequited love.
My favorite part of the volume was the first half. I love mutual pining. I love the anticipation of the moment the characters finally realize that the person they love loves them back. This volume gave me a good deal of that, and it was fun.
Yuujirou's efforts to push Rui away were a little annoying, but understandable (poor Yuujirou and his embarrassing and inconvenient boners). I was more annoyed by the introduction of the freshman girl who had a crush on Yuujirou - Yuujirou didn't seem like the kind of guy who'd try out a relationship he wasn't into, even in an effort to hide his feelings for Rui, and it irked me that the girl didn't even get to have a name or a face (her eyes were always obscured by her hair).
Yuujirou was more aware of his feelings than Rui, so Rui's part of the story was more about him examining his admiration for Yuujirou and realizing what his friend meant to him. He was a complete sweetheart. Also, it was just a little thing, but I got a kick out of the visual gag involving his cat. Every time Rui was on his bed, fretting about Yuujirou, his cat came by to step on his face.
The second half of the volume was where dating and sex came in. The dating was fun - Yuujirou and Rui were two adorable dorks who were interested in sex but too used to going out as friends to know how to move things along. They eventually figured things out, though, and that's where my feelings about the story got a little iffier.
On the plus side, they were both 100% on board with sex - no rapey tinge, although there was one instance of accidental voyeurism (if there really are love hotel rooms like that, then eww). On the minus side, after a whole volume of adorable awkwardness on both their parts, Yuujirou suddenly became the sexy and perfect seme to Rui's blushing uke. Considering that their sex education seemed to be a bit shaky (it sure looked like the sex advice book Rui bought was intended for women, or possibly heterosexual couples) and that they were both high school students having sex for the first time ever, I'd have expected some awkwardness.
Now for the artwork. I mostly liked it. Characters' facial expressions were great, but it bugged me a little that Yuujirou and Rui's face shapes and body types were somewhat inconsistent. I occasionally mistook Takenaka for Yuujirou, and Rui had weird moments when he suddenly looked more buff. As far as the explicitness level goes, yes, there's on-page sex, but any potentially objectionable body parts were obscured. Fairly tame, despite the "Mature, Ages 18+" rating on the back. (Side note: manga ratings drive me nuts and aren't very helpful. I have one that's rated 16+ that's way more explicit than this.)
Anyway, despite my complaints I still enjoyed this overall and even reread the first three quarters or so a couple times. It's one of those rare one-shots that I think was exactly as long as it needed to be.
Two full-color illustrations (on matte paper rather than the usual glossy) and a brief afterword by the author, with a cute illustration of Yuujirou, Rui, and a cat.
(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)