A week ago I had already spent my “yaoi allowance” and was quiet happy with my purchases. Then, along came a tumblr post from Boys Love Bang Bang. Something about it just made me want to dig into my pocket again. AND I’M SO GLAD I DID! I really, really, really enjoyed this and it put me in such a great mood. This was my first time reading Tatsuki’s work and If the Wish is Fulfilled is one of the best introductions I’ve had to date.
This debut volume is a collection of unrelated tales; each one pulling you into a world alive with kindness, thirst, prudence, growth, and contrition. It certainly doesn’t end there, but it’s best if you find out for yourself. But in the mean time, let me share my thoughts with you.
If the Wish is Fulfilled and So the Wish is…
“Will you cry if I disappear from your life?” I loved Ryuu and Kazumi’s friendship; they seemed like real childhood friends; best friends. I’m convinced they’ll grow up to be like the best friend pairs that I know.
Winter and the Hokkaido Deer et al.
“I must run through this vast land as fleet as the Hokkaido deer!!” Nishikawa is that weird kid that you always wonder how you even became friends with him, but would never ditch him because he’s just too cool and you appreciate him for being weird. His pursuit of megane Akiyama-sensei is hilariously relentless and his sanguine outlook is irrepressible. He reminds me of one of Okuyama Puku’s characters. On a lexicological note, I loved that the translator chose to use the word fleet instead of swift; it complements a whimsical idea voiced buy a whimsical character. Perfect.
This was kind of sad. Being told “no” can hurt, but sometimes it’s necessary. Nao is timid in a way that makes me feel sorry for him; usually I’m annoyed with characters that continuously fold in on themselves. That Haruki was able to tell Nao–a guy who if I pity him, anyone would–“no” makes me believe that should they meet once more, they’ll be able to face each other on relatively even ground.
Make the Cutiepie Work! and A Man’s Honor.
“We do have a last ditch option… If he keeps slacking off, sell him to the people who produce gay porn…” These are the words of a concerned father and yakuza leader regarding the future of his 24 year-old son. A son who, by his own admission, is a “useless idiot.” Ogata, the willing sacrifice charged with guiding the steadfastly resistant heir presumptive, certainly has his work cut out for him. Ogata is at times intimidating and at times weak. Neither disposition has any lasting effects on Waka, at least not without frequent articulation. Though it was my least favorite in the collection, I still enjoyed it.
Blooming in the Moonlight and Yamagawa’s Diary
I don’t quite like the idea of jumping out of one relationship into another, but in Tsukioka-san’s case, I guess he felt the relationship was already over. It’s a small thing, but one of the things I really enjoyed about this story was a (most likely unintentional) re-framing of the classic “take him to bed” sequence. You know how the one will grab the other’s arm and pull him toward the room or hotel and on the next panel or page there’re gasps or flowers? Well, Yamagawa does this to Tsukioka-san and what do you know…? There’re flowers. However, in this case, the hotel is a greenhouse and the flowers or rather plants are real. Moments like this are exactly why people should experience things for themselves; you never know what may occur to you. And let me leave you with this: “You’ll be gay when you grow up too!”
A Place without an Exit
While “Sandcastle” was kind of sad, this–Tetsuhiro and Hikaru’s story–was heartbreaking. If you’ve ever dealt with someone living with a mental illness or depression, at one time or maybe even still, you may have dismissed the value of their words or actions by relegating them to a consequence of their condition. People are so much more than their jobs or their interests or their afflictions. Particularly if you are someone they willingly relate to, your acceptance, consideration, or disregard can make all the difference. Of course you cannot save everyone, nor should you feel pressured to, unless it’s your calling; but always remember that no man is an island and though sovereign nations we may think ourselves, our borders overlap. Always be mindful of your interactions, not just for their sake, but for yours as well because true regret is about as easy to live with as a mental illness or depression is.
I do like happy endings, but I have a greater fondness for the not so; sometimes there is no chance for redemption. “Sandcastle” and “A Place without an Exit” were the only stories without an omake–I really wish they had. But I guess it’s fine for Tetsuhiro and Hikaru because I sort of want it to stay that way. If the Wish is Fulfilled realized my wish of reading a collection of oneshots that poked and prodded at my emotions and gave me a book that I look forward to returning to again and again.
One last bit, Digital Manga Guild has also licensed Tatsuki’s Hachigatsu no Mori, so I guess we can look forward to that! I wonder if they’ll call it “August Forest”–which I believe is the literal translation–or something else. Can’t wait to find out!
Notes: Hachigatsu no Mori, among other things, has yet to be released by DMG.