The first story was OK, kind of sad at points, and while I’d read it again, I would have preferred if the whole volume was just about the title story.
When I look at the cover, I get the feeling that Higuchi, the one on the left, is an overgrown hopeless case in love with his senpai, Nagase, on the right. But actually, Higuchi is the senpai and it’s Nagase who falls in love with him. There are no honorifics (except that some of Higuchi’s friends call him Higuchin), so it took a few pages to confirm their age/rank difference. Once you get to the page where Higuchi talks about their age difference, you kind of get the urge to go back a read a gain with that in mind because it changes how you view their first interactions. By the time they meet, Nagase is already tired of his life. He’s wanted to be in a serious relationship since he was in high school, but that has yet to happen. I think part of the reason is his approach–up to this point, he’s been going about it haphazardly and he hasn’t been honest about what he wants.
Higuchi seems to exist in his own world, but he’s more tuned in than you would think. By chance, the two discover that they don’t mind each other’s company and start spending more time together. The day after their first encounter, Higuchi found out that Nagase was gay, so that Higuchi still hung out with him was something of a comfort to Nagase. However, he reaches a point where, even though Higuchi isn’t his type, he starts to consider whether or not it could work with him. And thus begins his plan to exploit any opening into Higuchi’s heart.
The story is only half of the book, so there couldn’t be a real slow build, but the way it’s told, you get the feeling that they moved along at a slow to moderate pace. I enjoyed their development. I like the way Nagase let his guard down around Higuchi and kind of kept it down even after he realized his feelings.
It ends at a good point, yet indefinitively. Natsuki mentioned that she’d like to write about them again. Although I never rely on such wishes, I’d be happy if this one came true.
With the shift in perspective after finding out that Higuchi is older, I started thinking about that type of younger, hopeless character and realized that at some point they become someone’s senpai and I just felt sorry for their kouhai,