Title: Ani no Hanashi
Mangaka: Ike Reibun
Complete: Yes || Chapters: 3
Fumitaka looks up to his older brother Takahiro: he’s an obedient son, taking care of him and their sickly grandmother while their mother works as a nurse. He’s also good at soccer, and manages to get good grades to boot. Little did he know that his brother has a secret he doesn’t want anyone to know.
This manga is close to my heart; it’s kinda rare to read stuff like this. And I am a fan of Ike Reibun’s totally hot scenes, manly men and very detailed and breathtaking art. Though you won’t read any smexy scenes in this story, but what the heck.
Since this is tagged as shounen-ai, I think you all pretty well know what that “secret” Takahiro is hiding. But the reason why I hold this story close to my heart (and list of my all-time favorite mangas) is that the story unfolded through the perspective of Fumitaka, who’s straight.
On the first few pages, we all see how he is super proud of his onii-chan.
And did I say that Fumitaka is so cute?
Things changed when Takahiro entered middle school. A good-looking friend *ahem* named Nanao, aka Nana-kun, started visiting their house more often. He seems like a cool guy, and Fumitaka is quite fond of him. But at the same time, he noticed that his brother looks annoyed whenever he hangs out with Nana-kun.
He leaves the house to go out and play, but like how most stories with a “secret” go, he suddenly remembers that he left something at home, so he goes back. Then he discovers the truth between his brother and Nana-kun.
Yes, he is a kid, but he already know what being “gay” means. He himself admits that he was kind of disappointed on his brother’s sexual preference.
He began to understand the meaning behind his brother’s actions whenever Nana-kun is around. Takahiro is always trying his best to make Nana-kun happy. And Nana-kun, in turn, always appreciates what Takahiro does.
Understandably, he grew weary around the lovebirds, and tries not to get too close with Nana-kun. In the corner of his mind though, he still hopes that his brother would soon change his mind and break up with Nana-kun.
But his brother noticed his cold attitude towards Nana-kun. Looking at his brother’s sad and worried face, Fumitaka got angry with himself because he doesn’t have the right to make his brother suffer. Even though he is gay, Takahiro is still his brother, and he appreciates all the things he is doing for the family.
After that incident, Takahiro became more open about his relationship with Nana-kun in front of Fumitaka.
But when their grandmother died, he saw a drastic change on his brother’s attitude. He became more aloof and withdrawn, even to the point that he refuses to meet up with Nana-kun. Being worried about his brother and knowing that Nana-kun is the only one that could definitely help him, he did his best to patch things up.
Turns out that Takahiro felt guilty about being relieved after their grandmother passed away. He’s finally free from the burden of taking care of her, and he’s ashamed to let Nana-kun know about it. But since they are the star of this show, of course they patched things up, and Fumitaka was glad that his brother was cheerful again.
It seems that age does make a person wiser (though not all the time irl), and Fumitaka no longer wishes for the two lovebirds to break up. But he is clearly worried about the trials the two might face in the near future, and he couldn’t be any right.
Then the dreaded day happened. Their mother discovers Takahiro and Nana-kun’s relationship, and is clearly disapproving of it.
Fumitaka on the other hand, is clearly upset that his mother didn’t even try to understand Takahiro’s situation. Then things escalated quickly when Takahiro tried to go out one day to see Nana-kun.
Fumitaka understandably, was pissed. Despite his brother’s sacrifices for their family, it is clear that their mother does not appreciate that.
We need to remember that when he first discovered his brother’s relationship to another man, Fumitaka also disapproved (thought not openly). But day by day, seeing his brother’s efforts he made to keep everything in their house in check, while at the same time managing his studies and keeping in touch with Nana-kun, his respect for this brother grew. And he became supportive of his brother’s relationship.
I totally forgot to tell you that the entire story is just a flashback. In the current setting Fumitaka is already a grown-up and is actually engaged. This flashback was brought up because he is taking his fiancee along and introduce her to his brother and Nana-kun. Good thing that his soon-to-be wife is okay with same-sex relationships.
Even if years had already passed, the (evil) mother is still not okay with Takahiro’s relationship, but tries her best to ignore it. During the dinner, Takahiro mentioned that he was thankful that Fumitaka stood up for him during that day.
..and that’s the end of the story! Let me get some tissues.
If there was something that I can criticize about the story, is that the chronological order seems a little wonky, especially on Chapter 3. At the end of Chapter 2 we all know what would happen, and yet we are seeing scenes about the present Fumitaka and his fiancee, before it goes on to the dramatic revelation.
But then again after reading it a couple of times more for this review, I realized that it’s all okay. The mangaka made us know first that the fiancee is okay with same-sex relationships; the main drama of the story is Takahiro and Nana-kun’s relationship, not other people’s reaction towards it (except for the mother’s).
Another thing that I would like to pick on is about Takahiro. He’s too…perfect. A reliable brother and son, and a sweet lover. Plus, he’s also intelligent. What the heck?! Where can I find one? I need a Takahiro in my life!!! *sobs*
P.S.: Not my scans. The translated chapter was skilfully done by Bakaneko Scanlations. If you’re the owner of the scans and you read my post, just message me if you want me to remove this. The cover photo for this post was taken from an image search via Google.