Title: Thank You My God
Mangaka: Hideki Kawai
Complete: Yes || Chapters: 6 (+ extra)
Nico ran away from home, leaving his mother and younger brother Will. After suffering from hardships and even almost dying, he eventually settled in a small town in Brazil, but not without the help of some kind people there. Three years after, Will suddenly appeared on his doorstep, convincing him to come back home. He refuses, and won’t tell Will the reason why.
This manga was a tad dramatic, but good thing it ended nicely. I was expecting some sort of incest-y story, but boy I was wrong. So wrong. And it was good.
Nope, this is not a religious story. If it was I wouldn’t have included it here.
I purposely stalled the review of this manga because it was too sad for me when I first read it. After reading it for the second time just to refresh my memory, I realized it wasn’t so sad and tragic after all (compared to Sakura Gari, I guess. That’s waaaay too tragic). Maybe I was going through the motions when I first read it. Lol.
Nico and his brother will had been close ever since they were kids. But while they were growing up, their mother started to pour all her love and attention towards Will. This got worse when their father died. The mother started to act very coldly towards Nico, to the point that she acts like she only had one son. She also tries to physically separate the two of them as much as she could.
Naturally, Nico got desperate . He studied well, he tried his best to be a good boy: he’s craving for his mother’s love. But she won’t give it to him. He was jealous at Will; he thought that when it was just the three of them–Nico, his mother and father–his mother showered her with love and affection. Will was bright, cheery and bubbly, similar to their father, the complete opposite of him: bookish, gloomy, and quiet type. He was angry at his mother–he even attempted to stab her in her sleep. But his love for her and for his brother is greater than the anger he feels. Giving up on hopes that his mother would love him back, he ran away from home.
He eventually reached Brazil, in a small town with a replica of the statue Jesus Christ the Redeemer. Tired, hungry and penniless, he tried to steal money from people, only to get shot by another robber. He was helped by the same man he tried to steal money from: Eri Lalashavar, a local bar owner. He nursed him back to heath, helped him get a job, and even helped him find his own room to rent in.
That’s when he realized that there is still a reason for him to live.
But thanks to Eri, who sent a letter to his mother without him knowing it, Nico started receiving letters from his mother. One day, Will appeared on his door. He said he ran away from home after seeing their mother’s lukewarm reaction on a letter they just received. He wants to know why Nico ran away.
He saw a letter being delivered to Nico, which he just dismisses and places in a drawer without reading.
Will followed his brother whenever he goes, and eventually encountered Eri. Feeling jealous of Eri, he suddenly blurt out his un-brotherly feelings for Nico, which Nico dismisses. Nico ran away and didn’t go home, despite the rain. Will waited all night, feeling hurt with the possibility that Nico spent the night with Eri.
There was a knock on the door. Thinking it was Nico, Will rushed to the door and hugged the guy, who was actually a postman. Another letter came. He was shocked to see where the letter came from: their mother. He opened the drawer where Nico placed the letter before. It was full of them, all from their mother.
At last, he saw the contents of the letters: hurtful things that a mother wouldn’t normally say to their child. She thinks Nico persuaded Will to go against her, and she wants Will back. No wonder Nico ran away from home. It all make sense to Will now. He never felt so bad for his older brother. He was suffering because of him, only because Nico wanted their mother to love him back too.
We found out the reason why their mother is cold to Nico: she sees him as a rival for Will’s affections. Will remembers the time when they were kids: on dinner, a young Will (5-6 years old maybe?) suddenly blurted out that he will marry Nico when they grow up. Everyone was silent after that, as if it was taboo, an unspeakable thing.
While we may gush and go “Kyaaa~” on these kind of scenes in other yaoi mangas that deal with “childhood friends to lovers” trope, in real life, saying hat you wanted to marry your older brother (or sister) is just considered as meaningless blabberings of a child (and to be honest, I rarely read this on other forms of literature in other countries, except Japan). Or maybe he just looks up to his brother that much that in his young mind, “marrying” his older brother is a sure-fire way for them to be together until like forever. A parent normally don’t put meanings to those kinds of statement, especially the malicious kind.
One possible theory of mine is echoed on the scene where Will pointed out that Nico looks a lot like their mother, while Will looks after their father. I’m guessing Nico is thinking that his mother looks at him not just as a stranger, an outsider, but worse, as a woman who’s vying for Will’s (and the father’s) attention. Which makes me think that she is some kind of a selfish and malicious bastard. If you are a mother whose on their right mind, you won’t see your child in that way, just saying. Or maybe post-partum syndrome occurred after Will was born? We’ll never guess the exact reason.
Well, going back.
Seeing that Nico was actually doing fine in the town, having a job, friends, a roof over his head (albeit shabby), Will realizes that he has no business on that place. Even more so when Nico admitted that he likes Eri.
In the end Will decides to go back, despite him still being suspicious (and still a little jealous) of Eri. As Nico sends him off, he sends his regards to their mother.
I was thinking along the lines of Eri being just a sex friend and Nico, clearly smitten with his own brother, eventually going with him to live somewhere far from their (evil) mother. I was so wrong. And it’s a good thing (well to be honest I didn’t read the tags so I didn’t realize that there will be no incest).
Also, I would like to tip my hats off to Eri, who at first I thought was just a sneaky horny bastard. I was wrong (again). Especially during the scenes when they were creating a “love letter” for Rosita, I realized that what he’s feeling was love. Well, maybe at first he’s just curious with Nico, since he looks so different (his name, Nicolas Heltzpelt, could mean he’s German/Austrian/not really sure), and he wants to know what happened to him and how he ended up in their town. But seeing how sad and vulnerable Nico really is, he helped him to get back on his feet. He’s also has a bar where he is also working despite coming from a wealthy family. That definitely tells a lot about his personality. Truly an eccentric, but sweet, endearing guy.
I’m feeling a little sad for Will, since a lot of emotions has been invested by some readers for him, which the author definitely intended to, I believe. Others are cheering for him to push through and get his brother back, others are pitying him since Nico will always think of him as a brother. The pacing of the story overall was alright, it just seemed rush when it comes to sorting out Will’s feelings. Like, due to the intense buildup of emotions inside him, he’s just going to go back and leave it all like that? Despite him declaring that he loves his brother more than anyone else, why give up like that right away?? That extra where they went to a trip in Japan with Will definitely made things worse.
I think the number of chapters were sufficient to tell the whole story, but the “sorting out Will’s feelings” moment should have been given more time, since from the summary itself, we only see Nico and Will. Clearly, we didn’t expect Eri to be in the picture. Eri was like Bingbong from Inside Out, except that he is not a product of Nico’s mind. :p
The order of the story is a little jumbled and seems confusing to readers who are used to the usual linear progression, but since I’ve already been used to such arrangement (I’m looking at you, Hyakujitsu no Bara! Lol, you are my favorite yaoi manga of all time, don’t be jealous), it’s fine with me. This type of storytelling has been used over and over again in literature. The one that I’m most familiar of is Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum, where two stories are told alternately, one from the past and one in the present tense.
Overall, the story was a tearjerker. I didn’t cry, but I was seriously happy for Nico because he had already learned to move on. I don’t think I can do that if I was in his place. Maybe I could go on forever carrying the anger in my heart, but he was able to surpass that. And that is an awesome thing.
It’s easy to say to “forgive and forget”, but the scars and trauma that one may experience in such situations can be too great that moving on and forgiving seems like a monumental task. And it truly is. It’s so nice to see in the end that Nico had proven himself to be the better and more mature person compared to his mother. He had forgiven her, and loved her still despite of what he did to him.
And one more thing: this story totally lacks sex scenes! Oh well, at least it ended great. 🙂
P.S.: Not my scans. The translated chapter was skilfully done by Shinmakoku Scanlations (I’ve read this story from Mangago). 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.