Doushitemo Furetakunai –No Touching at All– tells the story about Shima and Togawa, your average company workers. Shima is the new guy, he has a shy and blunt personality; he doesn’t talk unless it’s necessary and when he does he is very incisive. Togawa finds these traits really interesting and, after a really bad first impression, he can’t help but want to tease Shima every time he sees his inexpressive face. This situation could turn out to be a normal boss/employee relationship, or even a good friendship, but, what happens when Togawa accidentally discovers the other side of Shima and becomes even more curious about him?
Yoneda Kou is another mangaka that, working with a common plot, can achieve an amazing result that stands out from your usual BL. The greatness of this manga is on the details and the way the story is presented; normal, realistic and focusing in the characters’ feelings. We are allowed to see some pretty painful struggles, bad decisions based on a confused judgment and love as it is most of the times; really complicated and scary.
This story is deep and with a perfect amount of drama that doesn’t go to the point of becoming unnatural. It centers on a major fact of life: in a good or bad way, the sad parts of a person’s past affect their personalities and choices forever. Togawa and Shima represent different ways of dealing with those painful memories; they are polar opposites that wouldn’t have been more than friends if it wasn’t exactly for their difficult pasts.
The flow or direction feels kind of melancholic in a really beautiful way. It’s like an extract of real life moments where every detail, from the dialogue to the illumination, becomes an important part of a whole; each moment is dyed with a particular emotion, along with the characters’ thoughts, and nothing feels off or out of normal. Thanks to that we are able to sympathize with them and to actually go along with the mood in every moment. Certainly, there must be some sort of magic here that brings forth a painfully beautiful story, and even the sex scenes add to that, being so simple and yet so sensual and full of meaning.
The art is beautiful, simple and smooth, soft at some parts darker at others. It’s a nice style that feels good from the very beginning, and later you become aware of the tidiness and the small changes that come along with the mood. Maybe all the faces look similar but their expressions are nicely defined and every character is well designed. Definitely a unique art style that has become one of my favorites already.
The characters are portrayed in such a natural way, like real men with their particular traits; really different from your usual seme/uke presentation. Shima might seem girly at first since he has a shy personality and it’s often called cute, far from reality, he has a really sharp tongue, he is really bold most of the times and knows how to take care of himself. What might be out of place here and brings a bit of stereotype is how easily the relationship began, like a straight guy wouldn’t have a problem getting involved with another just for the sake of desire, makes me wonder how open minded had Togawa been raised.
Doushitemo Furetakunai is one of those gems of BL that are really worth to reading several times, you can always enjoy it. Surely, this is a story a lot of people can identify with, the main trouble for this couple might seem the straight/gay issue but it actually isn’t. Fear of falling too hard and not being able to stand the loss later, that’s it. In the end, the realistic touch of it calls to a deeper reflection; how much risk can we take in order to be happy?
Original art and story by Yoneda Kou. Fan art by bouenkyou Published in Japan by Taiyoh Tosho. Licensed in English by June.