Author: Konohara Narise
Illustrator: Kuwahara Yuuko
This is one of the very early works by Konohara sensei and is also the FIRST BL novel I EVER read and so I feel like writing a small review about it but I will only write about the first story which I managed to find – Kataomoi. There is another story in the novel but I never managed to find it because the book is already out of print. I might try my luck in Japanese used bookstores should I visit Japan because that other story is about incest and I like DARK themes. Kataomoi though is VERY LIGHT and is one of the few “comedy” novels Konohara sensei writes. For those who have read “Nugenai Otoko”, you will find it’s slightly similar, only that in “Nugenai Otoko”, the story is told from the seme’s point of view where in this novel, it’s told from the uke’s point of view.
The story is very simple (as it’s only half the size of a usual novel). Yoshimoto Satoshi was a beautiful, intelligent, and successful man but sadly, he also had a very poisonous tongue. In particular, he would love to tease his friend from high school Mikasa Takashi, a tall, muscular, and physical type. One night while out drinking with Mikasa and his best friend Kadowaki, Mikasa suddenly said he was going to get married and would like to introduce his girlfriend to both Kadowaki and Yoshimoto. Yoshimoto was completely shocked and paniked because he liked Mikasa! He liked Mikasa very much, ever since high school though the exact reason why he would fall in love with a guy who’s big and not smart or handsome was very much beyond his own comprehension. Another reason why he was awed was because the Mikasa he knew used to like men. Or at least that was what Mikasa told him when they were still at high school. Then, Mikasa liked a member of the baseball team and told Yoshimoto that he seemed to like guys. Of course, Yoshimoto said it was “disgusting” of him to like guys but the reality was Yoshimoto just could not leave Mikasa alone. Since then, their friendship continued for five years, or rather it was sustained through Kadowaki. So, that night when Mikasa said he was going to get married, Yoshimoto completely lost himself. He was so close to Mikasa and yet the latter loved guys or even women other than him. He refused to admit to himself that he was in love with Mikasa but at the same time, he could not just sit there and watch Mikasa get married to a woman. The night when Mikasa introduced his fiance to Yoshimoto and Kadowaki, Yoshimoto found the girl to be quite ordinary but Mikasa seemed to be very happy with her. He felt even more gutted and drenched himself in alcohol. Yoshimoto then decided he would do all he could to snatch Mikasa from the woman whom he was going to marry. He chose the WORST POSSIBLE METHOD – by seducing Mikasa. He pretended he was drunk and lost his own key and so he went to stay over at Mikasa’s place and seduced the latter to sleep with him. Then, he pretended he woke up without any memory of what happened. That was the worst thing a person could do to another person, save “a friend” like Mikasa. Yoshimoto knew it himself and felt very guilty and painful, so much so he had to confess his “sins” to Kadowaki. Kadowaki was sick to hear what Yoshimoto did and scolded him for doing such a stupid thing. At the same time though, Kadowaki understood his “desperation” and how much he loved Mikasa. While Yoshimoto was in depression, did not attend university, and thought he would give up on Mikasa, the latter came to visit him on a day when it was snowing. Mikasa wanted to ask Yoshimoto why he pretended to be drunk, and why he seduced him that night, and why he slept with him that night. Yoshimoto at first tried not to give an explanation because he could not say it outright that “he loved Mikasa” (that’s why he had a sickass personality). However, Mikasa realized he harbored feelings for him and was flattered by the fact that a smart, intelligent, extremely gorgeous looking guy as Yoshimoto would have fallen in love with a plain and ordinary guy like himself. Mikasa wanted confirmation and so they slept once more. While Mikasa appeared to be still sleeping, Yoshimoto confessed that he loved Mikasa (and not noticed Mikasa flipped his eyebrows for a second when hearing that confession).
Since it’s only half the novel, the review is quite short but should I ever have the luck to find the novel, I’ll update this review with the other story. Anyway, I am not sure I liked this story or not. Definitely it’s not Kinohara at her best (her comedy usually is ordinary at best with the exception of “Don’t Worry Mama” in my opinion. However, this story has ONE part that I liked very much – the ending. I really liked Yoshimoto’s confession. Or more accurately, what I like about this story is how Kinohara sensei BROUGHT the queen Yoshimoto DOWN to Earth. It’s always nice to see an extremely arrogant man stripped off of his pride and this is EXACTLY the goal of this story – to completely shatter Yoshimoto’s pride and made him love in a terribly desperate and ugly way. This story is completely driven by flashbacks and Yoshimoto’s monologues and the story is very loyal to its title – One sided love.
Kinohara sensei is really skilled at creating characters that one can HATE from the bottom of one’s heart and Yoshimoto is probably the second WORST character I have in her works I’ve read so far. The #1 place is reserved for Kaiya in “Nugenai Otoko” because at least Yoshimoto just seduced, not RAPED. Anyway, despite the fact that Yoshimoto was a scum and asshole, I still have pity for him (thanks to the fact that his thought processes are outlined in details). This is also true for Kaiya in “Nugenai Otoko”, although he’s even worse than human trash, because the story is told in his view, I still feel “something” for the poor man though I swore I was close to throwing my book several times at the airport. Back to Yoshimoto, as I said before, this whole story was to show the readers how falling in love could make a “queen” shed his pride. As we gradually see Yoshimoto falling deeper and deeper in love, we also start to see Yoshimoto getting more and more lost, scared, and desperate. What to do? What to do to stop someone I love from marrying someone else? I know it’s wrong to steal another person’s lover… everyone knows that’s wrong, but I WANT HIM! So much so that he’s willing to do ANYTHING TO GET HIM (and only regret afterwards). I think Kinohara illustrated the worries and desperation of Yoshimoto quite well. Also, I love the last scene when Mikasa came knocking on the door (despite the snow) for answers. Of course, Mikasa would never have thought Yoshimoto would fall for an ordinary man like him. The realization (and of course Yoshimoto’s BED SKILLS) completely blew him away. Even when in front of Mikasa, Yoshimoto still tried to put up his “Queen mask” … all the way up till the very last moment when he finally let his own true feelings roam free. Just because the whole story was so crap and Yoshimoto’s unreasonable resistence to be honest with his own feelings seemed so stupid, that ending surprisingly left a very strong memory in me, to the extent I wrote this review, which was also extremely C.R.A.P.
Since this novel would never be dramatized so I can pick whoever I want to read the story in. Frankly, I don’t want Kamiyan to play such a scoundrel but then he fit the role (sigh). I love to hear that poisonous queenlike voice reduced to a whisper and confessed on the chest of the sleeping Mikasa. Nanya is a wicked person, haha.
Yoshimoto was a piece of shit but Mikasa was no better to be honest because this guy claimed he was gay but then fell in love with a woman. This guy fell in love with a woman enough to want to marry her but easily changed his mind because Yoshimoto gave him the best smex he probably ever had in his life. Well, the fact that a queen would go SO LOW just to stay by his side was flattering for an average guy as himself. Still, if he were a decent man, he wouldn’t have slept with Yoshimoto (knowing the latter was drunk… or pretending to be) when he was already engaged and so close to getting married. This only proved that Mikasa could easily be swayed and not a loyal man. I really don’t have problem for two horrible men finding company with each other and I am really glad he did not marry the girl because then I would feel pity for the poor girl, finding her husband infidel with A MAN and not just a MAN but a terrible bastard.
Kadowaki was really a passerby in this novel but he played an important role unconsciously. He was the link between Yoshimoto and Mikasa because Yoshimoto got acquainted with Mikasa through him. I guess the reader actually played Kadowaki’s role. He knew what Yoshimoto did could not be more wrong, yet he could not hate Yoshimoto or called off the friendship because he also could see how Yoshimoto must have suffered when he heard about Mikasa’s marriage. He must also be sympathetic with Yoshimoto to a certain extent but could not approve Yoshimoto’s behaviors. It’s a difficult position but by putting the readers at such a difficult position, it made this novel worth reading when one had nothing better to do.
This is a million light years from Kinohara’s best piece in terms of quality but it’s light and fun and entertaining. It’s always entertaining to see a Queen being stripped off her pride for Nanya. I’m not sure if I should recommend it because even if I do, it’s unlikely you can get it outside of Japan. Still, if you HAPPEN to get this novel, give the story a try, you may like it.