Author: Himawari Souya
In this volume, there are three stories in total, all linked to the story PET. Pretty much pet is story about master and sex androids in half human and half animal shaped. The title story is the second story which is about two kids growing up together in a war ridden period. Rou is an orphan and when he was young, he learned martial arts from Seishin’s grandfather. Seishin did not speak much but was very strong even as a kid. Rou always wanted to beat him but he hardly ever succeeded. In the beginning, Seishin seemed cold but after Seishin speaking to Rou for the first time, Rou realized that Seishin also wanted to be his friends with him and so the two became friends.
Some years later, Seishin’s grandfather died and the two survived by picking metal from dump sites to earn money. When they grew up, Seishin became a bodyguard and got a much better salary while Rou worked at a bar. One night, Seishin came home looking very distressed and he was also covered in blood. Rou wondered what happened but all Seishin said was that he killed people. Seishin seemed so traumatized by the murders he committed that he did not resist when Rou tried to sleep with him. Since then, their relationship crossed the “borderline” of friend. Rou wanted to undersatnd Seishin’s feelings more. When he met a contract soldier at the bar, he decided to become a contract soldier and he went to the front line. There, he tasted the horros of war and faced the time when one had no choice but to kill. One time, they encountered a frightened kid on the battlefield who fired at Rou because he was so scared. Rou managed to calm the kid (who resembled Seishin) but he got injured and was removed from the frontline. He survived to go home to meet Seishin and was then more prepared for a more stable relationship because he could understand and face “death”.
Compared to the more depressing Yakusoku no Tsuki, the next story: Higana Ichinichi is lighter and would give the audience a good laugh. In Higana Ichinichi, we see Tasuku (guy on the right) entering the dormitory because his parents were going abroad to work. Since Tasuku entered at an unusual time, there was only one place left in the dormitory and he had to share his room with an extremely strange guy Koumei. Koumei aimed at becoming a “housewife” in the future and he could sew, cook, clean perfectly. In addition, he also had a strong sense of justice and later on became the “seigi no mikata” in the neighborhood (forcing Tasuku to go along). At first, Tasuku disliked living with Koumei because the latter would sew chicken and kitten onto his collar or alter his clothes without his permission. Still, when he realized that Koumei was doing this because he was trying to make others happy (Koumei used to go to his mother’s workplace where he sewed things for older ladies and made them happy), Tasuku could not refuse Koumei.
As time went by, Tasuku realized that Koumei was kind to EVERYONE but he wanted Koumei to be kind to him in a special way. Koumei overheard Tasuku while he was letting his feelings out when watching the cats which were taking shelter in the school and since then Koumei and Tasuku moved a HUGE LEAP forward . The funny thing is that actually Koumei was pretty STRONG because he also learned martial arts when he was young and so in bed, Tasuku couldn’t stand a chance.
After reading a huge chunk of Himawari sensei’s work in a short period of time, it’s obvious that she has a unique style in laying out her stories. The keyword to all her stories is – child -. Regardless whether the story is shouta or not, you’ll get a feeling there is always “children’ in her manga. For instance, in Yakusoku no Tsuki, it began with the time when they were children. In the short story from “Pet” though the “pet” looks like an adult, he seems to know very little about the world and in a sense, is a child. In Hagana Ichinichi, Koumei obviously behaves like a child though physically he is completely grown up. That’s the interesting “style” that really attracted me to Himawari’s world. Her children-looking characters usually are more mature and strong while her adult looking characters are the child-like ones. The use of monologues and the references in the background also add to the flavors of her manga. This “style” may take a little while to get used to, especially for people who dislike shouta. However, for those who don’t particularly dislike shouta, the “child” element can be a BIG attraction. In terms of characterization, unfortunately, I don’t have anyone I like in particular in Yakusoku no Tsuki. On the other hand, I really really like Koumei (sweat). I suppose it’s because Koumei is so sweet and cute and feminine on the outside but once on bed, he’s so dominating and masculine. He’s also very honest with his feelings and is so innocent he’s almost surreal (well, not almost… he IS NOT REAL -period). He kinda reminds me of Forrest Gump in a way and I am REALLY WEAK to this kind of SEME (sweat).
To be honest, I really dislike short stories and if not for collecting Himawari Souya’s work, I would probably not have read short stories. Unlike long stories, they don’t have enough room to develop the character. Having said that though, these two volumes (along with Ongakushitsu) really show me just how diverse and unique Himawari Souya sensei can be. I wouldn’t recommend all her works to everyone because it’s a matter of taste I must say and I don’t think she is the type of author whom everyone will like. However, I highly recommend readers to at least give one book or two a try and to see if you like it or not. The best one to start would be one of her short story collection because that would give you the idea of what I mean when I say the common element that defines Himawari’s world is “child”.