Friends Like a Lover

By Kanzaki Takashi

Smex Factor:
 Sexy Sexy
 Generic+ (It’s “okay”)
1 Volume; Complete

Review: I’d just like to start this review by pointing out that the title makes no grammatical sense at all. Thank you.

Then I would like to move on to my rollercoaster feelings about this manga. It’s about three friends. HAHA, if you didn’t see a threesome alert from ten miles away with just that simple sentence, then you haven’t been reading enough yaoi. (Conversely, perhaps I’ve just read too much.) So these three BEST CHILDHOOD FRIENDS FOREVER (seriously, they are like the type of people who would get matching charm bracelets and everything, they are so BFF) feel like they’re drifting apart. No wait! Let me start from the beginning: The little black haired guy and Yukie have the major hots for their other best friend Yamato. And like all sexually frustrated teens, they start going at each other like rabbits to sate their mutual, incomparable lust. (What? People don’t actually do that? Don’t lie. If yaoi’s taught me anything, it’s taught me that people sleep with their love rivals all the bloody time.) Naturally, this produces some funny feelings within the little black haired guy whose name I can’t be bothered to remember. Meanwhile, Yamato walks in on them fucking (dude, guys, your mom is RIGHT DOWN STAIRS; is it really so hard to just wait or find a hotel or SOMETHING), which supplements his already insecure concerns about being a third wheel. (Which is probably the most honest reaction to finding out your two best friends are bumpin’ uglies.)

Also now this image should make you giggle like a twelve year old.

Yukie is all-knowing and omniscient, so he doesn’t get much of a narrative outside of solving everyone’s problems (with his penis).

The funny thing is, in all this, that they’re all fucking because they feel lonely without each other. In a way it’s kind of sweet that they’re all so close that they feel the need to, uh, include each other in everything. (Everythingggg)

And the other bit is a bit that I very much like. I’m an advocate for almost all kinds of love. (There are some that I feel aren’t justified, like beastiality, and others that are on a moral sticky ground for me that I choose not to think about, like incest and pedophilia.) BUT! Polygamous relationships are so uncontroversial compared to those! Instead of two adults consensually loving each other in an intimate and affectionate way, it’s three. It’s really not that weird as long as everyone involved is into it. Which is why I like this part of the book. Little Black Haired Dude actually says (mid-coitus, I feel I must add) that he thought it’d feel morally wrong to bang two dudes at once—but it doesn’t. Hallelujah, brother! You’ve just become more open-minded. (I’m still not going to learn your name.)

Of course, this is just an excuse for gratuitous threesome porn, but the sentiment remains. And the parting shot is actually quite cute.

The next chapter is more bothersome. Sure, the relationship is cute, I guess, but taking Yamato away from his threesome love affair to pair him with this guy (don’t get me wrong the guy is cute) just strikes me the wrong way. They were a good thing together! They needed each other! Letting Yamato so easily hook up with another dude cheapens the initial relationship. It’s like taking back all the positive polygamy messages to replace them with something more…average and accepted. (Although obviously not accepted enough.)

If the story has an upside, it’s Yonekuni’s (that is not his name, I am sure, but it’s close enough) sexual insecurity. After all, he’s servicing a guy who’s used to double the love. Ha ha, I suppose that will have to be my comeuppance. Not very satisfying though.

The next story is about a couple of teenage models, one of which is tsundere and has a thing for his older brother. I don’t like him, and not just because of the incest thing. He’s just such a child. Apparently his older brother gave him a blowjob at one point for…some reason. To teach him about sex or something. And the only thing I can think is, yikes. Who does that. THAT IS NOT NORMAL even for neglected children. Anyway, he’s fighting it, and he gets over it, and he never has sex with his brother! He has sex with the other main character whom I have completely neglected to mention. He’s really not that interesting. Typical male lead with the whole, “GUESS I’M NOT SO STRAIGHT AFTER ALL, LOL”.
The last story is a straight up story about child abuse I SWEAR. The manga-ka may not say it out loud, but the kid is a fucked up, emotionless sex addict because his uncle molested him as a child. Sure, he didn’t say that his uncle molested him (and then died), but COME ON. YOU CAN TELLLL. You can tell he at least tried. (Which is where the whole, “oh I regret not letting him fuck me because then he died and he really wanted to” thing comes from.) It’s a little convoluted, but I think the logic is alright. (Not great, but whatcha gonna do.) The guy who ends up setting him straight (“I’M GONNA MAKE YOU ENJOY SEX” oh come on guys, there’s a gif for this somewhere), is kind of a busy body. He gets all up in his business telling Chisato (the surprisingly firey, emotionless-during-sex kid) that he’s WRONG FOR DOING THISSS all righteous-like. But at least he’s kind of right. Clearly the kid’s got emotional problems. At least he follows through, even if he’s claiming he’s straight till three-quarters of the way through the chapter.
Now the art: I looked at it, and I thought, “This is okay.” It was a very strong “okay.” And that is literally all I thought. It is momentous amounts of “okay.” It’s okay art.
But at the very least, there’s a kind of liveliness to it, which makes it more pleasant than truly, truly, densely mediocre art. After all, this is “okay” art.

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