Title: No Touching at All
Author: Kou Yoneda
Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing (Juné)
Volume: One-shot, $12.95
Vintage: 2008 by Taiyoh Tosho Publishing Co. in Japan, October 2010 by DMP
Genre: Yaoi (18+), drama, romance, office romance
On his first day at his new job, Shima Toshiaki ends up in an elevator with a literally stinking drunk, who ends up being his supervisor, Togawa. His disheveled appearance, horrible stench, bad smoking habits, cheerful demeanor, and overly friendly attitude completely turn Shima off at first. However, Shima’s shy nature, honesty, and straightforwardness immediately grab Togawa’s attention. After some dogged persistence, Togawa finally manages to get Shima to consent to eating dinner with him. Finding the younger Shima adorable and irresistible, Togawa even manages to sleep with him. Shima, hesitant to enter a relationship with a straight guy due to an incident at his former job, finds himself surprised to be in a continuing relationship with Togawa. He becomes reticent when Togawa reveals a painful event from his past – Togawa’s father died in a car accident, and not long after, his mother attempted suicide by burning down their house with her two children inside; Togawa and his mother survived, but his younger brother did not. Because of this incident, Togawa has a strong desire for a family of his own. Soon after, Togawa learns about Shima’s past – a relationship turned foul at his former job, resulting in an uncomfortable situation that forced Shima to leave. When a coworker discovers their relationship, Shima becomes worried that everything will end, and he’ll be in another awkward position, hurt and ridiculed. Slowly, Togawa starts giving up his bad habits, and his manner with Shima becomes gentler, but his kindness is misinterpreted by Shima, who thinks he’s the only one falling in love. Things come crashing down when Shima learns Togawa is being transferred. While Togawa pours his heart out to a confused Shima, Shima can’t forget the look on Togawa’s face when he watches children at play, or thinks about his family, and breaks up with him before he gets hurt again. With Togawa transferring to another branch indefinitely, can the two men put their pasts aside and deal with their feelings for each other before it’s too late?
No Touching at All is a surprisingly mature, gentle, and satisfying story. Since this story is the book’s sole focus, there’s plenty of time for character and story development. Both Shima and Togawa are well developed characters, with complicated backgrounds that affect their current personalities and interpersonal relationships. They have distinct personalities that are effectively used throughout the story, and their facial expressions clearly reflect their inner struggles and outward reactions. The book is rated 18+, but it’s not especially graphic, and the focus is on the relationship between the two men, not what kind of kinky sex they might be having. It’s a touching story with believable protagonists who, unlike in a good portion of the yaoi out there, are functioning adults with adult problems and an adult relationship. I know from the summary it sounds like Shima is a bit of an idiot, not recognizing the feelings Togawa has for him, but considering his past, it make sense that he’s so hesitant and disbelieving. He’s been seriously burned, and he’s frightened of falling in love again and ending up hurt. He fools himself into believing that Togawa’s feelings are a temporary whim, because he’s simply too afraid to face the reality, but in the end they both end up getting hurt because of his actions. A very good read.
Ah, guys, forgive me. I was also going to review Temperature Rising by Souya Himawari for today, but I’m a little burned out, and I have lots of reading to do to get some good upcoming reviews for you guys. Maybe next time.
Review copy provided by DMP.