One of the publisher’s BL manga offerings this month is Sasaki and Miyano Volume 1, and if you haven’t heard of it before, you should get excited. Sasaki and Miyano is a BL title that goes meta while showcasing a budding romance between a bad-boy and a fudanshi that can’t see what’s happening around him. A wholesome shonen-ai written by Shō Harusono and illustrated by Kotoko Hachijō, Sasaki and Miyano Volume 1 is published in English by Yen Press.
Manga high school romances are often all about miscommunication, and Sasako and Miyano Volume 1 is no different. Set in an all-boys high school, Miyano is a fudanshi (male BL otaku) and is soft-spoken and secretive about his favorite manga. When he witnesses someone being bullied, he feels like he’s stumbled into an old-school BL plot-line, but when Sasaki appears on the scene like a knight in shining armor to save the kid, Miyano winds up in a different BL plot.
In Sasaki and Miyano, a bad-boy senior (Sasaki) meets an adorably awkward underclassman (Miyano), one of them falls in love. But although Miyano is a self-proclaimed boys’ love expert, he hasn’t quite realized that he’s in one himself. Now, it’s important to note that this shounen-ai is as wholesome as can be, and a lot of that comes from the way that Sasaki and Miyano’s relationship develops, with both characters conscientious of each other’s boundaries. While Sasaki continually flirts with Miyan and tries to get his attention, there aren’t moments that feel uncomfortable. The two are friends first, and while Miyano ever so slowly becomes aware of the situation, they both navigate the awkward glances, hugs, and moments.
There are two elements of Sasaki and Miyano Volume 1 that just sing. The first is that the two build their relationship through BL. While Sasaki isn’t a fudanshi, he just wants to know what Miyano is interested in. He wants to like what Miyano likes, and he wants it to become a bridge to help a romantic relationship blossom. For Miyano, BL is what he loves and celebrates in secret. He’s a walking BL encyclopedia, but he doesn’t lead with that information. Sasaki is uninhibited, talking about the manga he’s borrowing as if he would any other genre, and this helps move Miyano slowly out of his shell. As the two discuss elements of BL and then replicate classic BL tropes and moments themselves, readers will smile.
Finally, the lettering of Sasaki and Miyano Volume 1 is special. When the layout is four parallel panels filling the page on top of each other, the bottom features descriptive text that adds more to the situation. These lines can be character descriptors, conversation enhancers, or just a small joke. It helps add to the humor and fun of the volume. It adds levity and also helps build out the characters even further.
Overall, Sasaki and Miyano Volume 1 is a great debut for the series. It lays out exactly what it is at the beginning, and by the end, the emotion has reached the point of spill-over with Sasaki beginning to have to restrain his love for Miyano out of fear of making him uncomfortable. With Volume 2 coming out in April, we’ll have to wait a bit until we get the chance to see what comes of this adorable romance.
Sasaki and Miyano Volume 1 is available now wherever books are sold.
Sasaki and Miyano Volume 1
Sasaki and Miyano Volume 1 is a great debut for the series. It lays out exactly what it is at the beginning, and by the end, the emotion has reached the point of spill-over with Sasaki beginning to have to restrain his love for Miyano out of fear of making him uncomfortable. With Volume 2 coming out in April, we’ll have to wait a bit until we get the chance to see what comes of this adorable romance.
Kate Sánchez is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of But Why Tho? A Geek Community. There, she coordinates film, television, anime, and manga coverage. Kate is also a freelance journalist writing features on video games, anime, and film. Her focus as a critic is championing animation and international films and television series for inclusion in awards cycles.