|twins do not always mean twice the goodness
||[Aug. 10th, 2008|09:05 pm]
Futago Spirits by Sakuragi Chisako and illustrated by Takaku Shouko is a mixed bag. It's split into two parts, each part about a twin and how he finds love. The first part is about the older twin, a gentle, sweet young man. He's supposed to be one of those gentle warm characters that everyone loves, but I found him completely boring. And far too absent-minded. I'm amazed I actually got to the end of his story. Luckily, the younger twin's story more than made up for the boring half. The older twin's story is set when they are in their mid-twenties, but the younger twin's story is mostly set in high school. You know how that's the time when people find themselves? The younger twin, Haruka, has a typical twin problem. He looks exactly like his brother Takusu but is inferior to him in every way. Takusu is smarter, more talented, and more beloved by everyone. Haruka loves his brother (and takes care of the absent-minded Takusu), and angsts over what a crappy person he is to have such issues. Especially since Takusu would smile and be so proud of Haruka if their positions were reversed and Haruka was the "superior" one (yes, Takusu is one of those characters ^^;).
In any case, Haruka develops another "issue" when he first meets the trainee teacher assigned to his class, Higashibara. Higashibara is good-looking and quickly becomes popular with the students because he's nice and fun. Haruka looks askance at him because he immediately recognized Higashibara as the guy he'd seen publicly groping some woman in an alley one night, who'd actually smirked and squeezed the woman's breast when their eyes had accidentally met. He knows Higashibara's 'true nature" and hates seeing the clean-cut "nice guy" image Higashibara has at school. Higashibara finds Haruka's snarky attitude amusing and teases him, frankly confessing that he hates commitment and loves to have no-strings-attached flings. Haruka can't wait for the training period to end and for Higashibara to go back to university so that he doesn't have to see such a two-faced jerk every day.
What does happen instead is a run-in on Higashibara's last day at the school that results in an improbable promise. Higashibara had planned on spending summer break in Sapporo (Higashibara's family had lived in Sapporo for years and still owned a house in the city) and decides that Haruka would make good company so that he won't be bored. Haruka ends up agreeing to hang out with him..thinking that the relationship will be more than just "hanging out." The summer comes and they do hang out. Simply hang out. Higashibara makes Haruka do all his summer homework first so that they can leisurely do whatever they want, then they do various things. Haruka doesn't want to admit it, but he finds that he enjoys hanging out with Higashibara a lot. Higashibara is sarcastic and teasing, but he's basically a nice guy (putting aside the whole sleeping around thing, but as they are hanging out as friends--despite the way Higashibara led Haruka on to think they'd be something different--it doesn't impact their relationship at all). Higashibara also points out that Haruka doesn't have to and shouldn't have to judge himself by comparing himself with others. Haruka is Haruka, his brother is his brother. Higashibara's completely reasonable and banal insight manages to (magically) free Haruka from the chains of angst he'd been saddled with. Any guesses on why Higashibara's words might have such a profound effect on Haruka? XDXD
The last night before Higashibara is to go back to Tokyo (and a job at his father's company), Higashibara tries to "make Haruka a man" by picking up two willing women. Haruka, given the choice of the women to have his first time, rejects the entire situation. What really sets him off is the thought of Higashibara fucking the other woman. His rejection is so fierce Higashibara doesn't push him and leaves him outside of the hotel. Haruka realizes at that moment that he'd been crazy with jealously at the thought of Higashibara with someone else...because he's in love with Higashibara. He sits in front of the hotel, in the rain, unable to move, wallowing in angst. He knows it's pretty hopeless since he's just someone Higashibara had picked to spend the summer with and just a kid. And Higashibara is a player. He is in utter misery.
Higashibara comes out of the hotel and is surprised to see Haruka sitting there. He grabs Haruka and forces him into a room. Haruka thinks that the women will show up and struggles, but instead Higashibara kisses Haruka. They have sex, at first very rough and quick and, for Haruka, rather painful. Higashibara couldn't control himself. After that he thoroughly and carefully fucks Haruka all night. When Haruka wakes up while Higashibara is showering, he sneaks out. He has no idea what Higashibara was thinking, to fuck him, but he doesn't want to face Higashibara. He can't face not having Higashibara love him back.
School starts again, and Haruka is in a funk over the whole business. But one day there's big news! Higashibara is back! When he comes face to face with Higashibara, he tries to run away. But Higashibara stops him and threatens to tell everyone what they'd done last summer. They end up at Higashibara's house, where Higashibara tells Haruka that he'd decided to move to Sapporo and become a teacher instead of joining his father's company in Tokyo. He doesn't come out and say why, but he hints that it's because of Haruka. They become a couple when Higashibara gets Haruka to admit that he loves Higashibara...Though Higashibara won't respond seriously when Haruka gets the nerve to ask if Higashibara loves him.
Fast forward nine years. During Takusu's storyline Haruka had announced that he was moving out so that they could grow as independent people (which caused much trauma to Takusu). Haruka mentions to Higashibara that he's looking for an apartment as he's moving out--yes, they are still going out! Haruka is pretty amazed that the self-declared player has stuck with him all these years....Though Higashibara has never said "I love you" (a detail that I find rather contemptible, personally). Higashibara gets a bit mad--Haruka should move in with him! Haruka is surprised and refuses. He's still not quite able to let himself go when it comes to Higashibara, but then Higashibara comes out and says that he'd been holding back about living together because of Haruka's situation as his brother's "caretaker." Why did Haruka think Higashibara had moved back to Sapporo? He threatens to tell Takusu that they are lovers, and ends the discussion by initiating (more) sex...
Yeah, it's a totally standard storyline. But I ate it up. I loved Haruka's steady personality, slightly warped from teenage angst. I loved Higashibara's mix of "good guy" and cad--though I really wish the author had let him say "I love you" to Haruka at least once...I'm sure there could have been an appropriate moment for him to say it in NINE YEARS! I loved Haruka's snark and Higashibara's condensation (oh, you're such a kid, etc), Haruka's earnestness and Higashibara's hidden (and at times slightly warped) kindness. Wish it hadn't come after the utterly boring story of the older brother. ^^; Also, why does this genre love killing off the family line by making all the brothers gay? It seems completely implausible and silly. I know that my objection seems rather silly, considering the genre. But still! I can only think authors do this so that they don't have to come up with completely new characters and story lines, in a variation of the spin-off novels of side characters this genre loves so much.
Oh yes, the art is pretty and fit the feel of the story very well. I'm just too lazy to upload and imbed images into this post...I'm amazed I even wrote up a post in my present bleah state. XD;