|himitsu by konohara narise and illustrated by chayamachi suguro
||[Jan. 14th, 2010|09:46 pm]
I had a sudden urge to reread Himitsu by Konohara Narise and illustrated by Chayamachi Suguro today, and so went digging through boxes until I found it. I'd actually disliked it a lot when I'd first read it, but grew to love it after rereading it several times. College student Keita goes to a bar to find a guy to hook up with for the night. He is plagued with nightmares and doesn't want to sleep in his apartment, so he's willing to sleep with whoever for a night's stay. He meets Mitsuru, a very straightforward and not very bright guy. Mitsuru is seriously clingy. Keita finds him odd but kinda likes having someone around who blatantly likes him...The novel feels a bit oppressive because Keita has issues. I wasn't too pleased with the resolution of Keita's problems, but I do love how the novel continues on to show the growth of the two characters. This is definitely one of Konohara-sensei's novels about how love can make a person so much stronger and better. It makes me feel all warm and toasty inside. Mitsuru has his own problems which are also dealt with wonderfully, if somewhat briefly. I think this is probably one of my favorite books by Konohara-sensei, despite the fact that I hate the art very very much.
Keita's problem is that he's killed his boyfriend and stuffed him in a freezer in his apartment, thus the not-wanting-to-stay-in-his-room bit and the nightmares. His boyfriend was a total jerk that treated him pretty badly. Keita grows more and more resentful of the treatment, fantasizing about killing the boyfriend until he snaps one day.
Mitsuru thinks Keita is his star-crossed true love. He's very clingy, very needy, and is very forthright in expressing his feelings. He's never been able to sustain relationships because he's so clingy. He's also not very bright. He can't read and hadn't graduated high school. Keita doesn't think Mitsuru is all that, but he has no reason to dump the guy. He ends up bumming over at Mitsuru's place, which is great for him since he doesn't have to go back to his room. It helps that Mitsuru is *great* at sex. Keita had always disliked sex because it'd just hurt for him, but he'd tolerated it because he was in love. Now, even though he's not in love with Mitsuru, sex is great for him.
Everything's going pretty well for the two until Keita realizes he's actually fallen for Mitsuru. He also sees the ghost of his dead boyfriend. He decides to dump the body. He gets Mitsuru to help dump the freezer into the ocean, confessing that he'd killed his boyfriend. But he doesn't want to go to jail for killing that asshole.
Mitsuru goes to the police and confesses that he'd killed Keita's boyfriend, but it turns out Keita hadn't killed his boyfriend. He'd imagined it all. Keita is totally confused, unable to tell the difference between reality and fantasy. Keita even wonders if he'd made up Mitsuru to be his sweet and loving boyfriend. Mitsuru, for his part, was totally ready to take the rap for Keita but is delighted to find out there was no crime. When Keita is too wrapped up in his own confusion to deal with Mitsuru, Mitsuru becomes terribly worried that Keita doesn't love him anymore. He forces himself onto Keita. The pain and unpleasantness makes Keita realize that this is reality. He loses consciousness. When Keita wakes up Mitsuru has a knife and threatens to kill himself. He can't live if Keita rejects him. Keita, for his part, wants assurance on what is real and what is fantasy. Mitsuru can't help him there since he can't see into Keita's head. Mitsuru wants assurance that Keita loves him. Keita, pissed off at Mitsuru's insistence, snaps that he loves Mitsuru. He's said so many times, right? Mitsuru worries that Keita will reject him because he can't read (he'd kept it a secret from Keita for most of the book). Keita snaps that he doesn't care about that either. It's not like Mitsuru not being able to read would be a problem for Keita. Mitsuru hugs him tightly and tells him he loves him over and over. Keita knows Mitsuru loves him, he doesn't need to hear it anymore. He wants someone to fix his head. Mitsuru tells him he doesn't care if Keita can't tell the difference between reality and fantasy. He tells Keita to fantasize about him, him saying how he loves Keita and kissing Keita. Then reality and fantasy would be the same, right? Keita finds the whole idea preposterous, but is rather comforted. After all, Mitsuru adores him and he loves Mitsuru to pieces. Maybe it'll work out in the end?
There are two more additional bits to the novel. One is from Mitsuru's cousin's POV. I didn't mention the cousin earlier, but he took Mitsuru in after he'd been kicked out of his house after he'd failed getting into high school by his asshole father. He shows up in the main story quite a bit. He owned the bar where Mitsuru and Keita met. The cousin reminisces about Mitsuru's past, including how he'd gotten into a relationship with Mitsuru but had in the end broken up with Mitsuru because he didn't love Mitsuru in that kind of way. He liked to have sex but not have relationships. He kind of regrets it later when Mitsuru grows more confident and steady. Keita figures out that Mitsuru is severely dyslexic and helps him learn to read. He helps Mitsuru get through high school equivalency and urges Mitsuru to attend vocational school to be a chef (Mitsuru is a very very very good cook). Mitsuru, with love and encouragement and support, isn't the sad thing he'd been most of his life. Mitsuru's cousin, while having a bit of regret seeing Mitsuru turn into quite a catch, knows he could've never been the one to help Mitsuru like Keita. He can't help but think that maybe Mitsuru's insistence that Keita was his destined love was true. Who else could've had the patience and persistence to help Mitsuru blossom into a proper person?
The second story is from Mitsuru's younger brother's POV. The younger brother is an asshole just like Mitsuru's father, so all he thinks about is his outward appearance to society and finds Mitsuru a total disgrace. When he runs into Mitsuru he treats Mitsuru badly, telling Mitsuru not to have anything to do with any of the family because he'd caused so much trouble. He later finds out that his mother and sister do not see things his way. They resent Mitsuru's father's treatment of Mitsuru and long to reconnect. They are afraid of reaching out since they didn't protect Mitsuru from his asshole father. Turns out his sister's kid also is dyslexic, and both Mitsuru's mother and sister regret not having been able to recognize Mitsuru's problem (dyslexia wasn't well known in Japan at the time) and treat it. Mitsuru's brother had been given presents from Mitsuru as parting gifts to give to the rest of the family. He'd had it laying around in his closet, but ends up giving it to his mother and sister instead of tossing it like he'd wanted to.
At the very end, Keita and Mitsuru are at home enjoying a day off. Mitsuru is still rather clingy (though not nearly as bad as he'd been before). He starts to cry and begs Keita not to die before him when he hears on the news that some random guy Keita's age had been killed in an accident. Keita is happy that Mitsuru loves him so much, but wants Mitsuru to be able to live on his own as well. He can't wait for Mitsuru to graduate cooking school and become the awesome chef Keita knows he'll be, be praised and gain confidence and be able stand on his own. They kiss and make out, but are interrupted by persistent ringing of the doorbell. Mitsuru goes to answer it, but returns confused and dazed. It's his mother and sister and nephew. He didn't actually recognize them at first, but they were wearing the presents he'd given his brother to give them as parting gifts. He'd been told not to have anything to do with his family and so wonders if he should ask them to leave. Keita urges him to go ahead and meet them. They'd come to see him so they must have forgiven him, right?