This is a very sweet slice-of-life series that follows Tomoko, a mother who suspects that her son Hiroki is gay. Throughout the course of the series, she challenges her own internalized prejudices and learns more about how to support her son even if he’s not able to come out to her yet. I think what stands out to me the most with this series is how grounded in reality it is. The author, Okura, is gay, and I think that lends itself to the books feeling very emotionally true to life. Hiroki’s crush and his embarassment around it aren’t played for laughs or to stereotype him — Okura shows his feelings as being just as normal as his straight classmates, and he captures the complicated situation of feeling that you have to hide what for everyone else is a normal part of growing up.
Okura also captures the family dynamic and the interpersonal relationships of the characters with a deft and incisive eye. Tomoko is a gentle and sweet natured person whose main aim is to support her son and learn more so that she can be there for him if he needs her. His younger brother Yuri also seems to suspect Hiroki is gay, and he has his own struggles around fitting in. And Tomoko’s husband, who lives away from home most of the time for work and is thus in a diffficult position of being long distance from his family, has negative impressions of gay people and Tomoko slowly works on opening his eyes before he messes up his relationship with Hiroki unknowingly. There’s also a nice subplot about one of Tomoko’s co-workers, who is gay, and her realization that even well-meaning stereotypes can be detrimental and obscure the actual person you’re interacting with.
Overall, I really enjoy this series. The art is nice and expressive, the story has a kind core and is thought provoking, and the overall message is positive and meaningful.
Warnings for: societal homophobia, homophobia