Tuesday, August 3, 2021

REVIEW: Don't Rush Love (manga) by Mio Tennohji, translated by Leona Wong

Don't Rush Love is contemporary-set yaoi manga. Like so many of these volumes I own, it appears to be out of print. It was originally licensed by 801 Media. I bought my copy used.

This review includes major spoilers.


Morino just transferred to a new school and immediately falls head-over-heels in love with Kusama, a handsome volleyball player who turns out to be his new roommate. However, he also notices the way Kusama looks at Kanzaki-sensei, and since Kusama is out until late every night, he figures the two of them are in a secret relationship.

He eventually learns that Kusama actually has unrequited feelings for Kanzaki-sensei and deals with it by going out every night to have meaningless sex. Unable to bear seeing his crush go out like that, Morino confesses his feelings to Kusama and proposes that Kusama use him instead to forget Kanzaki-sensei. To his surprise, Kusama agrees. However, this arrangement may be more emotionally difficult than either one of them anticipates.

I'm not sure I have the words to describe what reading this was like, but I'll do my best. I can't even say it was purely awful - it had moments that worked for me, like the author's efforts to show that Kusama had genuinely come to care for Morino. And hey, there was no rape (depending on your feelings about the second half), so that was something.

If there had been more of an effort to depict believable and natural emotional reactions to what the characters were going through, I might have disliked this more, because it was pretty screwed up. For example, Kusama was in the process of cheating on Morino (on-page) when he finally started to come to the realization that maybe he was actually in love with Morino. Did this morph into a relationship problem? Nope. Morino wasn't happy about it, but it was like he expected Kusama to cheat from time to time, so it was disappointing but not a shock nor even really a reason to get angry. And when they had another rough patch, he kind of expected Kusama to cheat again and probably would have taken him back if he had.

So that was the first half of the volume. Now I'll talk about the second half, which gets into big-time spoiler territory. For some folks, Kusama cheating on Morino might have been a deal-breaker. For others, the content in the second half of the volume might do it, because that's when the story added incest to the mix.

All right, so Kusama has a twin brother named Riichi. At some point after their parents died in an accident, Riichi was taken in by their uncle, Seiji. The unfortunate thing was that Riichi had a huge crush on Seiji, who he also realized had been in love with his father (I'm not sure whether he was Seiji's brother or brother-in-law - so maybe there was a double helping of incestuous feelings in this). Riichi already hates that his father had Seiji's heart, and now he's heard that Seiji has agreed to meet with a matchmaker and consider getting married.

And since I'm already in big-time spoiler territory, I might as well spoil the rest: it turns out the Seiji developed feelings for Riichi over the years due to Riichi's similarity to his father, and he'd worried that his feelings had influenced Riichi. But no! Riichi fell in love with Seiji well before his parents ended up in the accident, which somehow made all of this okay. Then they had sex, and no one ever talked about the incestuous aspect. This world doesn't have any such thing as incest, I guess.

I did really like the bit at the end where Morino broke the fourth wall and started analyzing and comparing the various character types Kusama was attracted to in the manga. It was unexpected and amusing. I wouldn't mind reading a yaoi comedy by this author. However, this particular volume is going on my "offload" pile.


One full-color illustration, one extra black-and-white illustration, a one-page afterword by the author, and a half-page of translator's notes that I almost missed because they were on the very last page, after all the ads for other works.

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