Tegami Bachi

After seeing glowing reviews on the internet for Tegami Bachi, I decided to dive in and read the manga. Tegami Bachi by far lives up to its reputation and deserves more attention than it has received. Allegedly the corresponding anime adaptation wasn’t great, but maybe I’ll review the anime later.

The main reason why the manga is fantastic is due to its beautiful artwork and characters. There is nothing to not love about the artwork, from the breathtaking scenery to the dynamic and gorgeous characters. But, I most appreciated how many of the pages were on black paper with everything drawn in as white since it captures the manga’s themes so eloquently, and not many mangas employ this art style.

I would heavily recommend that people take the time to read this manga. It is a story of love, friendship, family, loss, ambition. The story follows our protagonist Lag Seeing as he sets out to become the Head Bee (a letter delivery person) and find the truth about his mother’s abduction by the government.

[Spoilers Below]

There can be many similarities to be drawn between Tegami Bachi and Fullmetal Alchemist:

Full Metal AlchemistTegami Bachi
Power SystemAlchemyHeart
ParentsMother diedMother abducted by government
OriginBorn of immortal fatherBorn comprised of spirit fragments during the flicker
Faustian BargainRevived mother using alchemyShared soul with spirit amber to gain power
OccupationState Alchemist — military memberLetter Bee- Gov postal worker fighting monsters while traveling
GovernmentSecrets about HermuncliSecret about origin of Sun

Not to say that these stories are anything alike; narratively, they are vastly different. Patterns like this can be found all over shounen, suggesting similar prototypes when building a grandiose story. A young boy with a tragic backstory and unique ability in a magical world joins a government agency and defeats a foe/completes a quest. This pattern is all over the place. However, the similarities between these shows are deeper because most shounen shows don’t involve fighting an apparently corrupt government from the inside. Well… there also is Attack on Titan, which shares many of these similarities. It is hard to say precisely what makes this type of story so great. Obviously, a quest to learn the truth in a system against them while taking the moral high ground is clearly a great foundation of a story.

Manga: There are Things I Can’t Tell You

Short review for a short LGBTQ romance manga. The artwork was gorgeous, and the romance between Kasumi and Kyousuke was heartfelt. Definitely worth the read if you are interested in gay romances.

Apart from your typical love tropes, this manga explores two additional themes: what it means to be happy and how our careers can interfere with our romantic lives. In the manga, Kyousuke pushes away Kasumi because he believes that Kasumi would be happier if he weren’t in a relationship with him — because societal norms growing up coerced him into thinking that gay relationships are somehow bad. It wasn’t until receiving a love confession from Kasumi and advice from his boss did Kyousuke decide to follow his heart and proclaim his love to Kasumi.

Kyousuke is depicted as a workaholic, frequently pulling all-nighters for the agency that he works for. This ends up pushing him to burnout and being unhappy. Moreover, at the beginning of the manga, Yukiko is having an affair with Kasumi because she is unhappy with her husband because he is distant because of work. Yukiko believes that Kasumi could fill a hole in her life, but that never happens. Nothing that the manga says is deep in this regard. But, it is nice including this because our society has a romanticized view of workaholics. Yet, in reality, it is a self-destructive behavior that pushes the ones you love out of your life.

Seven Days

This was one of my first LGBTQ romance mangas apart from No.6. The entire thing was relatively straightforward. Not too memorable. It would be unfair to compare it to No.6 since No.6 had more volumes to do character and world development. For being a sort of romance story, it did a great job. The artwork was nice; however, it was a little confusing to follow– possibly bad translations.

The general premise of the manga is that the main character Shino falls in love with another mal high school student named Seryo. However, Toji Seryo is an oddball in that he dates people exactly one week before deciding whether or not he fell in love. Being popular with the ladies at his high school Seryo is nearly always dating someone — again, just for one week. In addition, Seryo always says yes to the first person to ask him out on Monday morning. The story starts with Shino asking Seryo out, and they have exactly one week to fall in love.