So in May I bought the Humble Bundle Yaoi Manga Bundle and slowly started reading them. Near the end of May I read Stories From the Shopping District, my Humble Bundle had 5 chapters ready (I would call them chapters because of how they end/how short they are). It looked like a cute manga, but oh boy, it was also so strange and weird. I just had to write a longer review about it because man, I need to let it out.
In this one we meet a guy named Shou who works in Italy but due to an injury of his dad returns to Japan. To the shopping district of his youth. To Makoto, a boy he has known since he was a little child and someone he has an interest in (plus, he also protected him a lot in that time as Makoto was bullied/left behind a lot). That sounds like an interesting premise right? Makes you want to root for these two and get a teary reunion. Plus, going back to your hometown? Meeting the guy you like again? A shopping district that is the setting? Sounds fab!
But things go very weird from the start. We find out that Makoto has grown up.. and is now sex friends with most of the guys in the shopping district. If he needs something/wants something he gets it on with these guys. From the butcher to the baker everyone lands in his bed. OK, well, not everyone there is also a guy who is apparently FREAKING married, and just kisses Makoto like it is no big deal. Oh, and did I mention that most of these guys are straight? Yes, even though they are having a swell time with Makoto they find themselves straight. OK, whatever you say guys. XD It was just so weird and also so off-putting. OK, I did like that the guys were all sweet towards Makoto, but I would have liked them to just say freaking no. I am still confused if Makoto does this because he is OK with the sex or if he is damaged somehow because of Shou leaving/things in his past and just thinks that this is the best way. Given how he is about that kiss from the guy who is cheating I am just not sure. But there are just hints that point to him liking sex. Yep, let’s make it confusing.
I am glad that the manga doesn’t just focus on the now, but that we also get some views in the past. How Shou and Makoto knew each other, about Makoto’s family/past, about bullying and how Shou was there for Makoto, and more.
Why does that not help the situation? Well, what would you do if you met your childhood friend/love interest (Makoto) and then find out he is sleeping with everyone? Or when he is constantly pushing you away while also showing an interest? Making stupid remarks and clearly shoving you in the straight box while we don’t know exactly if Shou is straight or bi/gay. It just makes a confusing drama that is just a trainwreck. I just felt for poor Shou who was clearly interested and I don’t blame him that in the last chapter he just gets angry with Makoto and refuses to use the products he found for Shou. I mean, I would have done the same. Yes, Shou felt guilty, but I was just proud of him to finally let it all out.
The ending to the last chapter had me both excited and also both worried (would Makoto push him away again?). Sadly, my HB just has up to chapter 5, so hopefully there are more chapters in the future, because yes, despite this being weird as hell and confusing and a trainwreck.. I also couldn’t stop reading. I just kept downloading the PDFs for the new chapters. XD
The art was good though, I really love the character designs and the backgrounds. Those are done very nicely. I also like the covers~
All in all, not sure if I would recommend it, I mean if you like trainwrecks and weird situations then sure, but otherwise not sure. XD