[Manga] Doukyuusei (同級生)

doukyuusei

If someone were to ask me to describe Doukyuusei, I’d tell them that it feels like experiencing a breath of fresh air in the world of boys love. The kind that you’ll never get tired going back to from time to time.

As written on the cover of the book:

A boy met a boy.
They were in a flush of youth.
They were in love that felt like a dream,
Like a sparkling soda pop.

Those lines capture what Doukyuusei is all about – youth and first love. It doesn’t need any convoluted plot lines to make it charming. It is unassuming and that makes it a compelling read.

The first time Doukyuusei came out in print was on February 29, 2008. Yet ten years since then and after how many re-reads, the story of Kusakabe and Sajou remains as one of my favorite ‘pure’ BL title out there.

Doukyuusei follows the same formula like every other BL story – one of them is the perfect student and the other is the laid-back one. Then, they fall in love.

Unlike a lot of BL titles, the love story is handled in subtle gracefulness and gentleness. Sajou and Kusakabe take us to the highs and lows of their relationship. While they don’t look like the compatible pairing at first, the way they get invested in their relationship makes me care for them as the story progresses. They make me want to support them all the way.

The charm of Doukyuusei lies in how Nakamura Asumiko weaves a simple story to something memorable. The development and the pacing are so natural. So easy. No overarching drama. They are just two boys falling in love. And me falling all over their story.

doukyuusei

The breezy atmosphere of Doukyuusei rests in its art style. Ever had one of those moments where for once the world gets peaceful and serene while the wind blows? It is so serene you could think that it is surreal; a fleeting moment but one that you will remember for a lifetime. And every panel in this book gives off that kind of feel. Nakamura Asumiko draws it with light linework and plain background. But instead of looking dull, it seems like Kusakabe and Sajou are in their own world and it enraptures us.

Whether you are a newbie fan of BL or a veteran, Doukyuusei will certainly appeal to anyone. It is and will always be a gem no matter how many years will pass.

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