The following review contains an in-depth summary of the entire story of “The Are Things I Can’t Tell You.” Please read at your own risk.
While browsing Amazon a few weeks back for manga I absolute did not need, I discovered the one shot boy’s love manga, There Are Things I Can’t Tell You by Edako Mofumofu. I’ll be honest, I didn’t even read the synopsis. I just saw the cute cover, saw it was yaoi, and hit “Add to Cart” faster than a motherfucker. When I received the manga a few days later (damn you prime overlords,) I was immediately giddy seeing how thick it was (256 pages of juicy goodness.) Being that it was Friday night, I poured up some wine and got cozy in bed to enjoy this.
There Are Things I Can’t Tell You (Kimi ni lenai Koto ga Aru) tells the story of two childhood best friends, Kyousuke and Kasumi. Presently, they are adults in the working world and rebuilding their friendship that dissipated in college. Kyousuke works for a marketing/advertising company and it is unclear what Kasumi does for work. The story is told mostly through Kyousuke’s perspective as he manages his feelings for Kasumi, his internalized homophobia, and his rigorous work life.
The story starts off with both friends waking up together in the same bed, leading the readers to believe they are waking up as lovers, but in reality, the two are just hanging out ~as friends~. We soon discover the Kasumi is having a relationship with a married woman and Kyousuke is in love with him. What a way to bring you up and crushingly drop you to the ground in 17 pages.
Throughout the story and Kyousuke’s point of view, we learn that he has always known he was gay since his childhood but due to a comment from a parent, he believes that him being gay is not normal or right. This overheard conversation that takes place when he was probably around 6-7 has dictated his life since then. When Kyousuke and Kasumi meet in elementary school and while they grew close as friends, Kyousuke falls in love with Kasumi. They both end up attending the same junior high and high school and remain friends throughout college.
While in college, Kasumi confesses his love to Kyousuke only to have Kyousuke turn him down. Unbeknownst to him, Kyousuke turns him down because he doesn’t want to “corrupt” him with the “gay” and wants Kasumi to live happily ever after, as a straight man. What in the sad martyr shit is this?! (Cue the waterfall crying please!)
This event causes the friends to fall out until they reconnect a few years later. Both men working in their careers. Kasumi has started an affair with a married woman in an attempt to forget about Kyousuke. Kyousuke upon learning of this is very angry (and mostly jealous) with Kasumi and wants him to break things off with the woman. When he finally does, Kyousuke and Kasumi FINALLY hook up and it seems like they (but also we) are getting the happy ending of our dreams. But alas, here come more internalized homophobia and unresolved childhood trauma to fuck shit up! Kasumi, thinking Kyousuke only hooked up with him out of pity (which by the way, PLEASE! Kyousuke made LOVE to YOU!!!) breaks things off with Kyousuke.
Kyousuke as heartbroken and confused as he is, decides to push himself further into work but is starting to crack under the heartbreak he feels losing Kasumi yet again. After a rather deep and insightful conversation with his senpai and then conveniently finding the breakup letter Kasumi slipped in his bag, Kyousuke realizes he needs to follow his heart and makes his way to Kasumi’s apartment. When he gets there, just as he is assuming the worst (girl, so are we with this damn suicidal sounding letter and Kasumi’s phone number not being in service) Kasumi comes home and the both of them have the conversation that needed to happen YEARS ago.
Kyousuke and Kasumi have one of the most heart-wrenching conversations I’ve ever witnessed, with Kyousuke confessing he has been gay since his childhood and has loved Kasumi just as long. He tells Kasumi he pushed him away to protect him from ~the gay~ but they both realize the are happy together, no matter what that means. After some much needed tears and hugs, they make love (in the hottest way ever) and we see them live out their best life together.
If there is one word to summarize what this story made me feel it’s this: longing. This story and it’s beautiful broken characters made me long for their happiness. I wanted them to immediately talk out their feelings and hold each other. I wanted Kasumi to hold Kyousuke and let him know he was never wrong for his feelings. He wasn’t corrupted. He wasn’t wrong for being gay. I wanted Kasumi to know he was loved and he was worthy of being loved. He wasn’t Kyousuke’s pity project, he was the love of Kyousuke’s life.
This story really touched my heart in a profound way because while the character’s could have communicated better, no one was at fault for the hurt and pain they caused each other. It’s hard to act out the love you have for someone when you don’t feel deserving of said love. Kyousuke truly believed in his core that he was wrong for being gay and that as a result, he had to suffer for it. He didn’t even want to think of a chance to be with Kasumi since that would mean ruining Kasumi’s chance of happiness. He loved Kasumi so much that he wanted to protect him, even if it meant hurting himself. My heart continuously broke for Kyousuke. Although Kasumi felt like Kyousuke only pitied him, Kyousuke truly felt that he was not suppose to be happy for being gay and didn’t want that for Kasumi. I can’t even get through this summary and review without crying for Kyousuke because all he needed was someone to let him know he was never wrong or corrupted.
Another reason I loved this story so much was the portrayal of the work, life, and love balance. Up until a few years ago, I envisioned my life in different circles. Here’s my work circle, here’s my love circle, here’s my health circle, and so forth. It didn’t really hit me that my life (and your life) isn’t made up of these separate entities being separate. They overlap and bleed through, making the parts of you whole. If you’re not right within, how you gon’ win?
When Kyousuke’s work life starts to suffer as a result of his love life suffering, it made the situation so much realer to me. Often times we use work or personal projects and goals as an escape to our own problems. But sometimes the things we deal with become too heavy to bear, too big to be contained in just one circle, and the walls start breaking down and the pain bleeds into other areas. Kyousuke’s issue with his relationship with Kasumi wasn’t just about Kasumi: it was about himself, his identity, and acceptance. The relationship was the boiling point that caused him to break, and he broke all over.
While the greedy parts of me wish this one shot was longer, it was absolutely perfect in its length. This story was so beautifully told and so eloquently wrapped up, I felt completely whole after it was done. Edako Mofumofu brought these characters to life in a way that made long to know them in real life and have them be a part of my life. I’m excited to read their other projects.
There Are Things I Can’t Tell You is not only a love story between two friends, but it is also a letter of self love and acceptance. It’s that voice that wants you to know you are perfectly and wonderfully made. You are deserving of love and happiness, no matter who you are and who you love.
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