ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘This Wonderful Season With You’

Reading Time: 3 minutes

A nerd and a jock finding love in a healthy relationship is probably one of my favorite dynamics in any romance, and it’s especially true in same-sex romances that deal with even more stigmas between the two social statuses. This Wonderful Season With You is a one-shot BL manga published in English by TOKYOPOP and is written and illustrated by mangaka Atsuko Yusen. It’s translated by Katie Kimura, proofread by Caroline Wong, and featured translation QC by Akiko Furuta. Additionally, the cover artist and designer is Sol DeLeo, and the one-shot features touch-up art and lettering by Vibrraant Publishing Studio.

In This Wonderful Season With You Enoki is practically the poster-boy for what a typical nerd looks like: short and slight, complete with big round glasses and social awkwardness. An otaku, his main hobby is making video games, and he’s used to not having many friends at school. A member of the engineering club, him and his two friends, dubbed mushrooms by the school’s girls are trying to save their club from being shut down. That’s where Shirataki comes in. A former member of the baseball club, and Enoki’s exact opposite, Shirataki is tall, muscular, and sporty. Despite their many differences, the spark of friendship between the two boys begins to confide in each other, help each other, and grow closer.

As a character, Enoki is your typical otaku when it comes to interests and his looks, but he has a strong heart and isn’t scared of “normies” like his clubmates. Instead, he’s thrilled with Shirataki joining the engineering club and even begins to pick up some of his new friend’s interests, including working out. As a one-shot, sometimes pacing growing romances can be difficult, but Yusen does it well. The love that Enoki and Shirataki feel for each other grows on a strong foundation of friendship and understanding. But their social status isn’t the biggest difference between the two; it’s Shirataki’s past and family-setting that has him scared. But Enoki meets that fear with openness.

The character design of the Enoki and Shirataki is adorable. Polar opposites, their height difference is a cute dynamic and the way their personalities are manifested in their looks is well-done. From how they wear their uniforms to how they style their hair, it all shows different parts of who they are, and Yusen’s art nails the unspoken dynamic while their writing nails down a budding romance and emotional connection. But Yusen does this by also incorporating a humor that not only works between our leads but also their interactions with the other members of the engineering club.

All that said, the inclusion of the after story feels out of place. What would have been a wholesome and loving shounen-ai about high school love ends with an extra chapter that details Enoki and Shirataki’s first time. Personally, I have a hard time with stories about high schoolers featuring a mature rating for sexually explicit scenes. A lot of that comes from the constant issue with sexualizing high school and younger characters in anime and manga.

With a clear 18+ rating on the book, the after story is a choice that feels odd, especially given in it, the boys haven’t been aged up as is the case with other high school romance one-shots like RePlay. Alternatively, Dekoboko Sugar Days also features the couple’s first time as high schoolers, but throughout the one-shot, it was clear that they both yearned for physical intimacy because they had been friends for almost their entire lives. Because This Wonderful Season With You doesn’t feature either of those elements, the extra chapter just doesn’t land, especially with the wholesome ending of the main story. That said, the dialogue between Enoki and Shirataki in the extra chapter gives more insight into the two characters’ relationship, but also focuses heavily on the sex scene.

This Wonderful Season With You, despite its small misstep is a great romance that shows two people learning about themselves by loving each other and deciding to shirk what others think to become close to each other. A heartfelt story at its core, This Wonderful Season With You continues a great line up 2021 BL from TOKYOPOP.

This Wonderful Season With You is available wherever books are sold March 23, 2021.

This Wonderful Season With You
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TL;DR

This Wonderful Season With You, despite its small misstep is a great romance that shows to people learning about themselves by loving each other, and deciding to shirk what others think to become close to each other. A heartfelt story at its core, This Wonderful Season With You continues a great line up 2021 BL from TOKYOPOP.