REVIEW: ‘Like Two Peas In a Pod’

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Like Two Peas in a Pod

When it comes to BL, TOKYOPOP has been knocking it out of the park with the licenses from their LOVE x LOVE line of manga. And while most of them feature either adult characters or adult content, I’m thrilled to have picked up a title that is perfect for teens to read, feel seen, and know its okay to discover how they feel—and is aimed towards that age demographic—with Like Two Peas in a Pod. 

This shonen-ai one-shot is written and illustrated by mangaka Gorou Kanbe. Like Two Peas in a Pod is localized in English and published by TOKYOPOP, edited by Lena Atanassova, with translation provided by Christine Dashiell, and features retouching and lettering by Vibrraant Publishing Studio. This wholesome and, at times, sad story focuses on two childhood friends, Tanaka and Nakata. Their friendship began with a mistake which led them to realize that they’re nearly identical.

From their names (when written upside down, they turn into the other), grades, height, clothes, hobbies, sports scores, and even phone cases, they realize that they’re like two peas in a pod. As best friends, the two are inseparable, like two halves completing a whole. That is until Nakata gets a girlfriend. What first seems like jealousy to everyone else, even Tanaka, turns into yearning. Tanaka realizes that his jealousy and sadness aren’t because he doesn’t have a girlfriend, but Nakata does.

For the vast majority of Like Two Peas in a Pod, Nakata is in a relationship with Tanigaki while Tanaka watches from the outside. Instead of focusing on the two boys’ relationship in the traditional sense like other titles in the genre, Kanbe shows Tanaka struggle to come to terms and understand his own feelings towards Nakata. One of the refreshing things is that Tanaka never once regrets his feelings or has the usual “if only I were a girl I could be with him” thought that a lot of high school BL have.  Instead, we get a story that looks at a teen trying to understand what love means to him and others and learn to value his friendship instead of confessing to Nakata.

It’s a wholesome exploration of young love that accelerates once Nakata thinks that Tanaka has a crush on a girl. When that happens, Kanbe switches perspectives and shows us what it looks like from Nakata’s perspective, his realization of his feelings, which ultimately leads the two into a situation that changes their relationship and those around them.

For both their parts, Kanbe writes Tanaka and Nakata with a deft hand. They build the two boys with care and captures the adolescent free spirit of first love and the anxiety and awkwardness that comes with first unrequited love. In fact, Like Two Peas in a Pod oscillates between sadness, acceptance, and joy. It allows the characters to feel, think and then act in a way that makes this title a standout from other series with similar topics. But that has to come with the one-shot format that necessitates telling a complete story and offers a resolution.

Overall though, Like Two Peas in a Pod is a must-read BL one-shot because of what it offers, especially for teen readers learning how to explore love, attraction, and ultimately what it means to fall in love with your best friend. It’s a wholesome read with a lot of heart and charm that makes a wonderful addition to anyone’s yaoi shelf.

Like Two Peas in a Pod is available now wherever books are sold. 

Like Two Peas in a Pod
5

TL;DR

Overall though, Like Two Peas in a Pod is a must-read BL one-shot because of what it offers, especially for teen readers learning how to explore love, attraction, and ultimately what it means to fall in love with your best friend. It’s a wholesome read with a lot of heart and charm that makes a wonderful addition to anyone’s yaoi shelf.