When it comes to BL, like other manga romances, love confessions between characters are hard-fought and usually happen as a part of the story’s climax towards its middle to end. But in My Summer With You Volume 1: The Summer of You, the confession starts at the beginning while the volume focuses on how romance slowly blooms through small moments between friends.
My Summer of You Volume 1: The Summer of You is created, written, and features art by mangaka Nagisa Furuya. Initially published in Japan in 2017, the volume is localized and published in English by Kodansha Manga. This edition of the volume features translation by Jocelyne Allen, lettering by Nicole Roderick, editing by Tiff Joshua Ferentini, and cover design by Adam Del Re.
In My Summer of You, Chiharu Saeki and Wataru Toda are two high school students who don’t immediately seem like they would be best friends, but they share a common hobby: They’re film buffs. Having met in the aisle of a movie store, the two opposites of the social spectrum became fast friends, and then, Chiharu confesses his love for Wataru. Happening in the beginning of the story, the moment is vulnerable and loving in the way teenage romance is. It’s a sweet moment of first love, and in response, Wataru is unbothered.
Set on maintaining their friendship, the two remain by each others’ side, all to fulfill one request. While Chiharu made it clear that he didn’t need Wataru to return his feelings, he wanted one thing, a pilgrimage to see different filming locations of their favorite films. As the two travel together and experience moments of becoming closer through their love of film, Wataru stops being unbothered. Instead, he starts to react to Chiharu’s smile, his touch, and his words. Wataru blushes, his heart races, and he realizes that he wasn’t unaffected by Chiharu’s confession, but instead, he understood it deeply.
My Summer of You isn’t so much about unrequited love as it is about friendship evolving into something more and the process of letting yourself feel a romantic connection to another person. There is a sweet vulnerability and acceptance between the two teens that builds over each chapter. And the most beautiful part is not only that Chiharu felt comfortable enough to confess his feelings to his best friend, but that Wataru accepted them. While he was surprised, he didn’t see their friendship differently.
Chiharu’s confession serves as the opening of a door for himself and for Wataru. It’s a moment that allows the two to grow. Chiharu never pushes Wataru into an uncomfortable space, respecting his friend’s boundaries, and Wataru doesn’t make assumptions about Chiharu’s actions and doesn’t treat him delicately. The two organically grow together, and so does their relationship.
While the story in My Summer With You is emotional and loving, Furuya’s art makes it feel whole. There is a dreamlike quality to the illustrations of romance between the boys, a soft quality that makes the story feel as if each character is sharing themselves completely. Additionally, there are moments of landscapes that are beyond gorgeous.
Overall, My Summer With You Volume 1: The Summer of You captures the vulnerability of young love and the courage not only of confessing your feelings but being open to receiving them. Both Chiharu and Wataru are comforting characters, open, and comfortable, even when small notes of conflict are introduced. This all makes the volume a beautiful look at love and how it grows, and how it can change from platonic to romantic between friends.
My Sumer of You is available wherever books are sold.
My Summer With You Volume 1: The Summer of You
My Summer With You Volume 1: The Summer of You captures the vulnerability of young love and the courage not only of confessing your feelings but being open to receiving them.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.