Now, I'm normally someone who likes her BL manga with lots of pretty boys and clean art. Shallow, I know, but that's not to say that the story doesn't have to be good. There are lots of titles out there that may have amazing artwork, but are definitely lacking in the plot department. Akudama may not have the most conventional style and the characters aren't really your average bishie, but damn, did it tug at my heartstrings.
The manga consists of 1 volume and contains two seperate stories. The first one, Akudama, is about a high school student who gets caught shoplifting by a man. Desperate to keep up his reputation, he can't help but agree to whatever the man asks of him. The second one, Nonfiction, is about two actors in a gay romance series, balancing the line between reality and make believe. It may sound very generic and already done, but the way these stories are handled is very refreshing to see. No forceful semes who push down girly ukes and harrass them until they fall in love. No convoluted misunderstandings that are really just brought on by the characters' stupidity. None of that. Instead, Akudama offers pure and serene storytelling. The feeling that stuck with me the most while reading this was a sort of melancholy. A sense of sadness that builds up and doesn't really go away, even though none of the two shorts end in a particularly sad way. It's cute and peaceful and a bit heartwarming as well. The writing and composition of scenes are definitely the things I liked the most about this.
The art is unconventional, like I said, and some might be put off by it. The characters' faces are weirdly long and pointy, there isn't really much detail and the whole thing gives off a 'sketch-like' feeling. I didn't dislike it though. It needs some getting used to, but it's definitely not bad. The mangaka certainly knows how to place her frames and characters for maximum impact.
I don't have much to say about the characters. Even for a short story, some of them felt a bit superficial. But their relationships and interactions are what make them special. They come so easily and feel pure and warm, without it being forced. It's all very natural.
If I could compare this manga to something, I'd say that it's kind of like a calming mountain stream. It's cold, but refreshing and just slowly goes along its way. It's a nice change of pace from all the other titles in the genre, coming off as bittersweet without having to resort to something as tragic, star-crossed lovers. This is definitely a case of substance over style, and you might even find yourself liking the art by the end of it.
Cute. This is definitely cute.
Oh, and if you're wondering about how explicit it is (as some sites like to classify this as yaoi), there is close to no explicit content. Maybe one or two scenes and even then, you don't see anything.
So, for lovers of BL or just sweet romances in general, I do advise you to at least give this one a shot.