Ten Count

Vol: 6; Ch: 48
2013 - 2017
4.359 out of 5 from 3,894 votes
Rank #1,193
Ten Count

Corporate secretary Shirotani suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder. One day he meets Kurose, a therapist who offers to take him through a ten-step program to cure him of his compulsion. As the two go through each of the ten steps, Shirotani's attraction to his counselor grows.

Source: SuBLime

Content Warning

my manga:

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Written based on the first 17 chapters. Story: The story in a nutshell is that Shirotani suffers from a severe case of mysophobia (the fear of germs). He can’t remember when or why the phobia began (which I infer will be a later plot device *I can’t wait!*), but he has never felt that it was a problem that he needed to solve. Instead, he just adapts his lifestyle around the problem, for example walking to school and work instead of riding public trains. Because of an accident involving his employer, Shirotani meets Kurose, a child therapist. Kurose soon offers to try and cure Shirotani of his problem by exposer therapy, where he exposes himself to 10 different things that he finds difficult to do. I have nothing but lovely things to say about the presentation of Shirotani's phobia, but I have mixed feelings about Kurose’s role as a counselor. I ellaborate on these further on. This plot seems fairly original to me. On its own, therapy isn’t that original, but I have yet to come across any yaoi manga with this setting, especially one about mysophobia. Manga I have come across that do have character-similar problems such as masochism or trauma sometimes present it in a fetish-like manner which somewhat disappoints me, because it downplays the severity of a problem (please note that I am not saying that masochism in-and-of-itself is a severe problem). However, I feel that the mangaka presents Shirotani in a very realistic way. She presents his problem as a real problem, but also not to an extreme. Shirotani can live his life with his problem, he can cope on his own, however it is clear that he can’t live his life to the fullest around this problem. So anyway, the main intrigue about the plot, aside from the obvious knowledge that they will get together (since this is yaoi), is seeing how Shirotani overcomes his phobia. Art: The colored pages are to die for. I’ve read manga that have a few chapter first pages colored before, but almost every chapter starts with a few colored pages. I would be happy enough just to have colored pages, but the last few chapters have even had some colored erotic pages. While I read this all in one sitting without waiting for updates, I think that waiting is more worth it when you know that you will get these beautifully colored pages. Also, I’ve seen manga that had horrid coloring before. Ones that are just color replacement, such as blue or pink, instead of the usual black. I personally hate these pages. I find them unpleasant on my eyes and more difficult to read. While they are not the most beautiful art pieces ever, you can tell that she took her time coloring. I personally love her shading. As for the art itself, I really like it. I have yet to notice any of those yaoi art clichés, such as yaoi hands. The art is clean, nice, and subtle. Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between bodily fluids (sweat, ect.) and water, or they will be drawn in such a way that it looks nasty, but here the difference was noticeable and it did not look nasty. Which in and of itself is a subtle plot point, because, being mysophobic, Shirotani should see these things as ten times nastier, but she only draws them as such at certain moments. And believe me, it is there. There are at least two times when non-defined outlines of germs where drawn through his perspective. Here is another note on her subtlety, the non-defined outlines implies the fact that he doesn’t know where the germs actually are, which further emphasizes his panic. Characters Here we go. This, right after the lovely subtlety, is my biggest impression of the manga. I think that she developed very complex characters, which allows her to add the subtlety. As I stated above, I love Shirotani’s character. He is complex, realistic, obviously flawed, and empathetic. Kurose, however, is not as straightforward. It is harder to figure out what he is thinking, and there is my hang-up about his job. As for the other characters, for being side characters I think they have just the right amount of characterization. There are only two side characters, both of which help move the plot along. This is a great asset in my mind. I dislike when there are unneeded side characters who seem to exist simply to show that the main characters have acquaintances, especially when you can’t even remember their names. These side characters have purpose and only appear when it is necessary. Now on to my detailed discussion of Shirotani and Kurose. Shirotani Let’s start with the good. Shirotani is a majorly rounded character. Something happened in his past, which probably caused his phobia, but we still do not know what. However, just knowing that something occurred makes you intrigued and feel more empathetic toward him. Having a slight case of mysobphoia myself, I feel empathy for him during some of Kurose’s actions as well. But not entirely… Shirotani’s condition   I feel that the mangaka probably did some research, because I feel that most people would write phobias as either too extreme or too mild. For example, they might have them have the problem, then have them exposed to the 10 things and then boom they are cured. Or else they might struggle so much that they can’t even expose themselves to anything. Yet, Shirotani is a complex middle. He begins easily enough, backtracks, moves around on his 10 list, and even has contradictions between his mind and body. *slight spoilers regarding their relationship* The fact that Shirotani finds it easier to do things with Kurose is one of the subtle things I keep mentioning. A motif from many other stories, your body reacts when you like someone even if your mind tells you you shouldn’t. When it comes to Kurose it is easier for him to forget about the germs, and even when he thinks about the germs *larger spoiler* he is more worried about Kurose being exposed to his germs than the other way around. This signifies that he cares about him, because he cares more about his safety than his own. *end of spoilers* His complex condition leaves so much room for subtle interpretation. Every action that he takes can be analyzed for meaning. He suddenly requests for a piece of candy. Why does he do so? Why at this particular moment? What does the candy represent? The subtlety is fun, because some things, the candy included, I am still unsure what it does represent. I am hoping that its meaning will be revealed in later chapters, otherwise these hard to understand symbols could be considered a downpoint of the manga. There is a lot more that I could say about his subtle actions, but alas it would contain too many spoilers. Kurose Now, I am no expert by any means, but my sister is a counselor, so I do hear a lot about the job, especially about the ethics involved. With all ethics, they are complicated. According to therapist ethics, it is unethical to counsel someone that you know or to become friends, lovers, ect. with someone that you have counseled. From the beginning I wondered about the ethics involved in this manga. Knowing that they were going to get together I pushed the idea aside saying, well okay who cares if he is unethical because he came to like Shirotani further on, however, from the beginning I couldn’t help feeling that he had ulterior motives for helping him. I felt that he used it as an excuse to get to know him. Also, early on *somewhat spoilers* he asks Shirotani to be his friend as well as specifically tells him not to go to the clinic. My impression is that he doesn’t want their relationship found out by his employers because he could be fired. Shirotani does later go to the clinic, but it has nothing to do with therapy, so their relationship seems safe. Of course, their relationship itself is not so secret….but as I said the clinic should still not know that he is acting as his therapist. *end of spoilers*. But of course, I might be reading into it too much. It is very plausible that the mangaka has not done research into these ethics. At the same time it is possible that she knows about the ethics and decided to break them on purpose. Considering how well she writes Shirotani, I am inclined to believe that she has Kurose breaking ethics on purpose. Characters are more realistic when they have flaws, and this is an obvious one. But his actual work as a therapist is also very bad. Now we only see his work on Shirotani, with whom he has a personal relationship with and has his own self-interest involved, so perhaps he is very different when working with his child patients. When it comes to working with Shirotani he is somewhat detrimental to his progress. He begins well enough, letting him move slowly, and helping him as he sees fit through it. A character trait I really like is that *slight spoiler* he always asks Shirotani to pick something, such as “would you rather puke on the floor or have me carry you?”. This way he is careful not to push Shirotani too far. However, as his feelings grow, so does the pressure he places on him. In the most recent chapters he has pushed him quite far, to the point that it is obvious that he is not doing so to help Shirotani get better but for his own selfish desires. *end of spoilers*. Well this is a point against liking Kurose, it does give him a rounded character. It becomes more difficult to tell when he is doing something for his own self-interest and when he is trying to help Shirotani passed his phobia.   Overall This manga griped me, mostly because of the complexity of the characters and the subtle implications. The erotic scenes are also just as complex and subtle, which makes them more enjoyable to me. They feel more like actual plot progresion than thrown in smut. It presents enough about Shirotani’s past to intrigue you, but leaves enough unsaid that you want to keep reading to find out what happened. Overall, I find this manga intriguing practically in every way, well thought out, and full of subtle implications. Because of Shirotani's phobia, actions hold greater weight. Just viewing hand holding, or other non-explict actions, give you excitement because you know how difficult and meaningful this action is for Shirotani. The only flaw I can say, besides the mangaka’s possible lack of knowledge about theraphy ethics, is that it is unfinished meaning that we must wait for updates. 


*As of chapter 31, as spoiler-free as possible* I don't read much manga (honestly it's just too darn expensive), I was scrolling through some manga online on a whim and I came across Ten Count. Shamelessly, I was entranced by the bishie on the cover. :D But what I got is a really heartwarming and pretty deep look at the relationship between two guys, one with Mysophobia, and the other of whom is a psychiatrist. Now, to begin; the story in itself is an interesting one. Mental illnesses are very rarely explored in anime (and if they are, they become a plot device or the source of comedy), and to my knowledge, manga (but don't quote me on that, I'm mainly referring to my experience of anime here as my experience of manga is not much) so I was really happy to see it represented here, and in such a realistic way - Shirotani doesn't just get help and become cured after magically managing to complete the tasks Kurose sets him; instead, he suffers from realistic setbacks, crises of confidence and there is a kind of dance between his fears, and his contrary feelings of wanting to be touched by Kurose. As the manga goes on, their relationship deepens and strengthens, with Shirotani becoming more conflicted about the interaction between his mysophobia and his feelings for Kurose. This comes to a head, and the climax of this particular part is very emotional. I almost shed a tear myself. *minor plot spoilers ahead, but we all know there is sexy times, don't lie* Because I haven't read or seen much yaoi/BL stuff before, I wasn't really sure what to expect. I know every form of relationship has its smut around and its fetishist stuff, but to be honest, I really was surprised at how much this manga developed the story and relationship, not just jumping straight into "well they met and talked and then had sex". Which makes it very...satisfying, I guess? when they do get down and dirty. We've seen these two guys dance around their feelings for one another, so it feels meaningful both to the characters, and to the reader. *end of spoilery bit* So let me just fangirl about the art style a bit please. It's beautiful, and honestly, my favourite manga art style so far (bear in mind my knowledge of manga art styles is fairly, but not completely, limited). The coloured pages are a feat in themselves, giving more life to the characters, but the normal monochrome pages are beautiful too, as the drawings are just top-notch. And those sex scenes, though. It's not classy, and it doesn't pull any punches, but it gives a fairly (I would imagine) realistic interpretation of the subject matter. Let me also stress that I adore the drawing of hands in this manga, poor Shirotani with his gloves and sore hands is believable (and the gloves are drawn very nicely) and in general they are drawn in a realistic way, with believable movement, and avoids the dreaded yaoi hand syndrome. Lastly, the characters. Shirotani is a believable mysophobia sufferer, who constantly dreads doing anything which may bring him into close contact with germs or perceived dirty things, and for once, it's not exploited in a comedic way. The author seems very sympathetic to the challenges of living with such a disorder, and the possible trauma that creates it. He is also freaking adorable. Kurose is hot, but Shirotani has catapulted himself to the top of my cinnamon roll list. Naturally, he is the uke, and the "m" of the relationship. Kurose is the seme, and the "s" of the relationship. He is a psychiatrist (or psychologist) who, seemingly for no reason, decides to take on Shirotani, and help him recover. We do learn later why he is drawn to those with the condition, but I won't spoil it here. While he can seem pushy at times, as you see Shirotani's thoughts, you begin to realise that really, he kind of knows what's up, which is definitely proven later on. So, overall, a very interesting and entertaining look at two "different" individuals, and their developing relationship. The sex adds to the story (and let's face it, some people will pick it up just for the sex, and probably drop it when it doesn't happen for a whole volume) but doesn't distract the reader from it, either. I will just put a warning here that the sex is very explicit and not classy in any way, but it's also not censored. For those who are sensitive about this kind of thing. But I can definitely recommend this manga based on the story and the dang adorable relationship and great characters with lots of depth and complicated feelings. My only bugbear about it is that there's not many tender moments (kissing, cuddling, snuggling), but there is a lot of tender moments when they are talking to each other (in what they say). Come for the sex, stay for the story. :D (Alternatively, come for the story and stay because it's so good).

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