Library Journal Review
Yaichi, a divorced father, opens the door one day to a burly Canadian visitor: the widowed husband of his late twin brother, Ryoji. With LGBT issues still marginalized in Japan, Yaichi wants to welcome this bereft new member of his family but finds himself hog-tied by homophobia and ignorance. However, Yaichi's lively daughter Kana takes her Uncle Mike to her heart, learning to hug him like a North American while he savors with bittersweet appreciation the country where Ryoji spent his life before emigrating. Yaichi's ex-wife -Natsuki accepts Mike without hesitation, now energized to become more involved with the family. Yet neighbors keep their children away from Kana for fear of her "bad influence." Known for his gay erotic manga, Tagame (House of Brutes) here stays well within an all-ages, realistic "gay life 101" concept. His spare, naturalistic art conveys the poverty of Yaichi's life without Natsuki, contrasted with Mike's happy if disrupted bond with Ryoji. -VERDICT This winsome look at culture clash compares the largely still-closeted Japanese gay culture with the West, underscoring a theme of universal yearning for family. Nominated for an Angoulême Award, it's a great YA crossover.-MC © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Sweet-natured but powerful, the first volume of Tagame's new manga series is a family-based and issue-oriented melodrama that wears its heart lightly but proudly on its sleeve. Stay-at-home divorced dad Yaichi is raising Natsuki, his sparkplug of a daughter, and dealing with the trauma of estrangement from his twin Ryoji, when a surprise appears on his doorstep: Mike, a muscled Canadian teddy bear, tells Yaichi that he is Ryoji's widowed husband. This bombshell knocks the stoic Yaichi for a loop. But though Yaichi is uncomfortable with Mike's presence and what it represents in a still-quite-homophobic society, the adorably domineering Natsuki is thrilled to have a gay Canadian uncle. Tagame's narrative is modestly paced, giving space to the granular emotional subtext of Yaichi's acceptance of both his dead brother's orientation and his new brother-in-law, with some tongue-in-cheek visual flourishes. In this firmly PG story, Tagame's career in erotica (Massive) is evident only in some of the more luxuriantly detailed close-ups of Mike's and Yaichi's physiques. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Booklist Review
*Starred Review* In America, the struggle for equal rights for LGBTQ people is a part of the national conversation. But in Japan, LGBTQ individuals are still largely closeted and socially invisible. Into this culture walks Mike, a large, friendly Canadian and the widower of Yuichi's gay brother. Feeling obligated to ask Mike to stay in his home, Yuichi, a single parent, is dismayed when Mike, who is out, open to questions, and secure in his identity, befriends his young daughter. Yuichi's low-level homophobia is tempered by his daughter's unquestioning acceptance of her new favorite uncle. As the days progress and his daughter continues to naively ask personal questions, Yuichi begins to see Mike, who is clearly grieving, as a complete person instead of a stereotype and to examine his relationship with his brother before and after he came out. Tagame is best known for bara manga, and the men in this story are solid and muscular, a far cry from the long, willowy character designs often found in manga. The art is crisp, and the characters' faces expressive, allowing the reader to see their hurt, confusion, and relief. While there is some nudity, it's never sexualized. A sensitive exploration of the transition some families go through when a family member comes out and a possible entry point for those needing to start conversations of their own.--Volin, Eva Copyright 2010 Booklist