Manga: 10 Count

It took me so long to think about how to finish writing about Gangsta., I basically screwed up the ‘everyday post’ schedule right at the end of NaBloPoMo. Well shit. Hahahaha oh well. Here’s Day 29th’s. I really had trouble deciding on this. Hope I manage to finish all 30 on time.

Manga: 10 Count 「テンカウント」

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10 Count vol 1 and 2 covers

10 Count is a Yaoi, psychological, slice-of-life, drama, mature, romance written and illustrated by Takarai Rihito. It started serialising from Jul 2013 and is currently ongoing with 16 chapters and counting. As of the end of Sept, 12 chapters have been compiled into 2 tankobon volumes. A drama CD will be released on Dec 18.

When the President gets into an accident, secretary Shirotani Tadaomi meets the President’s saviour, Kurose Riku. Kurose could tell right away that Shirotani is a pretty bad Mysophobic — Someone with an abnormal fear of dirt and contamination by it — and suggests him to consult a doctor about it. Left perturbed, Shirotani ponders over Kurose’s suggestion and how he was able to realise Shirotani’s condition. When by chance they meet again, Kurose reveals that he’s a counselor at a psychosomatic clinic and asks Shirotani to write a list of 10 things he is “reluctant to do” with 1 being the easiest and 10 the hardest. The story follows Shirotani as he tries to get over his Mysophobia with Kurose’s help.

WARNING: Guy x guy relationship.NSFW, with explicit scenes starting from volume 2. Light S&M. Character coping with mental conditions.

Takarai-sensei is pretty well-known at least in the BL/yaoi genre for her gorgeous art and gentle stories. And 10 count is no different in those aspects. Although, comparing to her previous works like Seven Days and the Hana series, 10 Count does heavier moments comparatively. Especially considering the story content.

There is so much more going on besides the sweet romance between the couple. Right from the start, a clear goal is set up in the form of Shirotani getting over his Mysophobia. You have a ‘count’ for anticipation. But even with that, the story’s not in any rush. It might feel pretty slow and frustrating as the story goes on, but the soothing and calm pace is almost like a trademark of Takarai-sensei’s. Everyone can probably guess how it all ends, but I’m extremely interested in what goes on before the finish line. Having a character with a major condition as the protagonist in a slice-of-life, drama story really spices everything up. It’s unpredictable; You end up continuing because you want to know the history of what happened to result in shit as well as what comes next.

It’s great how you get to see the psychological struggles Shirotani has to go through with his condition and how he gets over them bit by bit. I’d be lying if I said I don’t appreciate flawed and emotionally impaired characters doing their best. And Shirotani isn’t struggling alone. Kurose’s right there with him. Not just as a silent supporter, but as someone who guides, and then… uh… forcibly pushes… and has his own troubles along the way restraining himself from intimate contact with Shirotani. (Not very often…). It’s painful watching them, but it’s also really uplifting when you see the progress they make. There’s a slight sadomasochistic relationship going on between the two of them which adds yet another layer to the story.

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10 Count vol 1 chp 1

Takarai-sensei’s art usually isn’t very detailed. But she does have a distinctive, beautiful art style. It’s soft and atmospheric with minimal contrast. Backgrounds aren’t drawn very often. You really feel your heart warm up with both the story and the art. In addition to the really sweet scenes, Takarai-sensei draws amazingly sexy faces when the characters are aroused. Her smut scenes are great too. I’m sorely tempted to collect the volumes. And not just because of the sexy cover art… Uhhuh.

This may sound really corny, but with such pretty characters and a captivating storyline, I’m once again enchanted by Takarai Rihito’s work.

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