Bergamot & Sunny Day Manga Review

Bergamot & Sunny Day Manga Evaluate

Twenty-three-year-old Riku claims he’s awful at relationships. This indicates that he has never been in a relationship for longer than three months, and each one has ended with his boyfriend ending things. Usually for the same variety of reasons, which Riku believes boil down to being overly needy. That might be the case, and some of his actions do seem to confirm it. He seems extremely upset and recently ended a difficult relationship when we first meet. Readers might infer early on that Riku is likely concealing more from them than he is willing to admit since more of it looks to be self-blame than sincere love for his ex.

In terms of the protagonist and point of view character piecing things together, Bergamot & Sunny Day is one of those romances that takes its time. Readers must deduce the truth about Riku’s run of ex-girlfriends while he is still, for the most part, oblivious due to the close first-person narration (Josh and Riku’s roommate Jing also get one or two thought bubbles). The manner the tale is told is interesting, but a little annoying at points. For instance, we can assume that Josh has been transmitting signals that Riku hasn’t been reading, or hasn’t been reading correctly, even in the absence of Josh’s thoughts when he hears Riku’s supposition that his employer is making fun of him. As a result, the story is primarily on Riku’s development as a people-watcher and his understanding of Josh and their bond.

Part of the problem stems from the two men’s age and disparity in power. Although Josh’s exact age is unknown, Riku estimates that he is in his forties, meaning that there is a twenty-year age discrepancy. In addition, Josh owns Sunny Day, the café where Riku works. Later in the book, we find out that Josh was the one who employed Riku at first. Because of this, some readers may find the novel unsettling, but it’s crucial to emphasize that Josh isn’t grooming Riku or abusing his position or age. Josh is a very real person with many fears; although he occasionally feels like the “wise older man,” Josh is primarily attempting to communicate his feelings to Riku without frightening him away. He only ever “flaunts” his wealth once, in direct response to Riku’s admission of his expectations regarding Josh’s potential as a partner. The only true way he can be considered the more mature partner is when he teaches Riku that he’s not “bad” at relationships or sex; this is more of a demonstration of what a healthy relationship looks like than it is a teaching moment.

This one-volume story’s main message is the value of honest communication. All of Riku’s fears can be linked to a bad relationship from his early years, which caused him to withdraw mentally and become reluctant to express his desires for fear that doing so would alienate others. This is all about his dating life, which is interesting; he gets along well with his roommate and coworkers, and he’s cool as a cucumber when he’s hanging with Josh and learning about tea or something like related to work. By the time he recognizes he wants more from his relationship with the other man, he’s become so enmeshed in his own narrative that he is unable to hear what Josh has to say—in one crucial example, literally—and starts making up stories to himself about how Josh is not fond of him. When the readers can clearly see the opposite, they are not dating. However, Josh isn’t being as open and honest as he could be, failing to recognize that for Riku to feel completely safe and comfortable, words and deeds are both necessary.

It’s a valid criticism if this gives Riku the appearance of being a little needy. This is when Riku makes or breaks the story. He puts so much thought into the book that you probably won’t enjoy reading if you think he’s obnoxious or high maintenance. In a nutshell, the narrative is quite uplifting as Josh demonstrates to Riku that he is not the primary cause of any of his failed relationships, either in or out of bed. Instead, some of the “blame” must also go to his former girlfriends, who failed to recognize Riku’s fears for what they are. Could this have all been developed more effectively? Yes, a two-volume series would have been beneficial for this. However, it still functions fairly well, and the artwork does a respectable job of capturing a (very clean) New York City, which is helpful. Although it’s not the best BL manga to have released recently, it’s still decent enough, especially if you enjoy romances including a significant age difference.

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