I Hear the Sunspot: Four Seasons GN 1

I Pay attention the Sunspot: 4 Seasons GN 1

The I Hear the Sunspot BL series by Yuki Fumino is always worth the wait. The most recent subseries in the main story of Kohei and Taichi is called Four Seasons, and it deals with the slow-developing nature of their relationship while moving time forward. It begins with preparing the young men for their future steps in life, in Kohei’s case getting a job, then picks up during Kohei’s senior year of college.

It’s interesting to contrast this with Taichi’s development because, at first glance, Kohei appears to be going forward in time while Taichi appears to be at a standstill. Although it isn’t the case at all, Kohei has a lot more to cope with in this volume because Taichi has been working full-time since he dropped out of college three years ago. It’s crucial to notice that neither of them believes they have handled things in the “right” way; Kohei has credentials and will soon have a degree, but that never gives the impression that he thinks better of Taichi, and Taichi never conveys that he thinks less of his partner. The emphasis is on each of them acting in their own best interests, and their relationship reflects that. This demonstrates how they develop as individuals while remaining cohesive. While Kohei may be the more comfortable partner due to his emotional intelligence, Taichi may be the more advanced worker. Nevertheless, they complement one another effectively.

Kohei’s job search is in part motivated by his wish to avoid simply being hired as a diversity hire since he meets the employer’s “disabled employee” requirement. He doesn’t want to live his life with his impairment at the forefront of who he is, which is in part why he rejects Taichi’s request that he come work for Sig-n. It was a long, difficult trip for him, as a flashback reveals, and when Kohei’s high school girlfriend Ena shows up, the story takes a turn for the worst. Ena, who is only recently learning sign language, still has feelings for Kohei and regrets not looking into the reasons why he stayed silent after being ill. She tries to get closer to Kohei when she runs into the boys because she doesn’t realize that Kohei and Taichi are dating. Taichi encourages her to recognize that she hasn’t been holding a torch for him for years, but that her feelings for him are merely a result of her guilt. It’s a significant moment because it conveys the idea that individuals with disabilities are just people who are living their own lives; they don’t exist for your pity or self-soothing. Although many of us may assume it is obvious, the prevalence of “inspiration porn” style media makes it crucial that Ena has this epiphany. It doesn’t matter at all if Kohei is dating another man.

When Ena asks Kohei to pretend as her lover in order to frighten off another guy, she also introduces another intriguing story point. Fumino takes the dramatic step of having Kohei refuse, which is something we’ve seen done countless times in romance manga to create tension in a partnership. Ena is being stalked, and he realizes that this is a difficult situation for her. However, he feels that staying with Taichi would be just as bad, so he advises her to report the stalking to the police. She is in a potentially dangerous scenario, so he is torn about his choice, but it stands out that he prioritized his boyfriend over his ex-girlfriend. And he is correct; as later events in the volume demonstrate, calling the police is a safer course of action than attempting to trick the criminal. This plot also has some little victim-blaming, which Taichi adamantly rejects.

The relationship is still developing slowly. This is largely because Taichi still feels awkward around displays of affection; he cares deeply for Kohei and is understandably concerned about his relationship with Ena (especially when he recalls Kohei specifically saying that he’s never “done this with a guy”), but he isn’t quite ready to move on. Even though he plainly wants to do more, even if it’s just more kissing, Kohei is appreciative of this, and watching them strive to stick to what they are both comfortable with is a very powerful portion of the story. If you don’t like glacial pacing, it could be annoying, but in the end, I believe it will be a strength rather than a weakness of the series.

I Hear the Sunspot: Four Seasons advances the lives of Kohei and Taichi. It works well that it is obvious that their connection is not the center of their existence but rather a significant source of support for them. It’s a realistic relationship, and hopefully, the wait between now and the release of their next chapter won’t be too long.

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