This pride month, I decided to pick up a new LGBTQ+ manga series to check out in order to celebrate. A few weeks ago, I made my way to my local bookstore and headed to their manga section. I was fairly disappointed by how much of their pride month section contained 18+ manga despite there being several great titles that are clean. (For the record, I have nothing against 18+ titles, I just wanted something more tame.) I tried looking for ones that had been recommended to me, but I couldn’t find any of them either. So, I went back to the main display and spotted the one that I will be talking about today: I Hear The Sunspot. As soon as I read the back cover, I knew that it was going to tear my heart apart, which means that I had to read it, right? (Just agree with me here.)So, without further ado, here is my opinion on the first volume of I Hear The Sunspot as a reader that walked into the series with no prior experience with it.
(Also, this article has spoilers so beware. If you want to avoid them, please skip to the verdict section at the bottom of this post.)
About The Manga
I Hear The Sunspot (also known as ひだまりが聞こえる/Hidamari ga Kikoeru) is a BL manga that was written and illustrated by Yūki Fumino. The first volume was released in (date) and follows Taichi and Kohei, two college students who happen to accidentally meet one day. As it turns out, Kohei is hard of hearing and needs a notetaker, which is a role that Taichi attempts to fill. This begins the formation of a friendship between them, which evolves into more as the story goes on. I will describe these characters more later on in the review, but that is a basic description of what the manga is about.
The story begins with Taichi searching for a job and being turned down. This is when he accidentally stumbles upon Kohei’s usual lunch spot. Kohei gives Taichi his lunch and leaves, which causes the food-motivated Taichi to seek him out the next day to give him back his lunch box. They meet again and it is revealed that Kohei needs a notetaker and Taichi takes the job in exchange for food.
After Taichi becomes Kohei’s notetaker, the two grow closer and Taichi finds that Kohei is not the kind of person to seek help for his problems. Kohei is also antisocial and treated poorly by other people, but doesn’t do much to fight against it. This leads to Taichi defending him a few times throughout the manga.
However, things become more dramatic when Kohei’s hearing begins to deteriorate further. Upon learning that he may go completely deaf, Kohei pushes Taichi away since he eventually won’t be able to hear Taichi’s voice anymore. This is heartbreaking for Kohei and Taichi confronts him about being cut-off. This leads to Kohei’s true feelings for Taichi being revealed and a surprising amount of character development for Kohei in the end (which I will go over later).
Overall, I found the plot of I Hear The Sunspot to be enjoyable and easy to keep up with. Each event in the manga happens for a reason and it utilizes its limited pages wisely. The only problem that I had was with the pacing of the romance portion of the manga. It was very rushed, which Fumino acknowledged in a note at the end of the manga, stating that it was mainly because of a push from the publishing company to make the main characters “get together” sooner rather than later. I think more hints at Kohei’s feelings would have helped to make the romance portion of this manga feel a little more realistic and less rushed.
Even so, I can’t wait to see how the rest of the series goes.
One of the things that I enjoy most about reading in general is getting to know the characters and seeing how they change. Over this volume, Taichi doesn’t change much at all, but that isn’t a bad thing because he is already a genuinely likable character, in my opinion. We learn right away that Taichi is a reckless young man who has a hard time holding down a job, which is illustrated at the very beginning of the manga when he is turned down for a job due to his aggressive tendencies. However, as you watch how Taichi’s behavior comes into play in the story after he meets Kohei, you quickly learn that his heart is in the right place. Taichi often defends Kohei from others, which is seen when Taichi punches a guy that talks badly about Kohei behind his back and when he shouts at a girl for trying to romanticize Kohei’s position (which I thought the manga did a great job of handling since it is a common problem). He is willing to do just about anything for food, which is shown when he agrees to become Kohei’s notetaker in exchange for lunches and when he takes a friend’s spot at a baseball game in exchange for a meal. We also learn very quickly that Taichi is one of the few people who does not pity or look down on Kohei for his disability. I enjoyed Taichi’s character because of his good-hearted nature, which makes his lack of development okay for me.
On the other hand, Kohei changes a lot in this volume. In the beginning, Kohei avoids people and refuses to learn sign language, saying that he doesn’t need it. Over the course of the volume, he grows closer to Taichi and enjoys being around him because he has an easier time hearing his voice compared to other people’s. However, the largest shift in his character begins when his hearing worsens. He cuts himself off from Taichi, only for Taichi to pull him back in and ends up confronting his growing feelings for his notetaker. After this happens, we see Kohei become more social and open to seeking help with coping with his disability, which includes learning sign language. This change is also shown when Kohei decides to get a haircut, which reveals the hearing aids that he had hidden underneath his long hair before. The shift in his character at the end of the volume is meant to show that Kohei is finally accepting his disability and doesn’t see it as a weakness like other people make it out to be. I personally enjoyed seeing this shift in Kohei’s character in this volume.
As you can tell from looking at the cover, the art in this manga is very detailed on most of the pages. The mangaka took great care in making the characters’ facial expressions easy to read and the backgrounds and establishing shots are very detailed. In the faster-paced moments in the manga, the drawings tend to get a little more scratchy or appear less detailed, but I believe part of the reason why they are drawn that way is because the reader is not supposed to spend much time on those pages anyway. I especially like the details of the settings, but the art in this manga was enjoyable overall.
After reviewing the manga a few times, I have decided that I would definitely recommend it to BL manga fans. This volume of I Hear The Sunspot makes the rest of the series seem very promising and I can’t wait to read more. The plot was interesting and easy to follow, the characters were amazing and entertaining, and the art was pretty nice as well. If you need a new BL manga to read and are searching for a sweet one that you can start very easily, I would recommend that you pick up the first volume of I Hear The Sunspot.
Thank you so much for reading through my first manga review post. I know that this probably wasn’t the best review ever, but I am hoping that they will get better as I get back into writing these. I can’t wait to share more reviews soon and I hope that you check out the first volume of I Hear The Sunspot.