I Hear the Sunspot by Yuki Fumino is one of the sweetest and most beautiful story on queer love between two boys who are poles apart.
What is the book about?
The manga, I Hear the Sunspot, is a beautiful blossoming story of how two school boys meet each other and slowly, tentatively, hesitatingly fall for each other. One is Kouhei, quiet and composed, and the other is Sagawa Taichi, who is the exact opposite: loud, boisterous and ready to pick a fight!
Kouhei has a hearing disability which makes his college life difficult as it does not help him socialise easily and in turn leads to him being labelled as being aloof.
However, Taichi and Kouhei meet in an unexpected way and bond over a delicious bento lunchbox that Kouhei offers him and then Taichi is hired as Kouhei’s notetaker since he is not able to hear and cope with what the teacher explains in the class.
As the story progresses, we get to see the backgrounds of both the characters: how Kouhei developed the disability, how Taichi lives with his grandpa and why he is always looking for a part time job to fund himself.
This is precisely why he was thrilled to be hired by Kouhei as a notetaker and in turn, Kouhei is able to gel well Taichi since he can hear him loud and clear and does not have to tell him to repeat himself all the time. What is more, Taichi is blessed with this unique ability to understand and truly empathise with Kouhei’s problems: of how Kouhei is not completely deaf but can partially which creates a separate disabled category which society has not yet been sensitised to.
One last reason to pick it up?
Oh there are several!
Reason number one:
Everything about this tender tale of two teenagers finding their way and finding their love, is wonderful. We all want to be understood and loved by all despite our flaws and that is what Kouhei finds in Taichi.
Reason number two:
Next is how the characters’ random thoughts are etched in blank blocks floating around and it a a great way to help the reader get a glimpse into the characters’ minds.
Reason number three:
The illustrations and the dialogues are sparse yet say so much about what is happening. The black and white tone adds beautifully to the story.
Reason number four:
This should have been first actually! But the only reason I read the manga was because it said that it had a queer love story as the main plot and that caught my eye. The manga depicts it so normally and without fanfare and blends the theme of disability into the story with effortless elan. I love it when queer stories are told in that manner without making it too obvious or trying to stand out blatantly. Plus, the outlook it provides on the handicaps about hearing disability would help you empathise more with people who have to go through that everyday.
Are four reasons enough?