While browsing some manga I happened to stumble upon this story Kyuuso wa Cheese no Yume o Miru and as soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to read it! The only reason being that the mangaka was Mizushiro Setona, the creator of After School Nightmare. There’s also Sojou No Koi Wa Nido Haneru, the continuation of Kyuuso wa Cheese no Yume o Miru. The second can be read on MangaCat.me
Here we have Ootomo Kyouichi, a married guy who is constantly having affairs because he can’t say no to anyone, a bad habit that he’s had since his college years. One day his wife decides to hire an investigator named Wataru Imagase, to find out if Kyouichi is cheating on her.
What she didn’t count on, however, is that the investigator she hired is Kyouichi’s old classmate who is in love with him.
Things become even more complicated when Imagase gives Kyouichi the option of buying his silence with his body. Kyouichi agrees to the request on the condition that what they do doesn’t exceed kissing. Things are good until Imagase digs up another affair and the cycle repeats.
Regardless of having no evidence against her husband, Kyouichi’s wife decides to divorce him, claiming they have zero chemistry and that she has someone else she loves.
Kyouichi’s married life ends and 6 months later, Imagase decides to take advantage.
To start off, I just want to confess that this story led me through a myriad of emotions. At first, I started to really hate the main character because he was so judgemental and weak. He would excuse his affairs with a simple ‘I was the victim‘ and ‘She wouldn’t take no for an answer,’ but is quick to judge Imagase on his homosexual feelings for him. Sometimes I would even feel sympathy for Imagase and would wonder what he saw in Kyouichi. The guy was a jerk!
Once they started a physical relationship (because I won’t really call this a normal relationship until later probably), I started to wonder if this was the part where Kyouichi would fall for Imagase. That’s not exactly the case here.
Kyouichi is fine with being physical to a certain extent.
So let’s change to Imagase for a while.
To start off, Imagase is a cool character. He knows what he wants and he knows how to charge. He’s waited so many years (since his college days) to finally be noticed by his senpai (Kyouichi) and seeing that his waiting game didn’t work, Imagase decided to take matters into his own hands. With the resources he holds now, being an investigator, he doesn’t feel much for intruding on Kyouichi’s privacy and blackmailing him.
If he’s willing to go so far against the person he loves, I can only imagine how far he’d go against an enemy. I wouldn’t want to be on his black list.
Character-wise he can be really annoying if you consider his traits individually – overly jealous, whiny, extremely suspicious, overbearing. He claims that he’s fine with his current relationship with Kyouichi and he recognizes that one day Kyouichi will leave him for a woman. Still, he thrives to monopolize Kyouichi.
Honestly, there’s something about him that doesn’t allow me to hate him. I’m not even sure what it could be but I wouldn’t say I like him either. He’s kind of like a character I admire. His tenacity is really something.
Which then leads us to the darker parts of this story (and one of the reasons I love this story).
Expectedly, Kyouichi and Imagase do end up having sex (eventually). At that point, Imagase is the seme in the physical relationship while outside bed, Kyouichi is the ‘manlier’ one. I hadn’t really thought much about this arrangement until later when I realized why Kyouichi was okay with everything. He was fine with it all because he wasn’t the one on top. He could keep telling himself that he wasn’t an active participant and move on to the next day. Of course, Imagase ruins this when one day, while on one of his jealousy sprees, he impales himself on Kyouichi. Kyouichi finally becomes an active participant (and he freaks out about it afterward.)
“Oh my god…I fucked him. I fucked him as hard as I could.”
Unhealthy relationships! There’s a lot of this ‘accepting that you don’t love me but let’s be together’ in this story. In the first story, Imagase and Kyouichi are separated twice. Here they are separated once more and this time, it almost feels like it’s for good. One reason is that Kyouichi refuses to look for Imagase and the second is because he is now going out regularly with one of his co-workers. She knows that Kyouichi loves someone else and she can see all the traces of the ‘woman’ who has his heart but still she continues to be with him. Like Imagase, she’s prepared to be left if that lover ever comes back into Kyouichi’s life.
“What was my ex like…?”
Imagase actually does returns and finds out that Kyouichi is with a woman. He pleads for Kyouichi to let him back into his life, that he doesn’t mind if he’s only an on-the-side relationship. Kyouichi refuses and Imagase turns investigator mode. At this point you can tell both parties are really feeling it and it really tears my heart. For one, Imagase is still torn up about everything and he’s still obsessed over Kyouichi. He’s even willing to be a side lover if worse comes to worse. For Kyouichi, I can feel he’s hurt because he goes into ‘cool’ and ‘collected’ mode. Almost like he’s afraid of being hurt again.
Selfish people everywhere! Because we really are. I especially like the little Kyouichi’s that start up in the second story. Basically it’s Kyouichi’s Dark, White, and Gray thoughts. I’ve probably only ever seen this become a thing in the storyline once before. I really enjoyed it in this story because Kyouichi is so nonchalant about things. It seems like he’s fine (or not fine) with certain aspects of his life but it’s only when his Mini-Trios come out that you see all the things he’s thinking about.
And I would keep saying more but it’s all jumbled up in my head. I could only imagine what it would look like on paper. Even this post seems a bit…chaotic…because I don’t know how to properly express how much I loved this story. It’s a really dark read and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who isn’t okay with some jerk-comments and jerk/selfish-characters.
Some people stopped reading after (or somewhere in) the first story. That’s where I have to say my feelings of anger reside.
But continuing onto the second story really made me feel things like extreme sadness, discomfort, sympathy, and pity for the characters. There was also some happiness but it wasn’t the type where your face lights up and your heart grows warm. It was the type of happiness where I was just waiting for something else to happen. Where there’s still something stuck in my throat and where I can only smile. It’s a happiness tinged with sadness.
This story also reminded me that relationships are complicated.
And so I leave you all with this quote that made me fall in love with this story:
Once…I pretended to be a homosexual man. The man I was seeing told me that he really, really loved me. For some reason, I started to think, maybe it’s enough to be loved like that. I let myself get carried away. The guy tricked me into doing various things. I developed feelings for him and fell in love. I believe…it was love. A real homosexual man would probably laugh with scorn and say, “That’s not love.” But I don’t care if no one understands. And as far as I’m concerned, those days were special to me.