Otoko no Isshou
“At this age, I believed I wouldn’t fall in love again.”
While I love oyaji, this preference is not necessarily shared by many, considering the endless sea of bishies and hunky young men in anime and manga. However, one manga ignited “oyaji fever” in a large number of readers: Otoko no Isshou. It sold very well and was even nominated for the 3rd Manga Taisho Award. So what about this manga drew out the dormant karesen in everyone?
Otoko no Isshou is a romance manga that focuses on the atypical relationship that grows between a quiet, but capable office worker in her mid-30’s and a 51 year old philosophy professor.
Following her grandmother’s death, Douzono Tsugumi takes leave from her busy job in Tokyo and decides to watch over her grandmother’s property in the country. However, she’s not alone, An older man, Kaieda Jun, shows up with a key and informs her that he was given an open invitation (and key) to stay any time he wants–and he intends to do just that! Having no legal claim to the property, she can’t do much. Thus begins their unconventional cohabitation.
Tsugumi thinks Kaieda is rude at first, but is drawn to him: he is confident, engaging, and kind. He can be rather playful at times and has a good sense of humor, but still has the maturity and grounding of an older man. Turns out Kaieda was a former student of her grandmother. He says he deeply respected her, but was there more? Why does he have a key? What was the nature of their relationship? These questions, her growing attraction, and her past bad relationships put Tsugumi on guard: a guard we get to watch Kaieda pick away at.
Kaieda’s initial mild amusement turns into attraction and he makes his interest known.
He casually tells the locals that he plans to marry Tsugumi–much to her own surprise. While initially an attempt to both tease Tsugumi and deflect prying questions from nosy neighbors, this joke turns into something more serious as the story progresses.
We watch Kaieda slowly win her over, despite her strong reluctance. Tsugumi is no pushover who pines for male attention; she is mostly content, but still somewhat resigned to being alone and very guarded in her personal relationships. Great chemistry and a firm, but kind hand make her wonder if it is okay to love again–a central theme of this manga. The other theme is hot oyaji, of course. (see right!)
The only drawback is that this manga loses sight of that theme (the first one, not second) and its sense of direction in the final volume. This is a common opinion, not just my own rant for once. Despite this, overall, this is a very enjoyable manga for anyone looking to read about a relationship between two adults.