Orenchi no Furo Jijou
Orenchi no Furo Jijou (The Circumstances of My Home’s Bathroom) is a worthy addition to the line-up of moe shoujo/josei manga that I’ve covered on this site. Instead of adorable monks or mischievous high school boys, this time we have a young man who collects monster boys in his bathroom.
When I say monster boys, I’m not talking about your standard cat boys commonly found in shoujo and BL manga.
So how did his bathtub fill up with such interesting house guests? Tatsumi found a weakened, helpless man by the river and dragged him home. Soon after, he took a closer look and realized something about the man…
So what do you do with such a strange creature in your home? If you’re Tatsumi, the answer is obvious: you take care of him and listen to his every whim. And the merman has a lot of them.
The merman, Wakasa, was suffering in the shallow, polluted river and invites himself to live in Tatsumi’s comfortable, clean bathroom. Tatsumi is a nice, selfless guy and isn’t particularly concerned about his new free-loader. However, the larger water and gas bills are alarming. Tatsumi is frugal and it’s not cheap keeping a merman supplied with fresh, warm water.
Wakasa’s quirks and antics provide most of the fodder for the story. His age is a secret and he’s older than he looks–Tatsumi notes a few instances of “generation gap” between the two of them. Wakasa is carefree and not shy about letting himself be spoiled by Tatsumi’s kindness. He doesn’t know much about human society and is very impressionable. For example, it was quite
funny troublesome when Wakasa found a discarded women’s magazine that featured stories on aggressive, womanizing men (nikushokukei 肉食系 literally: carnivorous/meat eaters) and decided to use that to model his behavior.
The dangerous combination of his good looks, yet ignorant nature is a running gag in the manga. Tatsumi is patient and takes it in stride.
Eventually, others start to flock to Tatsumi’s home. Once a student who lived alone, Tatsumi now has many energetic guests coming and going. Takasu, an octopus, hears of Wakasa’s new home and drops in to visit on occasion. He’s good with his
hands tentacles, capable of fixing things and giving great massages. Being an octopus, Takasu enjoys cramming himself into dark, narrow places, including Tatsumi’s washer.
A jellyfish, Mikuni, appears on occasion. His body is 99% water, so he readily shrinks and grows. He doesn’t require food or anything besides water. Tatsumi likes Mikuni because he’s economical like himself.
Maki is a tiny hermit crab who Tatsumi saved from some bullying children. Maki normally has a self-deprecating, negative personality, but a little kindness brings out a bright, happy crab from his (literal and figurative) shell.
The last house guest is Agari-senpai, a big shark rumored to the model for the movie Jaws. He’s a “senpai” to Wakasa because sharks are the top badasses amongst fish. Although Agari-senpai looks scary, he’s just shy. He hides underneath the water with only his fin visible because he’s so shy. He’s too nervous to speak because he ends up scaring people when he opens his mouth and flashes his many sharp teeth. So he uses body language to communicate instead.
Considering he’s the normal human of the bunch, Tatsumi is a pretty interesting guy himself. He always has a darkened, expressionless face that contrasts with his sensitive, selfless personality. That’s part of his charm and I really like his character. He’s a person of action, not words. He’s always doing little things for Wakasa and the others, gladly and with little complaint. It may rarely show on his face, but Tatsumi clearly enjoys the company. Because life is good when you have a bathtub full of cute monster boys.
Orenchi no Furo Jijou’s story is given in short bursts and the tankoubon themselves are only 130 pages long. There is a mix of 4-koma and regular layouts. The tone is very light and fun. There’s no major story arc and as shown in this preview, it’s almost all focused on character development and their interactions. This is not a list of negative things–it works quite well for this manga and it’s highly entertaining. It’s a very cute, heart-warming story about how a young man warmly welcomes all these quirky, energetic creatures into his home.