Home My Beautiful Man Volume 1 Light Novel Review: A Unique BL Story

My Beautiful Man Volume 1 Light Novel Review: A Unique BL Story

My Beautiful Man takes an unconventional duo and runs with them to the fullest. Unlike a lot of BL light novels, manga, or anime, author Yuu Nagira’s My Beautiful Man avoids some more common tropes and seemingly sets out to be the kind of story no one has quite seen before. Nagira’s choices of characters are uncommon, the rationale behind romances is layered and strange, and multiple aspects of the story leave the reader asking questions and turning pages to find the answers. What this light novel does is encapsulate the norms and rules of social settings and lay them right alongside emotions at odds with them. The result is a romance story that, while at times communicated less than optimally, should hold the attention of BL fans looking to read something they haven’t come across before.

The main character we deal with, and the character from whom most of the book’s perspective is written, is Kazunari Hira. Hira has struggled with dysphemia (a stutter) for his entire life, something which plagued his childhood social actions and led to him becoming somewhat reclusive. By the time he makes it to his second year of high school, he doesn’t have friends, hides behind long bangs, and sits rather firmly at the bottom of any conceivable social ladder. Other boys in his class treat him as a “gofer,” or someone to go grab food and drinks for them, reserve seating at restaurants, and do things for them as if he were a servant or an assistant.

His love interest, Sou Kiyoi, couldn’t be more different than him. Kiyoi is a self-centered, conventionally attractive, charismatic person who people feel drawn to both within their school and outside of it. He has absolutely no issue existing at the top of the social ladder, sitting within the same friend group that doles out orders to Hira like a master to a servant. But, as Hira immediately takes notice of, Kiyoi is on a different wavelength than the rest of the class. Beyond an immediate physical attraction, what draws Hira in is how special Kiyoi is in comparison to their peers and how readily he moves at his own speed and according to his own whims.

Volume 1 of the light novel chronicles the interactions between the two as we peer deeper and deeper into Hira’s love for Kiyoi and who Kiyoi is as a character. I should note, this series is for ages 17 and older.

Thoughts on the My Beautiful Man Light Novel

The first thing of note about much of the light novel is the depth with which is focuses on characters’ thoughts via a third-person narrator with limited but progressively increasing knowledge of characters’ thoughts. For the majority of the book, this means focusing on Hira’s observations of the world around him, about Kiyoi, about what others might be thinking in a situation, and about his own position at school and amongst those around him. This tendency to communicate thoughts directly is both a strength and weakness of the book; at times, it does a lot more telling than showing, as we’re following the thinking patterns of someone who is incredibly observant and even stops to ponder about others’ thoughts amidst his own. But, because the text focuses so much on one person, it creates some natural curiosity about others like Kiyoi for example, something which is rewarded when the narrator begins revealing his thoughts and feelings as well. At times, I found myself feeling like the narrative was dragging a bit, but these moments are only sprinkled throughout the book.

Without spoiling any aspects of the plot, the core romance of this book is something that the reader is likely to question (in a good way) and that the main duo themselves don’t understand. From the very beginning, Hira’s love for Kiyoi is inexplicably strong, and while there are narrative reasons one could point to as to why this sudden crush happens, it’s incredibly clear that there is a connection between these two people who exist worlds apart. It’s this that is the most intriguing part of the story to me; I found myself wondering to what extent a romantic relationship would be possible and what form it would take when two people are so different and interact with each other so differently.

Ultimately, while it does in my opinion suffer from moments of poor pacing, My Beautiful Man does well in presenting a romance story that demands a reader see it through. I would recommend this light novel to BL fans who are interested in characters that are weird in refreshing ways and a story they won’t see something similar to. The light novel is published in Japanese by Tokuma Shoten and in English by Tokyopop. The English version is set to debut on July 16th. For other forms of the same story, you can check out the manga adaptation (which we’ve also reviewed) which will also be published by Tokyopop from July 16th.

Anime Corner was provided with a copy of My Beautiful Man for review
UTSUKUSHII KARE © 2014 by YUU NAGIRA and RIKAKO KASAI / Tokuma Shoten Publishing Co., Ltd.

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