Now here’s an example of a manga that completely lived up to my expectations!
Mone Sorai’s Our Not-So-Lonely Planet Travel Guide is a BL manga that follows a pair of lovers as they embark on a life-changing journey around the world. This book is chock-full of all the fascinating locales and cute couple moments that I was hoping for, and it also has a touching story about the importance of living for today.
After recovering from a serious health scare that required him to undergo surgery and quit his job while he received treatment, nervous and reserved Asahi is ready to embrace life. Step one: he and his boyfriend, Mitsuki, are going on a globe-trotting trip to see the world. Step two: when they get home to Japan, the two of them are getting married!
Our Not-So-Lonely Planet Travel Guide is one of the manga series that I was most looking forward to in 2021 and it’s already proven itself to be a gem.
The travel journal aspect of the story is delightful, providing a good mix of beautiful vistas, interesting facts about the local cultures of the featured country and mouth-wateringly detailed depictions of the regional cuisine. Each country the boys travel to provides them with something more significant then just an exotic place to gawk at, however. There are lessons to be learnt in every new place that Asahi and Mitsuki visit; important truths about life, themselves and each other.
Thailand’s laid-back culture and more accepting attitude towards LGBTQ+ identities are a revelation to Asahi, who has a lot of anxiety about being open about his relationship with Mitsuki and still isn’t out to his family back home.
The duo’s visit to India provides Asahi with even more food for thought. During a boat trip across the river Ganges, their guide explains some of the local customs and recites the following quote from Ghandi: “You should live as if you’re going to die tomorrow, and learn as if you will live forever.” Asahi has recently had to face his own mortality, so these words seemed to really hit home for him. I hope that, as his horizons are broadened and he meets different people and sees more diverse ways of life, Asahi will find the confidence to more proudly be himself.
Mitsuki is more outgoing than Asahi and doesn’t tend to worry about what others think, so he’s happy to flaunt their love at any opportunity. He could probably stand to think things through a bit more before he acts, but his cheerful disposition and ability to go with the flow balances out Asahi’s more serious nature nicely. This dichotomy in their personalities causes friction between them sometimes, but they are committed to each other and to growing as a couple, so their little spats never last long. They’re very sweet together and I loved their lovey-dovey moments, as well as seeing them talk through some of the challenges they’re facing in their relationship. This trip is already bringing them closer together, and they’ve only visited three countries so far. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for them next!
Our Not-So-Lonely Planet Travel Guide is one-part adorable romance and one-part semi-educational journey of self-discovery. It’s poignant, fun and beautiful. A must read for BL fans and worth checking out if you’re a travel nut.
Final Score: 9 out of 10
For more information on this manga, visit Tokyopop’s website.
What did you think of this manga? Any countries your dying to see Asahi and Mitsuki visit in a future volume? I’m hoping that they visit Canada, as that’s where I live and I’d be interested to see how my country would be presented.
Be sure to check out some of my other recent BL manga reviews:
- This Wonderful Season With You Review
- Katakoi Lamp Review
- Manga Mini Reviews (The Cat Proposed & MADK Vol 1)
- I Cannot Reach You Vol 1 Review
- Sasaki and Miyano Vol 1 Review
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