Sayonara Game, by Yuu Minaduki, is a BL manga that follows the romance of a pair of former baseball teammates who are reunited several years after graduating high school. One of them failed to express his feelings to the other when they were in school, but will they get another chance at the game of love?
Aimura hires his younger friend to help his little sister study for her college entrance exams, but when that friend has to back out, Yosuke is asked to fill in. Yosuke used to go to the same high school as Aimura and was a junior member of the baseball team at the same time that Aimura was the assistant captain. While Aimura has a hard time remembering Yosuke, his former teammate deeply admires him and has been nursing a secret crush on him for years. As Aimura becomes aware of Yosuke’s feelings for him, he initially doesn’t think he’ll be able to reciprocate, since he’s only ever been interested in women. Then he starts to notice how cute Yosuke is and begins to wonder if maybe they could work as a couple after all.
Sayonara Game is a simple but sweet and satisfying romance. Our two heroes aren’t the best at communicating their feelings, leading to some unfortunate misunderstandings, but they are genuine and caring people, so they manage to fumble their way through okay in the end.
Yosuke is reserved and doesn’t have the best social skills, something that is compounded when he is in the presence of his beloved senpai (a.k.a. Aimura). His affection for Aimura stems from an incident where Aimura stood up for Yosuke when rumors about him were being spread around their school and causing trouble with the team. This single act of support is something that Aimura barely remembers doing, but it has been carved deeply into Yosuke’s heart.
When they’re reunited years later, Yosuke is convinced that Aimura would never return his feelings and is hesitant to confess, but he’s inspired by Aimura’s little sister, Nana, of all people.
Nana develops a big ol’ crush on Yosuke as soon as she lays eyes on his handsome face, and she isn’t shy about showing it! While he doesn’t reciprocate her feelings, Nana’s emotional honesty gives Yosuke the courage to try being more open with Aimura. This could have led to some tedious love-triangle shenanigans, and there is a little bit of drama surrounding Nana being jealous at the start of the story, but this is thankfully resolved fairly quickly, and Nana is actually pretty supportive of the leads’ relationship for the rest of the book.
Aimura, former baseball star and all-around good-guy, winds up falling for Yosuke pretty fast once he decides to give dating him a shot. A chronic people-pleaser, he starts going all-out with trying to be a good boyfriend. It was pretty adorable to see Aimura try to walk on the side of the sidewalk closest to the street when they were strolling around town together, or keep Yosuke from being crushed when they’re on a crowded train. Unfortunately, while these were genuine efforts on Aimura’s part to show his affection, these are such stereotypical “boyfriend” actions that it winds up looking like he’s just playing a part to Yosuke, who still isn’t convinced that Aimura isn’t dating him just because he felt bad for him.
Can these two stumble their way towards better communication and finally manage to understand each other? Well, there’s a whole sequel series coming out in 2022 that chronicles their ongoing romance, so I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone that they manage to sort things out in the end.
I think the main appeal of Sayonara Game is it’s main characters, who are both kind and well-meaning, if a bit too inexperienced with love and relationships to avoid some pretty obvious pitfalls in their relationship. They might not be the best at understanding their own feelings – or other people’s for that matter – but they’re very cute when they’re together and it really comes across how much they care for each other. I was eager to see these numbskulls start communicating their feelings better and happy to see them manage to make some progress.
The other big appeal of this book is that this manga is quite sexy, and things get pretty explicit near then end. No awkward attempts at censorship to be found here!
Sayonara Game is a homerun of a romance, delivering plenty of both sweet and spicy moments. I’d definitely recommend it to boys love manga fans, and I’m looking forward to checking out Change World, the sequel series, when it comes out next year.
Final Score: 8 out of 10.
For more information on this manga, visit SuBLime Manga’s website.
What did you think of this manga? Who else is hyped for Change World? Let me know in the comments.
Be sure to check out my other recent Boys Love manga reviews:
- Dick Fight Island Vol 1 Review
- Like Two Peas in a Pod Review
- Bad Boys, Happy Home Vol 1 Review
- Manga Mini Reviews: BL Edition
- My Love Mix-Up! Vol 1 Review
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