Name: Yume no Kodomo (夢の子供)
Author/Artist: Hamada Shouko
Shion’s score: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
Volumes: 6 (Complete)
Summary: Youji, a high school boy with a heavy sister-complex was suddenly introduced to his sister’s friend, Akishima Ren, and told to live together with him. Ren has an extremely cold personality which seems to be the effect of a hurtful past he couldn’t forget. After realising about Ren’s sexual orientation and the reason behind why his sister left him with Ren, Youji attempts to heal Ren’s scar from the past. However, things never go smoothly at the start.
This was one of those I picked off randomly from the list of BL manga which turned up in the Mangafox search, sorted by number of views of course; I wasn’t going to waste my time with manga which weren’t promising. Indeed Yume no Kodomo was one of the better reads I’ve seen so far. The fact that it was a 6-volume-long manga meant that it would be either something good or something I drop halfway. I was glad that it turned out to be the former.
The story is about the development of feelings between a high school boy and his sister’s friend (note: not boyfriend, I’ve had enough of younger boys stealing their sisters’ boyfriends). There are quite a few note-worthy characters in here which had their fair share of limelight during the entire length of the story, but of course, the entire manga was centered around Ren and Youji.
Youji was forced to live with Ren right from the start and there was a short period of time when he mistook the relationship between his sister and Ren to be that of a romantic nature. He soon realised that it was far from that because *gasps* Ren is gay. He quickly becomes infatuated with Ren and confessed his feelings on a whim(?); I thought that happened way too fast, apparently, so did Ren, who didn’t take him seriously too. However, Youji did some serious thinking and convinced himself that he was definitely in love with Ren-san, that it wasn’t feelings of sympathy but l-o-v-e, love. Even though Youji has declared that he loves Ren, he didn’t break up with his girlfriend, Hiromi, and I thought he might become a second Hirose.
At that point in time, the things he was saying sort of mirrors what Hirose said in the past, things like “I like both of you”, “it’s a different kind of love”, “she’s special” and “it can’t be helped”. To be frank, I read this manga in a rush so I forgot the specifics, but that was the general feeling I got from the speech bubbles from Youji. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the main issue of this manga was about him choosing between Hiromi (the set path; following social norms) and Ren (the unorthodox way of life) then. Fortunately, I was saved from all that drama when Youji broke up with Hiromi shortly after he confessed to Ren. From then on, the issue became more of getting Ren to accept Youji, or rather to accept his feelings for Youji since it was quite clear that he treasured Youji as a special individual.
After more drama (the kind I was okay with) when we found out more about Ren’s past promiscuous lifestyle before he met Youji and about Youji’s not so pleasant childhood, Hirose, the long-forgotten antagonist made his last appearance by drugging and raping Ren. All the outstanding issues were finally solved (this is beginning to sound like work) when Hirose’s wife confessed to marrying Hirose/stealing Hirose from Youji despite knowing about their feelings for each other.
Even though this manga was supposed to have happened over the span of 1 year, it felt like the characters matured a lot – all of them. The most obvious people who have changed themselves for the better would be Youji and Ren, followed by Hiromi, Sakai, and even Youji’s parents. Not too sure whether Hirose ever changed for the better because I wasn’t convinced by the last scene in the hospital, but who cares about that man?
Youji was already a very mature kid right from the start; minus his siscon and the resulting actions/words he hurled at Ren at the start, I found the attitude he took towards certain events extremely admirable. Even though he was just a brat in the first chapter, somehow he grew on me and before I knew it, I found myself liking him quite a bit. Maybe it was when I found out that he had been his sister’s pillar of support when she was down, or when I saw him doing the same for Ren, or when he asked Hiromi to return the ring he gave her, or when he dealt with Ren’s sleeping around with such a cool attitude, or when I found out about how he remained strong despite being denied by his mum in the past… I could go on forever, but I think you got the picture. Maybe Youji was already matured enough, the only thing that changed for the better in him was the way he looked. Although I generally do not like pushy ukes/younger boys, Youji was special.
On the other hand, Ren wasn’t as likeable as Youji; he seemed more of the opposite of Youji – withdrawn, weak, and moody. I liked him more after he got his haircut, it felt like his personality changed along with his hair style and he became stronger, both mentally and physically. He is one of the most successful uke-turned-seme I’ve seen so far, or so I thought until the last scene… but I’ll take it that he’s the top in this relationship. I was doubting his ability to maintain his composure during the few times he met up with Hirose, but he did really well. Serves you right, Hirose.
In general, Yume no Kodomo is a well-paced love story which involves quite a bit of drama (bearable drama) and is one of those more mainstream BL that I enjoyed. The artwork might seem a bit crude at the start but, like most older mangas, it gets more beautiful as the chapters develop so just hang in there if you’re one of those who’s particular about artwork.