It took me a while to track down a copy of Edako Mofumofu’s Boys Love manga, There Are Things I Can’t Tell You, and, during that time, I saw a lot of posts on my social media about how sad this book was or how much it made people cry. I was starting to get a bit wary of reading it, for fear that it would turn out to be a soul-crushing tragedy. If you are similarly worried, let me reassure you that this manga does, in fact, have a happy ending, but you should be prepared to experience some intense feels.
Kyousuke has been in love with his childhood friend, Kasumi, for years, but believes that these feelings are wrong and that the two of them could never have a happy life together in the way that “normal” couples can. So when Kasumi confesses that he loves him, Kyousuke is convinced that his own feelings have corrupted Kasumi and he pushes his friend away, believing that, once they are separated, Kasumi will be able to find love with a woman. When they are reunited years later and tentatively start to renew their friendship, Kyousuke discovers that Kasumi hasn’t found happiness in the time that they’ve been apart and is instead having an empty affair with a married woman in an attempt to cope with his loneliness. Will Kyousuke be able to recognize that his actions haven’t protected Kasumi and have only hurt them both? Or are these two doomed to remain separated by their own insecurities and misconceptions?
When they were still children, Kyousuke witnessed Kasumi make a wish to one day fall in love, get married and live happily ever after. This becomes the crux of why he believes that the two of them shouldn’t be together. Kyousuke’s father was cold and demanding of his son, expecting perfection as the default and treating anything less as failure. He was also a homophobic asshole. Kyousuke has, unfortunately, absorbed some of his father’s views and, as a result, believes that there is always a “right” path to take in life in order to be successful. In this case, he believes the right path for Kasumi to take in order to achieve his dream is to fall in love with a woman and he is blind to the fact that there are other possibilities that could lead to Kasumi being happy. This is why he rejects his friend, even though he desperately wants to be with him.
Kasumi, meanwhile, grew up in a fractured home with parents who were hostile towards each other and neglectful of him. He’s awkward and lacks self-confidence and has always adored Kyousuke, who’s outgoing and confident. He doesn’t believe that there is any way that his brilliant friend could ever love him back, so he tries to keep his feelings hidden and clings onto the illicit relationship he has with a married woman so that Kyousuke will believe that he’s gotten over him and agree to be his friend again.
It’s a heart-breaking situation, where fear, internalized homophobia and feelings of worthlessness are keeping our leads apart and miserable, despite their mutual love for each other and the fact that they both want the other to be happy above all else. I can see why this story moved so many to tears, I myself was feeling more then a little verklempt during some of the more emotional scenes. I constantly vacillated between just wanting to give these poor guys a hug or wanting to shake Kyousuke in frustration over how hard-headed he was being about the whole situation.
Despite how exasperating I found his stubbornness, seeing Kyousuke slowly figure out that there isn’t ever a single “correct” path that a person can take in life and that things that seem less then ideal can still have immense value, was very moving. There are many poignant moments in this manga, but I found the ending to be sweet and satisfying and I loved seeing Kyousuke tell the shy Kasumi that he’s been the brave one this whole time because he’d been able to be honest about his feelings, whereas Kyousuke had kept running away. It’s great to see that Kyousuke recognizes and appreciates Kasumi’s good points, since Kasumi could really use a confidence boost.
There Are Things I Can’t Tell You is a very touching story that builds to a beautifully romantic conclusion. I’m so glad that I ignored my worries about it being too sad and decided to read it, it was definitely worth it.
Final Score: 8 out of 10
For more information on this manga, visit Tokyopop’s website.
What did you think of this manga? Was anyone else worried it was going to be a huge bummer to read? Let me know in the comments.