Good-looking first year Toji Seryo is the talk of elite Hoka Private Academy. His relationships last seven days: from linking up with the first girl who asks him out on a Monday, he then breaks up with her the following Monday and starts over with someone else. Yuzuru Shino, easy-going third year (and onetime star of the archery club), is amused, intrigued (and possibly even a little irritated) by his kohai’s behaviour – and, during a chance encounter with Seryo on a Monday morning, idly asks him out. To his surprise, Seryo accepts. But what starts out as a light-hearted game begins to shift into a different gear altogether. Yuzuru finds himself genuinely attracted to Seryo. And the days are passing, the next Monday is approaching. Does Seryo feel the same way – or is he just going to tell Yuzuru the following Monday, “I’m sorry I couldn’t fall for you. Let’s break up.” ?
Seven Days was original published in two volumes (the first English version came out in 2010 from June/DMP with a 16+ rating) but SuBLime Manga have rescued this popular license, issuing it as a 2-in-1 (with a Teen rating) in a crisp new translation by the ever-reliable Adrienne Beck. (There have also been two live-action films in Japan in 2015.) Rihito Takarai is probably best known for her edgy BL M-rated series Ten Count (also from SuBLime) but this was her first published manga. It’s also – unlike her later works – not her own story; Venio Tachibana (also known for historical BL novel Love Water) is responsible for the text.
Rihito Takarai is often celebrated for the sensitive beauty of her artwork, so it’s interesting to see that in this early manga, the drawings are not always very accomplished; she was obviously still developing her own distinctive style. (The main problems can be seen in full-length figures which often seem to be out of proportion, with heads that are too small for the bodies .) That said, it’s still attractive (if in evolution) and the scenes set around the archery club will please Tsurune fans! Above all, she’s sensitive to the demands of the character-driven story and this is where the enduring appeal of Seven Days lies: following the ups and downs of the growing relationship between Seryo and Yuzuru. From awkward beginnings (it starts off as a joke) through doing the typical things a dating couple do (texting each other morning and night, going shopping, seeing a movie together) to the moment the two go to a nearby park at sunset and find themselves unexpectedly caught up in the atmosphere created by other amorous couples. After which, something changes…at least for Yuzuru and he finds himself asking Seryo what happens after the week is up; does Seryo stay friends with his ex-girlfriends? The blunt but honest answer angers Yuzuru. Yet there’s been someone else haunting this relationship from the start: Shino, the gorgeous yet capricious girlfriend of Seryo’s older brother, who seems to enjoy toying with both young men’s affections. Will the other Shino seek to manipulate Seryo and draw him away from Yuzuru? What will happen if the two of them meet at Seryo’s family mansion?
At a time when a wider range of BL titles is being made available (like Ora Mita’s charming Our Dining Table from Seven Seas) it’s good to find SuBlime bringing a new lease of life to this likable story that’s suitable for ‘Teen’ readers. It would be wonderful if SuBLime could also rescue Rihito Takarai’s first solo BL manga Hana no Mizu Shiru (and its moving spin-off Hana no Miyako de).The mangaka has always had a good eye for colour, so it’s nice to find three colour pages from the original volumes at the start of the volume; the splash pages, featuring either Seryo or Yuzuru, are also very attractively drawn.
This manga offers a relatable introduction to BL and its examination of what it means to be in a relationship unfolds in a sweet yet thoughtful way.
Seven Days: Monday–Sunday, SEVEN DAYS MONDAY→THURSDAY / FRIDAY→SUNDAY © 2007, 2009 Venio Tachibana © 2007, 2009 Rihito Takarai