After We Gazed at the Starry Sky Volume 2 Review

Sometimes dreams do come true – as wheelchair-bound designer Subaru Miyazawa discovered when he met Tougo Amase, the famous photographer whose work he’d always admired. The two young men found they had much in common and before long, started dating. After a romantic trip to Lake Tekapo in New Zealand – no easy feat for Subaru because of his disability – they’re planning more adventures together. Tougo says that he’s planning to focus on Japan for the coming year. So when Subaru’s mother Nozomi asks who he’s dating and insists that he invite Tougo round to meet her and Kouki, his father, both young men are understandably nervous. But there’s nothing to worry about; Subaru’s parents are thrilled to meet their son’s boyfriend for all kinds of reasons and make him feel very welcome. They tell Tougo that because they’ve lived and worked abroad, they are used to same-sex partnerships.

However, when Subaru’s alone in Tougo’s apartment (which has not been modified for someone with limited mobility) he has a fall and when Tougo returns, he’s mortified that Subaru has hurt himself. They decide to search out an apartment where they can live together that’s suitable for both of them and once that’s underway, they start doing all the usual couple-based activities, like buying matching mugs! Their friends Akari and Ryota are delighted that the two have moved in together. When Tougo asks Ryota if he can accept that he’s dating ‘a guy’, Ryota replies, laughing, “You chose this guy despite being married to your job. I figure his gender had nothing to do with it.”

The chance to go abroad again, this time to Hawaii with Subaru’s parents (where they first met) is too attractive to turn down; the unspoken positive message is that the Miyazawas have welcomed Tougo into the family. In fact, Nozomi refers to the journey as ‘a family trip’ even though Kouki is a little disappointed as he’s primarily there on a business assignment and has to work.

However, after they return to Japan, Tougo is alarmed to get a call from his aunt saying his father, Tsuneo, has been rushed to hospital; both young men drop everything to go to his bedside…

It’s good to have the opportunity to return to likable couple Subaru and Tougo as the first volume of After We Gazed at the Starry Sky left readers with the feeling that there was much more to explore in their nascent relationship. Bisco Kida has hit just the right tone of voice in this gentle, feel-good Boys’ Love manga, skilfully avoiding the possibility that a slice-of-life story like this could feel rather bland. The mangaka pulls this off by mostly showing us Subaru’s point of view, especially his understandable frustration at his disability which makes every attempt at independence a personal triumph. There’s a very sweet moment early on in Volume 2 when Tougo says, miming a gap of three-four centimetres between finger and thumb, “I wish you were this small so I could carry you around with me everywhere.” In spite of this, we’re left in no doubt that Tougo has fallen in love with Subaru the man (and vice versa) so when it comes to more intimate scenes later on (this volume is Mature-rated) everything that happens between the two feels earned emotionally. Another significant plus is that Bisco Kida doesn’t define Subaru by his disability, although we do come to understand more in this volume about the limitations and frustrations that he has to take into account in navigating his way through everyday life.

The theme of making wishes, with birthday candles, shooting stars and Tanabata (the Summer Star festival in Japan), threads through the chapters and we come to understand that it’s really meaningful to Subaru (he also even dreams about the futility of wishing).

Kei Coffman’s translation continues to work well and there is a page of helpful translation notes, including details about Tanabata; the lettering is expertly done, as always, by Nicole Roderick. There’s also an attractive colour page at the beginning and a rather sweet bonus story at the end.

The second volume of Bisco Kida’s heart-warming and life-affirming BL series makes a welcome addition to Yen Press’s LGBTQIA+ list in Pride Month. As the third and final volume is due out in Japan this month, we have to hope that it won’t be too long before it’s available in English translation.

Our review copy from Yen Press was supplied by Diamond Book Distributors UK. 

8 / 10


Sarah's been writing about her love of manga and anime since Whenever - and first started watching via Le Club Dorothée in France...

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