The Yearning Fox Lies in Wait Review

With Pride Month upon us, there’s no better time to enjoy some new Boy’s Love titles. Kodansha is marking the occasion by releasing two titles by mangaka nmura, Turns Out My Online Friend is My Real-Life Boss! and the single-volume story The Yearning Fox Lies in Wait – which I’m here to take a look at today.

Our story is set in 1920 and follows Kiyo Fukasaku who has moved from the country to Tokyo where he’ll begin studying at the Imperial University. Unfortunately, Kiyo isn’t used to being in such a busy and built-up area so he quickly loses his way shortly after arrival. While wandering around trying to find his way, Kiyo meets Ozaki, a seemingly well-off man who is wondering why Kiyo keeps walking around his house (which Kiyo thought was a museum due to its size!).

Ozaki currently lives alone and, having grown bored of living by himself, offers Kiyo a room in his mansion, provided that Kiyo takes care of some everyday chores. Our protagonist is reluctant at first, but soon caves in and accepts the kind offer. So begins their time together, but is everything as simple as it seems…?

The answer to that is no, of course, it isn’t. Ozaki is actually a fox spirit who knew Kiyo’s grandfather Seishirou and feels indebted to him, so meeting our protagonist has given him the perfect excuse to pay back what he owes. Ozaki can’t help but see his old friend in Kiyo and that’s surfacing feelings of regret, grief (Seishirou died young) and unspoken love. He can’t help but wonder if he loved Seishirou or if these feelings are just directed at Kiyo. With such an overlap in his mind, there’s a lot to work through.

It doesn’t take long for Kiyo to discover that Ozaki isn’t human and that he knew his grandfather. As the story goes on it’s clear Kiyo has fallen in love with Ozaki, but he’s plagued with worry that Ozaki is only treating him kindly due to his feelings for Seishirou. He’s also jealous of the close relationship the two shared, even if it perhaps wasn’t romantic.

If you’re looking for a fast-paced or even more explicit romantic relationship then The Yearning Fox Lies in Wait isn’t going to give you what you’re after. This is a slow burn with an emphasis on exploring everyone’s feelings and the differences in where they stand rather than moving the relationship along. I’m a big fan of nmura’s other work Turns Out My Online Friend is My Real-Life Boss!, so I was pleased to find this one was just as engaging both on the narrative level and the artwork.

The setting is a period I’m quite fond of and nmura has good attention to detail when it comes to depicting the streets of Tokyo and the clothing of the time. And further still, they’ve well-researched the late 1880s as well for when Sheishirou was alive and show the differences between the two eras through our protagonists. Ozaki is very clearly stuck in the past and we’re shown that in heartfelt moments, but also funny scenes like Kiyo knowing all the best places to eat after living in the area for a while while Ozaki has no clue about anything outside his mansion.

The characters are expressive and quite attractive too, although I have to say Kiyo is very similar in design to nmura’s other leads. This may prove distracting depending on whether you’ve read any of the creator’s other works or not. Still, the artwork more than does its job of engrossing us in this heartfelt story aided by Kodansha publishing it in one of their bigger print formats.

As mentioned The Yearning Fox Lies in Wait comes to the West thanks to Kodansha and has been translated by Leo McDonagh with lettering by Jennifer Skarupa. The release reads well and includes translation notes at the back, mostly addressing some of the food we see and historical references.

Overall, The Yearning Fox Lies in Wait is a delightful release that manages to tell its story in just 5 chapters, leaving nothing unsaid and proving a satisfying work. It may not appeal to everyone due to the slow-burn nature of the plot, but certainly, it will find its audience. If you like nmura’s other work or historical supernatural romances this is well worth picking up!

A free preview can be read on Kodansha’s website.

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

9 / 10


When she's not watching anime, reading manga or reviewing, Demelza can generally be found exploring some kind of fantasy world and chasing her dreams of being a hero.

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