17-year-old Awaya Mugi and Yasuraoka Hanabi appear to be the ideal couple. They are both pretty popular, and they seem to suit each other well. However, outsiders don’t know of the secret they share. Both Mugi and Hanabi have hopeless crushes on someone else, and they are only dating each other to soothe their loneliness. Mugi is in love with Minagawa Akane, a young teacher who used to be his home tutor. Hanabi is also in love with a teacher, a young man who has been a family friend since she was little. In each other, they find a place where they can grieve for the ones they cannot have, and they share a loneliness-driven physical intimacy. Will things stay like this for them forever?
Friends with benefits is not really a novel concept but to see it being done in a shoujo-esque setting feels very different. Granted, it is categorized as seinen, but I don’t believe in there being girl books and boy books, so there. All I will categorize it as is young adult, and it is intense for that. Reader discretion seriously advised – as this story is a little messed up. Mugi and Hanabi both love other people but since both those people are out of their reach, they form a pact to find a surrogate in each other. It’s a consensual deal, so who am I to judge, right? But there are other secondary characters that are in love with them, and them being obsessed by their respective unrequited loves and the twisted deal they make with each other sort of closes them off from the possibility of having a normal love life.
The characters are both human, in that you might not like them, but also can’t help rooting for them. I mostly started this because the anime just released, so I am a bit anxious as to how this story might proceed. It doesn’t look like it is going to be an easy path for them both, because they have to break out of this hold, but I am sort of rooting for Hanabi to notice Ecchan? I don’t know, Mugi and Hanabi also seem great but their shared history might always cast a shadow over any future happiness. The artwork is good, and the color pages shine with translucent-like paint styles, but it is really not that extraordinary; it does not particularly stand out for me. I would probably pick up future translated issues after seeing the anime and judging how it goes.