Author: Yuki Shimizu
American release date: March 7, 2006
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Yaoi Manga/192 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★
Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes
Naoya is a young man who has lost everything, including his parents. It seems to him that winter only brings bad things, and this year is no exception when his foster father says he can’t keep him any longer. Aoe Reiji catches his cheating girlfriend in the act in the apartment they share. Despite her tears and protestations that he neglected her, he walks out even as he tells her to vacate the premises. Leaving the building, he almost collides with a young man. Just then, his now ex-girlfriend hurls a potted plant from above him. It misseds Aoe but hits the boy. Aoe takes the boy to the hospital where his older brother, Kiichi, works as a doctor.
While Aoe and his brother stand in the boy’s room and talk, another man appears who says he is the boy’s foster father. The boy is Naoya, and he tells the two men about the death of Naoya’s parents. He has come to check on him, but not take him home, unfortunately. When Naoya is ready to leave the hospital, Aoe offers to take him home. First they go by Naoya’s place of work, where Naoya finds he’s been cheated out of his paycheck. Things just seem to go wrong for him all the time. Then he goes to his apartment, only to find it’s burned up and the landlord is accusing him of causing the fire!
Aoe takes the now homeless Naoya back to his own apartment and they become roommates. Well, somewhat. Naoya is always angry and he doesn’t trust Aoe, who never reveals how he really feels at the best of times. Naoya finds Aoe to be strict, but he’s honestly just looking out for him, making sure he eats right, sleeps right, and gets to school and studies. Aoe’s brother Kiichi, the doctor, seems amused by Aoe’s interest in the boy and encourages Naoya to get Aoe to spend lots of money on him, telling the boy that his brother can afford it.
Naoya is very reluctant to trust Aoe, and he fears he is a burden to the older man. But he’s also naïve, and gets himself into a dangerous situation. Luckily, it’s at one of Aoe’s clubs, and Aoe quickly comes to the rescue. After that, Aoe hires Naoya as a companion for “Izumi”, his best escort, and he becomes friends with the lovely man, who is still recovering from surgery. But due to unfortunate circumstances, Naoya moves out, but he isn’t happy. And another Christmas has come and he’s alone…again.
This volume introduces us to Naoya, and sees the return of Aoe, who you’ll recall is Takamiya’s sometimes less-than-charming friend who was so hard on Izumi in the first book. Naoya is a boy who’s lost everything and trusts no one. Aoe puts on a hard front, but he is really sweet inside (just don’t tell him that). The two end up together (and just for the record, Aoe is the same age as Takamiya, 28, and Naoya is 17, like Izumi. If this bothers you, don’t read).
I like them as a couple, but I like Takamiya and Izumi the best. There is a bonus story about Takamiya and Izumi and Christmas. Really love this manga, wish there was an anime!