Genre: Romance / Drama / Yaoi / Shounen Ai
When Amamiya returns after several years away, his transition is helped along by long-time friend from college Gamou. Both are lawyers. Whilst Amamiya now works for the police department, Gamou works for a private firm that deals with defendants. So begins a rather odd tale about two friends, but how will they address the numerous obstacles that lie ahead after Gamou confesses his love to Amamiya.
Unlike a LOT of other Yaoi and Shounen Ai, Higouhou Junai does not rely on sex scenes. Without using explicit filler as distraction, the writer and artist are able to share the story of six people whose lives intersect in different ways. Gamou and Amamiya are certainly the focus, but their friendship is placed in peril after Gamou confesses and is subsequently rejected. When his first boyfriend Takimoto arrives on the scene to support his wife during a divorce after the two men were forcibly separated by their families 10 years prior, Gamou is offered love and affection from the boy that gave up a leg to save his life. Amamiya shows kindness to his assistant Kitahara, a man that has been treated quite poorly by lovers in the past, therefore becoming subject to a crush. Kitahara is watched over by a divorced bisexual police detective named Anzai, a player from way back that broke up with Kitahara because of what he deems the greatest mistake of his life.
And while this is all going on, Gamou confides in his female coworker, long-time friend and confidant Saeki. Saeki is a bit of a rarity in Yaoi, most avoiding having influential female characters. She is fiercely loyal to Gamou and is constantly giving him pep-talks regarding how to deal with his relationship. It is because of her support that he is able to address many of his fears and face forward rather than backward. She is a mother hen to Gamou, often pointing out things that he missed after he tells her about his interactions between Takimoto and Amamiya. She is also engaged to a guy named Akira, but he is in maybe one or two cells. She is a great supporting character, one that added a lot to the story because she did help move things forward quite a bit.
I really liked the dialogue for this manga, each person having his or her own unique voice. The drama played out nicely, with the characters often learning from the individual cases they are working on as well. The pace of the story avoiding the tale from dragging out, something I am particularly thankful for. There is no magically-gay button either. A character that was previously thought to be straight is a rather picky bisexual, whilst other cast members are rather set in their sexuality and sexual identity. But this manga isn’t about sex or sexuality. It is about real characters having to deal with awkward situations, many of which are self-inflicted. The writers don’t try to make excuses for the characters either, instead showing that human beings are inherently flawed. My only issue was with the artwork, something around the same quality and variation as Jonjou Romantica. It was okay, but it was occasionally difficult to differentiate between several of the characters.
In conclusion, I absolutely adored the characters of this manga. The dialogue and actions made them feel real and alive. The drama played out nicely with the romantic elements playing second fiddle to a statement about human nature. The artwork wasn’t able to take much away from the story either. All in all it is a rather refreshing take on the Yaoi and Shounen Ai genre.