Although the story is hard to follow at first because of its flashbacks, the pieces fall together once you read everything. And then it hits you hard the second time.
The main character was simply trying to gain the approval of his mother. In the end, it led him to a life that is totally separate from the family. Though in the end, he and his younger brother eventually reconciled, there’s still that unresolved issue with his mother.
It is only fortunate that the main character has found a wholesome seme who helped him worked out his issues. As I alluded to in my earlier post, I likened this story to the biblical prodigal son, only this one had no family to return to.
There is a lot of conflict to be resolved, to be explored and to be sorted through in this manga not because it is a complex story. In fact, it’s a pretty straightforward one.
Nevertheless, the implications are many and this is why I sympathize with the main character even when he did try to go down the unsavory road at first.
Conflict 1: Self vs Mother
The main conflict seems to be that the main character can never gain the approval of his mother, no matter what he does.
And so as he grew up, it continues to become a point that drained him not just of his spirit but of his pride and will to live.
With such a burden, I am still surprised that he’s able to remain a good brother to his own little brother.
Conflict 2: Self vs Brother
Indeed. This is a very central point in the manga. Your brother or sibling should have been one of your closest allies, yet here, the sibling becomes someone to compete with.
What’s worse. after the younger brother’s confession, the main character became conflicted, and confused how to reciprocate or to handle the younger brother’s affection while still maintaining his role as a brother.
In the flash backs, it had been shown that he is quite protective of the younger brother and it’s such a shame that it is precisely because of his duty was he pushed to the brink.
He wants to protect that brotherly bond, without ruining familial relations with romantic feelings.
And even as he tries to live out a normal life of his own, his little brother still finds a way to stir up what little sense of normalcy he has established for himself by relentlessly pursuing him and convincing him to return, back to that toxic environment that drained him of his spirit, of his will to live.
Conflict 3: Self vs Self
His isn’t just a battle for constant approval. The toxic environment eventually led him to do things that he wouldn’t be able to forgive himself, first by his attempt on his mother’s life, second by his departure from home and thirdly by his need of acceptance of what he has become.
He too must content with not just his guilt towards leaving home but also with learning to survive by himself and what he must do to survive in an unforgiving environment.
Conflict 4: Self vs Environment
Although his departure from home is mired with guilt and self-loathing, it is not sunshine and roses after he left. He was robbed of what little money he was left with and had to find ways to survive.
Personally, it would be very difficult for me to place myself in the main character’s shoes, especially since I’m so used to having my family around and be supportive of me once things got hard.
This is not the case for our main character. He had to face his battles alone, until of course he meets his potential partner.
Conflict 5: Self vs Love
While it is easy to expect that once our main character finds his partner, it’s all over and we get to breathe a sigh of relief, Alas, it would not be so.
At first, there is mixed feelings, mixed signals and the intention of the seme isn’t very clear too. Of course we can’t blame the seme for that because he probably only developed feelings later on, but our main character is already burdened with so much and there’s this guessing game that needs to be constantly puzzled out in his mind.
There’s also the love that his younger brother offers. And I would personally call this a selfish form of love. Recall that as the resolution approaches, all the little brother could think of was how HE wouldn’t be able to live with his brother anymore.
There is a lot to take in with this manga altogether. It may seem simple at first but there are many battles that the main characters have to resolve, notwithstanding his need for basic survival. I am incredibly thankful to have read this manga this day. I hope that by writing this, I won’t be as haunted as I would be after this. I keep wishing that somehow he’ll hold on, he’ll get a happy ending.
There is a brief touch up at redemption. He reconciled with his younger brother and he was able to finally cement his relationship with his savior, but there’s still the issue of the mother and the scars he now bear for having to live with everything for so long.
What could go wrong
What keeps haunting me was this. imagine. Just imagine for a brief moment that the seme is not as honorable or as kind as Eri in this.
He could easily take advantage of our main character’s fragile emotional state. Even just a small ounce of kindness he’ll take it. What if that small ounce of kindness has a price?
And the price is not as wholesome as we would expect?
What went right
So to lighten the whole ordeal, I decided to look at the positive here and say that although he had a very rough start, our main character was at least gifted with a kind, patient partner who kept urging him in working out his issues.
In the end, there is a small amount of reconciliation with his brother. And as for his little brother’s feelings, that’s whole ‘nother bag of worms that might open someday.
For now, I am content in the fact that the main character has had his happy ending.
It’s stories like these that are my favorite. I want to want more, to keep thinking about the character’s fate even as the story has ended. Even as I lay on my bed tonight, I still keep thinking. Will he be okay?
I still keep hoping for a beautiful sequel that will at least relieve me of my worry for the main character.
What an amazing journey it had been. Sorry for the rather lengthy text. But there are things that I have to get off my chest right now. And even then, I may not have fully resolved them all.
I still keep hoping that all will be well for our main character. Thank you Eri for being patient. You have truly and exceptionally guided this lost lamb to salvation.