Months ago, before the book was even offered as a review option, I read Our Not-So-Lonely Planet Travel Guide Manga Volume 1's summary and immediately messaged the person who handles the reviews to make sure I got a copy of this book. A couple who take a trip around the world together and then plan to get married at the end sounded too good to pass up. What the summary didn’t tell me was how emotional the book turned out to be. I was expecting an adorable, love filled rom-com, but the book was so much more than cute banter and pretty sightseeing.
The book opens with the protagonists, Asahi and Mitsuki, at the airport, ready to depart on their first leg of their journey around the world. Asahi is obviously stressed from the very beginning about going on the trip and is constantly worried that they are going to miss their flight, while Mitsuki is very fun-loving and excited to just experience everything. Mitsuki is a professional photographer and is constantly taking photos, even while just exploring the airport. At this point, the book feels like it’s going to go on the standard rom-com course. Asahi is going to become more care-free as the story progresses and Mitsuki is going to become more responsible and then they’ll get married at the end. But then Asahi gets a call from his mother asking him if he’ll be alright on the trip since he’s still recovering. I was thrown for a loop when I read that and it changed the whole story for me. Throughout the book, there are hints of what may have happened to Asahi that caused his mother to worry, but it’s never revealed exactly what it was. But this isn’t the only mystery in the book.
As the reader, it’s known that Asahi and Mitsuki are a couple, but they aren’t very open about it to others (it’s mainly Asahi that tries to elude away from it in public). While this could have meant that Asahi wasn’t “out of the closet”, I could tell there was something else going on. I decided to do some research and learned that it’s not as socially acceptable in Japan to be gay. While gay marriage is becoming more common, it’s still considered taboo. With that in mind, the story is less about the couple’s growing love for one another, but rather Asahi’s acceptance of who he is. He is really forced to reevaluate his feelings when the couple runs into Mitsuki’s highschool/college girlfriend. I won’t ruin that part of the book, but the cringe level was high in that chapter.
While I loved the strong emotions felt in the book and character growth, the overall theme was travel. Asahi and Mitsuki go to three different places in this book, Thailand, India and Russia. In each place they do something unique in that country that helps evoke the feeling of actually being there. The art was very detailed and absolutely lovely. They also ate a lot of food! Being a foodie myself, I was salivating everytime they talked about the different dishes they tried.
The art was beautiful. The characters reminded me of an edgier version of Harry Potter and Ron Weasly (sorry, huge Potterhead). The illustrator did such a nice job using simple imagery to evoke emotion. They used a lot of perspective, such as through Mitsuki’s camera and the reflection on Asahi’s glasses, to show how the couple sees each other. There are some brief flashback scenes that I honestly didn’t connect to the story until I started flipping through it a second time. When I did, I was able to connect a lot of the mysteries surrounding the book that I’m hoping get explained in volume 2.
Truely, a wonderful read that was the highlight of my week. As soon as I got to the end and realized I had to wait until the next volume to come out, I went to pre-order volume 2... but then realized it’s not on our site yet. Anyway, I highly recommend reading this book, just be prepared for the cliffhanger at the end.
Super serious Asahi Suzumura and laidback, easygoing Mitsuki Sayama might seem like an odd couple, but they made a deal; they'll vacation around the world and when they get back to Japan, they'll get married. As they travel from country to country, the different people, cultures, and cuisine they encounter begin to bring them closer together. After all, they're not just learning about the world, but about themselves too.Add to CartLearn More