Watching anime and reading manga have become my go-to ways to wind down since I started working at Right Stuf, and easygoing stories are what I tend to gravitate toward the most. I Cannot Reach You is a new BL manga from Yen Press that fits my interests well, even if there isn’t much that sets it apart from the crowd.
Our story revolves around two best friends attending the same school. Yamato is your classic perfect, popular kid. He’s smart, charming, and everyone likes him (especially the girls). His best friend, Kakeru, is none of these things. He’s goofy, a bit of a nobody, and feels like he’s living in Yamato’s shadow. Despite his insecurities, Kakeru is an enjoyable character from the start, but Yamato’s quiet aloof nature took some getting used to. They get more complex as the manga progresses and they learn more about each other’s feelings.
The childhood friend trope isn’t something I hate, but I don’t care about it much either way. It’s not exactly a trope, but one thing I do enjoy is the dynamic between a loveable idiot and their more stoic best friend. They have some good moments throughout this volume but some of my favorite moments actually happen in the bonus mini comics in the back of the manga. They don’t serve any purpose to the plot, but they were cute and fun vignettes.
Other characters are introduced throughout the volume, but most of them were a little plain and easily fell into the background. This could be due to minimal character development and the author’s generic art style, but every named side character was referred to in my head as “Classmate,” “Yamato’s Sister,” “Random Girl,” and so on. Even romantic rivals felt one-note, which made me wish that they weren’t introduced at all.
Despite my issues with the supporting cast, the main couple does shine. Yamato and Kakeru are opposites that play together nicely, but they can be a little frustrating at times. This is a romance. You know our leads are going to get together. You can tell they have feelings for each other, but they’re both completely oblivious and too insecure to do anything about it. I found myself shouting in my head “JUST TALK TO EACH OTHER!” in these moments, but then I remembered that they’re teens. I still have trouble talking about romantic feelings now as an adult and dealing with these topics at their age was basically impossible for me. I know other series would milk this romantic tension for all it’s worth, but I’m hopeful that their relationship will move past this awkward stage in volume two.
Is I Cannot Reach You a groundbreaking piece of art and literature? Not really, but it’s cute. It’s an enjoyable read perfect for fans of BL, or those just getting into the genre. Yamato and Kakeru are solid leads that have plenty of room to grow. Volume two is on the way and I’m excited to see where the story goes from here.
I Cannot Reach You Manga Volume 1 features story and art by Mika.
The differences between Yamato and Kakeru couldn't be more obvious. Yamato gets good grades, while Kakeru's are less than average. And while Yamato is very attractive, Kakeru's looks are perfectly average. Not a problem-unless you're in love with your childhood best friend...How in the world can Kakeru make Yamato look at him when Yamato is completely out of his league?!Add to CartLearn More