Negative-kun to Positive-kun

Negative-kun to Positive-kun (ネガティブ君とポジティブ君) is a rather recent work by Hideyoshiko, published by Gateau, Ichijinsha in 2011. Both the title and cover seemed pretty cute so I decided to try it out, even though I read her first work (Ikemen-kun to Saenai-kun) and it didn’t leave a deep impression on me.

The description wrapped around it pretty much sums up the feel of this title (つまりバカで、やさしくて、しあわせなマンガなのです), which roughly translates into: In other words it’s a foolish, gentle, and happy manga.

The title is rather self-explanatory: Fujiwara Jun is the bespectacled guy, who gets extremely good grades, reads a lot, and worries about the worst possible outcomes. Tachibana Shin is the complete opposite. He’s the bright, sporty guy who can’t study and often sees the cup as half-full. Yet, the two of them are a couple – a foolish, loving couple I guess.

There isn’t much of a plot. Instead, each chapter is like a short story on its own, looking into their daily lives and interaction.

The opening chapter for example, shows Jun being asked by a girl for his email address. However, he turns her down thinking that she’s doing it on a dare, and is afraid that he would be pulled into further trouble like being threatened to go out later or being sent viruses lol.

On the other hand, Shin happily announces that he stepped on shit in the morning and that it must be good luck since it rarely happens. Pffft, I admit, I nearly choked at this.

The two of them have pretty great dynamics going on between them. Despite their vastly different personalities and interests, they’re extremely close as they have known each other since elementary school. So close that almost everyone in their high school knows it. It’s a really cute and fluffy read, despite the expected interaction (ie. you can predict that Shin is the outgoing guy and hence usually follows Jun around, often proclaiming openly that he likes him).

Instead, it was interesting to read how Jun reaches out to Shin, and how from time to time he shows affection in his own way. Like how Shin wanted to go out together on a weekend and Jun researched on potential places to go like crazy. Or when Shin was feeling down, Jun tried to cheer him up in his own way.

The art is nothing outstanding, but I like the simplicity of it, though a few times it looked like the hands were drawn a bit out of proportion. Nothing explicit happens, only a few light kissing. Though there was one verbal suggestion that they did relieved themselves, and then Shin asked Jun what happens next pfft. Jun was speechless for a second or two, before answering that he would research on it. So all in all, it’s rather innocent love.

Special mention to the girl who first asked Jun for his email address, and her friend. It’s not often you see females having an interesting…role in BL manga? She’s the daydreamer who pretty much fell into unrequited love twice (first with Jun, then with Shin), and the friend is the straightforward personality who was really blunt about it all. The omake at the end gave us a rather interesting twist since the two girls were fantasising wondering who was the seme in the sexual relationship.

The extra chapter which reveals their first meeting and how they got to know each other was really cute too (and so much for Jun’s first impression of Shin lol).

All in all, it’s a rather light read, with a lot of fluffy moments, several comedic moments, and only a few bittersweet moments. Despite the stereo-typicality, if you’re looking for a sweet title without the drama and an interesting couple, you may wanna check out Negative-kun to Positive-kun. I’m pretty sure it will make you smile when reading, at the very least.

Hideyoshiko’s other title Ringo ni Hachimitsu seemed to have pretty good (Japanese) reviews online so hopefully I’ll be able to get my hands on another fluffy title of hers. Any directions to an English review of it will be helpful too! For now, I’ll be looking forward to how other people find this contrasting couple. I hope you didn’t mind the poor photos with Rin trolling at the side.

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