While I’m starting on a new otome game, I decided to review two beloved titles from two of my favourite mangaka. Cello Mellow (セロ・メロウ) is Tagura Tohru’s sole tankoubon dabbling with BL as of now. Published in 2010 by Rutile, Gentosha Comics. And yes, like my previous Ishino Aya review, it is explicitly printed inside to not reproduce the content anywhere so I’m going to do my best to respect their wishes.
The other title is Ameoto no Uta (雨音の唄) by Inoue Nawo, published in 2010 by Craft, Taiyou Tosho. It was licensed in English by DMP (Digital Manga Guild) late last year as The Song of Rainfall.
Let me start with Cello Mellow. It’s a collection of 6 oneshots, all giving you that sweet fluffy feeling with a tinge of bitterness mixed inside. Only the last oneshot has mentions of sexual content but really, smut is probably not what you’re looking for in this title.
The first oneshot, Nidai no Kanojo, is about a pair of friends, Aya and Kouta, who have the habit of travelling back and forth to school together on a bicycle. To both of them this is a special time for them, but Aya obviously has special feelings for Kouta. This becomes more obvious when the Kouta is confessed to and starts going out with a girl. Moreover, travelling together on a bicycle with his girlfriend is his little “dream”. However, when he actually does so, Kouta feels something amiss. Things reach a climax as they have a small tiff, but Aya decides to be more honest after some thought and finally confesses that he likes Kouta. At the end, they are back travelling together on the bicycle, as if nothing has changed – but Kouta tells Aya something which isn’t spelled out in text, and it’s left to our imagination as to what this means.
The second oneshot is Kyoudai Gokko. Yuuta and Tomo live next to each other, and Yuuta took care of Tomo since young (or more like the two of them were left together by their mothers). Tomo is very open and often admires Yuuta’s paintings, though recently the older boy has been feeling uninspired and burdened by this. Tomo tries to cheer him up in his own way, and even confesses his feelings and steals a kiss while at it. Eventually, Yuuta is also influenced and manages to get back up on his feet with his paintings. So all is well~
Houkago no Ichigo Aji is the third story and one of my favourites. Tsuzuru starts noticing sweets under his desk. Through this, he starts to converse by writing on the desk with Keigo, someone who is studying part-time at his school in the afternoon and using the same desk as him. As they get acquainted with this and exchanging sweets, they also chance upon each other in person too.
However, Tsuzuru starts to find out more about Keigo, including his unfortunate affair to do with strawberry-flavoured sweets. At this climax, Keigo decides to stop seeing Tsuzuru as he feels ashamed about his past. However, Tsuzuru refuses to give up this special relationship and eventually convinces Keigo otherwise and to build a new meaning to strawberry-flavoured sweets.
The fourth one is a short but cute 16-paged story entitled FINGER. Hayato and Akio have been going out for some time, but are about to go separate ways as Akio is going overseas to study abroad in America. The special twist with this is that the meanings of the each finger on your hand are brought into the story: Promise, love, challenge, direction, good luck (at least according to Tagura Tohru).
Next is Yotsuba, another of my favourites which is about Yoshida and Yukimoto. Two people who don’t appear like friends at all, as Yoshida is outgoing and sporty, while Yukimoto always excuses himself from P.E. due to a condition – and often resting in the shade outside looking for four-leaf clovers. However, one day, the two of them cross paths and unexpectedly get along very well. The four-leaf clover also comes in to become a special significance to them both and they both also start to treat each other more specially.
The last oneshot is none other than Cello Mellow. Mahoro, a cello player, gets picked up by Sousuke’s family one rainy day. He starts to perform at their café, and his playing is often described as sensuous. Sousuke is taken in by it every time, and Mahoro always explains that he’s playing as if he was embracing a woman and making her “cry out”.
However, it becomes obvious to us that Mahoro has romantic feelings for Sousuke, even though he often brings back women to sleep with. Sousuke is bothered by this fact, but oblivious to Mahoro’s true feelings. Eventually, Mahoro finds that he’s unable to suppress himself any longer and decides to leave after coming to the café for one year. Everyone accepts his decision, but at the critical moment, Sousuke holds Mahoro back and they both finally come to terms with each other’s feelings.
All in all a very heartwarming read for me! Cello Mellow seems to be Tagura Tohru’s original debut title and the art is slightly out of proportionate as compared to the other stories, but all the lines are very crisp and beautiful. You can see the improvements. The expressions of each character are vivid and very alive. I really love the art, add that with the adorable stories and I found myself constantly going 萌え♡(人´∀｀) . And the colouring as you can see, is soft but rich. Some of the stories are left a bit more open-ended, but all end happily so definitely a nice read if you like that. One of my favourite collections and I’m definitely looking forward to the tankoubon for Haikei Niisan-sama ‘cos it also makes me go 萌え♡(人´∀｀). I have her other work, Lucian Bee’s, which is based on Van’s route from the same game, but idk if I’ll review it or not.
Moving on let’s review Ameoto no Uta. It’s made up of three separate stories. The first one, Kata Kutsushita no Otoko, is about Itou who always seems to have things missing in his life – from constantly losing his sock to the always-empty neighbouring apartment.
But one day, Aoi moves in next-door and from then on seems to complement Itou’s life in every aspect perfectly, even finding his missing sock. As such, Itou finds himself having deeper feelings for Aoi. When he confesses, Aoi is taken aback at first but somehow he eventually accepts Itou’s feelings. But the two of them still have a long way ahead of them to build their relationship. One of the most adorable reads and takes on lost items ever. (人´∀｀)．☆．。．:*
The next story is Ameoto no Uta, and is split into three parts. On a rainy evening, Amamiya sees Naruse taking shelter from the rain in front of his house. They are complete strangers but Amamiya invites the younger man in to dry off first. Naruse accepts his offer and the two of them get to know each other a bit. But Naruse can’t help but notice that the teacher seems to act awkwardly around him at times. Eventually, it gets late but it’s still raining. So Naruse takes his leave as he borrows an umbrella and promises to return with it another day.
However, it’s been a month and Amamiya hasn’t seen Naruse. He gets on with his usual routine, but he finds himself also waiting for the younger man. Meanwhile, we also catch glimpses of the past Amamiya can’t struggle away from, including his regret towards his older brother (not blood-related) and how he dislikes rainy days. Naruse finally appears at Amamiya’s doorstep though, on another rainy day. But this time, he asks Amamiya to let him stay the night.
One thing leads to another as they clumsily start a relationship. However, Amamiya is come face-to-face with his past in an unexpected manner through Naruse later on too. How the two of them overcome this should be read by yourself~
The last story is Hatsukoi Monaka. Take returns to his hometown, much to Shin’s delight – except that Shin has become less open about his affection for the older-brother-living-next-door as he grew up. Shin realised that as he grew up, he started to have romantic feelings for the older brother figure.
Upon Take’s return, Shin also learns that Take’s going to work in Tokyo and they will have even lesser chances of seeing each other. As Shin struggles to confess his feelings, Take instead makes the first move, as he kisses him and asks Shin to come to Tokyo to study.
This surprises the younger boy but actually, all along Take had realised his feelings as he’s way too obvious. Shin readily agrees to his suggestion and things end happily with mutual feelings~
At the end, are cute, short after stories of each couple. There are also comic strips on the inside covers as well as on a little slip of paper inside. I loved all the stories and each couple was adorable. Amamiya and Naruse are the only couple whom have sex though it’s nothing explicit. It’s all rather light-hearted actually, despite how Ameoto no Uta may sound – as Inou Nawo didn’t choose to make the plot device of Amamiya’s past too dragged-out and heavy. But rather, the focus is more on the building of the couple’s relationship. The art is a bit awkward at parts but I’m drawn into the simple, unique style. There’s something soft and tender about the atmosphere which warms you on the inside.
Both Ameoto no Uta and Cello Mellow give me a similar snuggly feeling after reading them, which was why I chose to review them together. They are both light reads so I definitely recommend checking out the other if you enjoyed one of them. Or, pick them both up if these sort of stories are your cup of tea. They are both certainly part of my favourite buys.