First impressions for volumes 1 of Kaori Tsurutani’s manga series “BL Metamorphosis,” published in 2020 by Seven Seas.
The Start of Something New
After the sad discovery that the coffee shop Ichinoi used to frequent with her late husband has closed down, the 75-year-old calligraphy teacher decides to cool off from the heat in a local bookstore. It’s been at least a year since she was last here, and while searching for the since-relocated cookbook section, an unsuspecting volume of BL catches the old lady’s eye.
The high school girl who rings up Ichinoi’s order at the register knows this BL series well. From this initial encounter, the two go on to form an unlikely yet endearing friendship. BL binds them, but is there a deeper lesson to be learned?
I’m going to keep this post short if only for the fact that it’ll quickly turn into a fanboy ramble about this sweet friendship. I totally see parts of myself in young Urara’s groggy eyes. She loves boys love manga, yet is ashamed to let anyone know—and I get it. There’s no worse feeling than being judged for liking something. Thankfully, Ichinoi is there to shine a light on the joys of living without shame.
And let’s talk about Ichinoi. Y’ALL, I love this lady. She doesn’t really understand BL, but she’s rooting for the boys anyway, and that’s all you need to say to win my heart! She’s also really kind, warm-hearted, and observant of others’ feelings. Sure, her approach is a little dated (like when she buys fruit for Urara as a thank-you gift, or how she decides to call when late to an email). But, the sentiment is always well-meant, and I wish there were more people like her in the world!
Living Vicariously through Manga
When you think about it, Ichinoi and Urara are living the dream. Two friends, both passionate about the same book genre, are making their way though the increasingly large and foreign world of BL and its collective fandom. They won’t need to hide anything entirely anymore because they have each other to gush over their favorite books and characters. I’m envious of their budding friendship just as I am happy they found each other! ;_;
Like how I find myself living vicariously though Ichinoi’s awakening to BL, I’m also noticing how Ichinoi is recalling her own life’s experiences through her friendship with Urara and the manga they read together. At the end of this first volume, Ichinoi faces the intense crowds of a comiket-like event. The last time she was here was when the building was built, some 30 or 40 years ago. She refused to ride the “world’s fasted elevator” here with her husband, saying that she didn’t want to wait for the line. Time caught up to both of them, and the “someday” she promised him slipped before her eyes.
It’ll be moments like this that make the manga worth reading. At face value, yes, the mutual fangirling is lots of fun, and it will keep me all warm and fuzzy until the final page. But, I hope BL Metamorphosis continues to reflect on Ichinoi’s life like this. Naturally, there’s a lot in this manga that you’ll want to pluck off the page and tuck away in your pocket for safekeeping.
In For a Penny . . .
So far, BL Metamorphosis is just as cute and endearing as everyone was telling me it’d be! I love Ichinoi so much, and I’m excited to see her catch her “second wind” in life with BL. ❤
While I’m hoping that subsequent volumes don’t go down the ~sad~ lane (if you know, you know), I do look forward to further exploring how this newfound friendship changes Ichinoi and Urara for the better. They’re like two peas in a pod, wandering souls in need of a friend like the other. I’m so glad they met.
Yes, I will be picking up all of this manga. And YES, you should read it! You don’t even have to necessarily like yaoi manga to appreciate the story that Kaori Tsurutani is trying to tell—though, a dash of BL and bittersweetness certainly makes the experience all the more exciting!
“Urara-san . . . Let’s get in that line!”
So yeah, read BL Metamorphosis. It’s a lovely manga. Thank you to all those who recommended this manga to me—I’m enjoying it immensely, and I hope to pick up the rest of it in my next Seven Seas haul and binge it in one sitting. Oh! That reminds me, I probably need to make sure I add them to my cart!
I’ll try to get out an update post here in a couple days. Same for more manga posts. School’s been slowly killing me, but hey, only one month left! Thanks for reading, and ‘til next time!