[Manga] Friend Line (フレンドライン)

フレンドライン | Friend Line

Mangaka: Sakumoto Ayu (佐久本あゆ)

Status: Completed

Serialized in: B’s-LOVEY COMICS

Volumes: 1

Summary:

After discovering that his coworker and friend Miyamori is being beaten by his lover, Fukami decides to step in. They started living together and soon, falling for each other. But would these new feelings be enough to cross over their friend line?


May contain spoilers so proceed with caution!


Story

Positive ♡(。- ω -)

There are two things that are tackled in the story. One is about the beatings. Miyamori (or Miya for short) experiences domestic abuse under the hands of his younger lover Eiji. The thing is, Miya sees it as something he needs to put up with, small compensation for having a lover despite him being gay. I’m glad that they did not brush it off easily. Instead, it shows Miya’s low self-esteem which is further lowered because of both the verbal and physical abuse he gets on a constant basis. And this issue is a huge turning point for Miya when he chooses to break up with Eiji and starts trying to live for himself.

But on the flip side, I’m also glad that they did not make it so angsty since I didn’t sign up for drama when I started reading this. Friend Line is like the lighter version of Ogeretsu Tanaka’s Sabita Yoru Demo Koi wa Sasayaku.

On the other hand, there’s the friend zone theme. Though, the manga-ka refers to that as the friend line, a border which the main characters set for themselves in their relationship with each other. It’s not about being friend-zoned, but it’s more like friend-zoning yourself. Miya has lots of insecurities due to him being gay. So even if he has feelings for Fukami, he tries very hard to keep his distance. He’d rather remain as a friend than lose Fukami forever.

Meanwhile, Fukami also struggles to be in the friend line. He cares about Miya and worries that his friend is not getting the care he deserves. Fukami tries his best to keep Miya safe but his friend just keeps on refusing his affection, which in turn frustrates him. Fukami wants to give all the love and care Miya deserves but his kindness teeters on the borderline of friends and of lovers, his actions becoming a nuisance instead of helping.

I love their internal struggles and the fact that they are thinking things through when it comes to their relationship. Every time Fukami takes a step forward, Miya takes two steps back. Sure, it’s not the most heartwrenching struggle but it is enough for the story’s mood.


Characters

Positive ♡(。- ω -)

As for the characters, I liked the main leads. Miya appears to be the perfect employee but he has a dependent nature, clumsy, wary and sensitive. Fukami is the opposite. He puts his heart on his sleeve and charges head-on. And that I think is what Miya needs, the one who would look after him and sometimes nudge him into action (because Miya is too timid sometimes).

The ex, Eiji, is very toxic. When I first read this book, I thought he is just the “concerned” ex, always blabbing about how depending on Fukami will bring nothing but pain to Miya. Then on my second read, I realized how everything Eiji says brings Miya’s morale down. He scares Miya but won’t give the other guy a proper suggestion of what to do next. Instead, he tells his lover to come back to his side, suggesting that Miya is trash that no one wants aside from him. Like wow, that’s the closest depiction of a toxic person I’ve encountered in manga so far. Sakumoto Ayu didn’t even try to romanticize him or rationalize his actions. Sometimes, you meet people who get their kicks from abusing another person one way or another.


Art

Neutral (¯ . ¯٥)

Like the mood, the lines and backgrounds are light and simple. Actually, there’s nothing big in terms of both the art and the story. There’s no exaggerated reactions or expression. Even Miya blushing is so light, kinda subtle shading on the cheeks. So I guess, this kind of style contributes a lot to the laid-back feel of the story.

The character art is okay. Fukami and Miya look slightly better than the rest of the cast and they are almost always wearing suits.

Oh and don’t expect anything for the smexy times. Or you’ll be utterly disappointed. www


Enjoyment (✯◡✯)

I enjoyed the light read Friend Line offered. I did not expect the internal struggle about the friend line but I did enjoy it and that’s the strongest point of the story. It is not the greatest story but it’s pretty good and worth the read.


Highlights

The first time Miya gave Fukami fellatio. But before you get to imagine things, no it’s not hot haha. It’s actually pretty short too, nothing detailed.

But what I loved in that scene is how Miya looks carefree after the deed. The entire book he’s always taking a step back, keeping his side of the line. But when he did it to Fukami, he looks free, contented, and happy — everything he deserves to get. It makes me happy for him too.


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