New this month from Square Enix Manga is I Think Our Son is Gay – a hilarious LGBTQIA+-friendly family comedy. Despite belonging to a family of four, the Aoyama residence is typically home to three due to father Akiyoshi’s job. While he’s away at work, mum Tomoko and her two beloved sons Hiroki and Yuri go about their everyday lives – going to school, making dinner, doing homework, etc. But now that Hiroki’s in his first year of high school, his thoughts are turning ever so slightly to sex and romance… and his mum can’t help but notice his slips of the tongue when he’s talking about who he likes. Supportive Tomoko has an inkling Hiroki might be gay, but she’s going to let him figure it out for himself. Unfortunately, Hiroki has little talent for keeping his “secret,” so he might die of embarrassment before all is said and done!
There’s been an influx of quality queer manga released in English in recent years which has gone a long way in improving the genre’s reputation that it had unfairly previously gained of being mostly centred around explicit material. On the contrary, I Think Our Son is Gay is one of the most wholesome manga series of recent memory. The premise itself is very endearing, with most of the humour coming from Hiroki’s clumsy attempts to cover up his sexuality to his family but inadvertently dropping massive hints. The opening volume is a very easy read with the vignettes working as standalone humour whilst also flowing together nicely.
But it’s the characters that truly make the series click. The story is told from Tomoko’s perspective and we get to see her conflicted thoughts over how enduring she finds Hiroki’s attempt at hiding his secret versus her desire for him to be more open. She is shown to be supportive of his efforts and even finds herself imagining how things are progressing with his suspected crush. But that doesn’t mean she can’t be shocked when she sees his search history. Akiyoshi adds another layer as he is not as understanding of gay culture as his wife and still finds elements of it uncomfortable, which leads to Hiroki growing further paranoid about keeping his sexuality a secret. Meanwhile, Yuri brings some dry wit to proceedings with his casual putdowns towards his parent’s presumptions about his brother and showing how wise beyond his years he is.
Okura infuses the series with a positive energy in both his writing and artwork. The art in particular is strongly grounded in the slice-of-life comedy genre with the characters not being highly detailed but still packing plenty of punch thanks to the over-the-top facial expressions and generally cheerful atmosphere. There is some subtlety though with the cagier aspects of Hiroki’s personality appearing in the less zany moments and Tomoko is generally a bit more reserved than her oldest son and husband.
This is a highly relatable series with a refreshingly light tone that will speak to both parents and children who have or are going through a similar situation. Perfect for anyone looking for a fun queer manga!
I Think Our Son is Gay 1 is out 25 May from Square Enix Manga (9781646090921, p/b, £10.99)
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