Title: I Hear the Sunspot: Theory of Happiness
Author: Yuki Fumino
Publisher: One Peace Books
Genre: Slice of Life, Yaoi
Publication Date: February 13, 2018
Volume two of I Hear the Sunspot (Hidamari ga Kikoeru) picks up after Sugihara and Taichi end up on non-speaking terms after the two of them shared a kiss together. Taichi didn’t know how to confront Sugihara, but that didn’t stop Yoko from inviting everyone to a party. Yoko continues to try and get Taichi to come, but he’s busy with work and cannot make it. It also weighs on his mind that Sugihara was invited as well. Things get even worse when Taichi ends up going drinking one night and gets blitzed… after just one beer. Sugihara finds him after he drunkenly stumbles down some stairs. He carries Taichi back home, but Taichi ends up shoving him down and leaving.
The tension keeps mounting and a new character by the name of Maya Oukami enters the picture, which doesn’t help matters. Taichi keeps trying to find ways to apologize to Sugihara, but Maya keeps getting in the way. She really develops a personal vendetta against Taichi which makes things more complicated than they should be for him. Eventually, Taichi apologizes to Sugihara which comes as a huge relief because Sugihara was the one who though Taichi was angry at him and vice versa. With things smoothed out, it seems that their relationship is on the mend.
That would be too easy, though!
One day Taichi meets Sai. He owns a company called Sign where he helps people with hearing difficulties learn sign language and skills in an attempt to make the world a better place for them. After meeting Taichi, Sai offers him a job. Taichi ends up contemplating this offer and decides that he will drop out of college in order to pursue this opportunity. When he tells Sugihara, he gets a reply that he wasn’t expecting and that Sugihara believes he’ll be just fine without him. Of course, Sugihara didn’t really mean that and Taichi interprets his response as if Sugihara didn’t need him. Taichi begins to question everything but accepts the job anyway.
This brings us to a six-month time skip where Taichi and Sugihara haven’t spoken to each other He gets a phone call from Yoko one day that completely buries any and all hope about reconciling with Taichi. Despite hearing the heart-sinking news, Taichi ends up running into Sugihara when he’s asked to run an errand for Chiba-san, his direct supervisor at Sign. From there, their interaction can go one of two ways, but I’ll refrain from saying which direction is heading so I don’t end up spoiling everything!
The story was pretty engaging! They added a lot of depth to the characters and that can be attributed to, not only, their dialogue but their inner thoughts and monologues as they experience each and every situation. The characters really drive the story and give it that direct depth that makes it compelling and interesting at the same time.
Sugihara and Taichi seem to have mirror paths as far as development goes in this volume. Their growth all stems from simple presumptions and misunderstandings that get resolved once and then resurface later on in the volume. While their respective situations are similar, their personalities make them unique.
The way Taichi approaches most situations is like he is described by Sugihara in the volume, like a boar. He charges forth in a single direction until he meets his destination, never straying from his path. Since Taichi’s personality is so brash, when he becomes very passive about dealing with his situation with Sugihara, it has a much more profound impact. His reaction is completely out of his character which drives home just how much the silence between Sugihara and himself has impacted him.
Sugihara, on the other hand, usually is quiet and keeps to himself. He lives inside of his head a lot and that’s the driving factor behind the way he deals with the silence between himself and Taichi. He didn’t think to reach out and take the first step because he only assumed Taichi was mad at him. It’s because of these personalities that we’re able to take the same situations, the same character development and approach it from two different ways and make it seem fresh and interesting.
Maya Oukami is our new character and as soon as I saw her last name, I instantly thought of wolf, since, while the spelling is a bit off, it sounds similar to Ookami, the Japanese word for it. I kind of laughed because a little bit later, Taichi gave her the nickname of Wolf Girl. She has a very brash personality, but only towards Taichi. She knew of him because Maya is also hearing impaired and Sugihara became her tutor. Sugihara talked a lot about Taichi so she wanted to see what kind of person he was. When Maya first interacts with him, Taichi’s big mouth ends up giving her a very bitter first impression and she’s disregarded him as utter trash ever since.
Throughout the volume, there were some small nuances that could hint that their relationship would be undergoing some improvement, but Taichi and Maya end up having another heated conversation where he just doesn’t understand her feelings and he ends up making her cry. This is because Maya wasn’t born with a hearing impairment and she had made tremendous efforts to try and fit into society as if nothing had ever happened to her, but she soon realized that she couldn’t keep the charade up forever. She didn’t really seek pity or sympathy, but rather acceptance. Because she used to be “normal,” she kind of views any type of sympathy without understanding as an attack more so than as a genuine feeling or emotion. She is a bit complicated, but I can see where they are going with her character.
The second volume of I Hear the Sunspot hasn’t disappointed one bit. It’s still a great slice-of-life romance story that has well-developed characters, down-to-Earth feelings and emotions and a story that anyone can relate to. There are a little bit of these characters in all of us which makes everything about them relatable to readers.
While I don’t wish to spoil the ending to the volume, I did highly enjoy it but makes me wonder what the manga can do from here given the situation. I’m sure there are still many challenges ahead for our characters, but when you have plot points such as this early on in a series, you often question whether or not there is still a lot of room left for the story to progress. There is a third volume on the way from One Peace Books so the answers to those questions are not that far off into the future! Needless to say, I am excited to see where this story goes from here!
If you’re not afraid of some light and harmless yaoi connotations, I would definitely recommend this series as it tells a great story with some pretty well fleshed out characters. My philosophy when it comes to anime and manga is that as long as it tells a great story, then it shouldn’t matter what the subject is. I Hear the Sunspot is one of those series that is telling a great story so far!
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A digital version was provided for review by One Peace Books