Title:I Want to Be a Wall Vol. 1 Author: Honami Shirono Publisher: Yen Press Language: English Format: Paperback Pages: 192 Genre: Slice-of-Life, Romance Publication Date: May 17, 2022
As someone who is into romance series, this one caught my eye because it offered a different premise that seemed rather unique. I Want to Be a Wall centers around an asexual woman named Yuriko who is an otaku and into boys’ love, and a gay man named Gakurouta who is in love with his childhood friend Sosuke but Sosuke is straight and doesn’t know Gakurouta’s feelings.
The solution? Yuriko and Gakurouta get married in a fake relationship!
In fact, the series starts off with the marriage between an unlikely couple. The first volume then delves into their married life and how they are adjusting to it before going into some backstories on both of our main characters. Everything from cooking, to dividing up the household chores, deciding who should work and who shouldn’t, and everything else in between is discussed. What makes it even better is that neither of them knows how relationships, let alone marriage, work so they’ve been reading what to do in magazines or online articles which produced some rather light-hearted and funny moments.
There was no real cliffhanger at the end of the first volume as you would expect in manga; however, I don’t feel that this series is the type that needs them. There’s plenty of subtle drama to be had throughout with seeds being planted for some future scenarios!
The cast is rather small right now but when you’re starting off a new series, a small cast has many benefits as readers ease into your work.
First up is Yuriko. Throughout her life, she simply was an otaku who loved boys’ love manga. As she went through life, she realized that there was something off about her. She didn’t have any sort of romantic feelings for another human being. Didn’t matter if it was a man or woman, she never could feel the sensation of love. She had no problem feeling it when she was reading manga; however, which made her wonder just what was wrong with her. Even during her backstory, we see just how much peer pressure and society itself can have an impact on someone’s sexual preference. It weighs heavily on Yuriko’s mind to the point where she tries to date someone when she grew up but her boyfriend realized that there was no love there and ended up breaking up with her.
She’s an interesting character as aside from the asexual aspect, she’s pretty fun, and considerate, although a bit self-reserved. You can tell that if you’re an anime fan or an otaku, she will open up her world to you but otherwise, she won’t let you know much. I think a lot of us can relate to someone like her which makes her an incredible main character!
The same can be said for Gakurouta as well. We got a look at his backstory in how he started off as a shy boy. One day, Sosuke is introduced to him and they become friends. Gakurouta was simply just enjoying time with Sosuke until he left for middle school a year ahead of him. Once they were reunited a year later, Sosuke wound up with a girlfriend and that’s when Gakurouta became aware of his feelings for him and that he was gay.
You get to experience the pain of a one-sided love inside someone who just prefers the company of men over women. Through Gakurouta, you realize that love is love no matter what your preference is. Love doesn’t judge but it affects us all the same. Like Yuriko, Gakurouta is a bit clumsy but he’s very thoughtful and considerate. Despite being in a fake relationship, he still wants to support Yuriko and be a good husband to her!
Speaking of Sosuke, he’s just a good-natured friend who is oblivious to Gakurouta’s feelings. After he finished school, he became a gardener so now he stops by every now and then to say hi, check on the flowers nearby, etc. Even though they drifted apart slightly through high school and college, Sosuke still considers Gakurouta a really close friend which hurts Gaku even more given the fact that he’s keeping his feelings for Sosuke hidden. A lot of times, high school friends drift so far away that they’re nothing more than memories of your life. It’s cool to see that Sosuke is a rare exception and that he’s still around for Gaku!
Lastly, we have Tomo. Her last name is Satou now but it used to be Umeda before she got married which is why Yuriko refers to her as Ume-san. Like Sosuke and Gaku, Tomo and Yuriko are friends from school but their past together is a bit different. They were otaku together but once they entered college, Tomo really began to change who she was. It was as if she outgrew being an otaku and became a normal girl. This made Yuriko felt that her only safe space had disappeared on her. Tomo became a bit inconsiderate to Yuriko’s asexual nature which didn’t help matters much. It’s a great look into how when someone changes who they are, it affects those who knew them as something else and how it can put a strain on a friendship.
This was a very pleasant read. It’s just a laid-back comfortable presentation; however, it mixes in a lot of real-life situations, emotions, and feelings but does so in a way where it doesn’t really force it down your throat. The manga isn’t trying to push an agenda here but rather just tell a good story while portraying situations many people face in life as naturally as possible.
Learning about Gaku and Yuriko’s backstories from the get-go but the only flaw in this first volume that I found was that it never really explained WHY they got married. You can piece things together based on the information given to you but I felt an explanation could have benefitted this volume here while saving the main character’s backstories for volume two. That’s just my own personal preference though. The volume works really well as it is but that one little caveat of information is missed when reading through it.
I’m sure the series will into it in more detail but I’d really like to know where the series goes from here because a lot was put on the table and outside of the eventual situation of someone finding out that Yuriko and Gaku’s marriage is a “sham,” I don’t really see much in the way story progression here. I guess Sosuke could learn of Gaku’s feelings or maybe Yuriko finds true love but with the way things are set up from the onset, it’s going to take a lot of effort to get us there.
But that’s the interesting hook about this series. There are obvious end points for each character but no clear path to reach them. I believe the fun in this series is watching those paths unfold. So far, I’m pretty impressed with it and can’t wait to read more!