Kento Kumagaya, a straight-laced high school teacher, has had his heart set on having a loving family with a wife for a long time. However, when he proposes to his girlfriend Yukie, she harshly turns him down because he makes it sound like he only cares about her House Wife
prospects. Broken-hearted, Kento accepts another man's offer of a consolation drink and later finds himself in bed with this man and having a hot one-night stand with him.
Kento is not sure what to make of this incident, but decides to put it out of his mind...until he happens to meet the very same man in his workplace. Turns out that this man, named Akira Kazuki, has been hired as his high school's substitute art teacher. A mortified Kento is convinced that he just wants for the night between him and Akira to be forgotten and his relationship with Yukie to be repaired, but as he and Akira get to know one another better, he begins having doubts about whether his dreams for life are really as immutable as he thinks. But even if he decides to pursue a relationship with Akira, is it really the kind of relationship that can last when it comes up against the typical issues and problems of real life?
Despite being only two volumes long, Future Lovers
(published in Japan as two separately titled volumes, Mirai no Kioku
and Kaze no Yukue
) stands out as one of the better yaoi manga out there, presenting a relatively realistic and non-stereotypical homosexual relationship between likeable and three-dimensional characters, avoiding Loving Force
and thoughtfully taking in account the stigma against homosexual relationships in Japan.
Formerly licensed in English by Aurora's Deux imprint; currently available as an e-book from Animate (Kindle format) or Viz/Libre's Su B Lime
Future Lovers contains examples of:
- Animal Motif: Akira has been compared to or even mistaken for a fox several times.
- Bishōnen: Akira. The first thing Kento notes about him is how pretty he is.
- Camp Gay: Akira likes wearing flamboyant clothes. He doesn't really fit this trope personality-wise, however.
- Flipping the Table: Kento's grandfather does this when Akira shamelessly tries to hand-feed Kento in front of him. Shortly after Akira laughingly replies to Kento's warning about not ticking his grandfather off with "What's he going to do? Flip over the table?", no less.
- Gayngst: Averted for the most part. Akira is content with being gay, with the exception of having once been attracted to a straight man, and Kento more-or-less accepts his attraction to Akira after some soul-searching.
- Grow Old with Me: Kento, contemplating on whether being with Akira might actually be what he wants instead of having a wife and kids, has a dream about growing old with Akira (although Akira is somehow still young in the dream, something Kento lampshades when he wakes up). Akira has a similar dream later on.
- Happily Married: Okay, it's more like Happily Technically Made A Family Member (as Japan doesn't recognize gay marriage, which leads Kento to make creative use of documentation for him and Akira to become "family"), but it still fits.
- Homophobic Grandpa: Kento's grandfather is not happy when he learns that his grandson is seeing another man. (Kento's grandmother, on the other hand, just kind of sighs and resigns herself to it.) Completely Played for Laughs.
- If It's You, It's Okay: Akira appears to be the only man Kento has ever been attracted to. This actually makes Akira insecure, as he worries that Kento will eventually become dissatisfied with the fact that he can't give him the family he wanted, even as Kento repeatedly tells him that he's not leaving him because "You're the one I want."
- Incompatible Orientation: Akira's first love is a straight man. Akira never mentions his feelings since it would be pointless.
- Loving a Shadow: Yukie rejects Kento's marriage proposal because she sees that Kento is only in love with the idea of her as a demure, baby-popping housewife and not with the person she actually is; as she puts it bluntly when she later breaks up with him, "You are not looking at me."
- Opposites Attract: Kento is straight-laced, conventional, and serious-minded; Akira free-spirited, quirky, and fun-loving.
- Parental Abandonment: Kento's parents are both dead (he lives with his grandparents), and Akira never got to meet his father, thinking only of him as an "alien" who went back to his home planet when he was a child.
- Precocious Crush: Shindou, one of Kento's students, has a crush on him. Akira finds out about this and actually encourages Shindou to confess to Kento because he believes that she's a better match for Kento than he is. In the end, Shindou decides that she wants her beloved to be happy.
- Second Love: Akira used to be in love with a straight man before meeting Kento. Kento could also fit this trope, seeing that he dated Yukie before Akira (even if he was only Loving a Shadow).
- Secret Relationship: Kento and Akira keep their relationship a secret from their coworkers (with the exception of Kento's ex-girlfriend Yukie who figured it out on her own) until the end of the second volume.
- Sex Equals Love: Kento and Akira's relationship starts out as a one-night stand. The possible ramifications of this is explored in-story with Akira wondering if it would have been better if he and Kento's relationship had started on a "sweet note" instead of sex.
- Stepford Smiler: Akira is a mild example, hiding his insecurities about his family and relationships underneath a carefree, frivolous demeanor.
- True Love is Exceptional: Suffice to say that Akira is not at all the sweet House Wife Kento had originally wanted as his life mate.
- Yamato Nadeshiko: Kento wanted to marry someone traditional and domestic as part of his ideal future. What he got was Akira. He doesn't have any complaints. At one point he defies the trope. His grandparents try to set him up with a woman that, by her appearance at least, was this trope. He wasn't interested at all and took the first chance to escape.