The Heart of Thomas
is one of the earliest Boys Love
manga (its creator, Moto Hagio
, is a contemporary and friend of Keiko Takemiya
, together with whom she is known as a pioneer of the genre). The story starts with a letter from the eponymous Thomas to the young man he loves, confessing his feelings and the desire to have a place in his beloved's heart. Juli, to whom the letter was addressed, appears to be indifferent to it all. However, his world was shaken further by New Transfer Student
Eric, a boy with looks identical to Thomas. The two clash with each other almost immediately and many hidden problems
Originally a Japan-only manga, The Heart of Thomas
has an English-language edition in the works scheduled for a January 2013 release
. The manga was translated by Matt Thorn, a veteran translator who has written several articles on boys-love manga.
The Heart of Thomas presents examples of:
- All Love Is Unrequited: Juli does have feelings for Thomas but chooses to shun the boy. Oscar and Eric to Juli, who chooses to be a Catholic priest.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Juli faces a lot of discrimination due to his exotic dark looks inherited from his Greek father.
- Beneath the Mask: Juli appears to be a model student and son. However, he has problems connecting to other people.
- Bittersweet Ending: Juli is able to open his heart to others again and admits he loved Thomas, and goes off to seminary, leaving Eric and Oscar behind. Eric realizes he loves Juli but is forced to bid him farewell. And Thomas is still dead.
- Brilliant but Lazy: Oscar.
- Broken Ace: Juli
- Bury Your Gays: Played straight with Thomas, but averted with the other characters.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Juli. Oscar has his share of this too.
- Downer Beginning: The story opens with Thomas's suicide.
- Fish out of Water: Eric at first since he has never been to a boarding school.
- Happily Adopted: Eric eventually comes to terms with his mother's death and reconciles with his step-father.
- Identical Stranger: Eric to Thomas.
- New Transfer Student: Eric. With the catch of having looks similar to Thomas, the newly dead boy.
- Oedipus Complex: Eric has an unhealthy attachment to his mother. He's jealous of all of her lovers, to the point that he gets sent to boarding school to mitigate it.
- One-Gender School: with all its connotations
- Parental Abandonment: Juli's and Oscar's fathers are dead (though in Oscar's case, his biological father is the Headmaster, who had sex with his friend's wife at the woman's request because they could not conceive. Oscar knows the truth but never calls the Headmaster father). Eric's parents are divorced and his father is never seen, and later his mother dies.
- Posthumous Character: Thomas, who committed suicide at the beginning of the story.
- Spell My Name W Ith An S: The Fantagraphics translation uses "Erich" and "Oskar."