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Manga / I Think Our Son Is Gay

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"I think our son is probably gay. He's really cute and sincere, to boot."
Tomoko Aoyama

I Think Our Son Is Gay (Uchi no Musuko wa Tabun Gay) is a comedy Slice of Life manga by Okura about a Japanese family whose eldest son is probably gay.

It's mainly told from the point of view of the open-minded mom Tomoko, but the focus is on the eldest son Hiroki and his (terrible) attempts at hiding his sexuality. The family also includes the younger brother Yuri, who's quiet but notices more than he lets on; and the father Akiyoshi, who tries to do as much quality parenting as he can when he's not away on business.

The manga began its run in Gangan Pixiv in 2019. Square Enix Manga & Books announced that they will be publishing the manga in English in May 2021.

Compare to the author's previous work, That Blue Sky Feeling, about several teens exploring their orientations.

This series provides examples of:

  • Ambiguously Bi: Daigo. It's unclear whether Hiroki's attraction to him is reciprocated or even noticed. He doesn't get embarrassed by getting close to him, but he readily compliments Hiroki's looks (for example, the mascot he gifts Hiroki is because he thinks they both look cute) and, in Chapter 26, Tomoko sees that he uses a picture of himself and Hiroki as his phone wallpaper. Throwing a further wrench into things, Daigo gets a girlfriend later.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: In Chapter 36, Hiroki attempts to take Yuri's notebook of media reviews for a look, and Yuri refuses. Yuri retorts, "[e]ven you have secrets, though?" This reminds him he (supposedly) has a bigger secret than whatever Yuri has, so stopped asking while getting all flushed.
  • Armoured Closet Gay: Hiroki doesn't usually go that far in the closet, but when Akiyoshi noted he finds "seeing two guys kiss and stuff is pretty gross" on TV, Hiroki's response is what one would expect from this trope, while still blushing heavily:
    Hiroki: Two dudes?! For real?! What were they thinking?!!
  • Art Evolution: Most evident in Hiroki. In Chapter 1 he was drawn with pretty large cheeks as if he is a bit chubby, but by the end of the second volume he looks more like he just has a round face.
  • Bad Liar: In addition to No Poker Face, Hiroki often uses stock lying methods like ...Or So I Heard or Verbal Backspace to hide his sexuality, which does nothing to both Tomoko and Yuri.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: When Tomoko asks Akiyoshi how he would react if Hiroki were gay, he starts to panic... because he realizes how his insensitive comments about gay people could have hurt his son. Tomoko goes from very concerned to very relieved.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: It's not always obvious due to the art style, but Hiroki's are large enough to get bed-head.
  • Bland-Name Product: Higuchi was shopping at Neon (Aeon) when she saw Tono being a bit too close with another man.
  • The Blank: This trope is used twice to indicate a hypothetical person as Tomoko thinks about something. In Chapter 18, it's Daigo's hypothetical girlfriend when the potential of Incompatible Orientation is discussed, and the second time is in Chapter 40, when Tomoko admits she considered what is a "happy family" for her children at one point, this appears as Hiroki's hypothetical wife.
  • Bookends: The first volume starts with the Aoyama household having a dinner of curry that contains corn kernels. Chapter 21, the last chapter of the first volume, ends with Tomoko making the same food for dinner. The message is that, Hiroki might be gay, but that didn't change anything.
  • Call-Back:
    • When Tomoko thought about Hiroki's Embarrassing Browser History in Chapter 21, she mused it could be "just a phase," but then she recalls several other scenes in previous flashbacks—in chapters 11, 14, and 20—when Hiroki had been overly affectionate with other boys, she decides that Hiroki must be gay.
    • Chapter 35 is only understandable if the reader reads it together with Chapter 6. Specifically, the fact that Hiroki used to have very good grades in math (and the cause), but he barely gets a pass in high school.
    • Chapter 42, the last chapter of Volume 2, contains several call-backs from chapters in that volume: a follow-up to Hiroki's Muscle Angst, a scene with Asumi, followed by a scene of Hiroki and Daigo playing the game Hiroki played with Akiyoshi in Chapter 30.
  • Celibate Hero: Yuri says flat-out that he has no interest in romance or girls and turns down the classmates who ask him out. A flashback from his perspective shows that he struggles even to understand why people are interested in romance instead of friendship.
  • Chocolate of Romance: A flashback in Chapter 31 discussed this trope. A fourth-grade Hiroki complained it's unfair that in Japan, Valentine's chocolate must be given by a female to a male. Tomoko explained that Platonic Valentine and male-initiated gifting are not unheard of and are common elsewhere, but Hiroki still ends up sulking because in any rate, it must involve a female... In retrospect, Tomoko found Hiroki must have been thinking of giving one to a boy. This scene is also the earliest instance when Hiroki identified his feelings to some boys as romantic.
  • Class Representative: Daigo is the class representative when he was in the tenth grade.
  • Clueless Chick-Magnet: Yuri has always been popular among his female classmates, mainly due to his cool demeanour. However, Yuri doesn't understand the concept of romance, so he has no clue about why they all want to be friends with him.
  • Cooldown Hug: Tomoko does this to Hiroki in Chapter 10. Right before Akiyoshi leaves again for work, he somewhat suggests I Want Grandkids. After Akiyoshi leaves, Hiroki suggests, with a Longing Look, that he's doubtful whether he can fulfill his father's expectations. Tomoko, knowing what Hiroki means, gives him a hug to show she'll always support him as her son.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Hiroki notices that Asumi gets flustered and quiet around him but easily chats with Yuri on the walk to school and wonders if Asumi has a crush... on Yuri. Yuri reacts with a Blank Stare.
  • Complaining About Shows You Don't Watch: In Chapter 7, Akiyoshi mentions the gay romance TV drama Koi-Men. He then added "seeing two guys kiss and stuff is pretty gross", unaware that his son Hiroki is gay and closeted. It turns out he hasn't watched the show, to begin with, so Tomoko suggests he watch it first.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The second half of Chapter 37 involves Yuri recognizing he might be able to understand what romance is by observing Hiroki's crushes. At that scene, Hiroki was obviously crushing on a boy called Yuuta. The same Yuuta who ends up being Hiroki's first heartbreak in Chapter 20.
    • When Hiroki sees the Koi-Men manga laying out in the living room in Chapter 39, Tomoko explains it's the original manga for the TV drama Akiyoshi was talking about. Akiyoshi talked about the drama in Chapter 7.
  • Crush Blush:
    • Talking about Daigo, getting a text from Daigo, or even thinking too hard about Daigo is a reliable way to get Hiroki to light up.
    • Asumi's face lights up when she sees Hiroki, all the more so when he compliments her looks or thanks her for a gift. Unfortunately for her, he's completely oblivious.
  • The Dandy: In Chapter 38, Higuchi describes Toono's male friend using this exact word.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • A half of Chapter 27 puts the spotlight on Daigo, showing school life from his angle, as well as his relationship with Hiroki.
    • Yuri narrates Chapter 37, in which he talks about how he doesn't understand "liking" or "loving", but since Hiroki is very transparent about his feelings he feels like he can learn from watching his brother's crushes.
  • Delayed Family Acceptance: Inverted. Tomoko is nearly certain Hiroki is gay and is completely fine with it, but she'd rather wait for him to come out of his Transparent Closet himself.
  • Dreary Half-Lidded Eyes: Yuri is always drawn with eyes that look half-closed to match his stoic demeanor, at most softening slightly or getting paired with a Sweat Drop. The one exception is when he was genuinely shocked once at age eight.
  • Early Personality Signs: Chapter 11 shows that Yuri was deadpan even as a baby.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Tomoko notes that Hiroki's interest in well-built men is extremely obvious now that she's aware he Has a Type. Chapter 43 has her pointing out he very often goes into "observation mode" in which he becomes entirely too engrossed in staring at men that are his type.
  • Embarrassing Browser History: In a Flashback, 13-year-old Hiroki's long list of internet searches for male nudes are what first makes Tomoko aware of his orientation.
  • Endearingly Dorky: Hiroki is a young, easily excited, and sweet boy that gets really flustered and is very obviously in love with one of his classmates. It's shown that a number of people In-Universe think he is cute too, including his mom, his brother, his brother's friends, and even his crush.
  • Everybody Calls Him "Barkeep": Basically everyone calls Daigo "President." Hiroki is the only person who's First-Name Basis with him.
  • Fictional Document: Koi-Men, a popular Boys' Love genre manga that has been adapted into a TV drama. Unlike the norm of that genre, Koi-Men lacks explicit sex scenes and puts more emphasis on gay romance. It is, for the most part, inspired by the real-life gay romance drama Ossan's Love.
  • First-Name Basis: The Daigo-centered half of Chapter 27 indicates Hiroki is the only person in their class that he's on a first-name basis with.
  • Flashback: Several chapters have flashbacks to Hiroki's and Yuri's earlier childhoods, like Tomoko's realization that 13-year-old Hiroki is probably gay in Chapter 21, her thinking back to Hiroki's signs of Puppy Love in Chapter 31, and a younger Yuri musing on the idea of romance in Chapter 37.
  • Forced Out of the Closet: Defied. Both Tomoko and Yuuki, while knowing Hiroki is gay, prefer the latter to come out of the closet himself.
  • Freudian Slip: Part and parcel of Hiroki's Transparent Closet. In the first chapter, he lets slip wanting to have a boyfriend cook for him, only to immediately correct it to a girlfriend. In another chapter, he mentions finding an athlete attractive and then backpedals, saying he's only relaying what his female classmates think. None of these attempts at correction fool Tomoko.
  • Friend to All Children: Chapter 15 shows Hiroki is good with children; he calms down a crying baby on the train despite having no experience at it.
  • Friendship Trinket: Chapter 5's premise involves this, as Tomoko finds the charm Hiroki puts on his backpack in the foyer. As per this trope, when Hiroki comes back from school, he is in a Heroic BSoD as he thinks he lost the charm given to him by Daigo.
  • Gayngst: While Hiroki has no signs of this, Tomoko muses the possibility of this happening to him in Chapter 16, as she noticed Hiroki "probably gives up a lot of things" because he knows he's gay. This is why she'd rather make him more comfortable with his sexuality first.
  • Gender-Concealing Writing: When questioned by his friends about the person he likes, Hiroki gives various characteristics of Daigo that can be applied to both genders, but he never specifies the gender of the person he likes by dropping the subject from his answer completely. Tomoko realizes he might be getting better at lying.
    Hiroki: Uhhh, umm... Smart. Calm. Dependable. The kind of person other people rely on. Looks great in glasses too!
  • Good Parents: Both Tomoko and Akiyoshi genuinely care about their sons. Tomoko is an Open-Minded Parent who doesn't mind that Hiroki is gay and the only reason she doesn't tell him she knows is that she wants him to come out to her himself. Akiyoshi, while often away from home because of his job and unaware Hiroki is gay, tries to be as much of a supporting father to his sons as he can when he is present.
  • Got Volunteered: When Hiroki started his tenth grade, he was nearly named the Class Representative because nobody volunteered and he happens to be the first student by alphabetical order. Daigo took up the position by volunteering himself, since he doesn't like people being pushed to do something.
  • Happily Married: Despite spending a lot of time separated by work, Akiyoshi and Tomoko are always supportive of each other and happy when they're together. When Akiyoshi's coworker asks if he ever worries about infidelity, he brushes it off without a thought.
  • Has a Type: Hiroki accidentally blurts out what is his type when talking with his mom, though he quickly hides it by saying it is simply the type the girls in his class like. His type seems to be manly, rugged and muscular guys.
  • Height Angst: Both Aoyama brothers are on the small side. A Print Bonus page of Chapter 22 shows Hiroki has this on top of Muscle Angst, as he heard that muscle training may stunt growth.
  • Hidden Depths: Chapter 36 shows Yuri has a hobby of writing down reviews of media he consumes, but he refuses to show them to anyone since he thinks they're too poorly done.
  • High-Pressure Emotion: This is Tomoko's response when she notices Daigo uses a picture of him and Hiroki as his phone's wallpaper, because it looks like the relationship might possibly be reciprocated.
  • Holding Hands: Chapter 16 is about this. Hiroki notices some of his classmates doing this as he's shopping with Tomoko. Tomoko asks if he would do that with his crush, and Hiroki sounds extremely reluctant, only considering that when in private. Tomoko tells Hiroki that the latter was how she and Akiyoshi did when they were dating since he was easily embarrassed, and makes a mental note of making him more comfortable with his sexuality.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: Hiroki, at its core, is just an average hormonal teenager, if not for the fact that he prefers men.
  • How We Got Here: Chapter 20 is structured like this. When folding the family laundry, Hiroki notices Tomoko still uses an old handtowel, and looks at the towel rather intently. The next eight pages are Tomoko's recollection of the story behind that towel: Hiroki's fifth-grade heartbreak. The last two pages return to the present day, and it seems Hiroki has gotten over it.
  • I Want Grandkids: Downplayed. In Chapter 10, Akiyoshi tells his sons he would "love to see our son's wedding" and "see our grandkids' faces". The tone is hardly serious, but it's enough to cause his Closet Gay elder son Hiroki to fall into a brief moment of Gayngst.
  • Incompatible Orientation:
    • This trope is discussed in Chapter 18, as Yuri notes they don't know Daigo's sexuality, so there is a possibility that Hiroki's crush on him may end up like this.
    • Hiroki may have experience of this happening to him. Specifically, in a flashback in Chapter 20, a fifth-grade Hiroki attempts to give his crush a birthday present, but his crush rejected it because it came from a boy.
    • Hiroki's childhood friend Asumi develops a crush on him after the former complimented her looks, unaware that Hiroki is gay. This causes some worry on Tomoko's part, but Asumi realizes the truth about Hiroki and is happy to be Just Friends.
  • Innocently Insensitive:
  • Last-Second Word Swap: Tomoko does this in Chapter 27.5, as she discusses with Akiyoshi one of her coworkers:
    Tomoko: There's a nice young staff that's popular among the female staff.
    Akiyoshi: Uh!
    Tomoko: But that person is g— ...uh...
    Akiyoshi: Hm? what?
    Tomoko: Oops, I almost just let that slip. It's probably not a good idea to just go blabbing about that. I don't even know if it's true. Nothing. I heard a rumour that he's currently seeing someone right now.
  • Lost in Translation: Hiroki's Exact Words moment in Chapter 28 is partly based on the fact that in Japanese language, subjects can, and often are, dropped if the context is clear, which means Hiroki is reading a list of gender-neutral descriptors and still sound natural to his friends. It's also fine for ungendered languages, but an attempt at translating Hiroki's answer into a gendered language—which includes most European languages—and still sounds natural will be very challenging. English is already somewhat better in this instance.
  • Luminescent Blush: Hiroki often gets flushed when the issue of sexuality is raised, regardless of context.
  • Lying by Omission: Hiroki's still in the closet, so when he was pressed to tell some of his friends about his crush in Chapter 28, he made truthful descriptions of Daigo... but dropped the subject so as to hide his sexuality. His friends assumes he talks about a girl.
  • Men Can't Keep House: Averted by Akiyoshi. He teaches his sons to do household chores in Chapter 10, and gives them demonstrations. This indicates he is adept at chores as well.
  • Muscle Angst: In one scene, Hiroki compares his own physique unfavorably to the muscular men he finds attractive, so Tomoko gives him some weights in case he'd like to take up training. A Call-Back twenty chapters later shows that he did.
  • New Year, Same Class: A double subversion. When Hiroki and Daigo end up in different classes in 11th grade, they decide to join a club so they can spend more time together.
  • No Poker Face: Hiroki can't hide his sexuality without turning into a stuttering mess and his face turning red as a beet.
  • Oblivious to Love:
    • Tomoko is quick to notice that Hiroki's childhood friend, Asumi, has a crush on him. Hiroki himself, however, takes absolutely no notice at all. Tomoko suspects that, since her son isn't attracted to girls in the first place, the idea that one could be attracted to him flies right past him.
    • Since Yuri doesn't even know the concept of romantic love, he appears to have no clue as to why girls always want to approach him. An example is in a flashback in Chapter 37, when a fourth-grade Yuri has no clue that (1) a female classmate likes him, (2) rejecting her Love Confession would upset her, and that (3) another male classmate of his had a crush on the said girl, and thought they didn't get along.
  • Open-Minded Parent: Tomoko knows that Hiroki is gay, but she doesn't mind one bit and tries her best to be supportive of him while waiting for him to come out on his own. She panicked when she first worked it out, but Akiyoshi's rapid-fire attempts to guess the cause of her distress made her realize that it wasn't actually a problem.
  • ...Or So I Heard: When Hiroki realizes he's been telling his mother what he finds attractive in a man, he tries to pass it off as relaying the opinions of the girls in his class. She is not fooled.
  • Origins Episode: Written in Hiroki's angle, the first half of Chapter 27 talks about how Hiroki and Daigo know each other in the first place.
  • Parents as People: Akiyoshi spends most of his time away from his family on business and doesn't know very much about his own children, which causes him to make some slip-ups around Hiroki. Nonetheless, he cares deeply about being a Good Parent and gets along well with them.
  • Precocious Crush: Hiroki had a one-sided crush on his math teacher in middle school and paid extra effort on math to impress him.
  • Print Bonus: When transforming the original webcomics to print, Okura adds one page to the end of each chapter, which continues with the rest of the chapter. He also draws some print-exclusive chapters, such as Chapter 20.
  • Puppy Love: Flackbacks to Hiroki's first and fifth grades show that he had fairly obvious crushes on his male classmates at the time. Looking back to them, Tomoko muses that she could have worked out the truth much earlier if she'd been more open-minded.
  • Real Men Cook: Akiyoshi cooks dinner when he's home from work trips and encourages his sons to learn, though he makes a misstep by saying it's attractive to women, something neither of them care about.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: Tomoko sees through Hiroki's Transparent Closet, but chooses to be quietly supportive of him until he's ready to come out to her. It's implied that the younger brother Yuri also knows and feels similarly, which is confirmed in Chapter 18.
  • Show Within a Show: Koi-Men was first mentioned in the series as a popular TV drama, although it turns out that it's a manga with a Live-Action Adaptation.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: The older son Hiroki is very expressive and can't tell a lie to save his life. The younger son Yuri is quiet and barely has any expressions on his face. They like these qualities in each other: Hiroki appreciates Yuri matter-of-factly talking about things he struggles to, and Yuri admires Hiroki's emotional openness.
  • Spit Take: In Chapter 7, Hiroki does this when Akiyoshi mentions Koi-Men, an ongoing TV drama featuring gay protagonists, being the talk of his workplace.
  • The Stoic: The younger son Yuri is quiet, deadpan, and always has a neutral expression on his face. He's a bit confused that some of his classmates find it "mysterious" and attractive, and actually struggles to understand and express his emotions sometimes.
  • Straight Gay: Tomoko's coworker Tono has a man in his life whom he appears affectionate towards, but he comes across as Ambiguously Gay until months later, when he mentions that they're boyfriends and have been living together for ten years. He says that it's not a secret, but he tends to wait until it comes up in conversation.
  • The Talk: When the boys' father comes home, he tries to have a talk about romance and dating with his teenage son. Unfortunately, since he's not aware of Hiroki's sexuality or that he's trying to hide it, it ends up really awkward for him.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Hiroki had a one-sided Precocious Crush on his math teacher in middle school and paid extra effort on math to impress him. This causes Akiyoshi to mistakenly believe that Hiroki is good at science, which comes to a head in Chapter 35 when Hiroki has to choose between liberal arts and science.
  • Too Unhappy to Be Hungry: On Hiroki's first day of eleventh grade, he is so stressed about whether he can be in the same class as Daigo that he didn't finish breakfast. Hiroki is usually No Poker Face, and this trope shows how stressed he is that morning.
  • Transparent Closet: Hiroki is really, really bad at hiding that he's gay. In the first three chapters we are shown him having a Freudian Slip about wanting to have a boyfriend, leaving his book of male nudes on top of his desk in his room, and blushing like mad when his male classmate texts him.
  • Verbal Backspace: When Hiroki is going on about the appeal of a "manly" short haircut, Yuri asks him if men like that are to his taste, then deliberately corrects himself to ask if he prefers hairstyles like that. Their mother suspects that Yuri was trying to drop a hint.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Yuri doesn't know the concept of romantic love. A flashback shows he understands friendship, but has no clue as to why a female classmate "like [him] if [they] get along". At present day he seems to be able to recognize other people's crushes, but not himself.
  • When She Smiles: Yuri has a very serious demeanor almost all the time, but smiles when some of his classmates ask him too, leaving the girls suddenly flustered.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Downplayed. The boys' father often goes overseas for his job, which causes him to be rather out of the loop regarding his son's sexuality. Despite this, he tries to spend as much time as possible with his children during the time he is home.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: Reconstructed. Tomoko's colleague Higuchi is a huge fan of Koi-Men, a popular in-universe gay romance manga and TV series, but she likens their coworker Tono to the story when she suspects him of having a boyfriend and, unfortunately, sometimes treats him like a spectacle behind his back. That said, once he does come out to her, and she spends some time with her, she learns that real life gay men are different than the fictional characters she adores and learns to differentiate her behavior between them.
  • You Didn't Ask: Tono talks freely about the man who turns out to be his boyfriend, but doesn't confirm that they're in a relationship until one of his coworkers asks him directly. He admits that he finds it easier just to wait until the topic comes up in conversation.

Alternative Title(s): My Son Is Probably Gay, Uchi No Musuko Wa Tabun Gay