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Manga / Our Dreams at Dusk

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"You can tell me anything, but I won't listen."

"Tasuku, did you watch a gay porno?" With a single sentence, high school student Tasuku Kaname's world comes crashing down around his ears. Convinced that he's been outed and his life is over, Tasuku is on the verge of doing something he can't take back when suddenly, he sees a woman seemingly jump out of the window of a nearby house. Tasuku runs to the building in shock only to find out not only that the woman is perfectly unharmed, but that the "house" is actually a public lounge owned by her. Not knowing what else to do, Tasuku ends up telling the mysterious woman everything. "Dareka-san" listens to his troubles stoically and leaves, but not before casually inviting him to come back to her lounge the next day- "gay people come by too, after all."

Shimanami Tasogare is a Seinen manga written by Yuhki Kamatani (author of Nabari no Ou and Shonen Note: Boy Soprano) about Tasuku and the people he meets and befriends at the lounge. The manga was serialized from 2015 to 2018, starting in Hibana and later moving to the Manga One app in 2017.

The manga was licensed in English by Seven Seas Entertainment under the name Our Dreams at Dusk: Shimanami Tasogare, with the first volume released on May 7, 2019. Upon licensing, they noted that it was the most requested title in all of their forms asking for license suggestions. The manga is available in France under the title Éclat(s) d'âmenote , published by Akata (who already published several LGBT-themed manga).

This manga provides examples of:

  • Abilene Paradox: Seichirou, Tchaiko's gay partner of thirty years, is finally reconnecting with his adult son as he's dying of an illness. Tsaiko purposely spends less time with Seichirou and gives up his chance of staying at his deathbed to avoid meeting his son and risk their homosexuality causing tension between the two of them. Seichirou assumes that Tchaiko is ashamed and doesn't want his family to know about him, and so doesn't say that all he really wants is to keep the man he loves by his side until he dies.
  • Animal Motifs: Goldfish. On a larger scale, the lounge is likened to a goldfish bowl, a small isolated place that is the only space the patrons can truly be themselves. Misora in particular is associated with goldfish.
    • Goldfish also appear in chapter 6, when Tasuku and his crush Tsubaki hold a conversation with each other for the first time.
    • Cats feature heavily in the series (in particular the ones that apparently just hang around the lounge and come and go as they please), but that most likely has less to do with symbolism and more to do with the fact that Kamatani seems to just like cats.
  • Beta Couple: Daichi and Saki, a lesbian couple, are in a stable relationship, and would get married, if same-sex marriage was legal in Japan.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Volume 4 is spent leading up to Haruko and Saki's wedding while also learning about Tchaiko's past. The last chapter shows the happiness of the wedding, but also the sadness of Tchaiko losing his partner.
  • Crush Blush: Tasuku, towards Tsubaki.
  • Food Porn: A scene in Volume 3 features a particular emphasis on onomichi ramen. Tasuku even provides a bit of Description Porn while trying it:
    Tasuku's thoughts: The biting flavor of fish broth with soy on the thin noodles is... But the minced pork back floods it all with a rich texture. For a soul weary from walking...
    Tasuku: It's good.
    • The lunch scene later in the same book is incredibly awkward, but it does showcase some great looking Japanese dishes.
  • Forced Out of the Closet: Tasuku's classmates do this to him in the first chapter, though Tasuku manages to dodge the accusations.
    • Later happens to Saki, when Mr. Tsubaki mentions she's gay to her father while at his restaurant, not realizing she wasn't out to her family.
  • Foreshadowing: When Haruko notes how good Utsumi is at helping Misora into his kimono, he replies that it's like "riding a bike" - i.e., "you never forget." This makes sense when you learn he's transgender in Volume 3, and therefore likely has had some experience wearing kimono when he was younger. On a less plot-relevant note, it also is a hint that he's a cyclist.
  • Gay Guy Seeks Popular Jock: Tsubaki is the volleyball team's ace.
  • Gayngst: Tasuku nearly commits suicide in the first chapter because he was almost outed as gay. He gets better, though, with the help of the people in the lounge.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Tasuku and Tsubaki, who seems incredibly straight. Tasuku is aware it won't work out, but that doesn't stop him from liking him. Though it may not be as incompatible as it first appeared, if the later chapters are anything to go by.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Three generations within Cat Clowder: Tchaiko; Utsumi, Saki and Daichi; and Tasuku and Misora.
  • Late Coming Out: While his partner of over 30 years is in the hospital, Tchaiko repeatedly avoids running into Seichirou's son, Akira, who doesn't know his father is gay. When Seichirou is about to die, his son calls Tchaiko and asks him to come to the hospital, implying his father just came out to him on his deathbed.
  • Magical Realism: The story has a lot of it, from Dareka-san being a strange and physics defying person to Seichirou happily saying his goodbyes to Ilya while floating over his hospital bed.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Dareka-san and her, uh, apparent tendency to ignore the laws of gravity. Blurring the lines between visual metaphors and reality is a trademark of Kamatani's work, but Dareka-san takes it a step further: the story starts with her seemingly jumping and turning out to be completely fine, and a later chapter reveals Tasuku wasn't just seeing things- this is also how she met Tchaiko and Seichirou.
  • Rule of Symbolism: As with Kamatani's other works, Shimanami Tasogare uses a lot of visual metaphors.
    • In the first volume, demolishing and crowbars are a symbol of coming out.
      • In Chapter 4 we see a little of Haruko's past, mainly her feeling paralyzed about telling her parents about her relationship with Saki. The turning point is when Dareka-san suddenly grabs her crowbar and begins to tear down a wall of the property Haruko didn't know what to do with.
      • In Chapter 5 Tasuku asks to borrow Haruko's crowbar, but seeing him suddenly second-guess himself when he feels its weight, she suggests he use a smaller nail puller instead. After pulling out a board, Tasuku quietly confesses to her and the other patrons that he's fallen in love with a boy.
  • Scenery Porn: Also a reoccurring element in works by Kamatani.
  • Trans Equals Gay: Discussed between Tasuku and Misora, the first time Tasuku realizes Misora is the "girl" in the lounge. Further explored when Shouko enters the story: her lack of fully understanding that Utsumi is a man has her characterizing an old crush of his, on a girl, as being "gay".
  • What the Hell, Hero?: When Misora gets groped by a pervert and starts having second thoughts about going out in public dressed as a girl, what does Tasuku say in response? He tells them that they were groped because they look cute, implying that they somehow brought it on themself. Cue Misora losing their shit and giving Tasuku a particularly painful "Reason You Suck" Speech, homophobic slurs and all.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Misora.

Alternative Title(s): Shimanami Tasogare