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Manga / The Heart of Thomas

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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 Werner to the young man he loves, confessing his feelings and the desire to have a place in his beloved's heart. Juli Bauernfeind, to whom the letter was addressed, appears to be indifferent to it all. However, his world is shaken further by New Transfer Student Erich Frühling, a boy with looks identical to Thomas. The two clash with each other almost immediately and many hidden problems are revealed.

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.
    • Oskar and Erich to Juli, who chooses to be a Catholic priest.
    • Ante to Oskar, who finds him repellent.
  • 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 Erich and Oskar behind. Erich realizes he loves Juli but is forced to bid him farewell. And Thomas is still dead.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Oskar.
  • Broken Ace: Juli
  • Bury Your Gays: Played straight with Thomas, but averted with the other characters.
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  • Corporal Punishment: Erich, a previously homeschooled child, is shocked when a teacher attempts to strike him with a cane.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Juli. Oskar has his share of this too.
  • Downer Beginning: The story opens with Thomas's suicide.
  • Fish out of Water: Erich at first since he has never been to a boarding school.
  • Happily Adopted:
    • Erich eventually comes to terms with his mother's death and reconciles with his step-father.
    • Oskar is eventually adopted by the headmaster, his real father.
  • Held Back in School: Oskar's father took him traveling for a year instead of keeping him in school; as a result, he's one grade level behind.
  • Homeschooled Kids: Erich.
  • Identical Stranger: Erich to Thomas.
  • New Transfer Student: Erich. With the catch of having looks similar to Thomas, the newly dead boy.
  • Oedipus Complex: Erich 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 of its connotations.
  • Parental Abandonment:
    • Juli's father died when he was young.
    • Oskar's father left him at the school a year after his mother's death. His biological father is the Headmaster, who slept with Oskar's mother at her request because she could not conceive with her husband. Oscar knows the truth, and secretly hopes for the Headmaster to adopt him).
    • Erich's parents are divorced, and his father is never seen. Later, his mother dies.
  • Posthumous Character: Thomas, who committed suicide at the beginning of the story.
  • Scars Are Forever: Juli has a deep scar below his clavicle, which he sees as a Mark of Shame.
  • Spell My Name W Ith An S: The Fantagraphics translation uses "Erich" and "Oskar."
  • Staircase Tumble: Juli has fallen down the stairs twice.
    • The first time, Juli saved another boy from falling instead. He stayed indoors while healing to keep the boy from seeing his injured ankle.
    • The second time, Oskar clapped him on the back too roughly, leading to a dramatic fall and the discovery of far more serious injuries.
  • Starts with a Suicide: Thomas Werner's.
  • The Unfavorite: Juli's grandmother treats him coldly because he has his father's dark hair. She favors his blonde little sister.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Ante pushed Thomas to seduce Juli, unaware of Juli's Dark and Troubled Past.

Alternative Title(s): Thomas No Shinzou


Example of: