For those who have been into BL for a while, Don’t Be Cruel (Hidoku Shinai de) might be one of the first manga that they read. It’s not really a surprise since it is written by one of the most popular BL authors of all time, Nekota Yonezou. The name might ring a bell even for those just now starting to read this genre, and we can’t blame them! Nekota Yonezou is a prolific author with a lot of titles under their belt.
Since Don’t Be Cruel is still an ongoing manga, it can be hard to remember what has happened in the first volumes. Don’t worry! We’ll be going a bit back in time, to volume 2, back to when our main characters were still struggling to communicate with each other.
We Won't Be Cruel
Starting to read a long manga like this can be discouraging, especially if you feel like you’re a slow reader. There are so many volumes out already, and there’s not enough time to catch up with the reading! Of course, you can be quite the opposite: a reader who enjoys the challenge to binge read all of the chapters in one go until you’re up to date with the manga. No matter which one of these you are, it is always nice to know a bit of the story before starting to read.
Volume 1 of Don’t Be Cruel revolves around Takashi Nemugasa, a high school student who just wants to have good grades. Desperate to achieve his goal, he decides to cheat on one of his tests… But Hideyuki Maya catches him red-handed. Nemugasa can feel how his plan of being a good student starts to crumble and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to keep Maya’s mouth shut. Luckily for him, Maya is a nice person and he agrees to keep that incident a secret… If Nemugasa agrees to do as he says. What kind of requests will he make?
Off to a Rocky Start
As much as we love Nekota Yonezou’s work, we have to be honest when analyzing it. There’s always a huge problem with BL manga and the way the relationship between the main characters starts, and Don’t Be Cruel is no exception. Maya blackmails Nemugasa into doing what he wants and, since this is BL, we know that this man is up to no good. At first, he doesn’t ask for very complex things, but it all soon starts to escalate…
Basically, Maya forces himself on Nemugasa, telling him to take off his pants and having sex with him. While we like some smut to go with the stories we read, assault is a no-no. And even though it seems like Maya learns his lesson, he still forces Nemugasa on other occasions. Because of this attitude, a lot of readers decided to drop the manga, and we can’t blame them! This shouldn’t be a device to put two characters together. Fortunately, there are plenty of volumes for the dynamic between Maya and Nemugasa to change.
It’s Only The Beginning
Taking a look back to volume 2, we can see that Nemugasa and Maya still had a lot of things to solve back then. For instance, neither of them knows what they want from their relationship. While Maya sees Nemugasa as a friend, something feels out of place. Why does his heart race when they’re together? Why does he feel like he wants Nemugasa all for himself? On the other hand, Nemugasa starts struggling with different feelings. He wants to have good grades, and he starts feeling like Maya is getting in the way.
After Maya forces himself on Nemugasa once again, Nemugasa tells him to leave him alone. However, he will soon start to regret it when Maya does exactly that. Not willing to lose him, Nemugasa keeps trying to contact Maya until he finally manages to reach him. Luckily, volume 2 ends on a happy note, with Nemugasa confessing his feelings and them starting to date officially.
It’s always nice to take some time and go back to the beginning, when everything started, to see how the characters have improved, especially when we have a manga with many volumes and that's still ongoing.
Even though Nemugasa and Maya’s story started with the left foot, it definitely gets better. If you were one of those readers who dropped this manga when it first started, hang in there, we promise it gets better!