My Brother’s Husband was my first Manga, so I was really looking forward to delving into it. Though it did take me a little bit to get used to, I enjoyed the format and the story.
So the story follows Yaichi, a single father raising his young daughter, Kana. So Yaichi and Kana’s lives suddenly change one day with the arrival at their doorstep of a hulking, lovable Canadian fellow named Mike Flanagan.
Mike tells Yaichi that he was married to Yaichi’s deceased twin brother Ryoji, whom I believe Yaichi hadn’t seen for around ten years. Mike, who is still relatively raw with grief, is kind of on a quest you could say, to explore Ryoji’s past.
So he planned this trip to Japan and getting to know Ryoji’s family was the first step.
What follows is Yaichi slowly coming to terms with his feelings about his brother and his brother’s homosexuality, and we see his struggle as he tries so hard to accept something he doesn’t really understand.
There was tension between Yaichi and Mike initially, a lot of it subtle, which I felt the artist did an excellent job portraying. It portrayed relationships as messy and complicated — not as cut and dry as we may sometimes think.
I got a good feeling for how difficult it was for Yaichi because he doesn’t quite know how to welcome Mike with an open heart.
This graphic novel is a wonderful representation of homophobia — even subtle homophobia — and the still very closeted Japanese gay culture. Heck, it’s usually the subtle homophobia and racism that we see rather than the shout in your face kind.
Yaichi also has a quite a spirited young daughter who truly shines a light in every scene that she’s in. She still trying to understand what homosexuality is and the sweet, innocent questions she asks as she attempts to understand are illuminating and heartwarming. She’s also quite taken with Mike and doesn’t hesitate for a moment to refer to him as family.
So while there are twinges of homophobia, this story’s more about acceptance and how difficult it might be to actually open your heart to someone or something different than us. It was so endearing how this loveable Canadian man ended up touching the lives of everyone around him.
In summary, My Brother’s Husband was absolutely delightful and a pleasure to read. I’m so glad that I read it. There is supposedly a part 2 coming out — which will be released in September of 2018 — that I’ll definitely be checking out.