Review: BearSong

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So Comiket 95 took place in 2018, a couple of years before the pandemic hit and harshed everyone’s fujo-event mellow. Luckily, digiket platforms offered electronic versions, with many titles blurring the line between boyslove and gei-komi.

The late 2000s remains notable for the cross-pollination of genders in the mangaka pool; notable gay male doujin-creators began dabbling in BL, and many self-identifying ladies started making works that drifted more toward gay male tastes.

It was a win-win for everyone, IMHO.

ALSO – and I cannot stress this enough, if you think ‘bara dudes’ in ‘yaoi stories’ is some mangaka cheat, you haven’t read enough gay comics from Japan. Educate yourself.

SPOILERY REVIEW UNDER THE CUT:

The story opens from the perspective of Kumagai, a teacher who gets lost in a memory of a former student named Izumi Tadahiro. A third-year (12th Grade- US), Izumi confesses his love for gym teacher Kumagai, who isn’t surprised since the kid was on his heels for three years.

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When Izumi confesses, Kuma tells him he has a girlfriend, and Izumi appreciates Kuma not calling him disgusting. Kuma takes the confession to heart, and to his mind–thinking more about men having sex with other men. The more his girlfriend sexually frustrates him, the more he thinks about it. After a fight with his girlfriend for not wanting to blow him, he decides against a brothel and does something shitty – he calls Izumi.

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–Izumi being college-bound but still in school makes Kuma’s desperation morally dubious, and the mangaka shows us Kuma’s thoughts: yeah, he’s a shit, but if the guy likes him, where’s the harm? Oh, Kuma-chan!!?

As Kuma is about to talk himself out of it, Izumi says he’s ready, willing, and able. Kuma is a sexy bastard, and even if his jock is unwashed, Izumi is down for some oral.

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–If you’ve never been with an uncircumcised man who hasn’t bathed–you won’t understand Kuma’s apology for not having had a shower yet.

Kuma says his girlfriend hates giving oral, so he’s pretty pent-up; still, he can’t shake the feeling of how fucked up this is that he’s taking advantage of a young person’s feelings.

–During the blow-job scene, we get into Izumi’s thoughts for the first time, but we’re in Kuma’s head as well, giving us one of those gei-komi tropes wherein the straight guy realizes that gay sex isn’t so bad!! 😆

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☝️This panel reminds us, though, that Kuma is a louse; Izumi is a virgin sure, and doing it with someone you’re not in love with is…oh wait, this kid is in love with me. (Dude…) Kuma hammers home his detestable yet sexy tryst by ramming himself into Izumi’s throat as he comes.

–The fantastical kicks in at this point when Izumi asks for more of Kuma to rinse his mouth out, and Kuma obliges with a golden shower. Yeah, it’s weird–but I don’t kink shame, and neither should you.

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Izumi’s thoughts become the focus for a few time-progression pages as the booty-calls with Kuma progress into watching movies, dinners, and hanging out at the apartment. While Izumi sweetly contemplates their relationship status while still wearing Kuma’s coat–he sees Kuma out with his girlfriend.

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The boy’s emotions spiral:
No good comes from dating someone who’s not gay.

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Not long after, we find Kuma concerned after getting ghosted. Is Izumi the kind of guy that would get a new boyfriend after confessing his love for Kuma?

–Bitch, really? Clearly, our bear brought more into this relationship than just wanting to get off with a kid desperate for his love.

Next, we see Izumi in class, listening as kids talk about some first-year boy confessing to a friend about having a crush on him; Izumi stays quiet until mortified when Kuma appears looking for a student who shirked window-cleaning that day. The boys ask Kuma if a guy ever confessed to loving him. Kuma says no, but he doesn’t care if it’s a boy or a girl confessing their love; either would make him happy. Izumi’s reaction is confusion and hurt.

—This hit home with me in a weird way. I romanced a girl in high school, and when I mentioned liking a guy one day, she felt betrayed by that and broke it off with me. At the time, I thought I was the bad one for being bisexual–but then I grew up and realized that she was being unreasonable for seeing my sexuality as a betrayal of hers.

Izumi’s last day of school finds him pressed by his friend about Kumagai-sensei. Friend knows they had a fight and thinks Izumi should at least say goodbye to sensei before they leave for college. Izumi confesses to Kuma that he ghosted him because he saw Kuma with his girlfriend and realized that she was where Kuma belonged.

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For his part, Kuma apologizes for using Izumi for sex. He admits to being a selfish ass and the center of attention in his relationships; honestly, I agree with Kuma’s sentiment that it’s unfair to saddle Izumi with a self-centered lover like Kuma. Izumi takes control here and asks for one more time with Kuma. He even blindfolds him and asks him to think about how good the sex is, not about Izumi himself.

—Ouch – this is one of those moments where Kuma should’ve said “No, I’m not doing that because you’re more than sex to me,” but he doesn’t, and that’s when you know Izumi’s going all out since he has no intention of sticking around.

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Izumi starts with oral (and if you’ve read enough gei-komi porn without plot, you know what’s coming next!). He goes from mouth to ass, as often happens in these stories, while Kuma is blindfolded. Izumi is so overcome that he’s squat-fucking this man and jerking himself off, forgetting that he’s supposed to be blowing this guy. As Izumi starts talking dirty, Kuma realizes it’s not oral, but Izumi begs Kuma to keep his eyes closed.

bearsong9This scene is hot, more so for the catharsis than the sex.

Izumi liberates himself on Kuma’s dick but doesn’t allow Kuma to see it–quite frankly, Kuma-sensei doesn’t deserve to see Izumi this way. He hasn’t earned it.

In the car afterward, Kuma explains to Izumi that he and his girlfriend broke up that day. Izumi’s emotional immaturity makes Izumi wonder if there’s still a chance for him and Kuma. Luckily, Kuma tells him he’s still a minor, so a relationship is out of the question–but he knows Izumi will find men like him, men that will appreciate Izumi and treat him better.

The story ends in the present, with Kumagai anticipating another entrance ceremony. On that last day together, Izumi confessed that he would become a teacher like Kuma, and if Kuma was still single when Izumi was old enough, they could give it another try. 👇

bearsong10The way the mangaka draws these pages from Kuma’s POV is beautiful because that’s when we, as readers, realize that Kumagai had fallen in love.

Kuma anticipates meeting new teachers on entrance ceremony days, hoping that Izumi will be one of them and make good on his promise to return for him one day.

Alas, it’s another female teacher, so Kuma can only remember.

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You can legally support Haiki by purchasing this title on any given digiket platform – but if you’re a ‘bara’ scans junkie, you can find this classic online, and maybe in English.

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