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Ten Count Vol. #01 Manga Review

3 min read

Creative StaffTen Count 1
Story/Art: Rihito Takarai
Translation/Adaptation: Adrienne Beck

What They Say
Corporate secretary Shirotani suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder. One day he meets Kurose, a therapist who offers to take him through a ten-step program to cure him of his compulsion. As the two go through each of the ten steps, Shirotani’s attraction to his counselor grows.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Shirotani believed that his life was fine just the way it was, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and all. While he was able to make a living as a secretary, his OCD ruled his solitary life. It wasn’t until the president who Shirotani worked for was in an accident, did he gain the opportunity to meet psychotherapist Kurose and reevaluate his life.

Kurose immediately identifies Shirotani’s condition and suggests he consider getting help. The suggestion took hold enough that Shirotani finds himself in front of a counseling office wondering if he should go in or not. While debating, Kurose appears and it’s revealed that this is his office. It is here that Kurose and Shirotani have their first real conversation about Shirotani’s OCD.

At this initial meeting, Kurose suggests exposure therapy. He asks Shirotani to make a list of ten items from the easiest thing he thinks he can overcome to the hardest. Shirotani does as Kurose asks, but leaves number ten blank, which piques Kurose’s interest.

Shirotani is also curious and wants to know why Kurose is helping on his own time and for free. Kurose is equally evasive stating he would reveal his true intentions when Shirotani can reveal what is number ten on his list.

The two of them work on Shirotani’s list together while their feelings for each other grow. Kurose backs off when things start to get tense and suggests Shirotani find other people to help him out as well. Shirotani enlists a male coworker and finds he can make progress with other people. This gives Shirotani a sense of hope, but it’s short lived as Kurose congratulates him on his success and says goodbye.

In Summary
SuBLime first made the announcement at YaoiCon 2015 that they licensed Ten Count and since then, fans have been impatiently waiting for its English debut. Ten Count and mangaka Rihito Takarai reached new heights in the BL industry by breaking Japanese publishing records in a genre that was once considered very niche. Not only has Ten Count changed the game for manga in general, but also it was one of the first BL series to spawn merchandise.

Beyond the statistics, Ten Count’s popularity is due to Rihito Takarai’s beautiful art style and storytelling ability. Her style is very distinct and she gained a lot of attention for her art contribution in the manga Seven Days, which had a series of live action films released last year.

While some may say the idea of a psychotherapist crossing the line and having a relationship with their patient is disgusting and immorally wrong, I believe the mangaka took this into consideration by emphasizing that Kurose did his counseling on his own time and free of charge. This retains the suggestion of the taboo relationship while completely clearing it at the same time.

As a nurse by day that has a lot of experience with patients with mental health, I couldn’t help thinking that Shirotani’s ability to overcome even one of his issues with his obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) rather quickly was a bit absurd. However, I applaud the mangaka for spotlighting mental health in a positive way. The emotions Shirotani experiences were wonderfully illustrated. It was impossible not to get swept up in Shirotani’s struggles and begin to root for him not only in his relationship with Kurose but also in conquering a debilitating disorder.

This manga is simply beautiful for so many reasons. The art, the content, the way the mangaka draws in the reader is why this manga was the most popular BL manga in Japan last year. Pick this manga up and you will not regret it.

Content Grade:
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A

Age Rating: Mature 18+
Released By: SuBLime Manga
Release Date: August 9th, 2016
MSRP: $12.99