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I Want to Be a Wall Vol. #01 Manga Review

4 min read

A marriage of convenience between a gay man forever devoted to his straight childhood friend and a BL aficionado uninterested in real-life romance.

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Honami Shirono
Translation/Adaptation: Emma Schumacker

What They Say
Yuriko, an asexual woman, agrees to take a husband to satisfy her parents-which is how she finds herself tying the knot with Gakurouta, a gay man in love with his childhood friend with his own family circumstances. And so begins the tale of their marriage of convenience.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Newlyweds Gakurouta and Yuriko Hanazono’s relationship is absolutely not based on mutual attraction. Gaku is a gay man who harbors an unrequited secret love for his straight childhood friend, and the only romance that gets Yuriko’s heart racing is the Boys Love (BL) 2-D type. However, they’re under pressure to find a spouse, so these two agree to tie the knot to get society off their backs. But even though they’re just playing the part of traditional husband-and-wife, a caring bond blossoms between them.

I’m not exactly sure what the I Want to Be a Wall title refers to, but this is a very niche manga. The book is rated older teen for language (and probably the references to Yuriko’s more explicit BL books), but I don’t see the story holding much appeal for younger audiences. The two main characters are office workers in their early 30s, and their dilemmas include a parent who wants them to hurry up and give her grandchildren.

My guess is that the target audience is adult BL fans (fujoshi). The only romance swarming from these pages is Yuriko’s BL collection and Gaku’s steadfast yearning for his very straight and oblivious longtime friend Sousuke. Unsurprisingly, Yuriko is very understanding of Gaku’s feelings for Sousuke, perhaps overly so. Whenever the two men interact, Yuriko gets as worked up as if she’s watching one of her favorite BL ships come to life.

The primary tone of the manga is humorous. We start with the mismatched pair awkwardly stepping into marriage and then the comedy that arises as they figure out how to cohabitate and project the façade of wedded bliss. Despite his love for Sousuke, Gaku is determined to be a model husband to Yuriko in every other way. This results in some standard miscommunication mishaps, but it also leads to more interest in Yuriko’s BL hobby than she’d like. It’s not that Yuriko is a closet fujoshi. Rather, Gaku keeps stumbling upon the more graphic and embarrassing works in her collection.

But while there are laughs as the two try to figure out what “normal” behavior is for a married straight couple, the story does include poignant moments. After all, Gaku and Yuriko are co-conspirators in a pretend marriage because they’re social misfits. Gaku’s situation tugs more on the heartstrings because the person he loves is so close yet forever out of reach. Yuriko’s situation doesn’t involve heartache; rather, it’s about feeling out of place because of her fujoshi hobby and disinterest in dating. Still, her introspective evokes the angst of someone worried something’s wrong with them because they’re unable to fit in with the rest of the crowd.

As you might guess, there’s not a whole lot of action with two middle-aged office workers in the lead role. The BL aspect aside, the scenes are very slice-of-life. The most exciting thing that happens is burned fish in the broiler. The primary element moving the plot along is the feelings of the characters, and though the artwork isn’t particularly flashy or unique, it effectively conveys the varied emotions of the cast.

Extras include a bonus mini-chapter and translation notes.

In Summary:
I Want to Be a Wall is not a romantic love story, but it does explore love quite a bit. Mainly in how the two protagonists’ views on romance vary from the very traditional marriage they’re projecting to the world. While the middle age characters are interesting and sympathetic, I’ve no idea where this slow-paced, introspective-heavy story is going. However, I’m willing to continue reading to find out.

Content Grade: B
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: B+

Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: May 17th, 2022
MSRP: $14.99

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