Il Gatto Sul G. 1 by Tooko Miyagi: B+

From the back cover:
Atsushi Ikeda is your typical “nice guy.” He’s so nice, he even has this habit of bringing stray cats home. But even he is quite unprepared for what turns up at his doorstep one day… a cut and bloodied young man. The injured boy turns out to be famous violinist, Riya Narukawa.

Seeing the frail Riya arouses Atsushi’s compassion for wounded creatures. He decides to look after the young musician, even giving him a key to his apartment in case Riya needs a place of refuge. But Riya has been on his own most of his life and is quite unsure as to how to react to Atsushi’s acts of kindness. Worse, Riya actually has another personality within him that is not so frail and timid as his other self.

I omitted the final paragraph of the back cover blurb which was full of cheesy musical references. You’re welcome.

This is the story of Atsushi Ikeda, who takes in a wounded young violinist named Rika Narukawa. The boy seems disturbed and, after claiming that the spirit of his dead brother resides within him, runs off, leaving his violin behind. With the help of a friend, Atsushi tracks down Riya at school (to return the violin) and there hears the story from a teacher: Riya suffers from multiple personalities and the person Atsushi has come to know is considered an imposter. Everyone wants the “real” Riya to come back and pursue his musical studies. Atsushi defends Riya, declaring that both are equally real, and gives him the key to his place to use as a refuge, if needed.

The focus then shifts to the “real” Riya, who is determined not to rely on Atsushi, but who faces pressures at his music school. He’s not playing the violin because he loves it but rather because it’s “all that makes [him] worth anything.” On top of that, an aggressive upperclassman keeps harassing him, saying things like “I just want to see you cry” and “When I see you I can’t help torment you.” Guess who’s my least favorite character?

I’ve read some boys’ love manga dealing with multiple personalities before, but Il Gatto Sul G. is loads better. Rather than play it up for lusty shenanigans, the story focuses on how confusing and disorienting these losses of memory are for Riya and makes clear there’s nothing sexy about his situation. I also was expecting that we’d meet a timid Riya first, only to have him go all assertive and raunchy, but that is happily far, far from being the case. Instead, we meet the “imposter” first and only gradually realize that he is the one who’s supposed to be the product of mental illness.

I like, too, that the more timid Riya isn’t as wilting as he could be. Yes, he stupidly goes to the home of the upperclassman to retrieve his precious key and winds up submitting to some nonconsensual groping, but he shows unexpected resilience at times which makes me think he’s not as different from his other personality as everyone may believe.

If you’re looking for a BL manga with lots of plot—it actually feels more like a mystery than a romance at times, at Atsushi struggles to figure out what is going on with his houseguest—then this might be the one for you. Its third and final volume also just came out, so you can read the whole series at once!

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  1. […] and Manga Reviews) James Fleenor on vol. 1 of Future Diary (Anime Sentinel) Michelle Smith on vols. 1 and 2 of Il Gatto Sul G. (Soliloquy in Blue) Jones, one of the Jones boys, on Good-Bye (Let’s […]

  2. […] Miyagi | Published by Digital Manga Publishing | Rated Mature (18+) – As a fan of Miyage’s Il Gatto Sul G., I was looking forward to reading this spin-off/sequel, in which Riya Narukawa, one of the main […]

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