I Want to be a Wall, Vol. 1

Yen Pr. (I Want to be a Wall). May 2022. 144p. pap. $15. ISBN 9781975338961.
Gr 9 Up–An asexual woman and a gay man get married to create a life on their own terms. Yuriko and Gakurouta know from the beginning that they have zero romantic interest in each other. While everyone around them sees a typical newlywed couple, they work to create a partnership within the limits of society’s rules. While there are familiar tropes—Yuriko is a BL (boys’ love) romance fan and Gakurouta is in love with his straight childhood best friend—these truths are presented tongue in cheek. The two are determined to support each other fully, but depending on the advice of fiction and self-help books doesn’t really work. What happens when two people are actually in each other’s space, witnessing each other’s hobbies, and establishing boundaries becomes the adventure. Yuriko presents as possibly both asexual and aromantic— though the latter is not defined in text— and her struggles in understanding her identity are sensitively portrayed. Gakurouta is less well defined, but hopefully as the series progresses he will gain equal depth. Shirono uses a light touch to poke fun at both her characters and their foibles, encouraging readers to laugh with them. The art style is uncluttered and emphasizes emotion, and the character designs are simple but charming.
VERDICT A rare comedy that presents an asexual lead with sincerity, this series will appeal to older teens, especially queer teens, eager to explore potential futures.

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