Okay so, I still want to spam you all with lots of Otomen panels because they are all gorgeous, I just got distracted with plenty of other things, coff.
But, I’ve been wanting to mention this particular panel because. Look, it’s, what the first chapter? And Juta and Asuka barely know each other (well, more Asuka than Juta, since Juta has been ~watching~ for a while) so they’re not even friends by then. It’s just. Juta is interested in Asuka because he inspires him to write. He has found his muse and wants to make him engage in things that will be profitable to his story. Juta is being selfish as hell. He’s helping Asuka, yes, he tells him to be himself and to be honest with himself and to be honest in front of the one he loves. There’s a very fine line over here because, like I said, Juta is being selfish. He motivates Asuka because it’s something he needs to happen. But. He ends up caring. Not this very moment, but maybe there’s already a spark of friendship somewhere poking at him and so I find these words so very, let’s say ironic, because here is Juta telling Asuka to be honest, not to lie to someone he cares about, and he’s being a complete and total hypocrite about it.
Okay, this may sound like Juta-bashing, which couldn’t be FARTHER FROM THE TRUTH, since I love Juta with my very soul, I love and adore him and he’s one of my muses and I find him so very fascinating and interesting and lovable and charming and everything that is good. But, see. Juta tells this to Asuka in chapter one. And then Juta and Asuka start becoming more than acquaintances, more than classmates, more than a writer and his muse: they become best friends. And yes, even though Juta started all of this for his very own selfish needs, he learns to care for Asuka (because how couldn’t you, I mean look at him) and then it’s not only about inspiration, though that motivation is always somewhere in his mind because he can’t help it, but it’s also because he really wants to help, he really wants to see Asuka happy, specially happy with himself, without feeling any guilt or regret about who he is.
So it turns out that these very words that Juta said to him once upon a time when it was only a way to get an interesting story to complete his monthly deadline become ironic in his very life, because guess what. He’s lying to Asuka. He’s been lying to Asuka all along and he keeps lying to Asuka to this very day, and the thing is. He cares for Asuka, of course. He cares for him deeply. Like I said, he’s his very best friend. I’m sure he was all surprised when he realized that hey, it stopped being only about his story for a while and he really does mean the things he says.
So. I don’t even know if I had a point with all this rant, but. It’s something that really stands out when rereading, because it turns out being one of those ‘do what I say and not what I do’ cases. And I know that it’s killing him. I MEAN YOU CAN SEE IT in those chapters where he has to pretend to be Jewel and Asuka is realizing little by little that Juta is hiding something from him and he may have an idea but he’s not sure and in any case he wants Juta to tell him himself because he will wait, he will keep waiting until the moment Juta’s ready because that’s what friends are for.
Ugh these two kill me can you tell.
I see your point. Especially in the later books when [SPOILER AHEAD]
Juta had to go to a book signing, and Asuka was going to be there. He wanted to show Asuka it was him then, but hid it up just for the sake that he could. Yeah, he dressed like a woman and it could have been obvious to anyone else BUT Asuka, but Asuka didn’t notice so it really didn’t matter.
And then near the later books of the manga, where they had to write Manga in class as well as other times. I think Juta wants to tell Asuka now— but because of how close they are, he thinks it might ruin their friendship. And there was another time… I think Asuka may know because he said something along the lines of ‘And if there is anything you need to tell me, you know you can, right? We’re friends after all.’ Which, I think— signals that he knows something that Juta isn’t telling him…
I love these two, especially how their relationship started and how it ended it with them being basically brothers! I can’t wait to see what happens next, seeing as I only have read up to book 12… More interesting things to come, I bet.
Yes, exactly that! Those were the chapters I was thinking of with my last paragraph.
Spoilers for Otomen at least until volume 11!!! (because that’s how far I am)
It all started with the book signing, because. Well Juta was feeling conflicted because he was thinking about his first love and about seeing her and about maybe telling her all he had felt and to thank her and how could he because he was going to be dressed as a girl and all of that. And Asuka, precious Asuka had seen Juta down and wanted to help him somehow and since he believes Juta is also a fan (how ironic) he goes and asks an autograph not for himself but for Juta. How absolutely precious is that. And I imagine Juta must have started feeling gultier by that point, because Asuka has ALL THE BESTS INTENTIONS and here Juta is being a complete liar about everything.
But, it was especially during Kasuga’s whole ‘Juta is Jewel’ affair, when they went to ‘Sachihana’s house’, when Ryo dressed up as Jewel but Kasuga knew it wasn’t her and then Asuka had to dress up as Jewel to cover for him. I’m sure that by that point, Asuka suspects something. Maybe it’s too surreal for him to accept as an immediate truth but. He knows something is off with Juta. The whole Jewel affair—I know he knows in his heart, he just hasn’t stopped and thought about it because he feels it would be wrong unless Juta himself told him the truth. I mean how couldn’t he, when it all leads to some sort of deceit regarding Jewel Sachihana, because why would Ryo, why would Asuka need to cover Juta for all of that, why.
And Juta and Asuka’s reactions in that very same chapter are so very precious. Juta feels conflicted, feels guilty, because he’s lying to his best friend, he’s using him—has been using him all this time and now his best friend dressed up as his alias to cover for him because he believed in him, because he wanted to help him and protect him and he shouldn’t have, not when he owes him so much, especially the truth and. Juta can’t just tell him. Not yet. Not right then. But he wants to, I’m sure, he’s just. So afraid. Afraid that Asuka feels betrayed for everything he did, for keeping up pretenses all this time, for not being honest all along, even when he encouraged him, even when he believed in him, even when he told him, once and again, that he would always be there for him and listen to him and understand him, if there was anything Juta needed to say.
Ugh, I just. These two have such a very wonderful and adorable relationship and I’m sure Juta never expected something like that to happen, to grow so attached, to find such wonderful friends and I can understand why he feels so afraid of losing all of that, because. He has always been pretending, being shallow. And ever since he met Asuka and the gang, he’s been enjoying himself, even if he’s not being completely honest. And it’s all part of the overall theme, how these Otomen are learning and growing and trying to be true to themselves even if society tells them otherwise. And Juta is. Sort of stuck in that situation, wanting to hold on to the lie, wanting to tell the truth, but mostly, wanting to hold on to these people whom he grew to care so much for.
so have I told you that he is a shoujo mangaka
A big part of the Otomen story is the pressure for Asuka to hide his love of traditionally “girly” hobbies and “cute things”. His father declared a desire to be a woman and left his mother when Asuka was very young. As a result of the way in which his father walked out on them, Asuka’s mother put a great deal of pressure on Asuka to be a “perfect man”. Seeing Asuka deal with that fear of being his real self around people is kind of heartwarming.
Otomen - Juuta Tachibana (a young shoujo manga author), Asuka Masamune (kendo captain and lover of all things “girly”). & Hajime Tonomine (rival kendo captain and obsessed with doing make-up)
I love Otomen so much. It’s kind of creating it’s own “new” subgenre in Shoujo Manga (young girl intended audience/romance Japanese comics) where the male has taken on the voice and character traits normally ascribed to a female Shoujo Manga lead character (traits normally considered unmanly and unacceptable for a male to exhibit).
I’ve made a point of discussing it in my "Everything Shoujo 101" panel at Anime Conji for the last 2 years when we’re talking about the various genres and sub genres.