Our Dreams at Dusk

  • Book
  • By Yuhki Kamatani
  • Reviewed by Alex Kolodney

Racial Representation: 4.5

LGBTQ+ Representation: 5

Disability Representation: 0

Body Size Representation: 0

Gender Representation: 4

Socioeconomic Representation: 1

Mental Health Representation: 3

Religious Representation: 0

Own Voice: Yes, the author is Japanese, like the characters, and shared an LGBTQ+ identity with one of the characters

**Contains Spoilers**

Our Dreams at Dusk, known as Shimanami Tasogare in its original Japanese, is a manga series that follows Tasuku Kaname, a gay high school student coming to terms with his sexuality. When Tasuku believes he’s been outed to his classmates, he can’t see a future for himself, until a mysterious stranger suddenly floats off a cliff in front of him. His search for her leads him to a local drop-in center owned by the stranger, whose frequent visitors have more in common with Tasuku than he initially realizes.

The story features an entirely Japanese cast, living in Japan. It’s important to note that the series was originally written by a Japanese author in Japanese, for a Japanese audience. While the story is not representative of racial diversity from that perspective, the story has been brought to an American market through its English translation, where books starring Japanese characters are still a minority of representation in literature. The story features characters of many LGBTQ+ identities, including gay characters from multiple age demographics, a lesbian couple, a trans man, a child questioning their gender, and an asexual* character. While the story focuses on their identities and experiences they face due to them, the cast is made of multi-dimensional characters who aren’t defined by their LGBTQ+ identities. The author themself is x-gender (a Japanese nonbinary gender identity) and asexual*.

It should be noted that at the beginning of the series, Tasuku is suicidal, a feeling which seems to stem solely from internal and external homophobia. Once he gains more confidence in his identity, any reference to his depressed mindset seems to disappear, which is not the case for most suicidal people, whose mental health is not dictated by one circumstance or situation.

*It should be noted that the word used to describe the asexual character, Someone-san, and that Kamatani used to describe themself, アセクシャ, which is phonetically equivalent to the English “asexual”, is synonymous with the English phrase “aromantic asexual”, rather than the the English word from which it is derived.

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