Yukimura's A Love Song for the Miserable has a great title, doesn't it. And it's pretty appropos of what to expect from the single volume work. The main character, Itsuki Asada, is a miserable guy who hates his job, his life and...well, he's a little bitter. The story starts with Asada drunkenly ranting about his position at a Tokyo department store to a co-worker. The co-worker, annoyed by his pity-party, leaves him half-passed out in some shrubbery (I love the word shrubbery) where a runner by the name of Iwasaki Nao runs, quite literally, across him.
Nao has a dilemma of his own. His father owns a bakery and wants Nao to take over, but Nao is unsure of himself and his abilities. He is an avid runner (with a very poor sense of direction), who uses running to sort out his problems and lost in thought finds himself in an unfamiliar area. They "rescue" one another: Nao pulls the drunken, sobbing Asada from the bushes and Asada gives Nao directions home. The ever-exhuberant Nao scribbles his own directions on a scrap of paper. The directions are to Nao's bakery "The Star," where he asks Asada to come by for a pastry as thanks. Uncharacteristically, Asada does come by and discovers that Nao is a very talented, yet untrained pastry chef. Nao discovers that Asada may be helpful in developing his skills, as a critic and a taster. The two form a quick friendship which temporarily lifts Asada from his slump. He finds himself feeling useful and relied upon for once and relishes the opportunity to be a part of something successful.
It is not until Nao decides to begin training in France that Asada realizes that his friendly feelings for Nao might be something more. Rather than confess his feelings to his friend Asada does the exact opposite, he snaps at Nao, plays down the importance of their friendship and snubs Nao's ambitions. The two part on terrible terms and Asada once again falls into his misery.
Asada is miserable. He's pretty much always miserable. Look at that anguish!
|Seriously, Asada, you have got to quit beating yourself up...it really isn't that bad.|