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by Rebecca Silverman,

Your Treacle Affects at Night


Your Treacle Affects at Night GN

Minami and Kijima are dating, but their relationship is still new. Both are busy trying to work through their little jealousies as they grow more comfortable together, and hope that eventually, everything will work out. Meanwhile, Kijima's twin brother Miyuki works as a bartender at a gay bar and has a problem with patrons waiting for him after closing to follow him home. When Tachikawa steps in, he thinks both his stalking problems and his lack of an employee problem are going to be solved…if only Tachikawa wasn't straight!

Your Treacle Affects at Night is translated by JN Productions, Inc.


My first question upon casting eyes on this review copy was, “What does that title even mean?” It doesn't appear to be one of those convoluted titles that we often see in light novels, nor does it feel completely nonsensical, so the question drove me to find out what the original Japanese was. The answer is Yoru, Anata no Amai Koe, which roughly translates to Your Sweet Voice at Night. The present English title, therefore, seems to be an attempt to be more poetic and symbolic than is strictly necessary, and it's a shame that the result is meaningless word salad, because the book isn't half bad. But the bizarre title translation and the unfortunate idiomatic meaning of “treacly” to mean “cloyingly sweet” could steer readers away from picking this up.

The other obstacle to enjoyment of the text is that it is part of a constellation of interrelated BL works by Sachi Murakami, and as of this writing only one other is currently available in English, Story of Love That I Do Not Know, also published as a digital-exclusive by Media Do. Neither Thursday's Lover nor Know Your Love at Night are presently translated, and that's a problem, because the latter book introduces one of the main couples of this one and begins their relationship. This means that we're starting in the middle with Kijima and Minami, and while that's not a deal-breaker for enjoying this manga, it's definitely a barrier, at least for the chapters/short stories that focus on them.

Your Treacle Affects at Night is made up of short stories about three separate couples. The first two and the final stories follow Kijima and Minami, the second two are about Kijima's identical twin brother Miyuki and Tachikawa, and the fifth tale focuses on a couple we meet in Story of a Love I Do Not Know, a jerk who enjoys BDSM and the cheery man he can't seem to shake or drive off. This last is absolutely the weakest, largely because it trades in misconceptions about BDSM and people who engage in it; the main practitioner doesn't seem to think it's something that he and his partner can enjoy together, but rather a way for him to exert power over them without their consent. While the story about this couple in Story of a Love I Do Not Know spends more time establishing this (one of the main characters in that book has scars from his time in an abusive relationship with the character in question), even if you know the background this piece just feels off-putting in its portrayal of the leads' relationship. Fortunately it's also one of the shortest stories in the collection, making our time with them fleeting.

The middle tales about Miyuki and Tachikawa are the strongest, and that may well be due to the fact that this book introduces the start of their relationship, so we're getting in on the ground floor, so to speak. Miyuki is a bartender at a gay bar in Tokyo, and he's currently facing two problems: his employee just quit, and patrons sometimes hang around after closing to try to follow him home. Both of those issues stand to be solved in one fell swoop when Tachikawa bumps into Miyuki one night. His presence scares off the man following Miyuki, and he's dropped a magazine about part-time jobs. Assuming that Tachikawa wouldn't be out walking in the predominantly gay neighborhood at that time of night if he was straight, Miyuki promptly offers the university student a job…only to be told later that Tachikawa is straight. This is where things get a bit sticky: Murakami not only uses the “gay for you” trope with Tachikawa proclaiming his straightness but saying he's in love with and physically attracted to Miyuki, but Miyuki's insistence that the bar won't hire anyone who isn't a gay man (the bar doesn't allow lesbians or any other women) is a bit problematic. While I can see where the author's intentions might have been within the context of BL as a fantasy genre, it simply comes off as uncomfortable. This is largely due to the way Miyuki frames everything to Tachikawa, but it's a major fly in the ointment, especially when paired with Tachikawa's perpetual absence of a condom and his apparent inability to respect Miyuki's repeated request to pull out before ejaculation. We've all read BL that was worse about consent, but that doesn't make it great here.

The three stories about Kijima and Minami are fairly middle-of-the-road. There's a real sense that these might have had more impact if we got to know the characters from the other books in the loose series; Kijima and Minami are cute together. But it's hard to be as invested as we ought to be in a relationship that we're just sort of thrown into in the middle, especially when compared with the Miyuki/Tachikawa pieces, which do provide us with the start of the relationship. That the Kijima/Minami stories are still good once you get into them is a testament to Sachi Murakami's abilities, especially since the translation, although not terrible, can be a bit awkward at times. Title aside, this shows up mostly in the third story in the book, but it's never a barrier to understanding what's going on; mostly it's things like article use and the occasional verb tense mistake.

Your Treacle Affects at Night could have been a better book than it is. It's definitely better if you read Story of a Love I Do Not Know first, although that's also a middle book in the series, so it only partially solves the problem. But Sachi Murakami's a decent enough creator with several other works available in English from other publishers like DMG and Renta!, and this isn't totally devoid of entertainment. It wouldn't be my first choice to recommend for fairly tame BL, but it also isn't one I'd completely suggest skipping. That's probably damning it with faint praise, but without the other books, that's all it's really worth.

Overall : C
Story : C+
Art : C

+ Miyuki/Tachikawa stories are the strongest, Murakami is a decent storyteller.
Awkward title translation, volume comes in the middle of a group of interrelated volumes that aren't all available in English. Some consent issues.

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Production Info:
Story & Art: Sachi Murakami
Licensed by: Media Do

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