Otaku USA Magazine
Depth of Field Is a BL Manga with Angst and Passion

The BL manga Depth of Field opens with musical prodigy Hayakawa tearfully quitting music. After this, Hayakawa starts musing about Konno, a boy at school who both gets described as “hard to approach” and “a surprisingly nice guy.” The two begin hanging out together on the school roof. Konno likes his camera, and he and others remark that Hayakawa still sometimes sings without being aware of it. Is music that easy to quit?

Hayakawa is known for getting around, including with the school nurse. At first his relationship with Konno is just one of friendship, or maybe convenience, but eventually the two become lovers. After this the manga backtracks to Hayakawa’s childhood so we can see why he decided to quit music at the beginning of the book. Then the manga switches back to the present and what Hayakawa and Konno are dealing with.

On one hand Depth of Field has a relaxing feel to it. Its artwork is smooth and attractive, and though it’s longer than average for manga, it’s still a quick read. On the other hand, it has angsty elements and lots of emotions riding on people’s sleeves. It shows how competitions — especially for children — can get in the way of their happiness, but also the importance of following one’s interests. And rather than being a particularly romantic BL story, it feels more like it’s about characters falling for each other because they ultimately need each other to deal with the issues in their lives.

Depth of Field would be of most interest to fans of BL and yaoi. It’s not super graphic, but it’s not one of those manga where things are just implied, either. The reader will definitely know what’s going on, and a few scenes in it earn it a 18+ rating. This is an escapist read with some angst and drama that touches on a forbidden relationship between the two young men.

Story & Art: Enjo
Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing
Translator: Ailie B.


Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.