Do you know the wonderful manga series Mąż mojego brata (My Brother’s Husband)? If yes, then you will surely like Our Colors, a one-volume graphic novel by the same author. And if not – well, a beautiful quiet evening (or several) awaits you with a story that is shared on the pages of Gengoroh Tagame’s beautifully published work.
Our Colors tells the story of a 16-year-old Sora who starts to find in himself the courage to tell others that he is gay when he meets Mr. Amamiya – an owner of a small café who is openly gay. The cafe becomes a safe haven, unlike his school, where for his own safety he does not admit to who he truly is. He is silent every time he hears homophobic jokes or when friends and family ask when he will find himself a girlfriend.
On Sora’s way to reconcile with who he is and to learn to like himself, Mr. Amamiya is a great help – he finds the time to listen to Sora, shares his experiences, never judges, and instead gives advice. It is a story about friendship, about hope, about searching for yourself. The main character learns through his conversations with Mr. Amamiya and his best friend, as well as through art.
There is no great drama or shocking plot twists here. Our Colors is a realistic, beautiful slice-of-life story – calm, but not naive or overly saccharine. Tagame is not afraid to talka bout issues such as homophobia in Japanese society, sexist culture or mental illness. And he does it with sensitivity and understanding. And as he says in afterword: