[Review] The Downstairs Resident is Mr. Fudanshi – A Real BL Love Story by Kuroiwa Chihaya

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I was on a bit of a manga reading spree earlier this month and since Futekiya had some nice titles on the front page, I thought, why not? I haven’t really read another BL title with a fudanshi as the main character (although I’ve seen one that was pretty popular, just never picked it up myself) so I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into.

I’m not sure how to express how this series made me feel in just a quick sentence, so here’s this post instead

I have to admit that for this series, it was the title that drew me in the most. I did think the cover looked okay but I like it when there’s some contrast between couples and having them both be dark-haired wasn’t very enticing. Actually, I didn’t notice this before but I think the author realized the same thing because the shorter guy’s hair changes color by the last volume. Unless he dyed it?!

Ok, that aside, what is this series about? In this story, we start following Sokabe, a salaryman whose apartment is far enough away from his job that he can usually use that as an excuse to get out of social situations. Many would suggest that he move closer to work, but he has an ulterior motive. The real reason he doesn’t want to move is that he likes his downstairs neighbor Motoi, who also happens to be the grandson of the building’s caretaker. He’s also perfectly content to observe from the sidelines, but all of this changes when his things get stolen and he needs to contact the caretaker in order to get a copy of his apartment key.

Instead of the caretaker, Motoi answers the door and that is when Sokabe learns of Motoi’s fascination with boys’ love books. And having accidentally also shown some interest in these books (for gayer reasons), Motoi believes that Sokabe is also like him, a fudanshi. As the two begin to hang out, Sokabe finds himself (unknowingly) in many, eherm, Bl-esque situations that Motoi just can’t stop fantasizing about

Out of the four books, I think the first book is the weakest, for a few reasons, but it’s also the one that wouldn’t let me go to bed. I really love how the characters start interacting because of this misunderstanding so, unlike other stories where the romance feels rushed, here we actually get to experience Sokabe and Motoi being friends before they decide it’s better to be gay together. That said, it’s because Motoi is a fudanshi that he just kind of rubbed me the wrong way from the start. It just felt like he was more bi-curious, which, okay, people can experiment if they want, but not with Sokabe who is the cutest gay baby ever. His feelings and blushing face must be PROTECTED

That said, Motoi was super relatable and I just loved how he was not afraid to get vulgar and just whip out that BL like it’s nothing (senpai~). Also, yes, I agree, I also appreciate a nicely drawn dick! Sadly, a lot of them are censored and OMG, he actually talks about this and it’s the best thing ever


The other weak point of the first book is that it’s not all about Sokabe and Motoi. Half of the book is about them, and the other half is just some side story that…I don’t know where it came from. I wonder if maybe this was originally only a one-volume story and then somehow turned into four actually I think this is how things usually happen but it’s just more glaringly apparent here, which would explain my other “meh-ness” – the art. It’s not the best in the first volume but it’s also not the worst

As you can see, the characters are drawn really well in many of the panels but this is mainly during closer shots where the background and the body aren’t the focus. When those things do need to be included, things get a bit…Junjo Romantica (aka. wonky).

I won’t really talk about the side story because I don’t really think it’s relevant. But I will say the story was meh. And, of course, by the end of book one, our boys are together! Was it my favorite way of a BL couple getting together? Not really, but I suppose I can’t complain if the end result is what these two have down the line

So what does book two have in store for us? Book two has a nice combination of a lot of things. We have Motoi being his usual fudanshi self, not being afraid to drag around Sokabe to some BL hotspots, and Sokabe somehow turning even cuter than before?! We’re also introduced to a new side character, also a fudanshi, which makes for an interesting “rival” character. From this book, I feel like the story, in general, gets better, and it’s not just because the art had a glow-up. Like, what happened?! Not sure, but I’m loving it!

I think it’s more because the characters continue to go on dates and I just ADORE that! I feel like most books (are only single volumes so I get it but still) don’t show characters developing their relationships. The end goal is usually them getting together and having sex, but here we still see them dating

And yes, Motoi is determined to do the sex, which leads to some hilarious moments, and some Sokabe sexy time

NGL, I think that if I ever dated someone, I would like us to be like Motoi and Sokabe. I mean, maybe Motoi is a little more hardcore than me (Senpai~) but I would love to go on dates like these two do to the bookstore to buy some BL. Or to a con. And BL stuff like that.

I think that this volume was my favorite as a whole. We got a lot of really great (and failed) moments with Sokabe and Motoi, which I think is one of the great things about being in a relationship. We also get some drama from many angles because Sokabe is a shy and insecure baby who still can’t seem to believe he’s in a relationship! AHHHH, why does he do this to my heart!

As for the drama of this volume…


I could relate to how Sokabe felt when his favorite person was being monopolized by Furuichi, Motoi’s new fudanshi friend. A real one this time that spoke on the same wavelength and vulgarness as him, much to Sokabe’s embarrassment. Now, I’m not really going to get into the next two volumes so I’ll just say it here. Furuichi is a character that I was pretty meh about at first. I could see his potential as a rival in a way that I don’t normally see in BL titles, but that changed after he revealed his true feelings towards Sokabe

I was so ready to destroy him! But as we come to learn in the third volume, he’s actually not that bad and I end up forgiving him. So instead of a hated side character, he becomes a character I sort of start thinking is cute but, more often than not, I just kind of laugh at him. Can someone just tell him what’s going on!

The series continues on for two more volumes but I think that by the end of volume two, most of the serious work that needs to happen between Sokabe and Motoi has happened

In the next two volumes, Sokabe and Motoi do have to share the spotlight with other characters, particularly Sokabe’s friend Shijo (v3) and his relationship problems (v4). That said, we do still continue getting some great scenes of fudanshi shenanigans, Sokabe being dangerously sexy, and Furuichi being a dense baby.

Also, as you can see, Sokabe’s hair has somehow turned sandy brown by the fourth volume’s cover…He does embody that color more tbh

This series was really fun to read. It’s not exactly the same as A World Where Everything Definitely Becomes BL vs. The Man Who Definitely Doesn’t Want To Be In A BL – by Konkichi but I think both works have similar styles. In this series, instead of avoiding the BL world, Motoi is a fudanshi but both series characters point out the tropes and flaws of BL. I found it funnier in this story because it’s being paralleled with the real world and it’s somehow cringe but also not?! I enjoyed the growth of the characters, especially Sokabe (although I do wish we’d gotten more but I think his character is just calmer so it’s fine).

If anything, I wish the author had continued to focus on Sokabe and Motoi more. By the fourth volume, it did feel like the story was dragging, like, where are we going? Who knows! But I enjoyed it as a whole and would love this on my shelves

Have you guys read this yet? If yes, what did you think? Did you enjoy it? Did you also feel skeptical about Motoi’s feelings and intentions at the start or is that just me?

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