Title: Our Dreams at Dusk: Shimanami Tasogare Volume 4
Author/Artists: Yuhki Kamatani
Genre: LGBT+, Contemporary
Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment
Not only is high schooler Tasuku Kaname the new kid in town, he is also terrified that he has been outed as gay. Just as he’s contemplating doing the unthinkable, Tasuku meets a mysterious woman who leads him to a group of people dealing with problems not so different from his own. In this realistic, heartfelt depiction of LGBT+ characters from different backgrounds finding their place in the world, a search for inner peace proves to be the most universal experience of all.
The final volume of Our Dreams At Dusk sees the story reach some interesting – and bittersweet – conclusions for various arcs that have been running throughout the series.
For Saki and Haruko, the cover makes one thing pretty clear: the two women finally get married. You may recall that this story was accompanied by Saki being reluctant to tell her parents that she is with Haruko. Well, that issue gets forced here, with Toma’s father letting it slip.
This was one of the happier arcs in the volume. The issue of being outed, whether intentional or not, it a very real one, and it’s dealt with well here. We also get to see the turmoil that some parents feel when a child comes out. It does work out in the end though, and seeing the two ladies happy was really sweet. I also really loved Saki’s mother’s reaction when her husband finally finished getting to the point that he was fine with his daughter not being heterosexual.
Less so was Toma’s father. He gets very angry at the idea that his son may be gay, and it takes Tasuku stepping in and showing some bravery for him to calm down. This, of course, leads to the revelation that Toma ahs acted the way he has because he’s not sure about himself in that regard. And who can blame him? While this was the first clear sign of aggression against LGBTQ individuals from his father, he has been subtly homophobic throughout. That’s not an environment that makes coming out easy.
The sad thing is, it ends up with him telling Tasuku that he can’t be who he wants him to be right now. It’s a clear sign that he likes Tasuku, but that he doesn’t feel comfortable with those feelings. Again, it’s all too real a situation. On the positive side though, Tasuku does at least manage to reconcile with Shuji.
Saddest of all though is the arc about Tchaiko, the aging member of the group. His partner of many years is in hospital and is dying. Tchaiko keeps an upbeat attitude about it all, but he’s clearly masking a little, knowing full well that he may not be allowed in the room for his partner’s final moments. While Someone-san does give him the push that he needs, the fact that his partner dies is enough to make it a heart-wrenching one.
Finally, we end things by learning a little about Someone-san. The mysterious character gets the full backstory treatment and we learn that she’s asexual and aromantic. This is covered in very basic terms, but in doing so, it’s made clear what this means. I liked that and was happy to see this end of the LGBTQ rainbow get some recognition in the book.
I think that the most important part though was Tasuku’s realization that he doesn’t really understand everything. He doesn’t understand Someone-san or Shuji. He doesn’t understand why people act the way they do sometimes. But that’s okay. He doesn’t need to understand everything all the time to appreciate people. That is a realization that I wish more people would come to. We’re all different whether you’re LGBTQ or not. In many ways, that’s the beauty of people.
This was an excellent closing volume for what is a highly recommended series. For me, it hurt to read parts of it. Some of it was just so close to home that it felt painful to relive things through other characters. At the same time though, the subject matter is dealt with so well that it really needs to be read by people who are struggling to understand the LGBTQ community. It’s heartwarming and realistic, has excellent artwork, and is more than deserving of the love it gets. This gets 5 out of 5 from me.
Read my reviews for the other volumes here: