HAKO NO NAKA [箱の中]
Douno has been falsely convicted of molesting a woman on a train. He serves time in a group cell in prison, surrounded by inmates who are all suspicious in some way. Just as Douno’s distrust of people reaches its peak, he is saved by the innocent kindness of his cellmate, Kitagawa. For Kitagawa, who is imprisoned as a murderer, this is the first time in his life that he feels the emotion of love. This complete edition encompasses the main work, “In the Box”, as well as “Out of the Cage”, which tells their story after their release from prison.
For starter, this is a japanese BL novel by Konohara Narise. This book is a reprint edition containing just the main stories.
You wouldn’t believe just how much I love the cover. guh. There are actually three separate novels published in 2006 which include the short stories in chronological order.
This book is simple and doesn’t have much in the plot department, instead, it floods you with all the feels and inner monologues there are. Douno as an MC is bland and is the most average of the Joes out there. He is self-righteous and wallows in self-pity a lot. They are precedented of course as I think he’s one of those who have the worst luck ever. Until Kitagawa that is.
The first story tells you about their meeting and covers the length of Douno’s stay in the prison. Here, he meets Kitagawa, a young man with a reputation of a psychotic killer. A guy who barely says anything at all, a guy who asks for rewards, a guy who is basically a Man Child. My heart aches for him and his pure way of loving Douno.
“I love you, Takafumi, but―”
He looked up.
“It hurts to be in love, doesn’t it?” Kitagawa said. “Takafumi, do I have to feel like this the whole time I’m in love with you?”
The second story is told in the POV of a private investigator a few years after their release from the prison. While I don’t care for him at all, it gives us a third eye-view at the Kitagawa and his determination at finding his love again.
“We won’t be able to take your case, Mr. Kitagawa. What will you do next?”
“I’ll ask another detective.”
“Even if you ask another agency, I don’t think they’ll find him.”
“That’s fine. It gives me peace of mind to have someone out there searching.”
The last story dwells in their reunion. Figuring how Kitagawa fits in a new life that Douno has built. And again, Douno’s inner turmoil. Sigh.
“What can I do to make my love disappear?”
While the settings and characters here fall together nicely and conveniently, this book is dark in a very realistic way. It is cynic and has lies, cons and manipulations in spades. I wish I could say I felt disbelief and skeptical while reading, but I didn’t and that’s one of the reasons why I like this book so much.
And as much as I wish for this book be more in-depth, it is a light novel. A translated one at that. For those who are familiar with japanese “culture”, please go and check it out!