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An Unlikely Romance
By Ghia Vitale
Looking for something to read during the holidays? Reading A Polar Bear In Love Vol. 1 by Koromo is the perfect way to warm your heart during the winter. If you’re looking for a good manga to read that features 2 animal characters as a cute queer couple, this is for you.
A Polar Bear In Love Vol. 1 (which is called Koi Suru Shirokuma in Japanese) is the first manga in this series by Koromo. Yen Press published the English version in 2017, but I decided to read it in time for the holidays because it takes place in a winter wonderland. In this Josei manga, a polar bear falls in love with a seal. Although part of the seal is always terrified of Mr. Polar Bear, he gradually lets his guard down as Mr. Polar Bear consistently treats him with admiration and gentleness. Mr. Polar Bear’s kindness and love inspire “Li’l Seal” (which is Mr. Polar Bear’s nickname for the seal) to be more open to a relationship with him. The series follows the development of their relationship and the challenges that accompany a carnivore dating an animal that would be his prey in other circumstances.
I’ve been meaning to read this manga for a while. I learned about this manga from Akidearest, a YouTuber who creates content about anime, manga, and otaku culture. However, I was distracted by anime, so I didn’t act upon my desire to read it until I read a review that mentions this manga making fun of yaoi/Boys’ Love tropes. The fact that one of the characters is an actual bear is a blatant nod to the gay community and I'm here for it!
With that said, please keep in mind that as stated earlier, this is a Josei manga. “Josei” is a Japanese word that means “woman,” a reference to how Josei manga appeals to older teenage girls and adult women. The audience for Josei manga could be anywhere from 17 to over 40 years old. I can see how a wholesome manga like this could appeal to a broad age range.
This story is a good portrayal of love winning. If love can happen between 2 animals (with one being a carnivorous predator and the other being an animal that carnivore would eat), then it can happen to other unlikely couples, right? But that doesn’t mean this manga is full of saccharine wish fulfillment. At the same time, this manga does a good job of describing that while love can conquer all, it doesn’t quell the anxiety that comes with dating outside of your "species." Fortunately, Mr. Polar Bear’s reactions will only made me fawn over him more throughout the story.
I love the simplistic art style in this manga. Not only is the setting white, but Mr. Polar Bear and Li’l Seal are also white, giving them what Mr. Polar Bear calls “ a couple’s look.” Any shading in this manga makes the setting and characters stand out even more. I appreciate this wintery aesthetic even more during the holiday season. I didn't have a white Christmas or Yule, but at least I could enjoy the snow in this manga!
The verdict is clear: A Polar Bear In Love Vol. 1 is wholesome queer content. I've never read a love story quite like this before. The relationship in this manga series is simply too precious and kawaii to ignore. I plan on exploring this series further and finding out what happens to this cute couple. If you’re looking for a cute manga with LGBTQ+ themes, I highly recommend checking this out.
Sure, Christmas has passed and Hanukkah is almost over, but the new year is approaching quickly! Woo someone you love with a special gift: Get them any of the books in this manga series.. So far, there are 4 volumes in total. If you buy this manga from one of the Amazon links below, Quail Bell Magazine will get a fraction of your sale and it’ll help us continue to deliver the fairy punk content you crave. We thank you in advance if you decide to make a purchase.
Celebrate the rest of your holiday season with self-care and cuddle up with a good book. You deserve it!
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