Bokura no Koi wa Shi ni Itaru Yamai no You de (僕らの恋は死にいたる病のようで, Our Love is as Painful as Reaching Death)
By: Haruko Kurumatani
A psychologically disturbing love story.
During their childhood, the twins, Umi and Sora befriend a little girl named Beniko. Now in high school, Umi moved away and attended another school. While Sora and Beniko become a couple and Sora promises to marry her when she turns 18. Yet tragedy happens when Sora dies in a traffic accident. Umi returns home and begins to torment Beniko for killing his brother.
As an act of revenge, Umi forces Beniko into an abusive relationship. It isn’t a pretty sight, and the graphics are disturbing. For example, Umi forces Beniko to walk down the school hallway with nothing but her undergarments on at night. Another moment was when Umi locked her up in his closet naked when some of their classmates came to visit. To be honest, I found his actions to be morally wrong and there is no justification that one could give to explain it.
Yet if I were to analyze Umi’s feelings and thoughts, I would assume that the reason for his actions is because of his jealousy towards his brother. Sora got it all—he’s extroverted and friendly and got the girl of his dreams, Beniko, as a girlfriend even though he knew that his brother, Umi, has feelings for her too. Thus, one could see the resentment Umi must have felt when he saw that his brother got the life he wanted. Umi might also feel guilty to still have feelings for Beniko, who at the time is heartbroken over Sora’s death. There’s also the possibility that he may have wished for his brother’s death in order to get what he wants. To prevent these feelings from consuming him, Umi decides to hurt and hate Beniko in order to not betray his brother.
As for the female lead, Beniko, she truly does love Sora. In fact, she’s desperate enough to retrieve the ring that Sora gave her when Umi takes it. She was willing to do humiliating things to herself for the ring. One could say that this shows her devotion to Sora, but at the same time, I think she loses her dignity. If you think about it, if Sora and Beniko really did love each other, I think Sora would be in pain to see how Beniko is being treated by his brother and also doesn’t want her to put up with it. In addition, she shouldn’t blame herself for Sora’s death. It was an accident and Sora protected her from getting hit by a car. I mean, I think that shows how much Sora cherishes her. So to see her become deflowered and vulnerable can really hurt Sora’s spirit.
However, the real “surprise” came at the end. If you are interested in reading this manga, you should stop reading this post because I’m going to spoil the ending.
At the end, Beniko and Umi encounter each other again at Sora’s grave a few years later. However, when Beniko sees Umi, he isn’t the same person. In fact, Umi proclaims that Umi (himself) is dead. My reaction to this is, “WHAT?!” Umi now lives as Sora (who is actually the one that’s dead). The interesting and disturbing part of this is that Beniko accepts this truth and they become a “couple.” In one view, this shows that Beniko and Umi truly loved Sora because they continue to believe he still exists. By becoming Sora, Umi finally gets his dream girl, Beniko. If he was just himself, Umi and Beniko would both feel guilty being in a relationship and feel like they are betraying Sora. Umi becomes Sora in order to make Beniko happy, which seems like both of the twins’ ultimate goal. However, I feel like both, Beniko and Umi, are driven to madness because they can’t seem to let go of the past and move forward. This type of thinking is unhealthy. Both of them ignore the natural laws of life and continue to be obsessed with Sora.
Overall, Bokura no Koi wa Shi ni Itaru Yamai no You de is a very disturbing shoujo manga, and I would only recommend it for mature audiences only. It isn’t a manga to be read for entertainment, but it does have some interesting aspects to it in regards to the psychological effects romance and love has on us.