This review will contain spoilers for the manga and anime series Cut-Over Criteria. While the manga may vary slightly from all other forms of media, it may have similar story elements and could be considered spoilers.
Trigger Warning: There may be references to violence, imbalanced power dynamics, age gap, obsession, and sexual assault, as it appears in the manga.
Seto is a project manager of a group of developers. The work environment is fast-paced and stressful, but he enjoys what he does. Programming for Seto is organized and formulaic, and he applies all he knows regarding programming to his daily life. The program of his life is going very well until a new bug is introduced into the system: a new hire named Jin.
Jin is a young guy who just graduated and is already super skilled. Seto likes working with him until Jin comes out and confesses that he likes Seto romantically. While Seto is fine with being attracted to men or women, he isn’t ok with dating a subordinate, especially one as young as Jin. But Seto underestimates how persistent this bug in his code is.
As annoying as Jin might be, Seto finds himself not wanting to patch him out… and instead make Jin an update in his life.
The art is adorable. Unfortunately, it does suffer from “same-face syndrome” sometimes between Jin and Seto, but it’s hard to be disappointed when it looks as cute as it does. Not to mention, the same-face syndrome isn’t consistent, so it doesn’t happen all that often. Everyone looks super young, cute, and even angelic, which are all pluses as far as I am concerned. I would (and will) buy everything from the artist because it’s just too cute. It’s super clean, and I just love looking at it. The art is a winner, though the designs could use some differentiating beyond hair color, hairstyle, and eye color. I was a massive fan of Isoyama because he looked different from our main cast.
I have to admit this one really resonated with me because of the main character. Our main dude, Seto. Work envelops his life as the leader of a development team. I also work on a development team as my day job (I’m hardly a developer, but I assist developers and manage a custom CMS. If we’re talking terminology in this particular manga, I’m downstream while all my coworkers are upstream). The moment he started referring to the sales team as idiots, I felt that. I resonate with his struggles as an office worker in a fast-paced environment where another department often feels like the enemy when you should be working together, but that’s beside the point. Seto is very logical and efficient, both at work and in his personal life, making it very satisfying to watch as he navigates his relationship with Jin. Does he get it right every time? Of course not, but he’s a very reliable main character and fun to follow, regardless.
Jin is precious. You can tell he is so different from Seto, but they complement each other so well. Seto is a major planner, and Jin likes to hop in and try it out. I love how their work within code reflects how they go about their relationship. It’s such a fun reflection and dynamic. Though they do things differently, they can achieve the end goal without very many bugs or issues (depending on whether we are talking about code or personal lives, that is). It’s a very romantic concept, coding and creating something together, combining their methods (like forming a relationship or moving in together, for example). Makes my heart race, for sure.
However, while I love all the coding terminology and the code being a reflection of their relationship, I imagine it might annoy some people. I wouldn’t say you have to have a technical background to understand it. It doesn’t go that deep, but it probably does help. It certainly made me enjoy the romance more, but that’s just me. It does hone in on coding and the terminology, so if you think that might bother you, you probably want to avoid this one.
Overall, I love this manga. It’s super short but very well-crafted. We have minimal misunderstandings, strong communication, and two very likable main characters, a recipe for near-perfection. Plus, the sex is good, which is always a win. I highly recommend this one for any BL lover. I’m certainly a fan.
Have you read Cut-Over Criteria? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!