This review will contain spoilers for the manga and anime series Discover My Secret. 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 excessive drinking, harassment, and peer pressure, as it appears in the manga.
Takumi and Akihiro (Aki, for short) have been good friends for a long time. When they found out they would go to the same college following high school, it was an easy decision for them to move in together. As they expected, their lives as roommates go super smoothly. They share responsibilities, take turns fixing dinner for each other, and are just overall glad to spend time together. Aki loves this setup, though it is a bit painful, as it's a stark reminder that this is as far as their relationship can go. Aki has been secretly harboring an unrequited love for Takumi for as long as he can remember. Aki is supposedly fine with their friendship, happy to just be close to Takumi and live this platonic domestic lifestyle with his best friend.
That is until his birthday. Aki has finally reached the age where he can drink, and his friends, Takumi included, take him to a bar where he tries as many drinks as possible. By the time the day is done and they've opened all the gifts, Aki is completely sloshed. Takumi takes Aki home and tries to put him to bed, but in his drunken state, Aki can't hold back his feelings anymore. As Takumi gets close, Aki kisses Takumi, leaving him stunned. Will their relationship be able to survive this sudden revelation? Or has Aki's drunken honesty ruined their friendship forever?
The art in this is super cute. I don't think the cover art does it justice, so if it dissuades you, don't let it. The art within the manga is much better. Aki is a precious bean, and Takumi is very, very attractive. The art is at its peak when Aki is drunk, though. He's already a little ray of sunshine without being under the influence, but he becomes the planet's most precious creature when he drinks. This is worth reading just for that, in my opinion. Regardless, the art is pretty, and the character designs are sweet, which aligns perfectly with this soft narrative.
Beyond how pretty their designs are, their relationship is the best, even before they become romantic partners. It's that nice domestic lifestyle I absolutely adore, with both of them doting on each other, taking care of each other, and just generally enjoying each other's company. It does the heart some good. I especially love how much Takumi dotes on Aki, which we see a lot of since a vital point of this story is Aki's drinking. They feel like a married couple long before becoming an official couple. There's also a nice and subtle touch of Takumi giving Aki drinks with special meanings. I squealed at that reveal. It's just so cute.
However, as with most single-volume works, we're very limited in what we get narratively, especially when smut is involved. A positive to this is that there isn't all that much smut, which gives much more opportunity for background, character development, and plot. Granted, I will never be upset about more smut, but for once, I think it makes more sense to have less in this particular work. We get to see much more of who they are as individuals and why they fell for each other, and that gives us a chance to fall in love with them as they fall in love with each other.
They are much more communicative than I would have expected. They do have moments when they avoid each other, but they ultimately come through and share their feelings and thoughts (minus the biggest reveal, of course, which is that they love each other). As a result, they feel like real friends who are open and honest with each other, leading to a genuine romantic relationship. I do feel like it ends relatively quickly after they get together. I would have loved some additional content seeing how their home lives changed with their new relationship, if at all, but it's still a super sweet morsel regardless.
If you want a smutfest, this isn't it. It's a fluffy romance between two charming people, with very little in the way of conflict. It's not the most exciting story, but if you just want something sweet and relaxing, it doesn't get much better than this.
Have you read Discover My Secret? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!