Title: Ten Count
Author: Rihito Takarai
Artist: Rihito Takarai
Shirotani suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder. He spends every day in fear of being contaminated. The only way he can make it through his day-to-day life is by covering himself completely and avoiding as much human contact as possible. As a result, Shirotani is always in long sleeves and long pants along with a set of gloves to protect his hands. Even with all of the protection, though, the moment he enters his home, he must strip completely and put the contaminated clothes away, then he has to wash his hands as many times as possible until they are chapped and bleeding. This is Shirotani’s routine.
At least it was, until the day his boss narrowly avoided being hit by a car. While parked on the side of the road, the company president received a phone call, which he took just outside the car. While on the phone, he failed to notice a car heading his way. Shirotani, seeing the oncoming vehicle, calls out to the president and reaches out to him, but at the very last second, his aversion to human touch stops him. Thankfully, though, a passerby on a bicycle saves the president. As it turns out, this savior is Kurose, a counselor at a psychiatric clinic, and the moment he sees Shirotani’s gloves, he identifies that Shirotani has germophobia.
Ashamed by his inability to save the president and from Kurose’s urging, Shirotani begins seeking help from Kurose. First, Kurose has Shirotani write down ten things he can’t do due to his obsessive-compulsive disorder – 1 being the easiest to achieve, 10 being near impossible. Then, together, Kurose and Shirotani go through each one and try to overcome them with exposure therapy. However, the line between counselor and patient begins to blur, and soon Shirotani is doing things with Kurose that disgust him, yet he craves it. Does Kurose truly see Shirotani as a patient needing treatment, or is there something more? And if there is more, can Shirotani overcome enough of his aversions to let Kurose in?