SPOILER ALERT!

Powder Snow Melancholy Vol. 1+2 (Complete Series)

Powder Snow Melancholy Vol. 1 - Saki Tsukahara

When Kousuke injures his arm while saving Ryouto in a snowboarding incident during a trip, Ryouto feels guilty and helps take care of him. Ryouto typically avoids Kousuke out of jealousy because the girls Ryouto likes always like Kousuke instead, but this interaction reveals a new side to Kousuke that Ryouto's never seen and forces him to reconsider his feelings toward him.

 

The BL (boys' love) genre is one plagued with consent issues, unfortunately. Starting a new BL manga always has me wondering if I'm going to run into something, and the answer is usually yes. Such is the case here. Kousuke is aggressive, forcing himself on Ryouto early on in the story. He eventually backs off completely once he realizes he's scared Ryouto, only making contact again when Ryouto reaches out. They enter into a trial relationship at Ryouto's request where Kousuke precedes to push boundaries by trying to move things faster than Ryouto wants or by smalls displays of PDA that Ryouto's not ready for yet. But these issues end once Ryouto ends the trial relationship and asks to start a real relationship. It is at that point the story also gets much more enjoyable.

 

Watching Ryouto and Kousuke navigate their new relationship when a pretty big challenge pops up was fun and it brought a place I love into the mix. Kousuke loves skateboarding and plans to go pro. He gets an opportunity to train at Whistler for a year and the two struggle with how a long distance relationship would work. They both have conflicted feelings about him going and try to ignore the issue at first before it quickly becomes obvious that's not going to work.

 

Every mention of Whistler was fun for me because I've been on those mountains a number of times, so I actually recognized the places they were talking about. There wasn't a ton of Whistler talk, but it was a nice bonus for me.

 

There is an issue in the extras which brings the story down for me though. While the story already has the above mentioned consent issues, the extra adds a flashback that makes things much worse. The extra is from Kousuke's point of view and shows how he's been silently pining for Ryouto the past 3 years.

Until he finds Ryouto passed out drunk alone at a party one night and proceeds to make out with and fondle his unconscious body while masturbating. Then he cleans things up and acts like he just found him so he can get Ryouto's friends to help get him home.

(show spoiler)

The whole thing left me feeling gross. Scenes like that are why part of me is always wary while I'm reading any BL manga for the first time. I never know when sexual assault is suddenly going to appear.

 

Despite that, I enjoyed the series overall. The art was great. And once the couple was together (after the sexual assault and boundary pushing was finished), they were fun to see navigating their relationship. But Powder Snow Melancholy does have consent issues and sexual assault which will, understandably, make it a hard pass for some.