Ten Count is a very seductive read featuring interesting character development and quite a unique angle. Readers looking for a very mature story and nuanced characters will find much to love about this story of two very peculiar young men. And although this is a book about psychology and therapy, it is probably best not to take any of it too seriously or plot holes will frustrate.
Story: Tadaomi is a young man with a problem – he has a condition known as mysophobia (fear of dirt/filth/getting dirty). His boss is understanding but it does influence all area of his very lonely life. When his boss gets into an accident, Tadaomi meets his boss’ savior, Kurose. Shockingly, Kurose immediately knows what Tadaomi’s condition is: turns out Kurose works in a pyschiatry clinic. He offers to help Tadaomi by giving him a ten count “exposure therapy’ regime. But when the two become a bit too close, Kurose realizes he will have to leave Tadaomi to finish the ten count steps himself. But is that what is really best for Tadaomi?
The art is quite beautiful here – almost spellbinding in its simplicity. Author Takarai does an excellent job of showing the subtle emotions and tics of each character, using as few words as possible. Ten Count is a manga where the dialogue is subservient to the illustrations – it’s in the art that the story slowly unfolds.
The whole psychology here is, yes, quite naff. At one point, I pretty much decided to just let it go and focus on the complicated relationship of our two leads instead. There was so much more there to enjoy anyway. Certainly, Takarai hasn’t resorted to cliche conflicts that are so rampant in the genre.
I am greatly curious to see how this story will develop. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.