1. The Main Character’s Perfect Mask and Her Insecurities
Graduated from both Tokyo and Harvard University, Sumire was known to be smart and competent in her work. Not only that, she was tall, beautiful, and always stayed calm in every situation. But in her colleagues’ eyes, they only saw an ambitious woman, with cold personality and not-so-feminine attitude. For them, Sumire was intimidating. So when her boyfriend cheated on her and ran off with other woman, people were quick to blame Sumire’s indifferent behaviour and lack of affection—which is actually, only a façade, a mask to protect her fragile confidence and self-compassion.
Back in her college days, Sumire had been quiet and introvert, too shy to speak her mind and very anxious about what people had thought about her. Some of those traits still remained. It was just that she was now more capable of hiding it. But by hiding her weakness and worries, Sumire was unable to show her vulnerable side to people close to her—even to her now ex-boyfriend. People thought she was prim and perfect. But in actuality, she just couldn’t tell people that she smoked and played games for hours when stressed out. She couldn’t tell people that them calling her cold and ambitious actually hurt her feelings. She couldn’t even say that she hadn’t been actually mad when she corrected one of her colleague’s mistake in work. She’s just being herself, perfectionist and worried about people knowing her weaknesses. But she couldn’t show that side of her to anyone.
These struggles were the main focus of the the manga’s overall plot—how Sumire began to learn to express herself more, being more honest with her feelings, and finding people who actually took the care to understand her.
2. The Adorable Dark “Momo” in Disguise
Finding a starving, homeless boy in a cardbox was a change in Sumire’s life. It might be a blessing or a hidrance, but at that time, Sumire definitely thought that it was a total hidrance. So to get rid of the boy as quick as possible, Sumire said she would only took the boy in as a pet. Surprisingly, the boy agreed without a single moment of hesitatence and thus given a name, “Momo”, based on Sumire’s previous dog.
As a pet, Momo was obedient. He let Sumire feed, bathe, and play with his hair. He didn’t complain when Sumire used him as a place to throw out all of her buried anger and emotions. He listened and gave Sumira comforting cuddle, just as a real pet would do.
But the real “Momo” is more than a pet. He was a boy with great talent in dancing, but never settled long enough in any school or any group to assure a bright future. He did what he wanted to do, said what he wanted to say, and disappeared when he needed to.
But soon Momo realized that just like how Sumire needed someone she could express herself with, he needed a “permanent” home and real “commitment”. So despite their weird dynamic and relationship, he always came back and Sumire always welcomed him.
3. The Heart-warming Story and Light-heartened Plot
Readers wouldn’t expect it from the seemingly “sexual” cover illustration, but I’d firmly say that “You’re My Pet” is a heart-warming story. Sure, the characters are adults with adult jobs, adult romances, and adult problems, but it’s definitely not meant to be a love story that focuses on sexual parts of a relationship. Of course there is a few of adult scenes, but that is a given, since it is a josei manga after all. But to be honest, romance doesn’t even happen between Sumire and Momo until months, even years, into their story. Most of the plot is dedicated to solve Sumire’s insecurities problems and Momo’s so-called “no-commitment” problems. Sumire doesn’t even see Momo as a real human being, a real boy, a real man on top of that, for a very long time. Their interactions, therefore, are mostly warm and light, full of comforting feelings, which I like tremendously. Definitely a recommended manga.