I just got done reading Setona Mizushiro's The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese. (Instead of doing any remote definition of the word "work.") The entire volume is available translated.
The story lives up to the amazing title. It starts with a trope: the private investigator, Imagase, who blackmails the cheating man he's had a crush on for ten years--to kiss, and only to kiss--at first. Of course. But the story refuses to turn sordid. What it turns into is a slash fan's wet dream: the serious exploration of what it means to be "straight" and having a physical relationship with a gay friend; the use of flaws within a character to drive the story's engine; true love and all the misshapen, broken bits that come with it, the things that don't quite fit anywhere else.
The trope of questionable consent that's so laughably bad-wrong in so much of BL/yaoi ("Your words say 'no' but your body says 'yes'") is turned on its head (like this author is SO GOOD at doing) when it's Ootomo, the main character's modus operandi. We're told again and again--by the Imagase, by Ootomo's wife and numerous girlfriends and mistresses--that if they hadn't first forced an issue, nothing would have come of anything. Ootomo is never one to start or end anything, and as much as he protests, he never really says 'No.' It's an excuse Ootomo himself makes for his numerous failures to weakness.
But the thing is, Imagase knows that about him. "You're indecisive and you haven't got a backbone so you can't be trusted," he tells Ootomo in one scene. The really interesting thing about Imagase is that he's at once feverishly obssessed with his first love but also able to see extremely clear-eyed into the situation. He knows where all the pieces are and exactly how they fit with each other.
There's one breathless, crystalline moment--when Imagase reaches a breaking point with his frustration with Ootomo, and he tells him:
You say you won't have sex, but you never defend yourself when it comes down to it. You can do it when you think you're forced to. Maybe that's your way of saying yes.
But I won't go along with that.
It's hard to get to where I am from where you are now. Are you thinking you'll just close your eyes and I'll lead you there?
Please don't think it will be easy.
Guh. Just--guh. Beginning to end, this just had be holding my breath. I love Setona Mizushiro a lot. A lot a lot.
This is the same mangaka who did After School Nightmare, which I still have not read the end for yet--and salivating for.