Boys’ Love: A Review of a Heart-Wrenching Story: “The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese” (Director Yukisada Isao, Original Mizushiro Setona)

I wrote this article in Japanese and translated it into English using ChatGPT. I also used ChatGPT to create the English article title. I did my best to correct any translation mistakes, but please let me know if you find any errors. By the way, I did not use ChatGPT when writing the Japanese article. The entire article was written from scratch by me, Saikawa Goto.



Movies and books covered in this article

(Click This Image to Go Directly to the sales page “The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese”: Image from

I will write an article about this movie/book

What I want to convey in this article

The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese” is a superb work that captures a relationship that only BL can depict.

Saikawa Goto

The skill with which the difficult setting is established, even in the sense of “BL in which women appear,” is brilliant.

Three takeaways from this article

  1. Ootomo Kyoichi, who lacks initiative and strongly desires only to be loved by someone.
  2. Imagase Wataru, who endures the pain of being unable to be with his senior whom he has loved since his student days.
  3. A story of how Imagase Wataru collides with all his might to regenerate the scum named Ootomo Kyoichi.
Saikawa Goto

You will be kept on the edge of your seat wondering what decision Ootomo Kyoichi will ultimately make!

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Please refer to the self-introduction article above to learn about the person writing this article. Be sure to check out the Kindle book linked below as well.

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The quotes used in this article are based on notes taken at the movie theater from movies in Japanese and are not direct quotes from the foreign language original movies, even if they exist.

The quotes in the article were translated using ChatGPT from Japanese books, and are not direct quotes from the foreign language original books, even if they exist.

Let Me Give You a Quick Introduction to My Relationship With BL

I am a heterosexual man and I don’t enjoy BL from a homosexual perspective. This article will be different from the general perception of BL, so please bear with me.

Throughout my life, I have been surrounded by women who enjoy BL, also known as “FUJOSHI”. I want to experience a wide range of works, whether they are books, comics, or movies, without prejudice, so I’ve always wanted to try BL. However, I realized that I might not be able to appreciate it without knowledge, so I asked some FUJOSHI around me for recommended works and have read about 10 BL novels and comics so far.

Saikawa Goto

Yoneda Kou and Ogeretsu Tanaka were both amazing, weren’t they?


And Thankyou Tatsuo×Kasuga Taichi’s “ボクたちのBL論(Our BL Theory) ” is also a great book.

But among them, “The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese” is an exceptional and extraordinary work that can be said to have no equal. I was moved after reading the original work, and later went to see the movie. If I hadn’t read the original work, I wouldn’t have gone to see the movie. I still thought that the original work was incomparable, but Ookura Tadayoshi and Narita Ryo did an amazing job of bringing this world to life on screen.

In this article, I will write about how someone like me read and watched the work called “The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese”.

The Relationship Between Ootomo Kyoichi and Imagase Wataru in This Work Shows the Ultimate Form of “How to Interact With the Person in front of You” that Goes Beyond Romance

An Explanation of Why “BL Works With Female Characters” are So Great for Those Who are Not Familiar With BL Works

First, I will explain what kind of singularity “The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese” has as a BL work. This is written for people who are not familiar with BL works, so if you already know, you can skip it.

I haven’t read a lot of BL works myself, but I think I have more knowledge about BL works than the average man, as I have been taught by FUJOSHI around me and gained knowledge from the book “ボクたちのBL論” that I mentioned earlier.

BL works offer various elements for enjoyment, so if I simplify and explain it, I might be told “No, it’s different!” by FUJOSHI. However, I’ll briefly explain it here.

First of all, this is my own classification, but I think BL works can be broadly divided into “works that fully enjoy eroticism” and “works that do not.” “The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese” belongs to the latter.

I asked my FUJOSHI friends to avoid the “works that fully enjoy eroticism,” so I haven’t read many of that type of work. It’s just my impression, but this type of work seems to simplify steps to a physical affair between the two male characters who are gay from the beginning, and emphasize the erotic part.


When we hear “BL,” we tend to think of “erotic,” but that’s not always the case.

Saikawa Goto

Everyone’s preference for how much erotic content should be included is different, according to my FUJOSHI friends.

There are many types of “works that do not,” but my favorite is the type where “one is gay and the other is straight, and the gay person falls in love with the straight one but can’t quite express his feelings.” I’ll call these “works I like” from now on. I mostly read BL works like this.

In “works I like,” the gay character approaches the straight character hey loves disguised as a friend. At first, the relationship starts as friends without any suspicion because the straight character thinks the other is just a guy friend, but the story progresses as the gay character struggles with how to progress to a romantic relationship. The gay character wants to be more than friends, but he fears that if he reveals his feelings, he might be rejected, and their friendship might end.

One of the characteristics of “works I like” is delicately depicting human relationships in the area.

Saikawa Goto

I call BL “a device that brings despair into everyday life.”


In heterosexual romance, unless an author uses settings like “terminal illness” or “royalty and commoner,” they cannot create the “high wall (despair)” that BL can portray in everyday life, can they.

Given the background information so far, let me first explain the remarkable aspect of “The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese” in terms of its setting.

It means “women appear as the object of affection for a heterosexual character.”

In “works I like,” women generally don’t appear as important characters. Of course, there may be instances where they show up, such as “classmates,” “convenience store clerks,” or “the protagonist’s sister,” but they are not depicted as significant characters.

This is because, naturally, “heterosexuals will choose women if they are available.”

In BL, if a woman who might be a love interest appears in the story, it becomes difficult for a homosexual to win over the heterosexual character who, of course, likes women. Because it’s only when the heterosexual character is single and not interested in anyone else that the homosexual character has a chance to be got interested in (at least that’s what readers can assume).

That’s why “works I like” can’t have women who would be potential love interests.
(I’ve also heard that this is related to the psychology of female readers of BL works. It is only knowledge that I have read in books, it seems that readers want to escape reality with BL, so they don’t want to see “women” who give them a sense of “reality.” However I don’t fully understand this sentiment, so I put it in parentheses).

However, in “The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese,” a woman appears as the love interest of a heterosexual character.

This is truly amazing. As I mentioned earlier, when a homosexual person tries to pursue a relationship with a heterosexual person, they would feel that they have no chance if the heterosexual person has a “crush” on a woman. However, “The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese” clears this extremely difficult hurdle and gives readers the sensation of being on the edge of their seat wondering if he will choose the homosexual person despite there being many women that the heterosexual person could be interested in.

Saikawa Goto

This is also pointed out as “amazing” in “ボクたちのBL論,” so I think it really is amazing.


I wonder if there are other BL works that have successfully tackled the same challenge.

By understanding this point and approaching this work, I feel that you can truly appreciate its amazingness.

Ootomo Kyoichi, a Scumbag

Now, let’s dive into the content of the work. I’ll save the details for later, but first I’ll give you a quick introduction to the two main characters, Ootomo Kyoichi and Imagase Wataru.

Imagase Wataru, a homosexual, has been in love with Ootomo Kyoichi, his senior from university, for a long time. On the other hand, Ootomo Kyoichi is a heterosexual womanizer who even after getting married, often has relationships with his subordinates and others, and has nothing to do with homosexuality.

Imagase and Kyoichi are the two main characters in the story. The story begins with their reunion after a long time apart, and unfolds as Imagase starts to pursue Kyoichi.

First, let’s focus on Kyoichi. The main factor that makes the unique work “BL in which women appear” possible is his “in a way terrible personality.”

Saikawa Goto

What I strongly felt after reading this work is “I’m glad I’m not handsome!”


If you were handsome, it wouldn’t be strange for you to become a scumbag like Kyoichi.

Saikawa Goto

Honestly, I can sympathize with Kyoichi and that scares me…

Kyoichi is portrayed as thoroughly “passive.” Being handsome, he naturally attracts women without doing anything special.

As a result, he has a sense that “liking someone should be shown by the other person.”

I wonder what is the most important thing in life.
It would vary from person to person, but for me, I am on the verge of realizing that being able to live under the guarantee that “I am definitely being accepted” is the most important thing.

“The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese” (Mizushiro Setona/Shogakukan)

He is a genius at being passive and knows just how to draw out the favor of others. So, he spends his days easily turning on the switches of others and confirming that he is “loved” by indulging himself.

What’s scary is that he has no ill intent at all. And sometimes people around him say harsh things to him.

You are weak to those who love you but ultimately do not trust that affection, instead seeking out the love of those who chase after you one after another.

Movie “The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese” (Director: Yukisada Isao, Starring: Ookura Tadayoshi, Narita Ryo)

You cannot refuse the favor of others when it is shown to you. Such relationships without initiative make both you and the other person unhappy. Do you understand?

“The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese” (Mizushiro Setona/Shogakukan)

And as a result, Kyoichi’s personality ultimately makes “BL in which women appear” that seems impossible, a reality. This is because Kyoichi, ultimately speaking, is satisfied as long as “someone” shows him favor, regardless of whether it’s a man or a woman. While it’s true that Kyoichi has played around with women in the past, it’s not because he’s heterosexual, but rather because “women come to him”.

So what if it was men? What if it was a guy instead?” Kyoichi, who naturally thought of himself as heterosexual, realizes that it’s not just because they’re female that he likes someone, but rather because “they like him.

Amazing…but strangely, it’s easy. Being taken care of by a “pushy gay guy” who moved in unexpectedly is unexpectedly easy.

“The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese” (Mizushiro Setona/Shogakukan)

Kyoichi realizes through his relationship with Imagase that it doesn’t matter if the person is male or female, as long as they love him a lot.


Kyoichi was called “NAGASAREZAMURAI (samurai who are easily swayed by others)” by a friend from college.

Saikawa Goto

It’s a lame name, but it fits him perfectly.

Regardless of whether he has the same strength as Kyoichi, I think both men and women have a desire to be loved to some extent, and there may be some parts where you can sympathize with Kyoichi.

However, unfortunately, because he desires to be loved more than anything, he may become unable to believe in the love of others. He is further pointed out in this way regarding this aspect.

You desire to be loved more than anything else, but in reality, you don’t trust others’ affection at all. Therefore, you wander around aimlessly and sniff out the feelings of those who approach you one after another. I know why. It’s because you think you’re a boring guy.

“The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese” (Mizushiro Setona/Shogakukan)

This line hit me a little hard. Because it’s true that I think of myself as a boring guy.

So, in short, Kyoichi wants to be loved but because he thinks he is boring, he can’t trust others’ affection. As a result, he’s stuck in a twisted loop of seeking someone else to love him more.

I’m not personally trapped in such a complex loop, but if I were an attractive person who had women chasing after me without doing anything, I might have ended up with the same kind of thinking as Kyoichi. That’s why the harsh criticism of Kyoichi felt like it was directed at me.

Saikawa Goto

Even though it’s not like I lead a life where I’m popular with the opposite sex, I read it as a sort of cautionary tale, thinking I should be careful if I ever become popular.


Well, I don’t think you’ll have that problem since you are not very popular.

In “ボクたちのBL論,” Kasuga Taichi used the term “hell of inner surface” to describe “The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese,” and I felt it was spot-on. It’s a work that stabs at the reader’s heart in many ways.

Kyoichi’s Rebirth Through the Fact that “Imagase is Not a Love Interest”

So I see “The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese” as the rebirth story of a bum named Kyoichi. Kyoichi is trapped in a vicious cycle of seeking affection from women while at the same time not trusting it at all. In the end, it’s Imagase who saves him by not being a love interest.

And the biggest reason that this was realized was because “Imagase is not a romantic interest for Kyoichi.” In that sense, this work can be said to be “cutting out human relationships that can only be depicted in BL works.” It means that the “BL” is not just a setting, but it properly depicts what cannot be drawn without being “BL”

So, why does the fact that Imagase is not a romantic interest lead to Kyoichi’s regeneration?

That’s because Kyoichi thinks that “women who are potential romantic interests should not be hurt.”

“Kyoichi’s behavior and demeanor around women are completely different from how he is with Imagase. You can really feel this in the movie (which I thought was brilliantly portrayed by Ookura Tadayoshi).

Kyoichi is very cautious around women because thinks he should never hurt them. But to be honest, it’s not working out very well, and he ends up hurting them anyway.”

However, Kyoichi himself is unaware of this fact. He continues to believe that he is considerate of women and consciously avoids hurting them, thinking that “the other person should not be hurt.” Women who are involved with him are actually being hurt behind Kyoichi’s back, but he is not aware of this fact.

Kyoichi’s behavior of “not hurting the other person” may seem very kind at first glance. However, in reality, it can be perceived as something cold and without warmth towards anyone.

Especially from the perspective of readers or viewers, this would be more emphasized. Women who actually interact with Kyoichi feel lonely and painful, but still ends up finding it fun to be with him. However, as readers or viewers observing such interactions from a broad view, you would feel like “I don’t really like this kind of person.”

Saikawa Goto

I think Ookura Tadayoshi’s acting, which doesn’t convey warmth, is really good.


That becomes the gap when he interacts with Imagase.

Kyoichi probably wouldn’t have changed as a person if he had continued his romantic relationship only with women. He always puts a brake on himself when dealing with “women”, who are “entities that should not be hurt,” so in that state, nothing would change.

However, for Kyoichi, Imagase is not a “romantic interest.” They live together, and occasionally engage in sexual activities, but from Kyoichi’s perspective, he is not a “romantic interest” because Imagase is a “man.”

And that’s why Kyoichi is very natural when he’s with Imagase.

Kyoichi says things to Imagase that he would never say to women, words that can hurt, and he shows his cold side without hesitation, which is probably his true self.

This was the first time in Kyoichi’s life that he had to “openly reveal himself to someone who says he loves him,” and this experience led to his rebirth.

Saikawa Goto

This setting is really amazing, isn’t it?


It’s definitely a work that can only be drawn in BL.

Although it is not explicitly stated in the work, Kyoichi probably felt like this. Until now, when he was with women, he did feel loved and fulfilled sexually, but there were also parts of him that he had to suppress, which made him feel confined. However, with Imagase, he doesn’t have to hide himself, and he feels loved. He might even think that it’s better than he expected.

In fact, he says this:

To be honest, it feels too convenient and comfortable for me, and I can’t tell if this is love or not.

“The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese” (Mizushiro Setona/Shogakukan)

Through his daily interactions with Imagase, which are completely different in many ways from before, he begins to strongly realize “what he is looking for.” And it is through this realization that he establishes a relationship with a man that is slightly different from both “romance” and “friendship,” which I think is truly remarkable.

That’s Why Imagase Wataru Feels Tough

Kyoichi has discovered a new self through his relationship with Imagase and is thinking things like, “Maybe this relationship is much more comfortable than before?” However, the reason Kyoichi feels that way is solely due to Imagase’s efforts.

Since Kyoichi is a natural ladies’ man, it’s not easy for Imagase, a man, to make his way into Kyoichi’s life. Imagase must use somewhat forceful means and show a dedicated attitude if he wants to succeed.

Imagase’s love for Kyoichi is genuine. Throughout the work, Imagase directly shows his love for Kyoichi in various ways. However, I found the scenes where Imagase’s love is indirectly expressed to be particularly impressive.

In this scene, Imagase talks about a lighter he received from Kyoichi when they were students. The lighter was originally given to Kyoichi by a girl he was dating at the time, and Imagase received it from Kyoichi. Regarding this lighter, Imagase says,

There’s no way I really wanted something that you got from a girl. At that time, I could never say I liked you…. so I just wanted to touch your fingers with it as an excuse.

“The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese” (Mizushiro Setona/Shogakukan)

I felt that it was a scene where Imagase’s earnestness came through well. Imagase managed to try every possible means to go from thinking “It would be definitely impossible to have a romantic relationship with this person” to living together and having sex with him.

Saikawa Goto

Narita Ryo really portrayed Imagase’s cunning yet charming personality very well.


The selection of Ookura Tadayoshi and Narita Ryo was excellent.

However, Imagase always feels pain in the life spent with him, which he does not show to Kyoichi.

Uh-oh. I’m starting to get my hopes up. Get a grip, me. No matter how kind he is to me, that person is really as distant as the moon.

“The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese” (Mizushiro Setona/Shogakukan)

I’m actually quite overwhelmed. I went through so much hardship, and finally managed to get this far with that straight guy.

“The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese” (Mizushiro Setona/Shogakukan)

Imagase understands that his life with Kyoichi is balanced on the edge. And there is a scene when he inadvertently reveals this sense to Kyoichi.

Even though this kind of relationship would end right away if I stopped saying “I want it”…

“The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese” (Mizushiro Setona/Shogakukan)

Kyoichi just goes with the flow, and being by someone’s side who can wash away his troubles is comfortable for him. But Imagase, who is the one doing the washing away, is confronted with the rough edges of his own heart every day.

Of course, Kyoichi also has relations with other women. Since they’re not officially dating, Imagase can’t really complain to Kyoichi. Instead, he tries to alleviate Kyoichi’s burden in ways like this.

Don’t overthink it too much. I don’t have any intention of making you gay or stalking you for life. You will fall in true love someday. The time should come that you will be swept away not by others, but by the feelings that overflow from within you. When your “destined one” appears, I’ll disappear from your life without a second thought. So until then, please play with me.

“The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese” (Mizushiro Setona/Shogakukan)

This is a scene where Imagase is expressing his complicated feelings, which are in a way his true feelings and in a way not.

Let me quote my most favorite line from this work as well.

You’ll end up with a woman someday. That’s why I can be the only man inside of you. … That’s the only thing that protects my heart. So just focus on being happy with a woman. I’ll serve you without expecting anything in return, and if I get in the way, I’ll read the room and disappear. I won’t be a nuisance.

“The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese” (Mizushiro Setona/Shogakukan)

It’s so heart-wrenching, isn’t it? Imagase believed “without all these conditions, there is no way Kyoichi will stay with me,” and that is probably true. He made a tough decision to endure all the other pain for the sake of being the only man for the person he loves.

Saikawa Goto

In the movie, I felt they couldn’t dig as deep into the characters’ inner thoughts as the original story, so I hope both the movie and the original are touched upon.


Especially Imagase’s sincerity and determination are difficult to understand without reading the original.

Both Thought it was a Relationship that Would End

Ultimately, it means that both Kyoichi and Imagase share the premise that “this current relationship will not last forever” and intended to be in a momentary relationship.

Kyoichi’s recognition of himself as heterosexual hasn’t changed since he began interacting with Imagase. In short, it can be said that he believes that his relationship with Imagase may not last forever but it won’t end immediately.

On the other hand, Imagase also understands that Kyoichi will eventually fall in love and get married to a woman, and he fundamentally maintains his stance of only being by Kyoichi’s side for a short period of time.

However, as expected, their determination was completely different.

Kyoichi, who basically doesn’t understand Imagase’s seriousness (because Imagase manages to try to bring a relaxed atmosphere), has a fluffy feeling like “it will end someday, but well, it’s fun now, so it’s okay to be like this for a while.”

On the other hand, Imagase is completely different and is always thinking about “how and when to end the relationship with Kyoichi.” Because he understands Kyoichi’s personality thoroughly, he believes that their relationship cannot “naturally end,” but that he must be the one to end it.

In the movie, it’s not depicted in such depth, but as you get to the latter half, Imagase’s complicated emotions and his attitude towards his relationship with Kyoichi start to overflow. To avoid writing too much about the latter half, let’s limit the quote to the following:

I wonder if you don’t understand. I’m saying it’s time to call it quits. You’ve been really good to me. You’ve fulfilled all my wishes. It’s enough. I’ve come as far as we could… But this is it. There’s nowhere else I can go with you. We’ve reached a dead end…

“The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese” (Mizushiro Setona/Shogakukan)

Kyoichi, who was carefree, never imagined that Imagase would be the one to end their relationship. Kyoichi was thinking like Imagase, who likes and loves him, would be with him all the time if he didn’t reject him.

However, knowing Imagase’s resolve and somehow understanding how Imagase had felt with him before, Kyoichi realized that the relationship that he only felt carefree for himself had drawn a rather distorted asymmetry.

This marks the starting point for Kyoichi’s rebirth.

Saikawa Goto

Kyoichi probably felt for the first time that he had hurt someone he was involved with.


Imagase’s wholehearted approach became the opportunity for Kyoichi to become a better person.

Imagase didn’t try to regenerate Kyoichi, he just wanted to be with him. However, in order to do so, Imagase used all the power he had to face Kyoichi, and as a result, he opened Kyoichi’s eyes.

Finally, Kyoichi standing at the starting point, begins to seriously consider his relationship with Imagase.

Only by learning about Imagase’s determination did Kyoichi realize for the first time that his relationship with Imagase could end regardless of his own will. Objectively speaking, Imagase is merely a “roommate.” He has no “lover” or “couple” relationship for the sake of holding him together like that.

Kyoichi feels a comfortable feeling with Imagase that he has never felt before. Unlike when he is with a woman, where Kyoichi can’t help but put on a facade, he can be himself around Imagase.

Certainly, that behavior had been unknowingly hurting Imagase, and now that Kyoichi knows this, he may not be able to continue being with him in the same way as before.

Nevertheless, the choice of “living with Imagase” becomes a realistic option in Kyoichi’s mind.

In this way, Kyoichi, perhaps for the first time in his life, was forced to make a major decision in a way that was not “driven” by someone else.


Now that you’ve explained all this, you can understand why the work is valid as “BL in which women appear,” can’t you.

Saikawa Goto

Really, it would not have been possible if it were not the relationship between Ootomo Kyoichi and Imagase Wataru.

Kyoichi’s transformation, in trying to have autonomy through his relationships with others, can truly be called “rebirth”. While I hope you will experience the work to see what decision Kyoichi ultimately makes, it keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end with the feeling of “What are you going to do, Kyoichi!”

Truly, I think it’s a wonderful work.

Content Introduction

Ootomo Kyoichi is married, but a handsome and capable man who enjoys having affairs just for fun. However, one day a detective agency personnel shows up and confronts him with a photo of his affair. It turns out that his wife had requested the investigation.

The person from the detective agency was Imagase Wataru. Imagase proposes a deal to Kyoichi: if Kyoichi kisses him, Imagase will pretend the photo never existed. Although Kyoichi is hesitant, he eventually accepts the deal and reluctantly kisses Imagase in a hotel room.

The two of them, who had started their relationship from such a chance encounter, continue to develop as Imagase slowly breaks down Kyoichi’s walls. Although Kyoichi ends up getting divorced regardless of Imagase’s presence, he starts living with Imagase as if they were semi-cohabitating and the “NAGASAREZAMURAI” eventually starts accepting Imagase’s sexual advances.

That’s how their relationship progresses into a difficult-to-name situation where they’re not lovers, but they live together and have sex.


Some people might hesitate to approach BL due to the prejudice that it’s all about eroticism. While there certainly are works where eroticism is the main focus (which is not necessarily a bad thing), there are also works where it’s not the main focus. And in those works, my impression is that they often depict a “relationship that can only be portrayed through BL”.

Since it’s BL, it’s inevitable that there is some erotic content, but I think that both the original and the movie adaptation of “The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese” have very little of it. So, I want people who are not familiar with BL (regardless of gender) to give it a try.

It’s really a breathtaking work.

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“Why is “lack of imagination” called “communication skills”?: Japanese-specific”negative” communication”

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