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Aoki Kaoru is a 26-year-old woman who has never had a boyfriend. Normally unattached and unmotivated in her own life, Kaoru decides to start up a nail salon as a side business in addition to her regular job as a medical dispatcher. Although having a severe aversion to physical touch, she is forced to confront that fear when she meets a man who can´t help but touch others.


Related Series

Associated Names
& (アンド)
And (Okazaki Mari)

Groups Scanlating

Latest Release(s)
v.5 c.26 by Stiletto Heels about 1 year ago
v.5 c.25 by Stiletto Heels about 1 year ago
c.43-44 by Dayment scans over 2 years ago
Search for all releases of this series

in Country of Origin
8 Volumes (Complete)

Completely Scanlated?

Anime Start/End Chapter

User Reviews


User Rating
Average: 8.2 / 10.0 (182 votes)
Bayesian Average: 7.93 / 10.0

Last Updated
April 2nd 2023, 7:01pm



Category Recommendations





Original Publisher

Serialized In (magazine)
Feel Young (Shodensha)

Licensed (in English)

English Publisher

Activity Stats (vs. other series)
Weekly Pos #726 decreased(-7)
Monthly Pos #1167 increased(+383)
3 Month Pos #2276 increased(+325)
6 Month Pos #2669 increased(+494)
Year Pos #3667 decreased(-370)

List Stats
On 1058 reading lists
On 677 wish lists
On 147 completed lists
On 74 unfinished lists
On 382 custom lists

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User Comments  [ Order by usefulness ]
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Too much overreaction and melodrama  
by Kore137
June 17th, 2022, 2:38am
Rating: 1.0  / 10.0
Picked this up cause the ratings are so high but I can’t make it past chapter 8. Kaoru is so melodramatic and makes such an emotional ado about every little thing, I get second hand embarrassment for her fumbling through life. Urk, can’t stomach this.
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god i had last picked this up in 2016  
by NightAir
April 25th, 2022, 1:04am
Rating: N/A
This is a long ass ramble hooboy. on how far along I was on my reading list and checking the release date, it’s been a good 6 years later. I was feeling nostalgic and wanted to see if it was ever finished, and I was surprised and sort of thrilled that it was. When I first picked this up to read, was nearing the end of some post-secondary studies and feeling lost and swept away. & was really so beautiful. Stylistic and almost pop art and sentimental and unreal at the times it plays with bittersweet and sweetness of relationships and our spaces with other people.

I remembered that I loved it because I remember dreamy landscape and the way it feels like you swim in Kaoru’s feelings. & was one of my first josei manga because I’d never really been interested in the genre, and it captures because of how visceral it is. Just finished reading it, and feel…content in some aspects, and bitter about others.

Spoiler (mouse over to view)
I think as a thematic coming-of-age story that was very likely only ever going to end one way (them being separated somehow), it comes as no real shock how heavy the reality. But there is a sense of disappointment—for all the wonder and all the dreamy like states of the beginning, and how Kaoru herself grows into confidence and aptitude in her salon business, her job, and her love…I couldn’t help but get a sense that I was being sobered up by Yagai and Kaoru. That it’s all well and good to enjoy and live dreamily, but love and people and the decisions we make and the scars we carry don’t last or stay static and un affecting on us or our relationships with other people forever. I’m bittersweet….I wanted more closure, even though it came as realistic as we could get it: a consensual, mutual fair well, a quiet goodbye where they both acknowledge their own feelings, but understand. Because Kaoru really Could Not touch him anymore after learning that he’d just intended on lying to her this entire time, because she had already screamed it all at him, but he could not say anything back because it was right for her to do so. It was a beautiful, crushing moment I appreciate from a technical and art standpoint that I think was masterful. I think it was a fair ending for the two of them, but I don’t really understand the actual 2 years later epilogue.

I just personally….I don’t think Yagai’s ex’s sister really made much of an impact on me story-wise (maybe because she felt too abrupt to me? Not foreshadowed enough, or at least it was only in the remaining volumes she made a dent). There just wasn’t enough development, maybe, because I felt the energy was wrapping up by end of volume 6/7 (and there are 8 volumes). I understand how this part of Yagai’s relationship with her and her sister is why he was so drawn to Kaoru’s ignorance in knowing nothing about his regrets and his own secrets. But it makes me uncomfortable, the self-pat on the back way that we have an epilogue with him suddenly going back and then just asking Shiro about her only to leave again after leaving a message he knows Shiro will never share with her, and telling him to make a move. Like…it’s very in character at the same time it’s weird as hell bc it’s so infuriating chuuni….but I guess since he’s a boomer and a 47-year-old self-identified middle aged man at the end, it’s…so hollywood? Is my complaint? Like, you leave with a message that “it’s just how life is, as brilliant as romantic relationships are, they can burn out and leave us, but we will still have solidity in careers and our platonic relationships?” Like don’t get me wrong, I get there are different forms and messages about love and esp warnings about finding your self-esteem/confidence only when you are in a relationship or being loved (with Kanna), love being something that can never really be stopped from growing or staying (Shiro), one-sided love can hurt if we try our best to pretend all is well with it so leave that if you respect yourself (Ike), adult love is the messiness of indirectedness to get wha you want while your flaws being recognized and each of you having a secret you may not want to show but will share when you’re ready (nurse friend), etc.)

Anyway, about Yagai—I do like the parallel of him living his retirement in the country as a doctor like his former mentor. He’s already more than served his time at the hospital and how he’s been killing himself slowly in extra shifts, inability to sleep or feed himself well, etc… After all this exhaustion, I understand this was his freedom (the debt of paying for his ex’s medical treatment, the weight of guilt he’s kept about three women) that comes at a cost (to never be forgiven really, and to hold it all). But I hate this idea that we as people share connection so immensely and deeply, and yet at the end of it we still end with just ourselves as if we can never really reconnect with the people who mattered so much ever again. It should be a comfort…Kaoru for her part is flourishing in her friendships and her career.

But I’m going to fucking imagine a few years down the road that she and Yagai have another heart-to-heart where they actually talk to each other and even if they don’t get together, they’re both in a better place. And she does not end with Shiro (lit makes no sense to me why the mangaka insists on him being this way and keeping a torch for her, while guiltlessly coming onto another girl. Idk this normally wouldn’t bother me because this is such a regular trope, but it!s because of his personality, and because of specific chapters where we understand he literally just loved her so so much but is never able to really communicate that because he was either too blunt, too late, or too socially awkward…sometching feels really uncomfortable. I think they’re better off as friends and I’m glad mangaka never really cemented this, even if it did feel weird with Yagai and Shiro at the end).

The other pairings in this manga for me range from so interesting to unnecessarily dramatic. Her nurse friend who hates the way adults play, calls herself scheming, but in her own relationship reveals a sort of wish for control and to be supported—the doctor is quite cool. However, Shiro and that girl Ike(?). I can only feel bad for her because that whole scenario felt like some sort of sorry-ass joke that Shiro is so callously permitted as a 2ndML to just….be like that to someone, and even though he got yelled at for it, it felt like some sort of comedic timing or something, and not something genuinely unfortunate and raw. Kanna’s ending…she ended up in a nice one that worked out well for her that liked her for who she was. I really connected with her character…she was one of my favourites, especially when we learn she was just living to survive when she’d been a nurse.

Anyway, a very solid story, dreamy, emotive, and I didn’t want to wake up and I wish I had maybe one or two more chapters to settle the Yagai and Kaoru epilogue, because it felt abrupt, but I’ll take it. Because one of the best things about this manga is the inclusion and significance of our relationships not only with our partners, but other women—a sense of solidarity that connects through “I have loved before and been hurt by love, and been fulfilled by love, so I understand your aches as I support your joys”
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
(outside of Ike who literally never reappears in the story after assumed breakup lmfao so like I don’t even know how the message of love when it comes to one-sidedness gets resolved—or does it matter? idk it just felt like the other women were given a bit more care….but maybe i’m sensitive)

Thank you to Stiletto Scans and Dayment scans for the closure of 6 years ago for me, and now I’ll take this gap and hope another Josei can fill it up soon.

... Last updated on April 25th, 2022, 3:03am
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Pretty meh ending  
by CCheshire
December 2nd, 2021, 11:33am
Rating: N/A
I'm glad Dayment scans picked up this series and it ended but damn that ending was disappointing. I felt that it had a good beginning, OK middle, and ending just dropped the ball hard. I feel like I get it that relationships esp first relationships rarely end up lasting but I feel l like everyone in the manga had messed up lives like dating people you didn't really like and just never confronting it like some side characters. I feel like a romance where they're not together in the end but I don't feel that MC had much character progression.

I did like the art and how everything had a dream-like quality like the covers and transition pages.
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& Is Sublime.  
by TartarugaLife
February 8th, 2021, 10:08am
Rating: 10.0  / 10.0
My favorite manga, not only because the author has the same name as mine, or because her drawings are perfectly detailed and consistent with the story (she passes the feelings that the characters are feeling through the art, background and expressions of each one ), or also for the incredible realism applied to the novel (difficult to find a manga like that) ... But it is incredible for showing such a beautiful relationship, full of confused and contrary feelings (Kaoru is learning to love, Sensei, is trying (trying really) heal his wounds) ... I think Age Gap gave the romance a delicious maturity, and Okazaki produces delicate moments, full of affection, repulsion, humor and well-being aligned with Kaoru's youth and the experience of Yagai .. .
A funny thing, did anyone notice that on the covers of each volume, the scar on Yagai's hand never appears? Obviously it is his hand stroking Kaoru's face, but the fact that the scar does not appear gives an ambiguous feeling, as if it could be someone else's hand ... Is this a possible spoiler? Please read the manga to understand.
Just like this, there are many details in the drawings that explain much of the story, which makes the manga always richer.
I would like to share this masterpiece with all lovers of the josei genre. Delicacy until to the last page, the bittersweet feeling that sticks in your heart translates a lot about the feelings of adult life, the meaning of first love, the differences between people ... Brilliant.
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Worst ending to a romance in a manga since Blade of the Immortal...  
by Rozzak
July 29th, 2016, 8:43pm
Rating: N/A
And Samura Hiroaki is a NTR/rape fetishist.
Just skip the last chapter if you read the raws. I'm pretty sure the group dropped it because of how unbelievably unfruitful the ending is.
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Aww to NOPE  
by jackalan
February 17th, 2016, 3:46am
Rating: N/A
I just read chapter 17 (thank God I randomly picked this series after this chapter was released or else I would probably have been agonising over the end of volume 3), and the subject is for Shiro. Poor guy... He was crying for God's sake!

But I've been enjoying the title thoroughly from the start. It's great that the art is very well taken care of. However, the story-telling is top-notch here for me. So much the feel! Please let the 8 volumes be scanlated without a hitch! And soon! Please, please! *A person with bad experience of reading good "completed" mangas over LONGASS periods of time.*

[EDIT] 2018:

My problem with this manga is the sex and the sensuality are pretty cliche and conservative. Or maybe I've been a bit more liberal and have been bought-in to the media/political-correctedness of sexual consent that at the moment when the female lead said she didn't think she'd be able to go through with their intercourse, then repeated with a don't, in other word she was saying "no" twice. Yet, the male lead, a doctor no less (maybe I am judging him here), thought she was on a whim and that they were of age to not acting like youngsters (teenagers to be exact). Who is he to judge her while he discovered it was her first time just moments ago? And dude, you're in science, aren't you supposed to know how our brains confirm/affirm things with spoken words not gestures/expressions? Why were you in denial? (Or is this brain confirmation with spoken words just got discovered recently? Not sure, but if you read this, it is scientifically proven.)

I am not sure if this is the stereotype/submissive culture of Japan that got played out OR it was to the readers' preference OR it's just the author's fantasy OR many other reasons I don't know. But I hope the next series similar to this (if there'd be) from the same author would be more progressive for both the women and the men. (Because I really like the developments of characters and stories up so far.) In real life, if that female lead'd sue the male lead now, I wouldn't be surprised.

But after reading chapter 17 again, man, it leaves me serious distastes that I just don't want to follow up with the rest of the series anymore.

Of course, I stand by my opinion. If you like the way things played out in this series, you should be entitled to your opinions too.

... Last updated on July 2nd, 2018, 2:01am
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A mature and realistic take on first love  
by mispelling
November 23rd, 2014, 2:40pm
Rating: 9.0  / 10.0
This has some spoilers for the ending.

This is definitely a really beautiful series to read. Okazaki Mari's art is absolutely breathtaking. About the story, it plays out like a normal love triangle shoujo but with the added positives of being mature and realistic in its approach. At some points it is drawn pretty elaborate, but it doesn't romanticize the love at all. They go through trials and finally come to terms of being in love (well mostly Yagai)

Spoiler (mouse over to view)
At the end we see that Yagai's not really good for Kaoru, and she finds out about his past with his lover and her sister and breaks up with him, amicably albeit bittersweet. It's a really moving ending

Great story with beautiful artwork, definitely a must-read for shoujo and josei fans.
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An old story told well  
by residentgrigo
October 12th, 2014, 4:42am
Rating: 8.0  / 10.0
Stiletto Heels translates decent to very good josei mangas and this is another win for the community. Thx for that.
The art is very well done, the characterization is strong and there are some neat art direction tricks that contrast between the views of the leads on certain situations. The important players all have developed backstories that give context for the current state of their lives and why they are as awkward or solitude. Most importantly is that the protagonists have a clear characterization and direction that the writer sticks too. The biggest plus though is that actions have consequences and that characters actually talk about what their though bubbles say and thus forced drama that a conversation could sweep away is avoided.
The only downside are a few coincidences too many here and there and the programming side of the story isn´t as well developed as the medical side. And could the doctors look more fabulous and trendy?
Even Medical Dragon´s (very good too) swimsuit models look a bit more reasonable. So nothing really negative.
I am looking forward to more and my score could even improve a bit if the finished story continues to stays strong. Oishii Kankei and Kuragehime are similar in quality and both suffer of small side problems too. Sekine-kun no Koi is even better.

... Last updated on March 26th, 2015, 8:03am
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Beautiful, well crafted manga  
by meganpietura
May 14th, 2014, 1:35pm
Rating: N/A
This is actually my favorite manga I think for reasons that others wouldn't be able to connect with but everyone that's a fan of shoujo or josei need to try this manga. The story is unique and a much needed palate cleanser from other mangas in these genres and the art is superb. I think it's beautiful and very well crafted story. It's also easy to root for the heroine and releases come out enough after each other so you don't wait too long. I also suggest reading other manga from this translation group, Stiletto Heels.
A real work of art for josei manga. My personal favorite.
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So Far, Interesting....  
by wallyakazukin
October 12th, 2013, 11:19pm
Rating: 8.0  / 10.0
Good josei, I expect it would be better as the story goes. If you search for josei close to reality, then try this one. I have to say that the main male character was the source of those pain, age gap also a big issue for him. Maybe some reader would think that the female chara was too stupid or what, but i think in reality, that's how most women do. When they in love, they can't do anything about their feeling.
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