This is the first of what hopefully will be a series of conversations about narratives of assorted kinds. In each, we’ll attempt to give enough background about the events of the narrative to enable people unfamiliar with it to follow the discussion, but we’re aiming for critical readings rather than reviews. There will be many spoilers.
We are following the Western convention for Western names (personal name, then family name) and the Japanese convention for Japanese names (family name, then personal name).
The Heart of Thomas (トーマの心臓) by Hagio Moto (萩尾 望都) was published in 1974. It is one of the first works of shounen ai (a genre now often called "boys' love" or BL) and is considered a manga classic. The first English edition was translated by Matt Thorn and published by Fantagraphics in 2013.
Trigger warnings: There are some descriptions of physical and emotional abuse and implied sexual assault.