Maniac Shorts Shot (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:Patricia Beard
Review Date: Monday, August 30, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Schlongs on parade - and in masquerade!

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Miya Ousaka
Translation: Leona Wong
Adaptation: Leona Wong

What They Say
When Issei and Jin return from a concert and decide to mess around with a mysterious box of kinky underwear, their night takes a turn for the better! Wil a shy social worker, a bike-shop owner and a criminal investigator all learn a lesson or two about lust (and their deepest fantasies) if they simply loosen up and let go?

Maniac Shorts Shot takes gorgeous men and strips them of their inhibitions for your viewing pleasure! Some guys need a little coaxing when it comes to playing rough, while others are always happy to be on top. Whether they're dressing up or lying down, these couples all know that imagination in the bedroom can be magical!

The Review!

Technical:
The recent reduction in production quality for all of DMP products makes no exception here.  While the print quality is acceptable in this 801Media volume, the book feels flimsy. It's a shame that a such a thin cardboard cover is used to show off perhaps the funniest and, potentially, naughtiest cover DMP has ever published. The front view shows the two main characters of Maniac Short Shots modeling some of their found underwear, while the back cover provides a thongtastic back view - or would have if DMP had not chosen to remind the reader of the book's title by displaying it across those exposed cheeks.  A bit of a shame, really, and the pseudo-angsty single color insert hardly makes up for the transgression.
 
Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
We've all experienced it.  You know, those stories that only seem to have no plot and we laughingly think that they exist only as vehicle for presenting two good looking men having a smutty good time.  Well, readers, the two stories that lend their name to the title of this anthology are the real deal with a plot as thin as the naughty novelty underwear that's modeled on the cover.
 
In Maniac Short Shots, it's Issei's idea to model the underwear for his friend, Jin, a photographer who is encouraged to take photos of Issei in the throes of his fetish.  This isn't a story that goes for subtlety.  It's a one punch line joke that's played for all it's hilarious worth.  Do not expect tender and refined feelings here.  While there are a few story elements provided for a semblance of plot, these are perfunctory.  One thing leads to another in the expected fashion, but that isn't the point here.  It's all about that skimpy underwear and the distortions upon it produced under distress. 
 
Not that that's a bad thing, mind you.
 
What really sells this minimal concept is Miya Ousaka's art; it's that good.  Too often in BL graphic novels one finds a reluctance on the mangaka's part to accept the challenge that this type of material presents.  What could have been an erotic experience becomes blunted and cheapened by attempts to "soften" the material with some "artsy-fartsy" coyness that makes the material seem trashy and incomplete with the result quite the opposite of the intended outcome.  Not so with Ousaka.  There is a directness in her work that is refreshing. She knows what she wants to tell and isn't afraid to say it - or show it. The mangaka is having fun and her readers will also.
 
For those readers who require some semblance of an actual story, the stories that round out the volume, while not as explicit as Maniac Shorts Shots, cover more familiar territory with varying degrees of success. Most readers will appreciate the sweetness of "LoFi You, Hi Fi Him", where a tenderhearted health care worker and a club host do more than reminisce after meeting up at a school reunion. In "Biker", a young man who has recently, and reluctantly, inherited his father's bike shop, finds himself with more than a Kawasaki ZZR1400 throbbing between his legs.  This story succeeds in spite of having characters that are annoying, even bordering on unlikable.  That story closes out the volume, "Hair", is a polar opposite in approach and tone to that of "Maniac Short Shots".  Whereas "Maniac Shorts Shots" makes much out of very little, "Hair" tries to put too much into too little narrative space.  This story of a government worker who finds himself entangled romantically with a serial killer needed more room to explore the motivations that resulted in such twisted passion. Actions and feelings seem too abrupt and groundless here. If I were to pick any story for Miya Ousaka to revisit, it would be this one. More developed exploration of this very unusual relationship could make for the kind of fulfilling reading we don't often see.  
 
In Summary:
Maniac Shorts Shots is likable story compilation with something for almost everybody and delivered with a graphic explicitness that is funny, direct, very sexy and sometimes, non-consensual. 
 
   





Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: C+
Text/Translation Rating: B
Age Rating: 18 and Up
Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
MSRP: 15.95
Pages: 200
ISBN: 978-1934129425
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Maniac Shorts Shot