Taboo District Vol. #01 (Mania.com)

By:Eduardo M. Chavez
Review Date: Friday, November 02, 2007
Release Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2007



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Yuuki
Translated by:Ex-S Woo
Adapted by:Ex-S Woo

What They Say
Collects 8 sizzling short stories, including: "Captured," where an inexperienced female police officer becomes the sexual captive of two curious delinquents, and "Career Counsel Room" where desperate to get into a good school, Manami is willing to do anything for a recommendation from her counselor...

The Review
Packaging:
The cover for Taboo District is on of Icarus' most provocative to date. This cover features a little red-head rubbing her body on a set of guide rails. The expression on her face and the logo draw eyes to her hands, which happen to be a little busy. The back cover has a faceless young woman desperately trying to cool herself off. Her body is covered in sweat for some reason and she is in the process of undressing.

Icarus kept the large oversized A5 format (apparently the current standard for eromanga). Inside there are no color plates, but all Akneshinsha extras CG art and atogaki are here uncensored.

A little bit about the print itself. Around the start of 2007 Icarus quietly changed printers. The switch had its positives and negatives. A minus was the potential for delays through customs as the books are now coming to the States from East Asia. Pluses are improved print quality - cleaner prints with great looking tone and bleed. The books are heavier than before and feel stronger. Best of all the new paper holds the ink better and is easier on the eyes than the Canadian ultra-white.

Artwork:
When a mangaka openly admits their designs are inconsistent I know I am going to have issues. Yuuki's designs are cute throughout. This artist has a good grasp of form and composition but the detailing in Yuuki's older works needs work. Yuuki's current designs look like they belong in shoujo manga. Eyes are huge and very detailed. And because of that there is a lot of expression in those eyes. Bodies are tight, lean and well proportioned. These girls look so moe they are almost too 2D (very simple and flat with minimal use of tone). I was a little surprised by how Yuuki's CG work is so rich, it almost reminds me of what I would see in a high-grade mook.

Yuuki's guys are okay, but I could easily tell the mangaka wasn't thinking about potential global licenses when at least one story was penned. In more current stories genitalia is drawn to almost extreme detail (particularly female organs). In older ones, a certain male part looked as if they were penned by an editor or their children.

Sexual scenes are surprisingly filled with foreplay. And whatever intercourse scenes are short and straightforward. For a book called Taboo District the actual sex itself is pretty standard. Huh.

SFX/Text:
The translation for Taboo District is fine. Eromanga titles aren't really known for their writing and the translation for this title is pretty straight forward. Outside of a couple typos there really isn't much to write about. I have never heard a punk refer to his sempai as "aniki-chan" though. Maybe they are really supposed to be brothers?

SFX are not translated and that is typical of Icarus titles. I was actually surprised by how little Yuuki uses them; especially for an ero title. But given how this mangaka does not draw with great detail I think subs or overlays would have helped enhance the reading experience.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Eromanga is practically over-run with stories that discuss sexual taboo. After a month of intense eromanga research in Soto-Kanda this summer, I have come to the conclusion that the most popular eromanga must at least in brief touch the socially unacceptable and the potentially illegal. In Taboo District, Yuuki takes on serious social issues such as incest, rape, blackmail and bullying from an ero mangaka perspective.

In Career Counsel Room Sakurai Manami is discussing her future with a young counselor. The future does not look good for Manami right now. Even in a bell curve grading system her grades are just average, so comparing her with thousands of others trying to get into her dream school she would be a D- student at best. But she has heard from friends that there is a way to change her scores. Manami might not be applying for Waseda but right now she has to go to this all-girls school. First she has to get someone-on-one time with a guidance counselor. Things will get personal, so expect there to be tears and maybe a little screaming and this might be a little intense

Recent studies have noted that girls are having their first sexual experiences at a younger age than ever now. Yumi-chan just found out in a fashion magazine that girls her age are already having their first taste of fellatio and she does not want to be left behind by her peers. Unfortunately Yumi doesn't have anyone she would trust with such a personal matter. Well, except her older brother. Can onii-chan help her out with this rite of passage? Maybe onii-chan can help her go through this one and the next big step in one afternoon? Wait till onii-chan hears what the following issue covers next month! .... SM?! Onii-chan, I Wanna Try It!!

Seto-kun has a history of being bullied. Poor kid is undersized and meek, so he was the perfect punching bag for jocks and jerks alike. There is a rumor, though, about one part of Seto that isn't small. And now the girls are the ones picking on this little man. Now Seto has three women stepping all over him in a sports shed. Once they tie him up and pull his pants though, suddenly they are falling on top of him! Ah, such is a Under Grad Sex Life.

Comments
Yet another collection of shorts from Icarus. However, unlike the previous title I reviewed Taboo District actually has a theme and the mangaka Yuuki sticks to it. Taboo is the main word here. Obviously almost anything sexual is considered taboo to talk about.

Yuuki's Taboo District is not a homerun title but it is a solid release. Yuuki puts together a fine mix of stories and genre that should please the casual eros fan. Nothing really stands out though. Yuuki's art is very good but a couple of chapters are laughably average (check out page 25 as a good example of what I am talking about). Too be honest this collection feels like almost every other ero collection. Naughty nurses, horny teens, perverted teachers and sexual siblings... I have seen this done before and with better art and more intangibles (humor, graphic detail, better writing).

Taboo District is not a bad title. It is a good time with decent production values. But I see it more as a starter for ero-manga readers. Yuuki's cute designs and straightforward storytelling should open new readerfs eyes to the kinky genres within this under-appreciated sector of manga.



Mania Grade: B-
Art Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translatin Rating: B-
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Released By: Icarus Publishing
MSRP: 19.95
Pages: 178
ISBN: 1-934075-03-6
Size: A5
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Taboo District