Manga Sutra Vol. #01 - Futari H -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A

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  • Art Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 19.95
  • Pages: 384
  • ISBN: 1-4278-0536-9
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Manga Sutra

Manga Sutra Vol. #01 - Futari H

By Matthew Alexander     April 03, 2008
Release Date: January 30, 2008

Manga Sutra Vol.#01 - Futari H

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Katsu Aki
Translated by:Christine Schilling
Adapted by:Gary Krasney

What They Say
Makoto and Yura just got married...and they have a lot to learn! At the age of twenty-five, newlyweds Makoto and Yura are still virgins. But not for long! That is, if they can figure out how everything works. Will the sweet--and voluptuous--Yura enjoy her first "experience?" Or is Makoto not yet savvy enough to light her fire? Follow the hot young couple as they step up into love and experiment with getting it on...and on...and on!

The Review
Tokyopop may be trying to promote this as the manga guide to sex, but I think a better description would be the guide to sexual hilarity.

Contains a lot of nudity.

This is an impressive book in both its large format size and 384 pages. The front cover of the book depicts Makoto and Yura embracing during a lovemaking session. The art itself is in red and white, with no other colors. The back cover has a story synopsis and a TP age rating describing the types of adult content (sexual language and nudity, etc.). The book itself comes inside a paper box/sleeve, which mimics the back and front covers of the book. Only the box/sleeve has a large red box with the book's title covering most of Makoto and Yura. The only real extras consist of a letter section with some American 'sex' doctor trying to sell his book. The doctor discusses some fairly mundane sexual topics, and this section seems like it will be a regular feature. The other 'extras' section consists of sexual statistics for a number of studies. Something I found interesting about this book is TP's attempt to make some advertising dollars for non-TP items. There is an advertisement for Suicide Girls and an aphrodisiac cookbook.

Aki's art is not his strong point. Some leeway should be given for the slightly dated appearance since this title is more than a decade old, not that all older manga has bad art, I personally do not like a lot of it. The artist uses large-sized screen tone throughout the book, and the characters suffer a little from the big skull, big eyes, and small forehead look. However, the characters are easy to differentiate between and Makoto's various facial expressions during sex scenes are pure comedy gold. Backgrounds have plenty of detail when present; otherwise, they consist of screen tone or various shapes or patterns.

SFX are not translated. Honorifics are present and used heavily throughout. The text is grammatically correct and I do not remember any glaring editing problems. However, the dialogue often had a strange flow that tripped me up a little. I found myself reading various lines a second time throughout much of the book. For me, that is usually a sign of an adaptation that is just a little off.

Contents: (Oh yes, there may be spoilers)
Makoto and Yura are both in their mid-twenties when they meet at a formal marriage meeting. Seems neither of them were very lucky in love, so they paid a marriage counselor to find them a prospective mate. Their first few dates are awkward but they eventually marry and move in together. So far, the story seems boring and uninteresting. However, the true story gets going on their first night living together. Both are virgins and they never admitted this to each other. This turns the story into somewhat of a 'how to have sex' manga as the author speaks directly to the reader like some all knowing sexpert. These comments are usually supported by sexual statistics quoted from various books and studies.

As for the story itself, it is so funny I laughed aloud every few pages for the entire length of the book. I don't know if that has ever happened before. I mean come on; premature ejaculation is a funny thing in a comedy, as long as it isn't happening to you of course. So not only is Makoto a virgin, but he quickly discovers that he can only last about a minute during penetration. This becomes a reoccurring battle for Makoto, and Yura is so prim and proper that she doesn't really help the situation. Lucky, or unlucky, for them, they have very caring siblings and parents that want to help the newly weds succeed in bed.

Makoto's mother frankly tells the newly weds to have all the sex they want while visiting for the Bon Festival. On Yura's side, her little sister Rika, is in college and quite the slut. Uh, I mean liberated woman. She has around five boyfriends at any given time, so she has plenty of experience and is quick to blurt out sexual advice. Of course, Rika's advice always embarrasses Yura and tends to be a dig at Makoto's sexual ineptness.

With that said, Rika is fairly tame compared to the brashness of Makoto's older brother Akira. Akira is obnoxious, thinks he is the king of sex, and never wastes any opportunity to loudly discuss sexual acts in front of strangers. He doesn't care if he is in a store, café, or standing in front of a kid's school, any chance he can loudly discuss cunninglingus is a good time. Akira's public outbursts always embarrass Makoto, but for the reader it is just plain funny.

This first volume focuses on Makoto and Yura having sex and all the problems of learning how tab A fits into slot B, and generally figuring out how to live as husband and wife. It is funny to watch Makoto take advice from different people and then try to implement it for the first time on Yura. I mean everything, from French kissing to oral sex to positions other than missionary. For those readers that have long lost their virginity, reading this book constantly reminds you of when you first experienced the things Makoto and Yura are stumbling through.

Other than my sheer enjoyment of Makoto's interactions with the other characters, I appreciated the peeks into Rika and Akira's lives. One chapter follows Rika from one boyfriend to the other, all ending with sex and all taking place in the same day. Aside from Rika doing a lot of getting it on, we get to see more of her personality and eventually an example of how love is a strange thing. You can never choose the person you're going to fall in love with, and often times they may be completely the wrong person for you.

Manga Sutra is like an NC-17 rated movie. The story has plenty of sexual language, nudity and sex, but the penetration is x-ray style like a medical chart or not depicted explicitly at all. There is also no detail on either the male or female groins, so the story is more explicit than an R movie but not as much as an X-rated movie. I think this is a good thing as it opens the story to a wider audience, especially since many women do not need the full on ero-manga detail of coitus. This is probably one of the reasons this title has been so popular in Japan and the other countries that have seen its release.

The way Aki speaks to the audience during the book reminds me a movie narrator. Aki points out how stupid Makoto is at times or how men generally mistake the meanings behind female quirks. This is especially funny when Makoto blurts out the obvious when it should never be said. My favorite example is when timid Yura surprises Makoto with a new sexual position and he calls her perverted. Just like that comment would in real life, it shut down Makoto's sex life for a week.

Aki's concept of interjecting his own comments on Makoto's sexual ineptness, mixed with sections describing sexual statistics creates a unique and hilarious manga. The author even quotes his sex data sources to give some validity to what are often surprising statistics. Another aspect of the book consists of illustrations meant to enlighten the reader to the various physical appearances of body parts. These body parts range from penis shape, to nipple size, breast profiles, and even hymen shapes, just to name a few.

Now I know that premature ejaculation, or PE, is nothing to be laughed at. However, the way it afflicts Makoto, coupled with his lack of sexual knowledge, had me laughing during every single sex scene and most of the scenes in between. All this only becomes funnier when Makoto's egocentric older brother and Yura's oversexed little sister enter the scene with their tidbits of sexual knowledge. Therefore, I have to give this book one of my highest recommendations for anyone with a sense of humor. After that, if you are still a virgin, pick up this book for some tips to make you better in the sack. Like rubbing one out just before having sex with your girl to make you last longer! In no time you will be having sex like Makoto, well, hopefully better!


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