Pleasure Dome Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: D+

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: Kitty Media
  • MSRP: 10.99
  • Pages: 176
  • ISBN: 159883052x
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Pleasure Dome

Pleasure Dome Vol. #01

By Patricia Beard     September 03, 2007
Release Date: January 01, 2007

Pleasure Dome Vol.#01
© Kitty Media

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Minami Megumi
Translated by:Kitty Media Staff
Adapted by:

What They Say
Throughout the ages the passions of men have been the source of much turmoil. Their emotions have ruined lives and laid waste to entire civilizations.

Megumi Minami brings you five tales that erupt with the yearning of men searching desperately to fill the emptiness in their lives. What they find is perversion, torture, and sometimes, even love.

The Review
Kinks for them what likes 'em. However, this title best be avoided if one is adverse to non-con and humiliation and torture. Animal lovers should avoid the title story.

One certainly couldn't guess what's inside from what one sees on the cover, which is probably a good thing for those purchasing or reading this book. Roland and Olivier of the title story are in close-up on the front cover with a full figure pose of Roland on the back cover. Both drawings show the mangaka's skill at beautifully rendered costume design. The printing is clear with a good balance of light and dark, and the abundant screen tone is legible and distinct. There is a three page atogaki on the sources of inspiration for the stories in this volume.

Minami Megumi's art can be very refined and detailed as demonstrated on the cover art of this volume. Her sense of costume design serves her well and her characters, when they are dressed, are elegant. And she knows how to provide just enough background depiction to provide a sense of place without overpowering her characters. This art is accomplished and, in spite of the heavy reliance on costume, never seems to be just surface decoration. There is a variety to the panel layout that provides a dynamic and rich page.

Megumi sometimes approaches the erotic in her work, but the choices this artist often makes, in terms of what she depicts and how she depicts it, can be unsubtle, unsensual and overboard, thereby snatching away the chance to elevate the works. There's a preference for shocking depiction and any sensibility for the erotic gets overruled by it.

Sfx are not many and not translated, though most readers would probably be too busy looking at other things to really notice or care. The text reads well enough for most of the stories, but it's hard not to raise an eyebrow or snicker at some of the dialog.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This volume is made up of short stories that vary from being simply a stage to present some sexual kinks to stories that attempt to convey something more.

The first story, Pleasure Dome, is set in medieval Europe. A young knight is captured and brought to the court of a young despot who intends to serve up this young knight in his "pleasure dome", a circus of physical pleasure for the ruler's invited guests. An aide to the ruler, a man with an apparent past with the young man, provides no sanctuary and visits upon the young knight numerous debaucheries. And, as if the reader hadn't suffered enough indignities just in reading this trivial and unfeeling story, the final one comes with the cavalier tone of the ending, totally unsupported by the events preceding it.

Of all the stories in the volume, Desire on Fire is the one that seems to attempt to be more than just costumed kink. The background is a native rebellion against British rule in 19th century India and Bimbisara, a leader of the rebellion, captures the arrogant British major Errol, who expresses his feeling of superiority and disdain for colonial peoples even as a captive. But Bimbisara has his own way of dealing with the major with some unintended consequences. The resolution of their personal conflict involves more introspection and feeling than any of the other stories. But as it stands, the story suffers from the developmental constraints of the short format, and the result is a story with romantic and philosophic potential that just doesn't develop.

The Japanese seem to have a fascination for the mid-17th century events of the Christian revolt at Shimabara as well as for its most famous leader, Shiro Amakusa. It's not surprising to find that Minami Megumi would use this as a story backdrop. Hell for a Fallen Angel wants to be the story of a man's revenge against the faith that he felt betrayed him, a revenge played out against those who still embrace this faith. This background, as with that of Pleasure Dome, merely provides the costumes for another episode of humiliation, torture and depravity. Minami Megumi introduces this very challenging scenario and then plays it cheaply. While not blasphemous in the strictest definition of the word, those unfamiliar with the Japanese use of western religious iconography might have a hard time with this. Those readers who value a well told story with an ending that makes sense will also.

The final two stories see a return to Europe. Cantarella takes place in pre WWI France, if the costume and the use of absinthe are any indicators. Again, this story is just too short to allow for any but the briefest background to this tale of a man held captive by two brothers. However, once the premise is established, it proceeds well and succeeds within the modest scope that has been set up. It's probably the best told story of the lot simply because it doesn't attempt to be something it isn't. This title, along with Desire on Fire, showed the most promise,

L'Amour I Belong to You takes place in Victorian England and is the least graphic of all the stories in the volume. There is a sweetness to the story that comes through in spite of the odd character introductions and clumsy story-telling. The tale pivots on the introduction and identity of a malefactor stalking the main character, but is told without tension or urgency. The story is conventional for BL, but the setting and the attempt to provide a richer story within the short story format rescue it from being run of the mill.

All of the stories, with the exception of Cantarella, could have been told without the hardcore elements. While some of the stories have merit, it's up to the individual reader as to what these contribute to their experience.

Pleasure Dome is hardcore BL for which the audience is a really narrow one and this is the reason for the double rating. Readers most comfortable with DMP's June line of graphic novels will likely be appalled, and those fans of BDSM could be bored with the lack of variety, even though the stories look to be more than one usually gets with this type of material.

The stories in this volume would have benefited from just being longer. This would have allowed the more hardcore elements to be better integrated into the story-telling. (Although I don't think there would be much hope for Pleasure Dome, it would just get creepier.)

A brief note on the type of sexual depiction in this volume is in order here. Most readers would assume that Megumi Minami has an anal fixation given that the humiliation, torture and depravity involve this area exclusively. The fact that the characters have no visible genitalia, these being omitted or obscured, while anal punishments are prominently displayed, is attributable more to Japanese censorship practice than any election by the mangaka.


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