A student/teacher boy’s love story full of sex, lies, and video tapes (all right, not really lies, but I wanted to use the quote).
Writer/Artist: Akemi Takaido
Translated by: Ken Wakita
Adapted by: Ken Wakita
What They Say
Asahina-sensei isn’t a very good teacher or a role model. The epitome of a letch, he spends his nights cruising the town, hooking up with one woman after another - he’s even been known to stumble into class drunk - but Asahina’s sordid lifestyle has finally caught up with him. When Yuasa, one of his students, finds a video of Asahina having sex in a love hotel, the proof of his degenerate behavior is clear for all to see (frame-by-frame, in super slow-motion).
Yuasa promises to hunt down the master tape and keep Asahina’s secret - for a price, of course. It turns out the love-struck underachiever isn’t interested in money or a passing grade, but has had his eyes on Asahina-sensei all along…
From Akemi Takaido comes a charming tale of blackmail and extortion. With loves as Yuasa’s payment of choice, will Asahina be able to meet the asking price?
The front cover has Yuasa and Asahina standing together. Yuasa is behind Asahina, a smirk on his face as he slowly peels off the man’s suit jacket. The title of the manga is in bold, yellow print, and the number “one” is inside of a heart. The back cover has Yuasa’s two friends, Kagami and Nagai, wearing white clothing while sitting together in a white background. They sort of have a cool, sketchy effect, because their clothes match the background and their hair is a slightly darker silver.
The artwork isn’t the best in the world. I usually like the sketchy art style, but this style looks more like a quick sketch on a piece of notebook paper - especially the character‘s eyes, which oftentimes aren‘t even colored in. Sometimes, it works for the scenes, but other times it comes off looking sloppy. This is especially true in the sex scenes. Sometimes, the sloppy look works with how the characters are acting (there’s lots of disorganized sex in this manga), but other times it’s hard to tell what exactly is going on. There were times when I didn‘t know what area of Asahina‘s body that Yuasa was kissing.
The art also suffers from the “invisible penis” syndrome, which is the case in a lot of boy’s love manga. However, this manga doesn’t have any sort of fuzzy/glowing area, the penis is just gone, as if it doesn’t even exist. The boys look like they’re hands are clutching onto absolutely nothing, or Nagai looks like he‘s going down into the zipper of Asahina‘s pants.
When I started reading I thought that everything would be translated into English because Yuasa calls Asahina “Mr. Asahina.” However, as the story progresses there are more use of Japanese honorifics, like “Kagami-kun,” or “Kei-chan,” and even the word “sensei” is kept in tact and used by the students when address Asahina. Any sort of kanji is kept in the original kanji with the English word or phrase written underneath it. When a character is thinking to himself, the text sort of looks like it was written in black marker. One of my favorite things about the text is when Asahina speaks English, since he’s an English teacher. It uses that same black marker look and is written in brackets. His English is perfect, compared to Yuasa, and the text writes out Yuasa’s bad English when he tries to speak it to Asahina.
Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Asahina is the coolest… I mean…the most irresponsible teacher I’ve ever seen. He comes to class with hangovers and goes out at night sleeping with anything with breasts. But Yuasa, one of his students, finds out about Asahina’s wild nights and uses it to blackmail him. Since this is the boy’s love universe, we can already assume that the kid wants the teacher and not any type of money or passing grade.
Yuasa helps Asahina find the master tape to his sex romp, and in the process he tries to sleep with him (and fails). Though the attempt at sex does awaken something inside of Asahina, so later he tells Yuasa to sleep with him. This is where the story starts to get interesting. The sex isn’t a sappy, romantic first time encounter. Yuasa and Asahina end up going at it in a bathroom in the middle of a park. Much to Yuasa’s dismay, the moment doesn’t make Asahina fall in love with him or anything cheesy like that. It only adds to the man’s curiosity about same sex relationships and he decides that he should sleep with more men to figure out his feelings. He mostly ends up sleeping with Yuasa over and over again, but he is far from admitting that he loves the boy.
We soon meet Yuasa’s two friends, Kagami and Nagai. Kagami is very flirtatious and is extremely open about his sexual orientation while Nagai obviously has feelings for Yuasa that go beyond friendship. The rest of the volume focuses a lot on all four characters and their interactions with one another. The sexual tension and romantic feelings between Yuasa and Nagai builds throughout the chapter. Yuasa compares him to a friend he had in middle school who he was intimate with everyday, completely oblivious to his friend’s feelings for him since he’s so stuck on Asahina. Kagami starts flirting with Asahina a lot, making the man even more confused about his own orientation. He eventually is able to admit that he only gets turned on by guys, but he still denies having any feelings for Yuasa. He doesn’t really push away Kagami’s advances either, so it’s hard to tell which direction the man will go in, but he does let Yuasa move in with him (or rather, Yuasa comes over one day with all of his belongings). It’s also hard to tell what Kagami wants in all of this. He flirts around with everyone, but he does seem to care for Asahina. He ends up rescuing him from a group of guys who are trying to take advantage of him while he’s drunk, and when he kisses him afterwards Asahina doesn’t push him away.
The volume ends with a side story called, “Good morning, Mr. Asahina,” and it shows how Yuasa and Asahina first met.
Had I not had this manga in my review pile, I wouldn’t have picked it up at all. The art isn’t the greatest and the teacher/student affair has been done so many times before. Thank goodness this book was in my pile because after reading the first volume I am absolutely in love with this series. The teacher/student affair serves as an outline to a much bigger plot that gets more and more interesting with each turn of the page.
What I love most about this story is how it deals with both love and homosexuality. It’s not just a simple story about a boy loving another boy and being unsure about his feelings, it‘s a story about discovering who you are and what it means to not only be in love, but to be gay. The story deals with homosexuality through the four main characters. There’s Yuasa and Kagami, who have known that they were gay for as long as they can remember and are comfortable with their orientation. Kagami is the flirtatious boy who sleeps around with everyone while Yuasa is the one who is trying to figure out what love is through his feelings for Nagai and Asahina. Nagai has never slept with another man and is really just now discovering his feelings towards the same sex because of the love he has for his best friend. It’s mainly Asahina who is questioning is orientation. He’s slept with numerous women but when he sleeps with Asahina he starts to realize that he’s attracted to men, not women. This is an interesting twist in the story because it’s the adult who doesn’t have the answers while the students seem to have a better idea about who they are. I absolutely loved the fact that Asahina didn’t easily fall into Yuasa’s arms, I love the fact that he’s so confused and is trying to find out how he really feelings for the same sex, for Yuasa, and even for Kagami.
The characters are what make this story worth the read. They make the plot intriguing and as I read I wanted to keep going. Before I knew it, I was trying to get my hands on the next two volumes just so I could keep reading about Asahina, Yuasa, Kagami, and Nagai. All four of them feel, for lack of better words, real to me. I feel like these type of characters can (and do) exist in real life. Somewhere out there, there’s an Asahina discovering that he’s more attracted to men than he is to women. There’s a Kagami flirting with every guy he sees. There’s a Yuasa who is sure about his orientation, but completely clueless about love. And there’s a Nagai who is just now really coming out about his orientation but he only has eyes for his best friend.