Mania Grade: B+
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- Art Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Text/Translation Rating: B
- Age Rating: 18 and Up
- Released By: Icarus Publishing
- MSRP: 19.95
- Pages: 208
- ISBN: 9781934075326
- Size: A5
- Orientation: Right to Left
- Series: Read Me!
Read Me! Vol. #01
Read Me! Vol. #01 Manga Review
By Kelly Edgecomb
May 21, 2010
Release Date: December 29, 2009
© Icarus Publishing
These girls have that extra special something.
Translation: Sebastien Azar
Adaptation: Sebastien Azar
What They Say
Collects 12 short stories with "futanari" as the primary theme. Futanari Clinic - Doctor and nurse tests out their patient's new bodypart before she leaves the hospital. Kannagi - a shrine maiden is possessd by a demon who must be exorcized through her new well-endowed appendage.
A nice release as usual from Icarus Comics. The manga comes in a nice larger A5 size, with nice paper and high printing quality. The front cover features the horned genie from the short story "Lamp Lamp." She appears to be exhausted after a session of what appears to have been vigorous physical activity. The cover, a reproduction of the Japanese original, is very bright and attention grabbing with reds, oranges and yellows. The back features two miko, from another one of the volume's stories, letting their robes slip off to bare their breasts. I would have preferred this as the cover image, but it's an attractive presentation, nonetheless. The translation flows well and is nicely restrained and professional. Honorifics are kept, but sound effects are left untranslated. Read Me! also features a nice three page afterword from Hinemosunotari, where she thanks the reader and expresses her desire for a futanari of her very own.
Hinemosunotari's art is instantly recognizable because she has a very simple, cute style. Male and female characters alike look very young and adorable, while nevertheless being extremely well developed. It is readily apparent that she only draws one male face, and one female face, and the two are distinct only upon comparing the size of the nose. Characters pretty much all look alike, and are distinguished mostly by hairstyle and combination of breasts and genitalia. Regardless, I find her designs charming, with a cleanness and simplicity that allows you to follow along easily. I do want to mention her excellent tone work, which can be easy to overlook on a quick inspection. She uses gradations of tones to express curvature of the body, which gives her art a depth that might be lacking were she to use her linework alone. All in all, if you like her style, you'll find plenty to like. However, if you like variety in character designs and body types, you will probably find her art lacking.
Contents(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Read Me! is more or less a futanari fetish book, but it is a great futanari fetish book. For the uninitiated, a futanari is a biological female who also has male genitalia. Since 8 out of the 12 chapters in this short story compilation involve futanari, you can probably easily determine if this is a book you want to purchase or not. For the futanari fan and the openminded, I'll briefly summarize the high and low points of the stories contained within.
The first story is a two-parter entitled "Secret of Your Heart." The story begins with Itou, a male student who likes to cross-dress in short-skirted school uniforms. Unfortunately, while in drag, he bumps into classmate Yamanami, who immediately recognizes him. Itou runs off, but Yamanami approaches him the next day and asks him to meet her after school. Afraid of being blackmailed, Itou accompanies her to her house. Once there, Yamanami exposes her futanari nature to him. Since Itou is a male who likes to wear dresses, and Yamanami is a futanari, she feels they're opposites who can share each others' secrets. This, of course, involves a lot of sex. This chapter is unique in that the futanari female gets to dominate and penetrate her male partner. In the second chapter, Itou and Yamanami are caught having sex at school by the school nurse. The nurse then calls them to her office to have sex with her as well. They all end up forging a mutual agreement to keep each others' secrets and meet clandestinely for sex. It's an explicit yet cute story that ends in a happily ever after. However, my favorite story is likely Futanari Clinic, which takes place at a clinic that performs operations to attach male genitals to women. We follow the adventures of a post-op futanari who wants to test out her new organ, and the futanari nurses and doctors who are eager beavers ready to help her out. This chapter features the wonderful sexual gymnastics that only futanari stories can provide, with characters penetrating and being penetrated at the same time.
For a futanari fan, however, the four chapters not involving futanari are kind of a letdown. The problem comes not from the fact that there's a problem with variety, but the fact that the stories are rather common and uninspired. The particular kinks explored in them have been done better by different mangaka. Window is a fairly standard "sex with my childhood friend" story, although it does feature a nice cross-section, something only hentai manga can provide. Gemini is a twincest story, where each of the twins' sexual pleasure is amplified by the pleasure of the other. Present features a girl whose boyfriend gives her sex toys as gifts. Worst of all of the stories, however, is Read Me! It's about a student in love with her professor, and they end up consummating their mutual attraction in the school library. They end up making a mess on a couple of books, one of which is apparently a health textbook. When the girl's friend wipes some mess off of a page, she notices a section on birth control, and asks the smitten girl if she used protection. Horrified, she answers, "Uh... it'll be okay... won't it?" While it's nice to see a reference to safe sex in a hentai manga, unintended pregnancy isn't exactly a turn on. The fact that it comes around halfway through the volume almost kills the mood.
What holds me back from giving this manga a higher score is a somewhat contradictory complaint. On the one hand, she adds the non-futanari stories in for variety's sake, but I felt those stories were misses. On the other hand, though, it feels like her futanari stories themselves could use a bit more variety. Aside from Secret of Your Heart and Futanari Clinic, the remaining futanari chapters feel like minor variations on the same story. If Hinemosunotari were to take some other kinks and fetishes and incorporate them into the futa festivities, she would have a hentai manga for the ages.
I'm very happy that Icarus brought out a work by futanari artisan Hinemosunatari, as it feels like the genre is still a little under-appreciated in North America. However, her specialization is also Read Me!'s main drawback, because if you don't particularly like her specific style of cute futanari story, there really isn't anything for you here. That said, if this scratches your particular itch, I can't recommend it highly enough. I'd love to see more of her work in the future.