By Suu Minazuki. Released in Japan as “Gou-dere Bishoujo Sora Nagihara” by Hakusensha, serialized in various Young Animal spinoffs. Released in North America by Yen Press.
I tend to try to read a lot of Volume 1s that are released by manga companies, even if the premise makes me sort of rear back a bit. Sometimes I find I’m pleasantly surprised, such as, say, Haganai. Sometimes I can’t quite make it through the volume, as happened with Monster Musume. And then there’s this title, where I made it through the volume out of sheer morbid fascination at how appalling it was going to get, and whether it could keep up its pace of sexual assault jokes with no breathing space. Unfortunately, the answer is “not really”, but it made a valiant effort, at least.
The creator is better known over here for a series called Sora no Otoshimono, and I’ve no doubt fans would rather be seeing that series, but it’s 20 volumes, while this is four. This particular series revolves around a young nebbish man who spends most of his life being sexually attracted to the girls in his bishoujo magazines, particularly the star of Tama x Kiss (a thinly veiled parody of Kimi x Kiss and all those other ecchi visual novels), Sora Nagihara. Then suddenly, for reasons that are still not particularly clear, Sora comes out of the magazine and appears in his lap. Only this is not the cute, shy, soon to die heroine he’s familiar with. She’s a Gou-dere, which I think is a tsundere-esque word that means she’s crude and appalling (with a hidden depressive side, which we see towards the end of this volume). She desires to have her new “master” rule the world by sleeping with every girl around him.
And here’s where the part of this book that’s an over the top parody and satire comes in, as she proceeds to kidnap, strip, and sexually assault young women for her so-called master (who then gets the blame, arrested, and beaten half to death by the police officers in town). The assault *is* the point of the manga – the heroine is constantly carrying around little packages of milk in order to allow her to create “facial’ shots as she finds a new victim. There is a childhood friend of the hero’s, naturally, who is appalled at what’s happening but mostly just yells and screams at the hero to stop Sora. The other girl on the cover is the president of the boxing club, who is assigned to destroy our hero (he has a name, but makes so little an impression I feel reluctant to use it), and who Sora ends up magically giving huge breasts, because of course she does.
As I said, the key here is over the top. This is not particularly meant to be titillating, it’s meant to make your jaw drop. When it’s at its most appalling, I admit I had to admire its sheer effort. Unfortunately, it also tries to have a typical harem plot while also parodying it, and that’s a high wire act it can’t quite achieve. I don’t buy that all these girls are in love with this guy for any reason other than “the plot says so.” There’s also a hint towards the end that even Sora herself may have a more serious storyline in her, and I don’t really want serious stories in this series. It makes the service harder to take.
If you’re a young man, and want to see what a parody of the typical “ecchi Japanese harem” series is like (and most North American examples we’ve seen over here are far less explicit than this), then you may want to pick this up. For people who really like fanservice no matter what, definitely pick this up. For everyone else… I don’t think the parody is good enough to justify buying it.