Shocking Pink

By Yasuiriosuke. Released in Japan as “Pink Shock!” by Max Corporation Tokyo, serialized in the magazine Comic Potpourri Club. Released in North America by Project-H Books.

(This review is of an explicit title, be warned.)

You’ll note there’s no picture of the cover in this review, and with good reason – it’s covered in nude women. Shocking Pink is the first in Digital Manga Publishing’s Project H line, a chance to see if folks will actually pay for pornography for guys the way they shell out if it’s BL for girls. They announced 3 titles to start with, and this is the first, a harem version of Romance of the Three Kingdoms, finished in one volume.

The plot is actually quite busy for porn. Takaaki is a grumpy 20-something, working 3 different jobs to try and escape the debt his parents got into after their business failed. Then one day a busty pink-haired girl named Ryuubi shows up at his door, pays off all his debt, and announces that she’s the reincarnation of Gentoku Ryuubi from Romance of the Three Kingdoms. She’s here to take over the world, and wants Takaaki – who is apparently the reincarnation of Koumei Shokatsu – to be her chief strategist.

Of course, not much battling goes on. Our hero is reluctant to believe the words of a clearly insane women. However, once she strips and starts to seduce him, he ends up going along fairly quickly (if grumpily). We quickly meet her two compatriots, Kan’u and Chouhi, both of whom are different personality types and also quite willing to sex him up at the drop of a hat. And then we discover he also has a large-breasted childhood friend, Moutoku, who’s been tsundere for him for years but has never done anything about it. Is she going to just accept all these new women in his life?

The characters are right out of a typical hentai dating sim, though there are a few interesting variations. The adorable shy girl has a split personality that turns her into an evil sadist, a nice way to fit two types into one girl. And Moutoku’s sister not only doesn’t have sex with the lead male (she’s happily married, and does have sex with her husband, fear not), but also has an eyepatch and a backstory more interesting than most of the other girls. Eventually we do have a battle of sorts, as our heroine and her new harem face off against Moutoku and her family to see who gets to keep screwing Takaaki.

The sex is, with one exception, fairly tame, and also fairly consensual. The girls are all sex-starved, and Takaaki is the sort of guy who is reluctant to do anything until people are naked in front of him, then just goes along. The exception is during the competition, where Moutoku’s twin cousins kidnap Chouhi and plan to blackmail her into giving up. Of course, they had to pick the girl who has an evil split personality. She quickly turns the tables, ties the siblings up, and then forces them to have sex with each other. It’s the only non-consensual scene in the book, and also involved incest and urination, as well as the implication of mind-control (the two love what Chouhi does to them so much they become her slaves). I note they’re also supposed to be in “prep school”, and are clearly the youngest of the entire cast. However, for the sake of legality, they are of course over the age of 18.

In the end, this is what it is. 200-odd pages of nonstop sex with a thin plot wrapped around it. That said, it could have been much worse. This lacks the faceless gangrapes seen so often in many Japanese hentai manga and doujinshi, and the Romance of the Three Kingdoms plot, though never actually used well, at least attempts to make things interesting. In fact, the main argument against it is the heroine, a shallow Haruhi Suzumiya-alike who never gets to be remotely likeable, unlike almost every other woman in the book. Nevertheless, I have to say this book delivers what Project-H promised to give us.