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Cogito
joined Apr 16, 2022

Reading the comments thread was almost as fun as the manga itself. I think what trips a lot of people up is that the manga is trying to do multiple things at once. I agree most with the point @Meursault made here:

So, no, the author is not inept. They portrayed it as uncomfortable, most readers feel uncomfortable, and that's absolutely the point. (Though more specifically, it's like, "hot", and "wrong". The eroticism is built on how it feels wrong.)

Kousaka is unambiguously framed as predatory. Chapter 1 ends with her embracing Maki with pacing straight out of a horror manga. She drags Maki into her room after the latter asks to go home, fucks her (and bites her!), takes advantage of her intense crush, then cowardly abandons her. At the end she admits she did all this purely out of lust. The only thing that complicates her character is the implication that she, herself, was abused as a child and so -- perhaps -- is subconsciously trying to retake control by playing the role of her old abuser. We're even shown how her actions continue to impact Maki a decade later, as she is unable to extend romantic intimacy to her own partners.

And yet, Kousaka is not just framed as an abuser. She is, of course, drawn as stunningly beautiful. More than that, her scenes with Maki are highly sexualized. And Maki, herself, holds complicated feelings toward Kousaka. She was greatly hurt by her actions, and says she feels "sullied." At the same time, even with the benefit of hindsight she views her experiences with Kousaka positively, and still holds feelings for her at the end. Kousaka's willingness to break all legal, moral, and ethical boundaries for her own pleasure gives her a certain charisma and seductiveness, at least in Maki's eyes, which is why the ending ambiguously suggests they may end up rekindling their relationship.

In other words, as @themusicman500 says:

The author is presenting an obviously disgusting and awful thing, but leaving open the question of whether there's some beauty to be found in it too despite the awfulness.

Is Maki merely a victim of abuse desperately rationalizing it as something positive in order to not just feel like she suffered for no reason? (Not exactly an uncommon phenomenon!) Or did she genuinely gain some things from her experience? Is anyone except her even in a position to determine this? The manga very deliberately avoids taking a stand on this, and leaves it up to reader interpretation. I can certainly understand why a lot of people don't like a work that leaves "is statutory rape sometimes good actually" an open question. But people like Maki absolutely exist in reality, I've met one of them, and I think it's valuable to have a manga that explores these concepts with honesty (albeit not with perfection, naturally).

last edited at Nov 26, 2022 1:28PM

joined Apr 16, 2022

^ Magenta is actually the leader of the magical girls, not Azul. And Utena isn't really aligned with Enormeeta's convictions, she's just loyal to her friends, so once the evil mascot is taken care of I can see Utena turning it into more of a "fun mischief" thing (sort of like in chapter 42).

joined Apr 16, 2022

Y'all know I've been shipping Baiser x Azul from the start, but I can no longer deny that by now, Kiwi has grown into an overall much better long-term partner for Baiser. I mean, Baiser and Azul are still better sexually compatible, but it's Kiwi who puts all the work into her relationship with Baiser, and that's what ultimately counts the most in my experience.

I'm still on the OT3 train, but Kiwi's my favorite character so I loved this chapter. Fight for your love, Kiwi!

Edit: Also I think Berserga is the most likely of the Shio-chans to turn if her faith in Imitatio can be broken. Or maybe I'm just hoping for this because her design is fantastic.

last edited at Nov 24, 2022 1:59PM

Cogito
Inko-sensei discussion 23 Nov 22:29
joined Apr 16, 2022

Alright y'all, place your bets on what kind of girl Assistant-chan winds up with.

Valkyrie, after she transmigrates into Inko-sensei's manga

last edited at Nov 23, 2022 10:30PM

joined Apr 16, 2022

The more manga I read, the more I appreciate how important small details are in making characters feel real and compelling. Things like the dumb "permission to speak" joke and Ichika whispering her order to Kuran aren't necessary for the plot but do a great job of encapsulating their respective personalities, relationship dynamic, and how close/comfortable they are with each other -- with barely any expository dialogue, too. I've already reread the chapter several times and haven't gotten bored.

joined Apr 16, 2022

Finally got around to reading through this, and it is amazing. The art is great but the writing is absolutely stellar; each character is depicted with nuance and complexity without relying on exposition telling us what to think. Umi and Shou in particular are compelling protagonists, I especially like how proactive Umi is despite her anxieties and how self-reflective Shou is despite her social difficulties. Really looking forward to future chapters!

joined Apr 16, 2022

Japan is the only country in the world were a woman of 25 is a decrepit old-timer no man would pay attention to.

Anime is not real life

Cogito
joined Apr 16, 2022

I'm guessing that Coach Yang's teenage suitor will end up being a love interest for Liu Ke, so I don't feel too bad for her. Yushan on the other hand seems awfully committed...

joined Apr 16, 2022

Did we ever get more info on how Dahlia fits into all this and why Evie's memories are "incomplete"?

Not yet

joined Apr 16, 2022

Note that you can still read it on Mangadex.

joined Apr 16, 2022

Yuna's character arc is very interesting and I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it before. It starts with her as an insecure flighty shut-in who then finds out that the person she's been idolizing (she basically saw Rena as the perfect woman at the start) is in love with her. So far that's pretty standard shoujo. But unlike in other stories where Rena's love would teach her self-worth etc, her romance has actually only deepened her issues. Yuna hates herself so much that she can't understand why Rena would love her, so she swings between excessive clinginess, irrational jealousy, and in this chapter nonstop seduction (because she subconsciously believes Rena could only lover her for her body). These behaviors make her feel guilty, which only feeds into her self-destructive cycle. And her lack of any external support system whatsoever means she has no external point of view to give her any perspective. She's probably the best-written character Morinaga's ever made, honestly.

All this does raise a concern, however. Morinaga's done such a good job depicting Yuna's ongoing self-destructive spiral that I kind of don't see how she can pull Yuna out of it without a massive asspull? As much as Rena loves her (and holy shit is Yuna lucky to have met Rena because she would be a prime target for abusers otherwise), she's self-confident and self-assured enough that I don't think she's capable of really understanding what Yuna is going through. Everything she does that to most people would reassure them just deepens Yuna's anxieties further. But Morinaga doesn't really do sad or even bittersweet endings so...I guess we'll see?

joined Apr 16, 2022

The mistress walking in on them, seeing them having sex, and being "Well, aren't you two close! :D" is, on the other hand, just classic porn logic.

It's either porn logic or a hint at what she might have done with her own sister before the latter left the house...

joined Apr 16, 2022

My guess is that Honami is attached to Michi because she's aware that Michi is (almost) the only one who can see her. It's not like Michi has done a particularly good job of hiding that, lol.

joined Apr 16, 2022

Wait until the mistress' younger sister shows up with a daughter of her own and two more maids...

I'm like 90% sure that the mistress's sister is Chloe and Mia's mother

joined Apr 16, 2022

I (unironically) appreciate that this series is so dedicated to being enemies to lovers slow burn that the instant Song Li starts feeling vaguely positive about Luouluo she does something to piss her off again.

Cogito
joined Apr 16, 2022

Ritsu is just a shitty girlfriend. She was the one that confessed but right after they got together she lost all interest in Kyoko.

Well, this is certainly how Kyouko feels, but that's because she's an extremely insecure young woman (though it would be hard not to be when her father's like that) whose life experiences have taught her that romantic interest is equivalent to sex. Ritsu's sexual anxiety is thus unconsciously interpreted by Kyouko as a sign that she doesn't really love her, which is why she's going so crazy over Makoto despite having no objective reason whatsoever to think she's anything approaching a threat.

This is not to say that Ritsu is blameless, of course. She should've proactively set up a date or something after it became clear how nervous Kyouko was feeling; she doesn't understand yet that words alone aren't enough to set someone's heart at ease. But as XadarxBlack says, this is the first serious relationship for both of them so these sorts of conflicts are to be expected.

Get well soon, Daphie, and thanks for the chapter!

joined Apr 16, 2022

Luce immediately became my favorite character in one chapter. Please no death flags.

I wonder if it means anything that the manga kept focusing on Colette's bandaged ankle. If I recall correctly, there were some hints that her master is abusive...that storyline is certainly not over.

joined Apr 16, 2022

that panel with the chessboard... WTF IS THAT KNIGHT DOING ON THE SIDE OF THE BOARD (develop ur pieces properly...) ALSO HOW DID THE BISHOP GET THERE WITHOUT THE PAWN MOVING OUT OF ITS WAY FIRST ...

The pawn did move out of its way though, that's clearly their e-pawn they moved to e4. Presumably white moved their bishop to b5 before retreating to a4 after black moved their pawn to a6. I have no defense for the knight placement though.

Cogito
joined Apr 16, 2022

It is notable that Mimei looked almost exactly like Meguru in high school, whereas now (maybe they really did date and break up?) she looks completely different. Kasane really does have a type lol.

joined Apr 16, 2022

On this page, before Arashi really knows anything about Map, she interprets Mao's attitude in an extremely sympathetic way:

It was almost like she was saying, "I don't like you, and that makes me dislike myself too."

The setup is definitely there for her to be interested in Mao romantically, even though she doesn't consciously realize it.

joined Apr 16, 2022

This chapter gives me so much more faith in the manga. I had not expected Lapis to be a straight-up awful person who was manipulating Diana from the start (complete with a literal chess board lmao). Natori is still not a particularly compelling protagonist but Lapis plus the amazing art have rocketed this manga to the top tier of my ongoing manga list already.

joined Apr 16, 2022

This is one of the rare legitimately unique pieces of media. It's not just the premise; I don't think I've seen this precise character dynamic before, a manic pixie dream girl who's secretly suicidal and a woman who's seemingly given up on life yet still constantly reaches for the "real world" she doesn't believe she can achieve.

joined Apr 16, 2022

I think the best way to read this manga is to approach it as a deliberately heightened version of reality. Hinata isn't just popular; she's super talented at everything and literally everyone at school faints just from talking to her. The obligatory pick-up artists aren't just sleazy, they openly declare they're going to just drag girls off if they're not stopped. Shun goes through every "melt the ice queen" trope in record speed, teachers are practically nonexistent, etc.

Viewed at through this lens, the way for the manga to succeed is to just become increasingly melodramatic with each chapter. Hopefully by chapter 6 Hinata will be taking a test to become officially the smartest high schooler in Japan and will succeed because Shun psychically beams encouragement directly into her mind. This is not sarcasm.

joined Apr 16, 2022

At this point the author might as well just make a full sequel manga lol

joined Apr 16, 2022

Kaori was a homophobe for years, including at least one year after Lina confessed to her -- check out her college friend group. She hurt Lina deeply. Yes, she repented it later (and got a better group of friends), I don't hate her, but it wasn't just a single mistake. As I suggested before, the entire point of miracles is that people don't deserve them.

So you're blaming someone for having internalized homophobia, cool

It is wrong to hurt your closest friend due to unexamined prejudices, correct.