Jackass!, part 0

I wasn’t able to find a picture this time, but here’s the next manga that I’ll be reviewing.

Jacka$$Image from: https://www.google.com/search?q=jackass!+manga&oq=jackass!+manga&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i60j69i65j69i61l3.2730j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

This is the only yaoi I own, and I have read it several times, but I’ll try to stay impartial.  Since I do own this manga, I’ll be reading the official English translation instead of from a site.

The back cover reads:
“Keisuke’s incredibly handsome best friend Masayuki has always rubbed him just a little bit the wrong way.  Maybe it’s because Masayuki is rich, carefree, and so stunningly handsome that he can, and does, have any girl he wants?  But one day, when Keisuke accidentally wears his older sister’s panty hose to gym class, it’s suddenly his hot friend who’s doing the rubbing…on Keisuke’s panty hose-clad legs!  Has he unwittingly unleashed a secret fetish that will change their relationship forever?”

This manga is one volume long with six chapters and a three side comics at the end.  My review will be below, and if you continue reading below the stars, you will see my explanation and my recounting of what I read.

Every post past this point will be a spoiler, so please read ahead with caution!

To read my final review, please click: here

I’m going to start this review by saying that this is a yaoi.  If you are not comfortable reading about men having sex with each other, then this is not the manga for you.  You should avoid any manga that say “yaoi”, “BL” (boy love), and maybe even “shounen ai” if two men together makes you uncomfortable.
I should state that I love this manga not for the sex but for the relationships.  I am a sucker for a good romance, and this one has one of the best (between men) that I’ve ever read.  Let’s just get started so you’ll know what I’m talking about.

The back cover mentions Keisuke and Masayuki, but there are several more characters and pairings aside from those two.  Keisuke’s childhood best friend is actually Katsumi, the first openly gay character that you meet.  Katsumi is probably my favorite character in this manga.  He has a boyfriend already at the start of the manga, and he gets along well with Keisuke’s older sister, Akiko, who is currently looking for a boyfriend.  Akiko is 29, and she goes to mixers often.  When love fails, she drinks, and she declares this to be a Hara family tradition for dealing with broken hearts.  After their parents left, Keisuke lived with Katsumi’s family for five years until Akiko could afford to raise him and herself in an apartment.  She says that raising Keisuke gives her life purpose, and she often encourages him to follow his dreams and pursue higher education by going to college.  Suffice it to say, she knows her brother very well and loves him dearly.

Keisuke, Katsumi, and Masayuki go to an all boys school.  Keisuke and Katsumi are in the same class, and I assume that Masayuki is a year older than them? (But that doesn’t make sense because this is Keisuke’s 3rd and final year of high school).  Maybe Masayuki’s just in a higher ranked class than Keisuke and Katsumi.  Regardless, they all go to school together, and the trio are notorious for different reasons.  Masayuki’s the most well known because he’s popular with guys and girls; guys want to hang with him, and girls want to date him.  He’s a rich, pretty boy who is top of his class and is class president.  Keisuke’s scarier than he looks, but he’s a decent guy, and his classmates seem to know this.  If he’s not reacting to their shenanigans, then they know something’s wrong.  He’s often serious, but it serves him well as the vice president.  Katsumi is openly gay, and everyone knows it.  He came out in elementary school, so now that he’s in high school, it’s become accepted by his peers.  No one treats him differently for being gay except the class representative, Miyoshi.

Miyoshi is secretly gay, and it’s only through the course of this manga that he starts to realize it himself.  Unfortunately for him, he falls in love with Katsumi.  This is unfortunate because Katsumi is already in a relationship… with the school nurse (secretly!).  It’s a new relationship, but Katsumi has been working to win over the doctor for a while, and after telling him every day that he loves him, Aramaki-sensei finally came out of the closet and agreed to date Katsumi… in secret.  They weren’t supposed to do anything in school, and Aramaki wanted to wait until Katsumi graduated before going all the way.  Read the manga to find out how that goes over…

This manga’s nice because it doesn’t leave anyone unpaired.  Miyoshi has a suitor by the end of the manga.  It’s Hosaka, Katsumi’s boss for his part-time job.  Hosaka has known Aramaki since middle school, and even though Hosaka’s not flagrantly gay, he has no qualms with flirting and teasing Miyoshi.  By the end of the manga, he’s working to slowly win Miyoshi over, even though he already wants to devour the transitioning student. (Good luck, Miyoshi!)

I love how this manga goes against most yaoi stereotypes.  Normally, you have a very obvious uke with the obvious seme, and for some reason, the uke is extremely feminine and emotional, usually crying over everything.
The main pair in this manga (Keisuke and Masayuki), the uke is the scary looking guy.  Yes, he can cook, and he has a kind heart, but he also has a backbone and he fights back (verbally and physically) when his significant other oversteps his boundaries.  Also, it’s not that he’s gay, but simply that he fell in love with Masayuki.  Masayuki has been with lots of women, and he only noticed Keisuke in a different way because he wore stockings once by accident.  If not for that, he probably would have never even considered men; women were fine with him.
The secondary pair (Katsumi and Aramaki), the young openly-gay one who is pretty and small is the seme!  And he threatens people who try to mess with him or look down on him!  He protects his friend like family, and he answers to no one! (I LOVE Katsumi!)  Aramaki thought he was straight before Katsumi wore him down.
The third pair (Miyoshi and Hosaka) fits the stereotype a bit better, but they don’t become a couple by the end of the manga -they’re a work in progress- so maybe they’d surprise me, too.  Miyoshi’s from a strict family.  He’s the class representative; everyone knows him.  He has friends that I assume are straight because they don’t like the idea of eating sweets with just a group of guys (Miyoshi likes sweets).  Hosaka runs a fashion business (I assume he’s the boss; I really don’t know); he’s comfortable in every situation we see him in.  He also punches his childhood friend -Aramaki- in the face for trying to lie, and he does it while wearing a gigantic and painful looking ring!  I would assume he’d be the seme, but who knows (I’m sure he’d like that as well).
Finally, there are tons of straight people in this manga.  They may not all get names or screen time, but it’s hinted at so much that being straight is normal.  All the classmates want to do events that attract women because they’re starved for girls.  Akiko keeps going to mixers to find a boyfriend, and she eventually moves out to live with her boyfriend.  Miyoshi’s parents and Masayuki’s parents expect perfection from their sons and will most likely not react well if/when they find out their sons are gay or at least in a gay relationship.  Really, the only openly gay character in this yaoi is Katsumi.  The others are in the closet or subtle or simply have eyes for just one specific guy.

I love this manga because it seems so much more believable to me than most yaoi.  These relationships are private; they’re not shown off at school.  These boys have friends and families, so their worlds don’t revolve around the others’ lives.  They hold jobs, go to school, have to study; real life keeps happening around them; they don’t go off on fantastical, impossible trips where the rest of the world doesn’t matter.  For some, there is a real concern about how others will react.  These characters aren’t love struck from day one; they build friendships that grow and get strained, mature and change.  They can still laugh and fight with their significant other instead of being in a love haze where one little misunderstanding threatens the relationship.  These characters are stable!  And I love it!
And the art’s beautiful, and so many different expressions are used throughout the manga!  There’re different body types, and muscle tone is different between characters.  You can tell that Keisuke’s a runner and that Masayuki doesn’t do strength training!
No one’s over the top.  The teenage boys act like teenage boys; they have tempers, words don’t always come easy, they make mistakes but they’re trying hard.  They still have to worry about their families and futures, and they don’t have all the answers yet.  Even the adults show that life goes on; they’re still learning, too, and life hasn’t become static (Akiko gets a boyfriend and moves out, Aramaki changes jobs).

There’s a reason this is the only yaoi I own; it’s because I love it the most.  And I’ve read other works written by Scarlet Beriko; maybe I’ll get around to reviewing them someday, but this is my all time favorite one.  It just gives me a good feeling while still letting me enjoy the suspense of changing relationships.  Fights happen, but it all ends well, and it gives me a good feeling after reading (all the laughing helps, too; some of those expressions are HILARIOUS!).  I know I’m rambling a lot, but if you’re a yaoi fan, then I hope I’ve convinced you to give this series a try.

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