Manga Review – E-Series

E-Series Volume 1

E-Series
eシリーズ
BENISAKO Harumi
Boys’ Love – Comedy, drama, romance, mature, smut
1 Volume of 5 Volumes (complete)
Media Do (MediBang)

Summary:

Takao, the school delinquent, falls in love at first sight with a gorgeous guy. Kimihiko, unlike Takao, is a genius, but it’s rumored that he never turns down anyone who hits on him. But Takao vows to be different — he’s going to get close enough to learn all about Kimihiko and see his true self!

Warning: this review is of a series that is recommended for ages 18+ and is not safe for work!

Review:

First-year student Takao has all the hallmarks of being a delinquent: blonde hair, piercings, a tattoo, and an attitude. But it’s as if he’s struck by lightning when he meets second-year Kimihiko, a genius with an IQ of 200, and he immediately asks Kimihiko out on a date. While the aggressive first-year gets a kiss, Kimihiko’s expression only changed when his looks were brought up. So Takao aims to “rip that stoic mask” off Kimihiko’s face.

E-Series is very explicit. While in some cases, manga just showing characters having sex can be considered explicit, in this case, it’s more than that — it’s erotica. Takao tries to find the best way to pleasure Kimihiko, and in the first chapter, Takao forces himself on Kimihiko. There is a story between these smutty scenes, but this is definitely not the kind of series to read out in public. The first chapter is also likely to dissuade some readers from continuing. After hearing about the source of Kimihiko’s complex about his face, he decides to restrain himself until Kimihiko is ready, but it doesn’t change what he did. Shortly thereafter, though, the mixed-race upperclassman admits that he finds himself being drawn to Takao too, and they resume a physical relationship in E-Series‘ second chapter.

E-Series Sample 1

So E-Series stars two polar opposites (wild but completely smitten Takao and straight-laced and often unemotional Kimihiko). But they each have people in their circle that play roles in the story. Takao’s cousin Masaki is a bisexual playboy, and this is the first same-sex relationship for his current lover, Junya. Junya is likely going to be an important character for most of the series, as Takao was attracted to Junya the first time they met. I don’t believe this will turn out to be a NTR series, but he and Junya do turn to each other when at low points in relationships. Since Takao’s bright enthusiasm for Kimihiko is what propels the story, these moments are disappointing for his character. Although technically, Takao has other times where he drops the ball, like when “I’ll wait for you to be ready” turns into “let me do you if I pass my tests”.

But while most of E-Series is from Takao’s point-of-view, readers also get to see Kimihiko’s thoughts at times. He has his internal struggles, and his unfamiliarity with normal or honest love causes Takao distress. But once the big misunderstanding is cleared up, for the last two chapters of the volume, his role is restricted to being Takao’s boyfriend. I think this could be an issue, as according to one of Takao’s friends, Takao tends to be the kind of person who thinks his friends’ problems are his own. I can see Takao getting dragged into all kinds of messes and then just returning to Kimihiko’s side with a big grin on his face. Kimihiko has opened his heart to Takao, and he has at least one good friend, but I don’t want his character to stagnate, that he isn’t just the prize that Takao works hard for every day.

I think a lot of my grievances can trace back to the flow of time in the manga. It’s not done well at all. Even in the first chapter, I don’t see how Kimihiko went from someone private to spilling his guts out to Takao and then saying he’s important to him too. E-Series tends to speed past a lot of things. Kimihiko is a second year at the start of the series, and by the end of this first volume, he’s graduating! This series reads more like random moments in these characters’ lives than a journey of their love story. Maybe the manga was serialized irregularly, because it sure feels like the author didn’t have a long-term plan for the characters. That would explain why Takao goes from willing to wait to making a bet by the next chapter. Chapters and volume names, by the way, always start with the letter “e” for E-Series.

E-Series Sample 2

There are some funny moments in the manga (everyone is afraid when Takao starts studying, and Takao’s depressed looks when he’s not lovey-dovey with Kimihiko), but this is mostly dealing with drama in-between their time alone together. Kimihiko is working toward his career goal, and the two are already planning on spending their lives together. I have a feeling that these future plans are going to come quite a shock to Kimihiko’s father, but I’m also curious as to what Takao’s parents will think. I’m sure that will be part of the drama, but if the manga had been paced better, we could see how much they know about their son, about the changes he’s making in his life. After all, Takao goes from not caring about his grades to aiming for a prestigious university. His parents sound like they’re busy people, but I’m surprised they aren’t celebrating in hopes he’ll work at the family business or whatever.

I already mentioned the graphic sexual imagery here, but it’s worth repeating. The art itself is very nice. As you might expect, it features good-looking males characters: Kimihiko’s and Junya’s mixed race looks and their lovers’ wild sides. The style reminds me of mid-90s to early 00s with a lot of gray tones and simple designs for the side characters. Backgrounds can be a bit plain at times, hiding both charging into a bar and then walking down the street after leaving in complete darkness. Even though I suspected E-Series was not published on a regular schedule, the art doesn’t suffer from this problem. So that makes it easier to dive into the manga.

Translation:

Honorifics are not used.

Final Comments:

E-Series needed to better control the flow of both time and the story at large. It’s a generally good story, but Takao’s trip-ups may make a stronger, negative impact on some readers’ opinion of him than others might have.

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