S and M
ＳとＭ (S to M)
Seinen – Adult, drama, harem, romance
5 Volumes of 28 Volumes of 31 Volumes (complete)
Media Do (Nihonbungeisha)
Thirty-nine-year-old Makoto is always careful. With a nice family and a good job, his life on the straight and narrow has been good. His only regret in life was running away from the girl he liked in high school when she approached him. At his 20 year reunion, he’s nervous to see Saori again, but she doesn’t show up. Instead, her daughter Saya attends, and little does Makoto know that she came with one purpose: to get revenge for her mother!
Warning: this review is of a series that is recommended for ages 18+ and is not safe for work!
Note that this series can be technically marked as completed. The author concluded it in 2012 at Volume 28, which is out in English, but he started a “Chapter Two” around 2018, continuing the series with the 29th volume and re-ending it at Volume 31. These volumes are set years later, so they’re more like a sequel series that didn’t get a new name or subtitle.
Anyway, S and M is full of people who need to star on a new game show called Psychopath, Sociopath, or Cheater.
Makoto, by many standards, is a boring man. He doesn’t do anything crazy, follows the rules, and is always responsible. “No regrets” and “look before you leap” are his philosophies. At age 39, he has a loving wife name Sawako that he met through an arranged marriage meeting set up by his boss at work. They have a daughter, Momoko, who is in third grade. A happy, normal family.
But then he goes to his college reunion and Makoto’s life suddenly goes off the rails in the most extreme of ways.
There, he meets Saya, the daughter of his crush, Saori. He hasn’t seen Saori since high school, after she made some aggressive passes at him in the infirmary. She was rumored to be promiscuous, and probably out of a combination of nerves and seeing her be the sexually forward girl from gossip made him flee.
… What he didn’t know, and readers find out in the second volume, is that right after that, Saori was raped by an unknown assailant in the room and wound up pregnant. She sent a letter to try to meet with Makoto after graduation, but he lost it after putting it in his back pocket. (Well, I’m guessing it was stolen by the rapist who was probably attending their post-graduation party.) When he didn’t show up to the place Saori said she’d be waiting, she walked into a crosswalk with a red light and was killed. Her baby, Saya, survived, but she had a rough life that included the death of her beloved grandmother and likely sexual abuse.
… AND IT’S ALL MAKOTO’S FAULT, DON’T YOU KNOW!!! Obviously, if Makoto had just slept with Saori, she wouldn’t have been raped in the nurse’s office. And obviously, if Makoto had shown up on time, Saori wouldn’t have missed the “do not cross” sign and been hit by a car. I mean, yeah, he probably could have read the letter then or reached out to Saori with, “Hey, lost your letter!”, but it’s definitely his choice whether to sleep with someone or not.
But regardless of logic, Saya blames Makoto for Saori’s death and is going to ruin his life in revenge. While he doesn’t fall for her seductions at the reunion, she gets hired at his workplace, and then her revenge plot goes full-throttle. This involves her manipulating a coworker’s feelings and then acting like it’s sexual harassment, trying to get Makoto alone, and so forth. Eventually, though, she drugs him, takes him to a hotel, and acts like they slept together after professing their feelings. Makoto wakes up with no memory of this (of course, since it didn’t happen), but Saya “continues” so that he officially winds up cheating on Sawako.
He regrets it, but the nightmare only gets worse when she shows him a picture of them together at the hotel. Saya blackmails him, and he feels pressured to follow her orders so that his work and, more importantly, his marriage doesn’t come crumbling down. Meanwhile, Saya also manipulates others into playing roles in pulling Makoto’s life apart, including the strict, gossipy coworker (Sakiko) who flips out when she “discovers” the upstanding Makoto is sexually harassing and sleeping with Saya. I mean, she totally flips out, putting on a wedding dress and declaring she’s his “office wife” (aka his other wife), and then spiking his drink so she can tie him to the bed for their “wedding night”.
And at this time, a reminder:
Please, watch your drinks carefully folks!
Oh, by the way, guess who’s recording all this and livestreaming it to Sawako?
In short, S and M is filled with crazy games of sexual manipulation. Topics like revenge porn are getting more attention — and rightfully so — but this is so off-the-wall in believability. I mean, I cannot believe that a tied-up Makoto and Sakiko are so into it that they never notice there’s an arm sticking up from the side of the bed the whole time. At one point, she actually climbs onto the bed for a closeup, and still, they know nothing. And I’m not even getting to the real crazy stuff that happens in the manga. Crimes, crimes everywhere!
In fact, that’s who this series should be for: law students. They should have to read S and M and keep track of all the crimes committed during the course of this series. I can’t even imagine how long that list will be by the end of the manga…
However, there would be room for debate if or when Makoto consented to many of these trysts. I don’t think anyone would doubt he’s a victim, but he’s also hardly innocent. In fact, the only innocent one is Momoko, his daughter who starts to notice her happy family change for the worse. Readers might like characters in their roles, but it’s hard to like the people themselves. Sawako is understandably shook when she starts to have doubts about her husband, and she’s tempted to find her own revenge. Other people with their own demons and flaws get mixed up as well, and I can’t imagine how many more people will come in trying to break up Makoto and Sawako. Maybe even more Momoko will be threatened, although I hope not!
Either way, at the very least, expect a lot of sexual situations. Makoto’s privates are blurred as the women perform acts on him, but there’s plenty of big buxom women and various rendezvous. This is definitely a NSFW manga — and a netorare one at that. While it can be addicting to watch train wrecks like S and M go further and further off-track, this is a long manga. How many frickin’ times are these people going to wind up in trouble?! I’m sure this is divided into arcs (whether Saya is always the main antagonist or not), but 31 volumes of cheating, rape, sex games, and who knows what else? That seems tiring. I’m sure you could jump in and be like, “Oh, I guess someone else is blackmailing him now…”, but that probably misses the titillating aspect of the manga.
There’s not much left to say about the art. There’s a lot of absurdity that will make you chuckle (ninja Sakiko), and Murao does a good job with some visual metaphors for the acts (opening of the gates, crossing the finish line in a race). It’s easy to keep track of all the characters despite the large number of them, although since most of the time Makoto and others are stuck on one emotion, it can feel repetitive. But as you can tell from the cover, lots of erotic scenes.
No honorifics are used. Fairly often, most notably in the first and fifth volumes, Japanese text is left with the English translations between panels or in a corner. Papa/Mama are used. Typos. Original Japanese text is often shortened or summarized. For instance, Makoto’s long invitation to his high school reunion is just shortened to “Invitation letter to high school reunion.” When he’s reminiscing about Saori, for instance, the rumor of what she would do for 5,000 yen is missing. On the next page, Saori’s nickname is explained, but Makoto’s thoughts, which are several sentences long, is just a short “But I believed she was an earnest girl.” — awful. Wrong words like “you’re” instead of “your”. It’s decent when it’s okay, but if when the translation gets lazy, it’s awful. I’d hate to buy a volume only to find out that the translation decides to not bother erasing text or just decides to replace paragraphs with one sentence. That’s unacceptable for a paid, official work. On the other hand, how much time are you going to be spent actually reading and not just seeing who winds up in bed with who…?
S and M may be full of sexual conquest and mind games that could be addicting for fans of this type of adult erotic drama, but the length and the lackluster-to-poor localization are barriers for most readers.
Murao’s Cash Boy and The Eve of Uneasiness are available from Media Do.
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