Sensual Phrase 8
June 9, 2011
Mayu Shinjo – Viz – 2005 – 18 volumes
Okay, so I’m going to read the rest of this series all at once. Expect a lot of these reviews, mostly consisting of me simultaneously making fun of and relentlessly praising each volume. Honestly, there’s not a whole lot of plot or character development to talk about, and I have to say something about why each volume is a special little treasure.
I love the essays by Kelly Sue DeConnick whenever they appear. Not only do they do a good job of highlighting some of what makes Sensual Phrase bad and/or good, but they’re there for me. When I’m filled with shame for tearing through yet another volume of Sensual Phrase and loving it for no good reason, there’s Kelly Sue DeConnick, a sister-in-arms who clearly loves the book and rises above her shame by mocking the campiest parts. This book’s essay is about some of the worst shoujo plot devices Sensual Phrase engages in. Evil siblings, dos and don’ts of drinking, and taking your licks when your boyfriend is angry (to be fair, Sakuya isn’t actually violent with Aine, but he can be… you know, a smidge misogynistic in his white knight-ness). It has them all. Thankfully, we’ve been spared the school play and the hot springs visit, the school trip and the final exam business.
My fears about drama from the last volume don’t come to pass. Surprisingly, infidelity doesn’t even come to pass. Though, for no good reason I can fathom, after getting Sakuya hooked on smack several volumes ago and getting Aine drunk and nearly raped less than a few days ago in story-time, apparently Ralph Grazer isn’t such a bad guy, and Aine almost decides to become his fiancee on a whim. WHAT. That didn’t even make Sensual Phrase sense. She and Sakuya were riding out a fight that lasted ten pages (a long time for the two of them), and the “engagement” was at the tail end of this, but Aine wasn’t angry enough to… hate Sakuya or anything. I didn’t really understand the logic there. There may not be any.
Mostly, this volume is an awful lot of Sakuya and Aine having sex and confirming how much they love each other over and over and over again. Ralph Grazer and Mizuki try to break the couple up, which of course doesn’t work at all. It just gives them reasons to have sex in the hallway.
I love this series so much it’s ridiculous.
My dialogue moment of zen: during a particularly sexy scene where it looks like Mizuki will get her wish with a turned-on Sakuya, Sakuya comes out of left field to break the mood in as polite and classy a manner as possible: “I don’t just fuck any piece of ass I’m offered.”
There are other gems, but their true awful nature can only be experienced in context. Out of context, they sound stupid. In context, they are stupid and a special kind of magic.