Sensual Phrase 9

June 10, 2011

Mayu Shinjo – Viz – 2005 – 18 volumes

Well, Sakuya finds himself in another situation where he starts to have sex with a woman, and then needs to find a way to politely decline. Good thing he knows what to say in every situation. “When you have what I’ve got, you don’t trade it for a quick fuck from a hired hand. Even if you are a beast.”

More class from Sensual Phrase, this time from a Lucifer MD Player ad that shows up in the story for no good reason: “Sony MD Player. Turn it on… and get off.” You see… because Sakuya is so hot, and his song lyrics are dirty. That one’s borderline bad out of context, but in the context of the story, it is mind-blowing. There are dozens more that lose their magic outside the book

I feel like I need a little pocket reference guide, full of Sensual Phrase quotes for every situation.

Anyway, the story begins to venture into uncomfortable territory here as Sakuya and a new character engage in a silly fight over Aine. The new character, a photographer named Kyo, wants to capture Aine’s smile, but she only smiles like that for Sakuya. So… he just needs her to fall in love with him, of course. Good thing his personality is exactly like Sakuya in every way. Sakuya invites the challenge. He’s not giving up on Aine so easily.

Okay, so this is ugly, even in Sensual Phrase. Sakuya is possessive of Aine, which could be bad, but he’s so much a white knight, and the two are clearly a solid couple, so it’s easy to forgive. There are other faux pas about things that Aine says and does that are easy to overlook because… well, Aine isn’t a particularly weak character. She frequently says her mind. And she doesn’t quite fall into the doormat trap, since Sakuya will always defend whatever Aine wants and she doesn’t have to fail at doing it herself. She is a doormat as far as Sakuya is concerned, but again, his white knight nature means that he doesn’t really take advantage of her, so it’s… mostly okay, sort of.

Except here. Kyo takes Aine’s picture and uses it in an ad campaign without her knowledge or permission. Kyo is determined to capture her smile again, and wants to make her a big star. Kyo is also a horrible creep, that slides comments about her falling in love with him and the need to disrobe her into most of his conversations. Sakuya does this a lot too, and Aine realizes that Kyo’s pushy, dominant nature is identical to Sakuya. But the reason Sakuya can pull it off is that Aine has always been in love with Sakuya, whereas Kyo’s affections are unwanted.

Anyway, Sakuya challenges Kyo to capture Aine’s smile one more time, the catch being that Aine only smiles for Sakuya. Both men decide this without Aine’s approval, though Aine does want to be a model. Sakuya knows Kyo won’t succeed, and basically guilts Aine out of her dream, saying that he can’t protect her if they are both famous. At the photo shoot with Kyo, Kyo doesn’t have much success until he begins to tear Aine’s clothes off and plays Lucifer music, which of course makes her think of Sakuya and gets her all… bothered. But apparently she needs to think of Kyo, not Sakuya, and the photos won’t be good enough unless Aine is in love with Kyo. After kidnappings, drinks laced with aphrodisiacs (that result in a 5-hour sex marathon), and several arguments, Sakuya challenges Kyo to make Aine his, saying he won’t give her up easily.

When even I can spot misogyny, there’s a problem. And it’s on, like, every page of this volume. The only thing that makes this less horrible is that Aine seems okay with everything (she is outspoken enough to say when she’s not cool with something), and again, the fact that she and Sakuya are such a tight couple. She’s not being beaten or abused, and her “dream” that’s being stepped on is to be a supermodel. The fact that it’s being stepped on by her famous rockstar boyfriend somehow makes that even less of a tragedy.

Sakuya does turn a little scary possessive towards Aine in this volume, though. I’m worried this will turn into a thing.

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