This is one of the few narratives in manga that tries to realistically portray teenage sexuality. Through the unique perspectives of five girls, and occasionally one boy, we are privy to the anxiety, angst and temporary euphoria that comes with a maturing body and newfound focus on satisfying the innate desire to be loved
However, an attempt at realism in fiction does not necessitate a pleasant experience, nor does it make a reading successfully realistic. Araburu utilizes NTR in a rage inducing love triangle for the sole purpose of evoking an emotional response from the reader. Unless this is your fetish, it is
not an enjoyable experience to watch two "friends" chase after an indecisive boy who isn't worth the attention. Araburu features an illegal student-teacher "relationship" that is entirely inappropriate in a realistic scenario. No matter how many times sensei tries to convince us that he's just not into children, it's never comforting watching an adult engage in the sexual stimulation of an underaged student.
Many of the reasons that readers dislike Kuzu No Honkai should apply to this manga - you must watch characters you grow to love suffer. The narrative grows progressively darker. The characters grow progressively melancholic with no signs of relief in sight. but Kuzu No Honkai is a superior version of what this manga is trying to accomplish. That manga and it's adaptation carry a consistently somber tone from the beginning so there is no confusion over what general direction it will take - you know to brace yourself for the impending avalanche of pain. There is NTR and a student teacher relationship there too, but the instigator is a self affirmed nymphomaniac who fully embraces her depravity, unlike the dynamic in Arubaru where the student-teacher are merely tip toeing around a uncrossable line. Unlike the dynamic of the love triangle where the cheating parties shy away from acknowledging their roles in betraying the companion who they claim to love. You can appreciate, if nothing else, the brutal honesty exhibited in KnH, while there is very little reprevie for the the underhanded deceit in this manga. Furthermore, the characters actually have sex in KnH, in one case with the same sex, early in the narrative and quickly learn that it doesn't fulfill them a single iota, whereas in Arabaru there is lots of talking and nil action.
You are deceptively given some hope that Arubaru will be heartwarming with a tinge of bittersweetness by the inclusion of goofy comedy in the early chapters and the innocent reliance upon literature as a vehicle to explore a subject that is uncomfortable to communicate otherwise. It is was fun to watch them come up with code-words to describe sex, because saying it outright is just too embarrassing, and to form genuine bonds over the mutual curiosity of eroticism. This makes it all the more jarring that those bonds are so soon shredded apart, in some cases irreparably so, and those laughs are swiftly transformed into groans. It doesn't even feel like I'm reading the same manga anymore, and it's hard to justify so dramatic a tone shift that feels more manufactured than genuine.
Any serious attempt at capturing teenage sexuality is invariably prone to an overdose of slow burning indecisive love triangles, stupid boys, fractured friendships, hormone driven decision making and misunderstandings. That is not inherently a fault of Araburu. But initially presenting itself as something other than what it becomes, seemingly stirring up drama for the sake of evoking a reaction, and not being realistic in spite of a premise that tries to capture realism, is. I appreciate the attempt here to capture a social experience that is usually ignored in this medium, but not so much the execution. I'd rather just read Kuzu No Honkai again.
Araburu Kisetsu no Otome-domo yo is an interesting read. It’s a shounen title about a group of girls’ sexual awakening through literature written and drawn by a duo of women. It charts their course from learning love and sex on paper to learning what it feels like for real with sensitivity towards the girls’ experiences and emotions that are often overlooked or sexualized in books of this type when they’re written by men.
That is not to say that the girls in this book are not sexual, they most certainly are, but they are not objectified. Rather, Okada-sensei introduces us in each chapter to some new
emotional development which ties into their sexuality. She tackles difficult subject matter in the series with sensitivity and subtlety while glossing over or skipping altogether other typical “drama” that one usually finds in shounen and shoujo titles to instead focus on subtler issues that gives the manga a sense of realism and higher purpose.
This title is really an overlooked gem. It is so layered. What strikes me most is how the author knows how to visit them at just right the moment. Each moment pushes the story along without it feeling sparing, rushed, lagging, or over-editing. It has such a natural flow and the author has such a wonderful, natural sense of pacing that leaves the reader wanting more with each successive chapter.
The art is likewise wonderful. It has a natural airiness and simplicity to it which on its own is exceptional, but together with the story is genius, perfectly complimenting the story and the personalities of the young characters.
I was very excited to start reading this manga. The first episode of the anime came out and immediately after watching it I knew I wanted to read the manga as well. I always appreciate manga trying to take a more serious approach to sex and eroticism and that seemed to be exactly what Araburu was doing. Usually, with many of these romantically themed mangas, we get characters who dance around concepts of sex and it can feel very repetitive and immature for someone who reads a lot of romance. Araburu got straight to the point of it and takes an interesting and realistic
take on what sex is like for teenagers. It seemed to bring something new to the genre and I was very excited.
Unfortunately, my excitement quickly vanished as halfway through the story the plot goes in a very cliched and regrettable direction. The love triangle that emerges is essentially what ruined this manga for me. Not only does it cut through any character development that the male MC has, but it takes away from what the manga really had going for it. Despite the troublesome nature of growing up and facing the insecurities that teens have with sex, the main girls all had the literature club, and most importantly each other, to help them deal with these problems and their relationships to one another was what made the manga cute and fun to read.
With the love triangle, we are resorting back to the typical ways high school drama is written about and it's aggravating. We see friendships being broken beyond repair as the two main girls actively pursue the same love interest who, before this point seemed like a decent character but has instead fallen into the douchy and oblivious male role we expect to find in trashy harem writing. Instead of focusing on the feelings behind sexual desire, the basis of this manga initially, it is all about hormonal teens making bad decisions and, while this may be realistic in its own right, it has lost the sophistication I felt it had at the beginning.
I was excited to see each girl follow their own path towards adulthood and while I expected the angst of show about high school, the turmoil caused by the love triangle put a hold on any future development for the two girls and has made the only male mc completely unlikable. I appreciated the introduction of a non-straight character but her involvement in the feud seems to undermine her story and growth as well which is a huge disappointment.
I know it is not over yet but I am unsure that anything could fix this decision and it seems the story is beyond help.
I recently found this manga earlier today due to the anime adaption it will be getting and I have to say that I'm shocked by how unknown this manga seems to be.
As far as the story goes it's entertaining, with a good balance of humor and more serious topics, with a main cast of characters which are all unique and entertaining with their own distinct personalities. The art for this series is also great. It's nothing revolutionary, however it well compliments the tone of the story while being mostly unique and pleasant to the eye. The various gags brought on by the sexual themes
in this manga also hit their mark every time, making this one of the first manga to make me laugh out loud in a while. Another good thing about this series is that it doesn't rely on sexualising the characters themselves to attract readers, which is something easy to do when focusing on themes of sex.
Overall I feel this is a manga many more people should read and I will be picking up a physical copy at the first chance I get at the first chance I get. Hopefully the anime adaptation does it justice and brings more people to this mostly unknown series.