Sotsugyousei is a yaoi manga by Nakamura Asumiko, and is a direct sequel to Doukyuusei. As such, it's naturally pertinent for you to read Doukyuusei before progressing to Sotsugyousei.
Needless to say, we are reunited with Sajou and Kusakabe, as well as Hara, for some more shenanigans regarding their relationship. Yes, our two main leads are still very much in love and still very much pushing forward. What Sotsugyousei does differently from its predecessor is that it sheds a small amount of light on the difficulties of being a gay couple in Japan, although probably not as seriously as it could have. It is still a lighthearted, pleasant story at heart, with a bit more plot that manages to raise my opinion of this instalment as a whole.
There isn’t much to say about the art. It is the same as it ever was – stylistic, original, pretty, but still lacking in details. The anatomy is a bit weird in some places. I will say that the backgrounds this time around seem to be a bit more fleshed out. Speaking of fleshed out, both our mains as well as Hara-sensei get some development. Kusakabe and Sajou are in the midst of growing up and deciding upon their career paths, and the manga attempts to shed light on their issues and troubles as they do so. In essence, it is more of a coming of age piece of fiction than Doukyuusei was. The prequel was more of an introduction to our primary characters. Now that we know them well enough, the real meat of the story can begin. We have a new character by the name of Tani, although he’s more like a side character than anything and has a completely nonexistent character design. He’s obviously just there for comedic purposes. Hara gets some character development (or rather, we as readers are able to understand him better), and he comes off as much more likable than he did in Doukyuusei.
Neither Sajou nor Kusakabe are just hormonal teenagers looking for love. They have dreams and aspirations and they support one another in aiming for them. They make sacrifices, like in any relationship, but they understand what the other person wants, for the most part, and they don’t attempt to hold each other back. The manga ends on a high note, a truly wonderful one I might add, that left me feeling happy for the characters but sad that the series had come to an end. Well, there’s still the sequel and the spin off, so I guess it hasn’t ended just yet. I’ll have to hunt those down soon.
Nakamura-sensei panders to some of the fangirls with some shorts that contain good old-fashioned fan service. They pose some cute or comedic value but otherwise do very, very little to further the plot of the manga. In addition, MAL classifies Sotsugyousei as a “yaoi”. According to the current organization of the site, that means that there’s sex in it. Yeah, there is some toward the end, but it’s not explicit in any way, thankfully (or unfortunately, depending on what you’re looking for). They also don’t go at it like rabbits, unlike in a lot of yaoi manga. Not that there’s anything wrong with having a high sex drive, you know, but these characters just feel very realistic with how delicately they breach the subject in and of itself. It probably helps that they are both fumbling virgins.
All in all, it feels like the author of Sotsugyousei is very respectful with her treatment of the main characters of her manga. It’s still a slice of life and a drama, like its predecessor, but it’s a more involved one and a more mature one, only fitting since the characters are older. It is definitely a treat and very much recommended for anyone interested in a yaoi manga that is actually good.read more