Synonyms: Treat me gently, Don't be Cruel, Please, Don't be Coldhearted, Please, After School Secret, Wagamama mo Aishite, Love the Selfish, Too, Hindered by Underwear, Don't Take Off the Sailor Uniform, Please
I have finally lost track on the amount of times I have reread this manga and everything single time, it has left me crying AGAIN AND AGAIN! I keep on promising myself to write a review but everytime I end up reading the manga all over again.
At first glance, It starts with the typical (yet usable) yaoi starter: rape. In this case, blackmail (like we've never seen that one yet). But above all else, the character development is what really sets itself apart from most yaoi.
Let me tell you a thing. The art in this is ABSOLUTELY ADORABLY AMAZING!!! It's detailed yet cute in
a way that cute can become sexy and sexy to HOT (chibis are adorable too!)
I mentioned before character development. It's (or at least I think) realistic with the whole dealing with a relationship both being the lover and the loved one and the stress of the future after highschool and into adulthood.
I have read and reread this manga x times and I keep falling in love all over again.
Why would you not read it?
It's funny, adorable, sexy, meaningful, and heartwarming.
Now GO AND READ IT
This manga was written by Nekota sensei, one of my favorite mangakas, so I must admit I had a few expectations coming into this, and as Nekota says, if you have high expectations, the disappointment it much greater.
Of course the art is beautiful, and the dialogue is cute and funny, and the characters are likable. Yet, as I've come to appreciate sensei's story-telling skills, this manga was a great disappointment. I have just finished reading all the available volumes, and frankly, I am so underwhelmed it is rather overwhelming.
Actually, even a 6 feels too lenient a score. The only reason I've decided to give Hidoku
Shinaide a 6 is that there's no question that sensei is a talented and clever artist.
I wanted to mention, while I did not like the manga, I've read all the related doujinshi and really enjoyed them. I think it's because I could pretend they were a separate story, and there's no denying this mangaka's characters are super cute.
I have strived to keep this review spoiler free. However, I do discuss several tropes that the mangaka makes use of, and that could give one the sense of the storyline.
I often read in reviews that people did not like the main couple, and vastly preferred the side characters; however, this is the first manga I have ever read that made me feel this way. From the beginning, I completely disliked Maya and Nemugasa. I wish I could say that they redeemed themselves as the story evolved, as characters often do in the yaoi genre, but if anything I felt these guys slowly devolved (and I mean slowly - this manga feels like it never ends! I can't believe I'm saying such a thing about one of Nekota sensei's works. I'm upset with her for making me say something so awful).
To begin with, our two main characters are introduced with my least favorite of all yaoi tropes - a rape scene. There are yaois that handle this trope well (see Totally Captivated). This manga did not. Instead, sensei chose to use rape as a legitimate commencement for a romantic relationship. This is often done in yaoi, but generally the mangas that use this trope in such a manner are short and shallow, and as readers we are not expected to get all that attached to the characters. However, Hidoku Shinaide is very long and drawn out, and so the reader (supposedly) gets rather attached to the protagonists.
The manga chould have at least addressed the event and portrayed its ramifications on the boys' relationship. However, all I got from the story was a sour taste throughout. The reader cannot even pretend that Nemugasa was just saying "no" and "stop" to be cute or whatever the reason ukes are always shouting "no" during sex. But Nemugasa very clearly does not want it when he describes what is happening to Akira, and the one time the rape scene is mentioned between the couple, Nemugasa states that it is a very bad memory.
In addition to a sour taste, the sexual assault created a very weird inconsistency in Maya's character. He's supposed to be a delinquent or something, but his one transgression (albeit, a ruinous one) is his sexual abuse of Nemugasa, and that lasts about one chapter. The purpose of making Maya rape Nemu completely evades me. I do not understand what it was supposed to acheive or add to his character. Yes, the other characters mention how Maya's personality underwent a transformation, and Maya tells Nemu that Nemu has changed his life; however, this character transformation from a rapist to a kind, respectful person is so abrupt and unexplained, it left me dizzy. Moreover, since the only social interaction we see Maya having before he undergoes his "transformation" is the sexual assault, the mangaka did not provide us with an initial personality to have a transformation upon.
As for Nemu, he's just a stereotypical uke. Clumsy, absent-minded, socially-inept, short and thin, bookwormish. And he has no character development whatsoever, unless the Stockholm-syndrome-esque feelings he develops for Maya count. All in all, he had no redeemable characteristics.
Every interaction between these two felt rehearsed and cliched, and the entire time I had the sense that I've read this manga before.
All around, a disappointing story (hehe, I know I've used this word quite a few times now, but I think if I repeat it enough, it might help me get over my disappointment).
As for the other stories, there are several oneshots in the first volume that were pretty cute, and I was happy to escape the Mayanemu pairing, but they were not particularly noteworthy.
The relationship I really enjoyed reading about was Akira and Shimikawa's relationship. I love Nekota sensei's tutors, they absolutely rock, and Akira is no exception. Unlike Maya/Nemu, Akira has a mature story, and I think that the mangaka could have done so much more with this character. This manga should have been Akira's story, with Maya and Nemugasa as side characters.
Akira's history with his teacher was an original take on the sensei/student trope, and his relationship with Jutta, his brother, is terrifying. I hope Nekota sensei writes more chapters dealing with this relationship and allows Akira to escape from his brother's control. I also liked Shimikawa, since he came across as a mature, calm character. However, I feel like I missed out on a chapter or two from the 5th volume (can't find them anywhere!). In the last chapter I could find, it appears a new character has been introduced (Ruka san? Who is this guy?), and that Shimikawa has forced himself on Nemu (again with this stuff?), so I'm confused and am not sure what to think of Shimikawa.
All in all, while I adore sensei's style (she's quite obsessed with her semes sticking their tongue out during sex. I'm not sure how I feel about that), I'm afraid I cannot recommend this manga. I feel truly awful saying this, but I'm just glad to be done with it. However, if you would like to read some of Nekota sensei's great work, Otona Keikenchi and its sequels were adorable.
Speaking of Otona Keikenchi, there was a crossover between Hidoku Shinaide and Mousou Elektel (a sequel of Otona Keikenchi) featured in this manga that also had me confused. I think there is an implied history between Maya and Fumi (Fumi blushes when they meet), but its never explained. This manga left me with so many questions and so few answers.
I think alot of people were confused by the 1st Vol because it is comprise of several different story lines. But stick with it, and let Maya & Nemu grow on you.
I somehow is re-reading it for the 3rd time all the way thru. There were some points that I missed, some points lost in translation and I have to re-read. But I love how Nekota Sensei let both Maya & Nemu grow. I do agree with someone earlier that why introduce Ruka towards the end. But if you keep on going, that'll show how the 2 main
characters grow with that introduction. I also agree that they showed Shinkawa and Maya's interaction like it was leading to more, and it's not yet revealed and kinda annoying because there's obvious more to it, but it's not being explored. The storyline has cute and funny moments, there are moments that break your heart or squeeze your heart so tight that you feel for the characters. That's what makes a good story, right?
The ShinaideXElektel crossover was cute, and again implied there's something happened with Fumi, and hope that Sensei will add a side story soon. Love to see how MayaXFumi's past would be like.
Sex, yes, there's tons of it, but as the characters grow, that part grows too. They are more honest with themselves and know what they want out of their partners. It's hot, that's all I'm going to say.
Artwork is very beautiful, especially on Maya and Akira. Love the other characters too, but more so on the colored art, for sure!