I had the displeasure of coming across these oneshots today, before realizing that I had apparently already read and given this collection a rating of 3 many years ago. After re-reading a couple of them, I feel like I was actually being too generous.
My rating has now dropped down to a 1, and it has the dubious honor of being the first manga in my list with this score. I figured I may as well throw in a review while I'm at it.
Chances are, this will be one of those reviews where I'm going to try
(but probably fail) to be objective about my dislike.
Netsu-Ai Shisen (also the title for one of the stories) is a collection of short SMUT oneshots. These particular oneshots share a common theme of guys attempting to conquer the heroine through sex. And I don't really mean this in a "let's have hot sex and fall in love while we're at it" way... I mean it in the "I'm going to force you to have sex, and by terrorizing you and making you cry tears of extreme fear, you will somehow discover you love me and my rapist's ways."
Yep, we're talking blatant and indisputable rape here - not the dominant sex that skirts the border of noncon so common in smut, and not even the hentai kind that tries to disguise the forced aspect by making the girl enjoy the sex so much that people argue it's not rape if she enjoys it.
But this isn't hentai anyway. This is supposed to be smutty romance. I don't know about you, but crying and shaking uncontrollably from fear isn't a very stellar example of enjoyment nor is it a sign of budding love.
What makes it doubly distasteful is the fact that even if you strip away the rape, it'd still make for a sorry collection of oneshots and a very bad excuse for a romance.
The characters are painful to read. The heroines all have the same exact vapid and meek personality, while the guys are creeps, jerks, and of course, rapists. Granted, I don't know if the girls were always meek and vapid or if it's due to the fact that the guys have scared them so much they can hardly be themselves anymore. Either way, there's no development to show otherwise, and what we get is meek and vapid.
Story-wise, shallow isn't a strong enough word to describe it. They attempt to show that these heroines end up falling in love with these guys through the process of being raped a few times. That's all. We're talking purely the supposedly amazing power of rape here. The only difference between the stories is the basic premise/setting (and perhaps how rape-like the rapes are). Getting to know one another? What's that?
The guys, funnily enough, do the raping because they love the girls and want them in any way possible. (I guess I should add obsessive and controlling to the characterization for the heroes.) Not my idea of a good romance OR a good smut.
Needless to say, I would give a 0 for the enjoyment, the characters, and the story if I could.
The only not-terrible thing about this collection is the art. It's decent, though it has a bit of that dated shoujo smut look about it. It's occasionally pretty in a way that I imagine some people would quite like. It's just not the kind of style I particularly like, so it's somewhat average and forgettable in my book. Also, her characters have the tendency to look pretty much identical regardless which story you're reading.
The smut is a tad boring (rape-ishness aside), so if you're hoping to read this for smutty goodness, you may as well move on. That is, unless non-consensual sex between a dominating male and a helpless female is your cup of tea.
It isn't mine, obviously.
Coupled with all the other flaws, Netsu-Ai Shisen gets a 1 (a rating of "Appalling") from me.
* TL;DR: Cookie-cutter characters of the vapid/useless variety for girls and the creepy controlling type for guys. Average art that has the potential to be pretty for some. Zero plot, the smut is blah, and the moral of the story appears to be this: "Raping is a pretty successful way of getting a girl to fall in love with a guy."
** NOTE: My reread, new rating, and this review is largely based on Sensei wa Boku no Mono, Netsu-Ai Shisen, and some parts of Amai Fukushuu. It is always possible that the other two remaining stories in the collection do not actually contain any non-consensual sex. I no longer remember nor do I want to. Refreshing my memory for 3 out of 5 stories for this particular collection is already more than too much.