Seiho High School is a private male high school dormitory known as the Japan's Alcatraz Jail among students. Located in a remote place, it is surrounded by sea and mountains and is a 5 minute walk from the ferry and a 50 minute car ride from the closest train station. Men's Kou is about the hilarious antics of high school boys and their lives locked in with fellow classmates, with their hopes of being with women that aren't from magazines!
Volume 8: Gyakuten Guilty (Guilt Reversal)
My review might contain spoilers. Not plot revealing but character understanding wise.
I was browsing through a manga app when, by mistake, my path crossed with Men's Kou. At first, I thought it was going to be something cheerful with happy-go-lucky guys, like Danshi koukousei no Nichijou. The deeper I got into this manga I couldn't be more wrong.
I love the main character, Maki Chikara, since he has so many sides of him, when I think of him, he gives me such a bitter sweet feeling since he's type of character I like... with feelings hidden but still wears them on his sleeve. For
me, the way he was depicted was quite impressive.
While the other characters were explained a little lot more simplistic, but they had their struggles too, some bigger than others. Though what struck me on these characters was their way of dealing with their problems, some more mature ways than others, but in a different way than any other shoujo manga I've read.
The story, though it had been a lot over the place and fixating itself on Maki himself, or his friends, it had concentrated on their way of fixing their lives and coming around to peace with themselves. For me, that ending means peace to one's self. To come to understand one's soul while still bearing unresolved feelings and situations that wait to be accepted alongside age. That's my interpretation of the story.
I don't know what to say about the art since I loved all of it, especially the sky and cloud scenes, and frankly I don't know what I can say about about the art, I'm not an artist to be judging something that gave me so many emotions.
The enjoyment has been a ride with awesome funny moments and heartbreaking saddening situations. I laughed, felt nostalgia and melancholy, I pitied and understood, I face palmed and chuckled. It's been a feel trip. All I can say.
Overall, it's been one of the most unexpected rides of my life, I didn't expect lots of things, but it's been a bliss. A story like a dream that crashes and merges with the cruel reality.
I bought it on a whim during a convention when they were having a mass sale. I grabbed the complete series with no prior knowledge and fell in love.
The story does detail the cliche dorm life of a group of high school boys. You get what you expect. Sexually frustrated guys grouped together, each one with their own unique personality that fill all the troupes expected. However there is more.
This story does involve adult details, one of them being the essence of losing a loved one at an early age. Specifically the death of a crush while you're still a teenager. This
is a difficult topic in manga's, and often times is riddled with over dramatization and bad character development. Here however you can feel how the character in question feels. You understand him, even if you have not experienced the same traumatic event. You understand why he feels the way he does, and follow him along as he recovers.
That's not to say this manga isn't filled with hilarity. As much drama is placed, you'll find more smiles then tears. The characters mix well with one another, and actually FEEL like teenage boys placed in a testosterone filled environment.
My only problem would have to be with the token "gay" character. I wish that we could have received more background information on him, and was better able to dive into his character. He do get a bit on him, I just wasn't satisfied.
Pro's: Decent art with even greater character development. Adult situations that are explored in a mature way. Hilarious situations and events.
Cons: One character lacking in over all story arc. Does nothing to diminish overall experience.
I had never even heard of this series before I randomly stumbled upon it and decided to give it a shot based on the synopsis that promised us some lighthearted and silly school comedy. Did it deliver that? Yes and no. Was it a good or a bad thing? Let's find out.
*This is a spoiler free review*
The story starts out just as expected, a boys' school comedy introducing us the characters and the setting, but pretty soon you get a feeling of something darker lurking beneath the everyday foolery at the dorm and we get to discover that this story is not just for laughs
but for tears too.
The magic where comedy, drama, romance and episodic slice-of-life are mixed successfully is sadly not very strong in here and the series suffers from the feeling of randomness. The situations can be quite hilarious or equally boring and not really funny or have some surprisingly deep remarks about life only to turn into a superficial daydream about the looks in the next chapter. That also makes the pacing feel a little off. I think the story could've worked better if it had focused either on the comedy or the drama side and dropped the other entirely. What I enjoyed the most were the more serious story lines because the drama didn't feel forced and we didn't have to wallow in it, and many parts went deep to my emotions.
In the character department we have a peculiar amount of females considering the story is set in an all-boys-school in an isolated island. Most of our characters are the old and familiar types of pretty boys, girly gay characters, school nurses, local little-town girls, step-sisters and the sparkling ones all the other people fall for regardless of the gender. While few of them get enough screen time to evolve into complete characters and some of the dynamics between them are underdeveloped there's also a jewel among them: the main character, Chika. I grew to love him because he felt complete and real and it made it easy to understand the reasons behind his actions. He was also easy to sympathize with and he showed that characters - just like real people - are not to be defined only by one or two traits, because we can be many things at the same time. Interactions between characters were the same as with the overall story: some encounters were clever, thought provoking or hilarious while the others felt boring and unnecessary.
The art was nice and characters pleasing to look at but the female characters looked too much the same and it was hard to distinguish them at first. On the other hand, the landscape shots and dramatic panels were beautiful and well made.
The final feeling I'm left with is a bittersweet yearning for something unnamed and also the feeling of life moving on. I didn't get so much out of the comedy I first came in to this series for but the journey with the mc gave me something else to enjoy.
Men's Kou is a haphazard series that took me by surprise. It manages to handle some heavy issues beautifully but falls short on the long run because it's not executed to it's full potential. For adventurous readers it offers an imperfect story with a great protagonist and well-made story lines hidden among mediocre ones.
I haven't read many volumes of this manga but already it has captured my attention. And so I decided that since there wasn't a review for this yet that maybe I could help someone decide to read this or not anyway. It sounds very similar to quite a few mangas out there. It's set in a high school with teen age boys. Except in Seiho the characters are more real, it shows the side of boys that I haven't seen in a lot of mangas. The boys fart, look at porn, dream of being with a women and touching her. In both meanings.
I find most
of what I've read to be humorous, but it also touches the emotions. If you're like me and sometimes you get uncomfortable reading drama then this would be something to give a try. It does have some "drama" or plot, whichever you prefer to call it, but it's not every page. And the cast is pretty colorful, there is probably at least one character that will interest you.