One day while walking home from her job, Kurumi Akino finds a wounded young man, and saves his life. He mysteriously disappears after that, and leaves only the name "Hakuron." Next thing she knows she's been kidnapped from her school, and is on a private jet with that man, heading to China. It turns out she saved the life of the most infamous mobster in Hong Kong, and he wants her to stay with him.
This may very well be the single most disgusting piece of fiction I have ever had the displeasure of experiencing. Given my frequent forays into the eroguro genre, and the fact that I have watched Human Centipede 1 and 2, A Serbian Film, Hostel, Martyrs, and Irreversible, me calling Haou Airen the "most disgusting" is a much bolder claim than it would be had it come from the average person. Haou Airen is not gorier than any of these things, it actually it is not gory at all. It does not have a much larger frequency of graphic rape than some these things, although it
comes close. So why do I say that it is more disgusting than any of them? The lack of self-awareness, for one. It was morally repulsive to me, as it would be to any rational and decent human being. Haou Airen is about a girl who falls in love with her rapist, and it is not a morally ambiguous story, an accurate or unbiased account, or a psychological piece. It deals with the issue of rape in a frivolous manner far more disgusting than base exploitation; Shinjo Mayu, the mangaka, makes it quite clear that she believes brutally repetitious rape coupled with psychological abuse to be not only justifiable, but romantic, if it is done by a smexy guy who just needs some love.
Never-mind the generic and bad art, never-mind the flat and unrealistic characters, never-mind the contrived circumstances, never-mind the plot’s absurdities, never-mind the fact that it was essentially the same shit over and over again, never-mind how so little thought was put into the panel layout that it is nearly impossible to tell who’s speaking; this manga is utter trash regardless, but with the moral aspect taken into account, this is something worse than a 1. Haou Airen is arguably the worst thing I have ever read. It is certainly the most blissfully ignorant, unhealthy, and therefore emotionally harmful thing I have ever read. At least Hitler knew what he was doing when he penned Mein Kampf.
This is the least erotic piece of smut I have ever laid eyes upon. I had to set it aside and just stop at least 10 different times, and it was physically painful to finish. I wish I didn't finish it, really. I wish I never read this shit. I wish I never knew this shit existed. I wish this shit didn't exist. I wish there weren't any societies on this planet that would condone this sort of thing. If you are one of the 558 people who gave this worthless fucking loathsome garbage a “10," then you seriously need to re-evaluate your life, and probably get a therapist. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go lie down and deal with the emotional ramifications of the bile I just read. Fucking disgusting.
I read in one summary that the characters go through many challenges in true love. I found no true love here. Just the "hero" being a brute for a huge chunk of the story and excusing himself in private even though saying things out loud would make everything all right and the love could actually blossom then. To call the female character weak is a bit generic. It's more along the lines that she exists solely for the plot. Her only thoughts and wishes surround loving the male lead despite his assinine cruelty and craving him despite her good judgement. Sheesh, I understand attraction, infatuation
and withdrawal symptoms, but I would not recommend this title even as a guilty read which I realised midway when the convoluted self loathing personalities of the leads got too much for me to handle. I don't think it's healthy for girls to associate such dark moments and turmoil with such intimate experiences.
On a separate note, the artwork is commendable. I don't exactly see a bishounen in Hakouron but that's probably because we rarely see kind/gentle expressions from him. While the intimate scenes are titillating enough, they rarely moved me. The bishoujo is not too original looking either and she mostly ends up looking rather forlorn or dejected in most scenes.
While I'm sure it's an enjoyable read if you have your senses about you, I would not want to finish this manga and hope or even remember such a storyline to ever materialise, which is typically why we indulge in manga in the first place. While towards the last volume, the mangaka tries to insert lighter tones and situations and end dramatically, it still seemed like a cheap shot for a manga aimed mostly at Bond fans to appeal to the squeeling otaku.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I read this manga. The whole way through, reading it, I wasn't sure whether I wanted to finish, but I did. Somehow it hooked me.
It is basically the story of a financially struggling girl who shows kindness, and rescues a mafia lord. He is so overwhlemed by the only thing he can do is ake her his woman. And this story is about their relationship.
I found that the pace lagged a bit - the same problems happened over, and over, and had the resolution come quicker, I would have enjoyed it more. Also the end.. I
don't want to write any spoilers, but I was unhappy with the ending. Or perhaps that isn't quite right - the more I thought on it, the more then ending made sense. But it is a sad, miserable ending.
The art itself was clear to read, and I had not problems figuring out who was talking! (yes, this is sometimes a problem). I thought on the whole the art of was quite pretty. The sex scenes are a bit repetitive, but nicely enough drawn.
I really like the strong, dominant male type. I do! But not for a story this long where nothing in the charactesr seems to change. I just found that Hakuron's character kind of went nowhere. And same with our heroine - she cried a lot. I just thought that the characterisation could have been improved, but I think that had the story progressed a bit more rapidly I would have been happier with the characters
Look, I did enjoy this. I kept reading it! I did want to know what happened between them, and I was also interested in the other dragon protectors. But overall, I think that it is a bit overlong, but an interesting enough read.
I just wanna state that for the record, I have no problem with shojo smut in and of itself. Most of the time, it's analogous to shonen ecchi shit and isn't really offensive enough to be worth hating. With that said, there are aspects of shojo smut that REALLY piss me the fuck off (i.e. molestation being played for romance). Let's not forget that every so often, there comes a particular manga that just evokes all manner of visceral disgust out of me. Haou Airen is one such manga and to this day, I still maintain that it's the single most vile, reprehensible thing I've
ever read for reasons that you'll soon find out. Enough waffling around, time to tear into this sack of horse shit.
Plot of the manga can be summed up like so: idiot girl brings complete stranger into house one day, gets abducted by him, and then develops Stockholm Syndrome after she finds out that her captor is a mob boss with a troubled childhood. In other news, this is an escapist fantasy about being whisked away from a boring life at home and then being thrust into an exciting new life full of danger, risks, and other such things with a tall, dark, and handsome man guiding you through all these new experiences (intimate or otherwise).
I personally don't care much for escapist fantasies, but I can at least see the appeal behind them. For a girl who feels bored/wrapped up with their lives, the very prospect of being whisked away into a strange new world is something that may very well be worth fantasising over. Also, that prince charming whisking you away to his fancy mansion bullshit is so 1950s. If there's one thing that the 1980s taught us, it's that an adrenaline high will override everyone's common sense. There's nothing like the thrill of being caught up in a gunfight when you're in the middle of having a nice dinner with your new man and then tending to his wounds after the battle is over, among other such things... cough. So on that front, I suppose Haou Airen isn't /that/ abhorrent. It's certainly a frustrating read for me since I'm a dude who doesn't fantasise about any of this crap, but it's nothing worth getting my boxers in a knot over... yet.
However, this manga had to do /something/ to evoke my visceral outrage. Around the half-way point of the manga, the sexual moments between Hakuron and Kurumi devolve from James Bond-style "50 nos and a yes mean yes, so shut the fuck up and start sucking my old man dick" scenes into full-on brutal rape scenes that drop all the pretense completely. From that point forward, physical/emotional abuse coupled with sexual abuse in varying forms become a frequent occurrence in the manga. So you may be wondering here "what's so bad about this? Maybe it's trying to deconstruct the escapist fantasy it set up in the first place?" to which I say "fuck you and your overanalytical bullshit."
Aside from the fact that I have a markedly low tolerance for sexual violence or abuse, this evokes my visceral disgust because of the fact that this went from a story about a girl putting up with a dangerous new lifestyle with a sexy edgelord by her side to a story about a girl who falls in love with her rapist who frequently abuses her physically/psychologically. There's no self-awareness, no psychological commentary, let alone any moral ambiguity whatsoever (not like that would've helped out much though...). So what is the implication here? Does Mayu Shinjo honestly believe that frequent brutal rape and abuse is justifiable if it's done by a hot guy with a troubled past? I honestly don't know.
Now, it's not like this manga was any good before the half-way point: there were contrivances up the wazoo and if you're like me, odds are that your social justice/feminist senses were going off non-stop because of the fact that this manga is about a girl IN HIGH SCHOOL who gets abducted and spends most of the manga's runtime being sexually dominated by a powerful and wealthy man who CLEARLY has trouble understanding the concept of "consent" (sexual violence not withstanding). Also, this is just a minor note but the characters were nothing more than standard shojo smut archetypes: dumbass girl MC, sexy edgelord douchebag with a troubled past, all the bitches that try to get in the MC's way for edgelord dick but end up losing, the edgelord's friends who try to mack on his chick, etc. You get where I'm going with this. It may not seem apparent at first, but this is a manga that somehow manages to be more abominable than some of the most infamous pieces of horror gornography that exist in this world.
Say what you will about how horrifying A Serbian Film was, but at least all of the sexual violence in the movie had a point! For starters, Milosh was an aging porn star who was looking for a way to continue supporting his family, and then he got ensnared by Vukmir's smooth talk about creating a final porno that would bring glory back to Serbia (only to find out that Vukmir was a demented madman). On top of that, Srdjan Spasojevic has gone on the record saying that the underlying message of the film was that as a Serb, you're fucked when you're born and it doesn't stop even after you die (as evidenced by the infamous "NEWBORN PORN" scene and the final scene where a two men were about to film another man who was gonna have sex with the results of family suicide). So yeah, while A Serbian Film has WAY more objectionable content in it, the entire film had ample amounts of forethought, subtext, commentary, moral ambiguity, etc: stuff that Haou Airen had none of whatsoever.
I think the worst part about this entire ordeal also comes down to all the people on Kissmanga who were blathering on and on about how "romantic" this entire piece of shit was. In between the already piss-poor writing and the mortifying depictions of sexual violence without any hint of self-awareness, the unironic praise this manga received was enough to REALLY cement its place in my book as the WORST thing I've ever read, by far.
I can only imagine the kind of irreparable damage this manga can do to a person who was or still is going through some kind of sexual torment at the hands of someone whom they have feelings for. This manga is repulsive, abhorrent, and virtually every single negative adjective out there. This manga was not made, it was committed. You cannot read it, you can only inflict it upon yourself. Anyway, that's all for now. Feedback's always welcome and with that, I'm out. Peace :)