Gakuen Heaven is the story of Oshino Makoto in his attempt to become a teacher, in order to fulfill a promise made to his childhood friend and first love Koiwai Ayano, who also promised that when they see each other again they will get married. However he fails and ends up being a substitute teacher in an all-girls private school ruled by his grandmother. He meets there a lot of female students; especially Narusawa Tsugumi, as well as Asagiri Ayano, a teacher who resembles his long lost first love. He also becomes the love interest of the substitute principal, his cousin Kyouko.
Gakuen Tengoku is a hot, steaming, pile of mixed up stories and characters from (mostly) better manga.
First, we have the "childhood first love reunion" manga. (See: Love Hina) This is the best story line, and almost works, but keeps getting ruined by the others. It's the reason I stuck with it as long as I did.
Then, we add in some "controlling sister (in this case cousin) trying to keep women away from her man". (See: Oniichan Control). In the 33 chapters I read, this part of the story was never fully developed.
We add in a little "student starts relationship with teacher". (See: Sensei; Hirunaka no Ryuusei). If the relationship weren't so sexual, so quickly, this might have worked. As it is, it's just uncomfortable.
Finally, add in the ever popular "boy rescues girls on the verge of being raped, who then fall for him" (See: About a third of all Josei Smut manga out there) This part of the story seems to be supposedly comedic... cause rape is funny? I have no idea who thought this part of the story was a good idea.
And all of this is happening at the same time, and with the same guy. The result? A hot mess.
And too much of this mess is just uncomfortable to read. The main character ends up looking like a jerk for sleeping with (and/or fondling) a wide array of women (many of whom are underage)--despite the fact that he is supposedly head-over-heels for his first love with whom he has just reunited. Then there is an actual of alliance of male teachers, at this all female school, intent on raping their students. The "hero" thwarts them... but never turns them in, cause you know, it's not like teachers raping their students is a crime or a fire-able offense or anything?
Look, some of the characters are interesting, some of the plot-lines are interesting, and as Borderline-H material I've seen worse. But the end result here is far from a good manga.read more
Despite there having only ~46 chapters scanlated, I figured I'd leave a review considering there isn't any. This manga deserves that much at least.
This was quite a roller coaster throughout. Initially we're introduced to a possible childhood friend reunion love story. Then of course, a possible love-triangle/minor harem comes into play. A bit later, there are a handful of ecchi scenes accompanied by a handful of sex scenes. Add in some "conflicts" every now and then for a change of pace and that's pretty much what has occurred so far. For the first half of the manga, the story progression is paced pretty well although I have no idea regarding the later half. Sadly, there were some filler chapters that were time wasting but for the most, the flow of the manga is pretty much on point. As for the few conflicts that arose so far, they were definitely eye-roll worthy. Even though quite some time was invested into them, they were usually solved simply- almost to the point of being deus ex machina'ed away by our protagonist.
Well considering the manga dates back to 2004-2006, it obviously will not be as refined as today's works. Given that, it really isn't that bad. We have a school based setting and with good background work to match. It is worth mentioning that the artwork did improve through the course of the manga. U-Jin definitely improved his/her drawings and it showed through the work. The characters are drawn pretty well but I feel that the male lead and female lead don't really look exactly their age despite being adults among high school kids. To the mangaka's credit, there were a large variety of characters and s/he did a good job with each of them having distinct and varying details that made them unique/distinguishable.
It's a bit hard to get into character depth without spoiling a lot of the story as it's pretty much the meat and potatoes of the manga. For the most part, the male lead was a indecisive (read: a wuss) guy but came through when his female cast relied on him. The females? to put it nicely, they were pretty wanting to get a piece of the MC. U-Jin did a nice job when it came down to separating on-screen time for characters and didn't abandon the supporting characters. The cast weren't abnormally stupid or silly and pretty realistic when it came to their reaction and antics. Like I mentioned in the Story section, conflicts were a non-factor. Therefore the "villains" that were setup for the conflicts were pathetically silly and eventually transitioned into supporting characters later on. I feel rather disdained of the situations our male lead gets himself into though I don't think that was the author's intention, maybe.
So far despite the wonky story line and less than appreciable characters, it has been a decent read. The current scanlations left off at a rather interesting point in the story that I actually want to read further into; so the manga can be quite enthralling when it wants to be. As far as recommending it to others, yeah it's still good enough for that purpose. The genre tags are spot on with perhaps romance taking more of a backseat, so if you're a fan of the genres then you already know your course of action huh?read more