What happens when next door to Fujiwara, an upcoming mangaka, moves Yuuki, who was his teacher back in high school and first crush?
Yuuki, now a married woman, is starting a new life in the city, but her husband is always away on business trips so she finds comfort in the company of her former student, but what she doesn't realize is that Fujiwara can listen to everything happening in her apartment through the building's thin walls...
One of the more curious fantasies people have is becoming involved in a complicated relationship with another person. What is curious, indeed, is why the relationship appears so much more interesting than any that society would otherwise describe as "normal", or even *shudder* "healthy". Rakujitsu no Pathos uses many of the tropes to be found in hentai productions, something that Tsuyatsuya is already well-versed with, but there is always a careful realisation that boundaries are necessary to exacerbate the situation. That is why there are a sizeable group of people who do not wish to have intercourse straight away but after teasing it. Some just
want to keep teasing, because, honestly, what would be more boring than do the deed without any preface- are we animals who are content with simply fucking for the sake of the evolutionary drive?
Rakujitsu no Pathos is good precisely because the author's skill in depicting what is considered an outright taboo relationship by most of society is put to extensive use- a woman who once thought herself better than others for not indulging in sex finds herself craving for it once she lets herself free, a man learns that he is not emotionally attached to the women he wants to bone, and we learn the circumstances that would turn otherwise "responsible" and "upstanding" people (yes, even the mangaka who draws hentai) into the participants of encounters which involve going to second and third base, but never the first nor hitting a home run. The woman is alone, bored out of her mind, and has realised how much she likes sex. She was, previously, also the teacher of her current neighbour. The neighbour, of course, harboured sexual feelings towards the teacher, even groping her, but, now that she is bored and he is an adult, it does not appear to be a trespass any longer but a "cute" gesture by an equally "cute" little man. Her husband is 12 years older than her, and she still wants to be the good wife, but the husband does next to nothing to reaffirm his wife's commitment to him. Why should she feel like she is his servant? She is a human being too. She has needs, and wants to feel needed...
Makoto, the woman, finds, in her "cute" one-time student, Aki, the person who will reciprocate these feelings. That someone else may instead have him for their own purposes at the expense of Makoto is unacceptable to her. The feelings grow. They touch each other. Slowly. Makoto finds a different side to manhood. Aki basks in the chance to let his most childish feelings bubble up to the surface. They come closer. But... isn't Makoto a good wife?
Besides, Aki has his assistant, Masami, putting her moves on him. Shouldn't she act like an adult? Yes, yes. But it is so difficult to do that when Aki-kun looks at her with those needy eyes, and it is so much fun imagining Aki-kun doing all the naughty things that her husband is so thoroughly incapable of. Makoto does not want to care. Her head goes all over the place. She cannot kiss, nor have sex with him, because then they will have breached an unwritten rule in her mind. Aki knows how illogical his teacher's thoughts are, but he doesn't care either, so long as he gets to touch her and take her where she wants to go. He'll play along with whatever stupid thing she wants him to do, and she won't mind too much when he comes too strongly on to her.
The sun sets slowly. The pupils widen and the child gives its mother that very hungry look, the look that the mother expects and is excited by. She removes the folds of her shirt. The child finally stops crying...
While insubstantial for most, and lacking in the presence of a large cast of characters, I believe that the specific emotions that the manga indulges in cannot accommodate a large roster of characters, genre storytelling, or melodrama. The psychological depth of the characters is most suited to a manga that reflects the "illicit" give-and-take relationship of the people we see in our news feeds which talk about the wives who had sexual relations with their neighbours, who were once their students. Our responses to the news feeds are defence mechanisms- "we wouldn't ever dream of doing this", we tell ourselves, aside from "shame on her" and "I thought women were more discerning; the guy must be a smooth-talker". I understand that, to many, another male's perspective on how women might have near-insatiable appetites might appear to be yet another exploitative depiction of women. Maybe they are right. But I, a cis-male to be completely fair (the last time I say that out loud anywhere), am not so sure. Perhaps men allow desire its due place in the mind more often...? Or is the point of male desire a way to explore power? What if the women being in power are just another male fantasy? Doesn't that mean that the women have no choice but to express their sexuality only if the men allow the to?
I don't know. All I know is, Tsuyatsuya appears to be intimately familiar with the categories of desire- at the very least, Aki seems like a real person. I will be eagerly awaiting for more from him.