After I Win by Kaname Itsuki Manga Review


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Title:  After I Win

Author:  Kaname Itsuki

Publisher:  Juné

ISBN:  9781569707777

May Contain Spoilers

Hiyori is head over heels for his roommate, Kasumi.  After fighting through an extreme case of nerves to declare his love, Hiyori is delighted when Kasumi tells him that he loves him, too.  His joy soon turns to confusion, as the other boy seems to avoid any physical displays of affection.  As Hiyori squirms with frustration, he begins to think that maybe Kasumi doesn’t really love him the way he longs for.  To make things more complicated, Hiyori’s lascivious older brother seems to have his sights set on Kasumi!

Ah, life in a boys dorm must be so full of heady emotions and unfulfilled desires.  All of those raging hormones!  Especially if your roommate is sexy and sweet like Kasumi.  Or drop dead gorgeous like Hiyori.  This kind of setting tends to crack me up, as all of those unbridled passions just build up, looking for release, usually in the most absurd ways. 

The plot has about as much depth as a single-ply paper towel, but don’t let that chase you off.  As Hiyori struggles to understand how Kasumi really feels about him, the two begin a game of cat and mouse, each trying to conceal their true emotions.  This didn’t really add tension in their relationship, it just helped to drag the story along for a few more chapters, and gave the author ample opportunity to thrown in a few scenes of self gratification.  One of these was funny, as the ultra cool Hiyori dashes into a restroom stall and noisily masturbates, unmindful of underclassmen already in the bathroom.

Hiyori’s older brother is the home ec teacher, and he can’t help but sample his succulent young students.  Ever since he was a wee little lad, poor Hiyori has had to endure listening to his brother’s sexual conquests, as their rooms were separated by only a thin wall.  Now Hiyori has only disdain for his brother, and he is prone to anxiety attacks.  His extreme case of nerves prevents him from clarifying his relationship with Kasumi, and his brother’s undisguised interest in Kasumi also adds pressure to Hiyori.

The art is much more remarkable than the story, featuring dreamy illustrations of attractive characters, often in various states of undress.  The cover is quite striking, with Kasumi and Hiyori captured in an embrace, a pink background highlighting their entwined forms.  The pages are punctuated with large, eye-catching drawings, and the visual flow is very appealing.

After I Win is like cotton candy; it’s a little too sweet and it doesn’t have much substance.  Kasumi and Hiyori’s relationship isn’t really all that compelling, as their problems could have easily been solved with just a little communication.  Things might have been more interesting if Hiyori’s brother had caused more trouble for the young couple. 

Also included is a short story about Hiyori’s brother and one of his students, which, though a little too predictable, was actually pretty cute.

Grade:  C+

Rated for Mature 18+

Review copy provided by Juné