Very graphic, graphic novels.Step Up Love Story: Futari Etchi. By Katsu Aki Katsuaki Nakamura (中村克明 Nakamura Katsuaki . Japanese edition: Tokyo: Hakusensha, 1997-. Paper, $10.99/ volume. French edition: Boulogne: Senpai/Pika Edition, 2004-. Paper, 7.1 Euro/volume.
Step Up Love Story is a Japanese graphic novel (in Japanese, manga maNga is a popular Turkish nu metal/rapcore band. Their music is mainly a fusion of alternative metal and hip hop music, with a touch of Anatolian melodies; with heavy use of turntables, invoking comparisons with modern American nu metal bands. ), now up to volume 19 in Japan. So far, volumes up to 11 have been translated into French and a good many into Spanish and German. It has not been translated into English. This review is based on the French edition.
The Japanese title blends English and Japanese. Futari means "couple" and etehi means "H," an abbreviation abbreviation, in writing, arbitrary shortening of a word, usually by cutting off letters from the end, as in U.S. and Gen. (General). Contraction serves the same purpose but is understood strictly to be the shortening of a word by cutting out letters in the middle, for hentai, "perverted per·vert·ed
1. Deviating from what is considered normal or correct.
2. Of, relating to, or practicing sexual perversion. " or "sexy." We'd probably translate the title as something like Step-by-Step Love Story: X-Rated Couple.
Why are we reviewing a Japanese-language manga series readable to us only in French? Because it's something most pointedly NOT available in America: a unique, engaging, and quite intriguing blend of sex manual and erotic soap opera soap opera
Broadcast serial drama, characterized by a permanent cast of actors, a continuing story, tangled interpersonal situations, and a melodramatic or sentimental style. .
The overall plot centers on the sexual life of 25-year-old newlyweds Makoto and Yura, both shy and without any sexual or dating experience and who meet through a marriage broker. Arranged marriages are still fairly common in Japan, though not in the majority. Aki uses this premise so that he can take the new couple from, sexually speaking, square one to square N. Currently, the series is still being published in Japan, with, the cover says, over 16 million copies sold so far. Each episode tells a mini-story and imparts a sex-related lesson.
Yura and Makoto are not the only characters. We meet Makoto's colleagues at work. One of the "office ladies" (young women secretaries) has her heart set on an affair with him, and two of his male buddies are always flirting with Yura. Both sets of families play cameo roles. Makoto's erotophilic brother embarrasses everyone with loud, suggestive, and funny comments. Mokoto's younger sister Jun loses her virginity with her boyfriend, breaks up with him, and wonders if she can ever have a "great love." Yura's older sister Rika is the modern polyamorist: more or less in love with her boyfriend Yamada, she also maintains casual relationships with several other men. Yura and Makoto's parents and grandparents grandparents npl → abuelos mpl
grandparents grand npl → grands-parents mpl
grandparents grand npl also get into the story. So do the neighbors: the couple next door hasn't had sex in several years, while another neighbor is a woman gynecologist gynecologist /gy·ne·col·o·gist/ (-kol´ah-jist) a person skilled in gynecology.
A physician specializing in gynecology. who's still a virgin. All of these characters allow for lively plots as well as wide options for sex education.
Now this is a graphic novel, that is, cartoons--sexually explicit cartoons--although no genitals are shown in keeping with Japanese censorship law in the 1990s. Aki depicts the sex lives and fantasies of all his characters, in drawings both erotic and informative. And now we reach the sex manual part. Throughout the narrative, Aki has inserted diagrams, statistics, advice, and cautions. (The statistics throughout the text are based on Japan, but at the end of each volume, French equivalents are provided.)
Here are a few examples. On their wedding night, Makoto and Yura do not have sex due to fear and miscommunication. But the next night, they resolve to take the plunge. Makoto has removed Yura's clothes. Lying in front of him naked and beautiful, she thinks, "I'm ashamed ..." He thinks, "This time, it's for real! It's not a video or a porn magazine!" But a sidebar cautions, "Stay calm Motoko! This isn't the moment to lose your head!" Mokoto takes off his underwear, and Yura sees his penis for the first time. She puts her hand up to her mouth, thinking, "So that looks like a--what? Once by chance I saw my papa's, but it wasn't like that! This one, it's standing up in the air! And--real big!" He sees her expression, covers his crotch crotch
The angle or region of the angle formed by the junction of two parts or members, such as two branches, limbs, or legs. with his hands, and exclaims, "Uh, don't look!" She's still thinking: "It's really weird!" Sidebar: "The average length of a Japanese penis is 12.7cm"--about 5 inches. (The average length of the French penis is 14 cm or 5.5 inches, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the notes at the end of volume 1.)
He stimulates her breasts with his fingers, then his tongue; at first she thinks it feels weird (her word), but then it feels good. He gropes with his hands between her legs: "Wow! I finally find the secret place!?" But she has no name for it: "He ... he's touching my ... my ..." She thinks this feels "weird" also, but she lubricates. He decides, "I can't wait!" and tries to enter her, her legs in the air. "Hey, gently!" she exclaims. "I don't like my legs like that--I feel like a frog." "Sorry ... no problem! We'll do it differently." He has difficulty entering her--she's in pain.
Now, a sidebar illustrates different types of hymens. The author adds that Yura's virginal virginal, musical instrument: see spinet.
Small rectangular harpsichord with a single set of strings and a single manual. The derivation of its name is uncertain. hymen Hymen (hī`mən) or Hymenaeus (hīmənē`əs), in Greek mythology, personification of marriage, represented as a beautiful youth carrying a bridal torch and wearing a veil. is small, petal-shaped, and difficult to open.
Finally he's in. "It hurts, stop!" she cries. He stops thrusting. Another sidebar: "Right after the first penetration, the man should be gentle. He should only make light movements back and forth, then speed up slowly so that it should not be painful for his partner." But then Makoto comes immediately and without warning. "What ... you're done already?" I'm sorry," he says, "for me too it's my first time." They are both disappointed. But she consoles him: "It ... it's not serious, you know. We're going to improve, you and me ... Promise!"
Notice how the story combines sympathetic and likeable like·a·ble
Variant of likable.
Adj. 1. likeable - (of characters in literature or drama) evoking empathic or sympathetic feelings; "the sympathetic characters in the play"
likable, appealing, sympathetic characters with realistic dialogue and emotions--hardly typical of porn!--and slips in the sex instruction.
And improve our couple does. By episode 5 they are bathing together, and a sidebar adds, "In the case of insufficient vaginal secretions, there are gels and mousses that are quite effective. Certain women lubricate lu·bri·cate
v. lu·bri·cat·ed, lu·bri·cat·ing, lu·bri·cates
1. To apply a lubricant to.
2. To make slippery or smooth.
To act as a lubricant. more than others." In episode 22, they watch an erotic video together. Surprised, Yura finds herself turned on, and they have sex en levrette ("doggy style," or from behind--levrette = female grayhound). Two episodes address fellatio A sexual act in which a male places his penis into the mouth of another person.
At Common Law, fellatio was considered a crime against nature. It was classified as a felony and punishable by imprisonment and/or death. . Yura's uninhibited uninhibited /un·in·hib·it·ed/ (un?in-hib´i-ted) free from usual constraints; not subject to normal inhibitory mechanisms. sister Rika demonstrates on a banana (to the couple's embarrassment), and later Yura attempts it with Makoto with considerable success. Other episodes illustrate how-to's for cunnilingus An act in which the female sexual organ is orally stimulated.
At Common Law, cunnilingus was not a crime. It is presently a crime in some jurisdictions and is usually treated as Sodomy. . As the story progresses, Yura enjoys taking more sexual initiative. In episode 67, she tells Makoto about the most sensitive parts of her body for foreplay foreplay /fore·play/ (for´pla) the sexually stimulating play preceding intercourse.
The sexual stimulation that precedes intercourse. , and several diagrams and charts supply additional information.
The plots are quite funny. In episode 74, Yura's mother comes to stay for a few days. Shy about sound carrying through thin apartment walls, Yura and Motoko abstain from sex but finally sneak into the bathroom for a quickie. She perches on the edge of the sink while he manages first cunnilingus and then coitus coitus /co·i·tus/ (ko´it-us) sexual connection per vaginam between male and female.co´ital
coitus incomple´tus , coitus interrup´tus . (A sidebar illustrates different stand-up stand·up or stand-up
1. Standing erect; upright: a standup collar.
2. Taken, done, or used while standing: a standup supper; a standup bar. positions for sex.) Yura's perch allows for deep penetration, and it's very satisfying for both of them. But then Yura's mother knocks on the door wanting to brush her teeth. They hope she hasn't heard a thing, but she comments on her way out, "Sitting on a cold surface like that isn't very good for the ovaries Ovaries
The female sex organs that make eggs and female hormones.
Mentioned in: Choriocarcinoma
ovaries (ō´v ." (She's hoping for grandchildren.) Later, she tells her husband, "They were doing it on the sink, the lucky devils!"
In episode 88, the couple is staying with Yura's grandmother. Again, not wanting to be heard making love, they go for a drive and try it in the car. Here, Aki's chirpy chirp·y
1. Characterized by chirping tones: a bird with a chirpy song.
2. Tending to chirp: a chirpy parakeet.
3. sidebars are detailed indeed:
If you're going to make love in a car, think ahead to set the handbrake and turn off the headlights so no one thinks you need help. And don't forget to fold up the radio antenna.... [And bring] handwipes, something to cover the seats, condoms, a box of tissues, and a flashlight in case the lady loses any jewelry! ... And never, but never, get entirely undressed in case you have to pull yourselves together in a hurry.... Oh, yes, above all, don't forget to stay away from the horn!
The manga does not neglect relationship issues. In episode 73, Matoko boasts that he can keep house as well as Yura. Quite annoyed, she goes out to help her parents move into a new house, but Makoto thinks she's left him. He burns the steak and has a lonely dinner, regrets his rash boast, and sleeps on the couch On the Couch is an Australian television program formally broadcast on the Fox Footy Channel and it focuses on the current issues in the AFL. This is now broadcast on Fox Sports after the closure of Fox Footy Channel.
The show airs on Monday night and is hosted by Gerard Healy. . When she returns next day, he's greatly relieved and starts helping more around the apartment.
The story of their stay with grandmother Sakura contains the most moving episode of the manga so far. We learn that the elderly Sakura doesn't trust men because her husband was a womanizer wom·an·ize
v. woman·ized, woman·iz·ing, woman·iz·es
To pursue women lecherously.
To give female characteristics to; feminize. who died at age 70 "in full action" with another women. Yet as the story develops, we learn that she is refusing to move in with Yura's parents and leave her rural home because her husband planted the beautiful garden for her. Though they had arguments and he was unfaithful, they did love each other and developed a rapport that was never quite broken. In legend, a red thread of love binds couples together when they become engaged. And so, Yura and Mokoto speculate as they look at a younger picture of the grandparents, the red thread of love is still strong for Sakura. When they finally drive away, Yura and Mokoto seem to glimpse the younger grandparents standing in the garden together, seeing them off.
Some background about Japanese manga may help explain how come Step Up Love Story can be so effective (see Perper & Cornog, 2002). Unlike mainstream American comics, centered for decades on male-oriented superheroes Superheroes are fictional heroes who possess abilities beyond those of normal human beings.
Superheroes may also refer to:
Manga sex instruction dates back to 1970 and Marvelous Melmo, an animated cartoon based on a manga series from the creator of modern Japanese cartooning, Osamu Tezuka (Machiyama, 2002). Many manga are of considerable interest to sexology sexology /sex·ol·o·gy/ (sek-sol´ah-je) the scientific study of sex and sexual relations.
The study of human sexual behavior. for their frank, unique, varied, and non-Western portrayal of sexual topics. For more on this theme and some recommended titles available in English, see Cornog and Perper (2005).
We suspect that Step Up Love Story is not available in English because it probably appears too pornographic to mainstream U.S. manga publishers yet not pornographic enough to interest the major purveyors of erotic manga. But for you who took French in college, and for international readers who are native in this language, we invite you to experience this blend of sex entertainment and education. Step Up Love Story is by no means the perfect sex manual. For example, there doesn't seem to be anything so far on the clitoris clitoris /clit·o·ris/ (klit´ah-ris) the small, elongated, erectile body in the female, situated at the anterior angle of the rima pudendi and homologous with the penis in the male.
n. . In any case, Aki's series does illustrate how engaging and information-rich this format can be in imparting information about sexuality.
The French translation of Step Up Love Story can be ordered online from the French subsidiary of Amazon, www.amazon.fr. (The Japanese original can be purchased from www.jpgupen.com; search on "Futari Ecchi." For a full list, ask to view unavailable items.) Unless you are a native speaker of French, you will quickly find that you will also need a good dictionary. We recommend Harrap's French Dictionary, unabridged edition, volume 2: French-English (Edinburgh: Chambers Harrap, 2001), www.harrap.co.uk. There you will find those French expressions you probably didn't learn at school, such as canon "gorgeous," il y a du monde n. 1. The world; a globe as an ensign of royalty.
Le beau monde
fashionable society. See Beau monde.
See Demimonde. au balcon, "she's really stacked," un(e) enfoire(e), "bastard, fucker fuck·er
n. Vulgar Slang
1. A despised person.
2. One that engages in sexual intercourse.
Noun 1. , bitch," and draguer, "hit on, come on to." Unfortunately, one of the most intriguing terms, branlettes Espagnoles from episode 63 (literally, "Spanish wanks, Spanish masturbations"), does not appear. Our translation, working from the context and drawings, is "pearl necklace" or "tit fuck."
Cornog, M. & Perper, T. (2005, March). Non-western sexuality comes to the U.S.: A crash course in manga and anime for sexologists. Contemporary Sexuality, 39(3), 4-6.
Gravett, P. (2004). Manga: Sixty years of Japanese comics. New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of : Harper Design/Harper Collins.
Machiyama, T. (2002, February). The sex and violence of Osamu Tezuka. Pulp, 6(2). (www.pulp-mag.com/archives/6.02/sexand violence.shtml)
Perper, T. & Cornog, M. (2002, Winter). Eroticism Eroticism
novel of Alexandrian manners by Pierre Louys. [Fr. Lit.: Benét, 783]
Ovid’s treatise on lovemaking. [Rom. Lit. for the masses: Japanese manga comics and their assimilation into the U.S. Sexuality & Culture, 6, 3-126 (Special Issue).
Sha, K. (1964). A happier sex life: Study in modern Japanese sexual habits (R. Y. Tatsuoka & S. Kozuka, Trans.). Tokyo: Ikeda Shoten.
Reviewed by Martha Cornog & Timothy Perper, 717 Pemberton Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19147. E-mail: email@example.com.