Manga-ka: Riosuke Yasui
Publisher: Project H
Rating: Mature (18+)
Release Date: August 2011
Synopsis: “Fed up with how the world is being run, Ryuubi decides to do something about it. She is determined to rule it herself! And her first step towards world domination is to enlist a strategist into her camp. But the minute she rinds said strategist, Takaaki, she seems to become preoccupied with making as many heirs with him as possible! Indeed for Takaaki, there isn’t much strategizing to be done, more like sexual servitude, as world domination seems to have taken a beat to Ryuubi’s carnal cravings. On the other hand, Kan’u and Chouhi, Ryuubi’s sisters-in-arms are truly intent on their duties. They plan to “help out” Ryuubi as much as they can in case their ruler fails to produce an heir! And as if things couldn’t get any steamier, Takaaki’s childhood friend Motoko suddenly realizes that she has the hots for him as well. It seems there’s no rest of the hapless strategist. Indeed, this “version” of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms is something you’ve never seen before!”
The back cover’s rather thorough walk through of Shocking Pink!‘s plot makes it pretty clear that intrigue and cleverly withheld plot developments aren’t what this story is all about. As the first title released under DMP’s new hentai imprint, Project-H, we know it’s not the plot we’re going into Shocking Pink! For. Offering all the cover gives up and then some, if you like what you see on the book’s (uncensored) outsides then there’s a good chance you’ll favour its contents as well. Warning: Book and review contains 18+ only material!
For all the synopsis’ transparency, it was the plot that actually got me really curious about Shocking Pink!– reincarnated Romance of the Three Kingdoms characters in porn form? How was that going to work? Turns out it works about as far as getting the characters together, no more or less better then any of the old classics would’ve – long-lost childhood friend, a runaway looking for a place to stay, distant cousin, half-sister, surprise fiance, etc. etc. So why not the reincarnation of a general seeking out fellow reincarnations to build up a long-lost empire? Once the confident and very forward Ryuubi enters Takaaki’s life, the plot basically goes out the window share for a few moments where we need to be reminded just how dedicated all the girls are to their ’cause’.
I liked Takaaki as the main character, irrelevant as he really is amidst the harem of woman now surrounding him. He’s a little snarky and is often inflicted with momentary bouts of sane disbelief. A little personality definitely goes a long way compared to the faceless, ‘imagine-you’re-me!’ male leads that populate a lot of hentai. Brief situational concerns aside, Takaaki of course doesn’t have any issue with the continuous sex now afforded to him, except for maybe that it happens a little too frequently (a breather won’t kill anyone). When the going gets good, and going good for him it often does, he’s prepared to reciprocate in full making these scenes good two way streets, as it were, even if the ‘camera’ stays expectantly rooted on the girls’ reactions specifically.
The sex itself is pretty vanilla, keeping itself interesting with a variety of different poses and angles. Mostly the hook factor is just sex, sex and more sex. At about 250 pages, you get your porn’s worth. There’s just enough talking to show that it isn’t all these people do, just mostly. Along with Ryuubi, you have her initially two-person entourage. All three girls have their own somewhat unique personalities – be it the confident Ryuubi, strong girl Unchou or shy girl Chouhi, and the story takes just enough time to have each sex scene come about differently to play on their quirks and attitudes. An entertaining late edition to their strange little group is a young woman they find dressed as a horse on the street (yes, that’s what I typed). Her sullen, flat expression combined with her slightly more forward nature makes her one of the book’s more notable participants.
The book’s final chapters take the focus to Takaaki’s childhood friend (there she is) who must now defeat Ryuubi and her girls to lay claim to Takaaki. A four on four fight in a boxing ring does the trick, but of course none of the fights really play out in the way anyone expects. This is especially true when a boy-girl set of little twins get ‘involved’ (including with each other in the book’s one semi non-consensual scene). Then there’s the inclusion of said-childhood friend’s older sister who sports an eye-patch, an attitude and a perfect boyfriend all her own. Adding extra amusement to it all is the book’s extras’ section which includes detailed biographies and back-stories for each female character that never made it into the story itself.
The art style is attractive and professional looking with a style I could easily see depicting a more-ages-friendly high school comedy if not for the tell-tale chest baggage. If you like breasts large, then Shocking Pink! is for you (with the actual cover giving you a not-so-sneaky peek). When the story shifts near the end to some out-of-bed action, the art style keeps up with good fight scenes however brief. The inking is consistently sharp while the screen-toning makes every inch of flesh look nice and grippably plump. Just about everything here is uncensored also, so no invisible penises, though you will see that amusing teeny tiny black bar on genitals that covers absolutely nothing.
Digital Manga is giving their Project H books more attention than I had expected they would, going back to the larger trim sizes their boys’ love titles used to have. Shocking Pink! also has four full-colour pages at the beginning that wastes no time reminding you why it’s explicitly rated. There’s a reason their Project-H logo is a face with blood gushing from his nose (but so eloquently). Sound effects for every blush, goosh, slurp and ‘kulch’ are translated and typeset next to the original sound effect. It can make the sex scenes look a tad crowded but with everything going everywhere anyway, it hardly stands out.
I can hardly imagine a better sort of title to start their hentai imprint off with than Shocking Pink!. It’s got an assortment of girls, a guy with an actual personality, uncensored artwork, entertaining comedy and a very high sex-to-plot ratio. It was silly and fun. If you’re not out looking for porn – be it for entertainment or otherwise – then you best avoid this one to the best of your ability. But, if you fall in the other category of ‘yes please!’, then be sure to buy yourself a copy and enjoy.