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The Manga Fan's Bad Luck

(A male manga fan enters the bookstore)

Manga Fan: Yes, it's a new year! I can't wait to read some new manga! Which ones should I start with?

(He starts browsing through the shelves)

Manga Fan: Okay, this title looks promising. (Takes out Volume 1). ...Oh.

(The cover shows two young men who are dressed in nothing but skimpy Speedos. One of them is bent over seductively.)

Manga Fan: I guess this is an ecchi or hentai title then. Never mind, definitely not for me. (Puts it back) Let's see, what subgenre do I want? How about a magic school story?

(He starts browsing through the titles. He finds one where the cover shows two teenage characters, a boy and a girl, dressed in school uniforms while standing in front of a school.)

Manga Fan: This looks interesting. (Starts flipping through the book) The art style isn't bad and I like the concept. Okay, maybe I'll –

(He lands on a page where one of the title characters, the boy, is shirtless and unbuckling his pants, revealing his underwear, while all alone in his bedroom.)

Manga Fan: ...Um, okay... Maybe this is just a one-time thing.

(Ten pages later, one of the female students hilariously trips and falls face-first onto another boy's groin.)

Manga Fan: Umm...maybe the next volume is better? (He puts the first volume back and takes out the second volume)

(Five pages in, there is a panel where several of the male students are bathing together.)

Manga Fan: ...Did I just stumble onto a gay porno by mistake? I mean, there was nothing in the synopsis or cover that told me that I was reading a yaoi title...

(One of the boys eyes another lasciviously and then lunges forward and grabs the boy's oversized erection from behind, despite the boy's protests and obvious embarrassment)

Manga Fan: This is a manga about a MAGIC SCHOOL, right?

(He puts the book back and searches for another series.)

Manga Fan: Okay, let me try another one.

(The cover shows a wizard flying around on a broomstick.)

Manga Fan: Cool, it reminds me of Harry Potter. (He opens the book)

(Two pages in, the hapless female protagonist has stumbled into a room where the male love interest is changing. Caught in a revealing state of undress, he squeals indignantly and calls her a pervert.)

Manga Fan: Ha, that's funny. Kind of.

(The rest of the book, the female protagonist runs into other male characters, who all instantly fall in love with her and who are all wearing extremely short shorts that reveal their underwear whenever they bend over.)

Manga Fan: ...So this is really a harem manga? Jeez. (Puts the title back) You know what, let me try an epic fantasy manga.

(The book that he picks is about a fantasy world that is roughly based on medieval Europe.)

Manga Fan: This looks cool. (Reads along) Yeah, this is –

(After a harrowing action scene ends, he sees a panel where the hero's best friend grabs his groin from behind while they bathe together in a pond)

Manga Fan: This AGAIN?

(Ten pages later, another male warrior shows up, whose enormous, bulging groin flaps in the wind as he moves.)

Manga Fan: This is an EPIC FANTASY?

(He closes the book and puts it back. He sees another series and takes a volume out...only to put it back after he sees the hero wearing 'armor' that basically looks like a porn outfit.)

Manga Fan: Fine, never mind. What about a more serious action-thriller title?

(He finds a title and takes it out. He starts becoming absorbed in it.)

Manga Fan: This is looking good!

(He comes across a scene where the hero's sidekick has been kidnapped by the female terrorist. They are both waiting for the hero to show up. While the sidekick waits nervously, having been bound and gagged, the terrorist suddenly reaches over and randomly cups his groin.)

Manga Fan: ...Really?

(The next series he picks has a cast of mostly female detectives with only one male cop.)

Manga Fan: He looks pretty cool.

(In one panel, the male cop muses while in the shower. His nipples and groin are unhidden by the steam.)

Manga Fan: ...Was that really necessary?

(He then moves on to a shoujo high school manga. Near the end of the volume, the female protagonist reaches out for her notebook and accidentally grabs the hero's junk.)

Manga Fan: You know, this wasn't funny the first time.

(In the next panel, another girl deliberately goes after the hero, laughing and telling him to take off his pants while he blushes and stammers.)

Manga Fan: You guys do realize that this is sexual harassment, right?

(The hero pleads for help from his friends, but they all laugh about how he's "become a man".)

Manga Fan: No? Nobody involved realizes what this is?

(Another scene features the hero's best friend cupping his own groin and wondering if it's big enough.)

Manga Fan: OH MY GOD. (He shoves the volume back onto the shelf.)

(He then picks up the second volume of a mystery manga where the protagonist is a ten-year-old detective.)

Manga Fan: I really liked the first one. I hope the second one's good!

(After the opening scene, the scene that introduces the protagonist posing seductively while in the bathtub and asking his butler, "Does this make me look fetching?")

Manga Fan: ...No. No, it doesn't. Because you're TEN.

(Another page in the manga shows the ten-year-old boy in a pinup pose.)

Manga Fan: Dear God, for all of the ridiculous porno costumes that DC and Marvel make Spiderman and Batman wear, at least they don't try to make Billy Batson look sexy.

(He spends the next half hour looking through different titles. There are a few that he likes and notes to buy later. The next title…)

Manga Fan: God, is this the TENTH manga I've seen where men grope each other while they're showering?

(Indeed, the book he is holding, which is a fantasy-adventure story featuring a gang of humans and monsters, features a scene with the male characters showering together. One of the male characters gropes another's groin and remarks on how big it is.)


(In disgust, he puts the book back and goes home. Frustrated, he goes online to see if there are more series that his bookstore doesn't have.)

Manga Fan: Okay, this summary looks interesting. Let me see the reviews.

(The first review starts out with "A fun action-fantasy with a unique magic system, colorful characters, and all the scantily-dressed boys you could ask for!"

Manga Fan: ...Why on earth are you asking for fanservice from an action-fantasy manga?! ARE THE HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF HENTAI – WHOSE ENTIRE REASON FOR BEING IS TO BE PORN – NOT ENOUGH FOR YOU?! If I wanted porn, I'd ask for porn! I just want to read an action-fantasy manga without fanservice – is that too much to ask?! Forget it, I'm skipping this.

(He browses through more titles, finds a few that look promising, and skips a whole bunch of popular ones.)

(The next day, he meets up with a female friend of his, who also happens to be a manga fan. She's brought a bag full of the manga that she's read recently.)

Manga Fan: Are there any manga that you could recommend for me? Because so far, I've only found a few that I like.

Friend: How about this one?

(Manga Fan looks at the book that she's pointing at. It's about a doctor who operates on supernatural patients. His interest perks up...and then he looks at the cover, which is one big close-up of the doctor's groin.)

Manga Fan: No, I don't think it's for me.

Friend: He's fully-clothed, though.

Manga Fan (gives her a dirty look): His balls are the size of coconuts. You think I don’t know what’s going to happen?

Friend: Fine, what about this one? (She gives him another title)

Manga Fan: The cover doesn't look too bad. (He starts reading the summary: "Michiko Takahashi - honor student, manga fan, and all-around pervert - stumbles across a..."

(Manga Fan gives her the book back.)

Friend: What's wrong?

Manga Fan: "All-around pervert?" Yeah, let's start a bingo card for how many times she 'accidentally' falls on a dude's junk, gropes him, ogles his dong, or walks in while he's changing.

Friend (sighs): Okay. This one?

Manga Fan: Pass. His junk is as big as a basketball. How the heck do these artists think that would work? He wouldn't be able to walk.

Friend: I don't think they're going for realism here.

Manga Fan: No, they're going for insulting. Do they realize that male manga fans read their books too? We don't only read shounen. (sighs) I'm not having a lot of luck here.

Friend: You just have to know where to look.

Manga Fan: I have to "know where to look?" I can't just take it for granted that the mangaka of the shoujo manga I've reading isn't a huge pervert? At least hentai and ecchi titles are honest about what they are right off the bat. They don't try to pull some bait-and-switch with me.

Friend: Look, that's just how manga is.

Manga Fan: And fart jokes are a dime a dozen in American movies! But if someone from Japan points that they're childish and stupid, I'll be right there with them!

Friend: Come on, you're a fan of Hanako Miyazaki, right?

Manga Fan: Sure, I love her movies.

Friend: Her works never show any fanservice.

Manga Fan: Oh, wonderful. ONE anime director, out of DOZENS of anime directors, whom I can safely rely on to never put almost-naked men in her works. I'm so grateful. *sarcasm*

Friend: Look, that's the way it is. If you don't like it, there's always the manga aimed at five-year-olds.

Manga Fan: And then you wonder why I haven’t read as much manga as you.