Gakuen Heaven

You Higuri

Review by Will Epps
3 June 08

Warning! This manga is rated for Mature Audiences (aged 18 and over), therefore this review may contain content not suitable for younger readers.

Gakuen Heaven is a fine example of the repulsive, soul destroying genre known as Yaoi, and with that sentence all fans of the genre should be able to discount everything that follows as impotent hate speech and go about their daily lives happily fapping to guys that are clearly actually girls. As best I understand it, Yaoi is erotica that concerns the homosexual encounters of straight boys, and is primarily designed for teenage girls but considering there were several frames in which I was genuinely unsure whether the characters in this supposedly all male story actually had the appropriate genitalia, I suspect it's actually designed for repressed lesbians. Don't get me wrong, I have a thing for androgyny, but chicks with dicks do not equate with androgyny. Get the operation people.

So, homophobic misunderstandings about the genre aside … actually scratch that, none of this damn book makes any sense to me, which means I suspect that this entire review will reflect how little I actually 'get' it. I was under the impression that this was pornography, and thus somehow expected it to be somewhat more gratifying, but after the first few pages demonstrated that the plot would be even more mind numbing than, well, the average porn film or literature plot, I decided to skip through to the good bit, which is to say where all the ridiculous and disproportionate engorged penises show up. I wish this thing had page numbers so I could calculate exactly how long before I located the only sex scene, but it took me awhile and I wasn't actually reading the god awful story, but using my fine trained nudity detection sense. Think of something like the Todd in Scrubs, but less misogynistic, and you get a rough idea. Actually I'm nothing like that, I've just been watching inordinate amounts of Scrubs. Anyway, irrelevant details about my life aside, this is worth reiterating in the bluntest fashion possible: Gakuen Heaven contains one and only one sex scene, which doesn't appear till near the very end of the book.

This paragraph is actually really still part of the last, but it was getting too damn long. Anyway, I've no idea if I might not be so disappointed in it if I hadn't decided to tear it to pieces after the initial few pages in which the writing bore no semblance of coherence whatsoever and a bus jumped a fucking bridge for absolutely no good reason, but I don't think it's going too far to say that this solitary sex scene is about as arousing as what happened when I was collecting frogs from the river aged eight, and accidentally put one female in a bucket entirely full of males. It was mating season. She died. I think this partly explains a lot of my own anxieties related to sex in my adult life. Now that I think about it, that story should've probably also gone in the opening, as further reason for fans of the genre to discount me as some frigid sexless misanthropic creature that only comes out after dark.

Anyway, here's basically what you need to know about Gakuen Heaven: The dialogue is excruciating, the sex is more or less the opposite of arousing, the story is incoherent drivel, the characters seem to have gender alignment issues that are well beyond the reaches of modern medicine and the artwork is mediocre. I have been told by a friend whose feelings towards the whole Yaoi genre are more positive than my own (which can be summarised as 'ick') that Gakuen Heaven isn't really representative and is a particularly bad example, so if you like this stuff and are still reading, halt your angry e-mail decrying me as a homophobe or sexually puritan zealot: You still won't like this book. Now I'm off to sit under a cold shower, fully dressed, wondering why the dirt won't come off no matter how hard I scrub.

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