Oku Hiroya HEN (volumes 1-7)

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0 2813 10/8/2007
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{Please note ~ these are import comics and are not available in English at the time of this review. They can be purchased with the ISBN numbers below through Japanese bookstores and amazon.co.jp}

vol 1 - 4-08-618470-2
vol 2 - 4-08-618471-0
vol 3 - 4-08-618472-9
vol 4 - 4-08-618473-7
vol 5 - 4-08-618474-5
vol 6 - 4-08-618475-3
vol 7 - 4-08-618476-1



Oku Hiroya is a man's man. He draws one of the goriest, hyper-sexed men's titles on the market (Gantz) and frequently jokes about his adoration for young women's breasts. He is the pioneer of a bouncy-boob drawing technique now famous in pornography throughout Japan. And once upon a time, he wrote himself into a comic about a tough-guy in love with another boy.

This is that comic.


Suzuki is a man's man too. He has the bad ass haircut, the bike, the attitude, the women and the height. Unfortunately he's also a wee bit slow, cries watching "Dog of Flanders", and would rather be friends with the school nerds than beat them up with the other punks.

His polar opposite is Yuuki, a tiny, delicate boy with no talent for sports and a tendency to be mistaken for a girl. Yuuki would give anything to be like Suzuki... maybe then he could land the girl of his dreams.

Unfortunately, a series of capricious events lead the two to each other and one MAJOR misunderstanding: Suzuki is determined that Yuuki is a girl and that he is in love with him. Yuuki spends the next several volumes proving Suzuki wrong, but alas, it's too late: Suzuki is smitten. Girl or not: he's not taking "no" for an answer.

Meanwhile, rivals of both genders appear and sides begin to form in a ridiculously confusing scramble of alternate sexualities. There are girls who look like boys, boys who look like girls, there are boys who like boys, girls who like girls, girls who like girls who like boys, etc... Oh, and there are boobs. Lots of them. Of every shape and size. It's STILL Oku Hiroya after all.

My Thoughts

This is one of my favorite comics. Not only is it laugh-out-loud funny, it's not self-conscious about it's subject matter. Homosexuals are portrayed as sympathetic and in spite of being a bit "Strange" (Hen), the lifestyles themselves are never maligned.
Never does the comic stoop to "gay jokes" or cheap shots.

Oku didn't seem to be worried that writing a story about gay kids was going to get him called names or rejected by manly-men worldwide. In fact, he was so confident in this series' potential appeal to men that he had the balls to submit it to Young Jump. Granted, the all-lesbian follow-up (also titled HEN) was a great deal more popular than the initial romp, but that doesn't change the fact that a clearly heterosexual man has written a clearly homosexual comic and then turned around and sold it to other heterosexual men. That is awesome.

Perhaps the entire world can learn something about tolerance from Oku: men don't HAVE to be scared of men kissing men, they just need to know there are some boobs waiting a few pages later.

Less stick: more carrot.

Not terribly suitable for minors: homosexuality, breasts, breasts, breasts, breasts...
Keywords: import comics, man's man comic, women's breast manga, boob drawing
Illustrations and Layout Very Good
Entertainment Value Excellent
Replay Value Very Good
Plot Very Good
Genre Seinen, Comedy, Romance
Volumes 8 total (7 reviewed)


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August 2007

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