Destiny Lovers is a new release by Ghost Ship, an imprint of manga publisher Seven Seas Entertainment focusing on, as the official website states, “sexy manga for mature readers” that is “bringing the booty.” If this title is a good representation of their lineup, then they weren’t kidding.
First I must give a full disclosure: I’ve never read an ecchi, fan-service, or erotica manga title. I’m assessing the volume for what it is trying to be, and what it is trying to be is a smutty, comedic mystery thriller for adults. Whether or not Destiny Lovers was an appropriate first choice for someone picking up an adult manga title is a question for another day.
Written by Kazutaka, Destiny Lovers gets an A for absurdity. The volume begins with what the majority of readers will be clamoring for: erotic fan service. We are introduced to protagonist Kai Tomohiro strapped to a chair in what appears to be a holding cell of sorts. He reflects on how he possibly could have ended up in his dire predicament and proceeds to panic as he contemplates his fate. The mild amount of intrigue and horror is immediately lifted once a scantily clad dominatrix (Are there any that aren’t?) makes her presence known. In a matter of panels, Kai’s female captor begins grinding against him, teasing his body, and demanding sexual intercourse.
If you find that the above description is describing non-consensual sexual activities, you would be correct. There is nothing inherently wrong with discussing sexual abuse, but in a medium where the intention is for the audience to get thrilled by the material, it may be hard for some readers, including myself, to feel comfortable reading past this point. With that said, if that isn’t an issue for you, read on.
Our unfortunate – or fortunate depending on who you ask – protagonist is saved by another “guard,” for lack of a better term, and is immediately moved to a room with a handful of other imprisoned males. Luckily for them, they get out of their cell and begin wandering around the facility in search of answers. Answers are not what they find, and instead they are met with maids and masseurs attempting to give the men erections for a plot that is never revealed. To add to the somewhat puzzling story, Kai’s childhood friend is introduced as a member of the facility who warns her former sweetheart that they should protect their virginity at all costs.
At this point the story asks the reader to suspend their disbelief beyond what any self-aware individual may be capable of doing. The boys do everything in their power to not have sex with women throwing themselves at their prisoners left and right. Now I realize that there's a certain level of humor to this, and if you can appreciate it, then you are likely the kind of individual who will enjoy Destiny Lovers.
Humor presents itself sporadically in other areas of the volume as well. Characters respond to their BDSM-themed predicaments with silly cartoon-styled voices and dialogue (e.g. “Ba-ha-ha-oobs!”). While the humor didn’t often make me laugh, there are a few good moments of absurdist humor that gave me a good chuckle. On the flip side, the humorous and erotic elements of the story can sometimes be paired with some fairly gruesome scenes. In one such case, a man is shot point-blank in the head by a female guard, leaving a massive pool of blood where his body lies. To his credit, Kazutaka does a good job of not mixing the gore with the sex. The violence is present just enough to remind readers that there is real danger to be found in the depraved institution.
The artwork follows the modern trend in adult-oriented manga: Breasts are big, tongues are out, and faces are blushed. Interestingly for a book filled with over-the-top escapades, one might believe that the character designs would be equally as flamboyant, but this would be an incorrect assumption. Most of the cast is comprised of stock character designs that can usually be described with an adjective followed by “guy” or “girl,” such as “normal guy,” “punk guy,” “smart guy,” and “fat guy.”
In a bid to show that I am not totally tone-deaf, I’m well aware that a cohesive, logical, and airtight plot are not what Destiny Lovers is aiming for. The manga is unapologetically ridiculous and reminds the reader every chance it can. Kai’s bizarre adventure exists for one reason and one reason only, and so if domination erotica and fan-service fantasies are what you’re after, Destiny Lovers will surely tickle your fancy.
Long ago, Fujishiro Kosuke promised his love to his childhood friend, Sayaka-chan. But his pledge to save his first sexual experience for her takes a shocking turn when he's suddenly abducted and thrown into a secret prison--run by beautiful, terrifying women in fetish gear. His seductive kidnappers claim to have a higher purpose but are after one thing: Kosuke's virginity, and they're willing to employ every kink at their disposal. Who are these women, and why are they trying to break Kosuke's promise to Sayaka-chan? In this darkly erotic thriller about fear and desire, one man is about to face a sexual gauntlet like no other.Add to CartLearn More