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Onani Master Kurosawa
by G. Zeus on July 30th, 2009, 2:28am

Rating - 9 / 10.0

User rating of this review - N/A out of 5
Story/Plot - 4.5 out of 5
Characters - 5 out of 5
Drawing Style - 4 out of 5
Enjoyment - 4.5 out of 5
Overall - 4.5 out of 5

Click here for series information

“I pray that I can finish this day without dirtying my hands.”

Some elements in anime and manga have been used by so many writers that they are at risk of becoming hackneyed. The use of school settings in particular has become rather common, and finding fresh content is increasingly becoming more difficult. Fortunately, there are still a few titles that manage to surpass expectations. This manga happens to be one of those.

Affectionately referred to as “Fap Note” by some fans, Onani Master Kurosawa is the brainchild of Ise Katsura (author) and Yoko (artist). The story deals with an adolescent's coming of age and, as it's official and unofficial titles suggest, heavy emphasis is placed on the “coming” part.

Surprisingly, I found none of the scenes distasteful despite having much of the story centered on Kurosawa's sexual tensions. Of course, some chapters are hardly safe for reading in public spaces since they involve the fantasies of our healthy male protagonist. However, the author never resorts to cheap incidents normally associated with fanservice (accidental upskirts, peeping, unreasonably skimpy clothing, etc.), and none of the illustrations show anything explicit enough to warrant the dreaded censorship bars either. The circumstances are strange but neither impossible nor unthinkable by real world standards. To clarify: this manga is more about (A) a guy who jacks off, than (B) offering something for readers to jack off to.

Much of the appeal in the earlier chapters lies in the comedy presented. Kurosawa's method of dealing with problems in school is anything but orthodox, and readers keeping track of other popular series would undoubtedly recognize a number of parodies which are seamlessly integrated into the rest of the narrative.

However, the later volumes also stand well on their own with the intriguing and suspenseful story. As the plot starts to pick up, the events in each chapter leave you wanting for more. Onani Master Kurosawa covers themes that are regularly found in other manga about school life but presents them in a non-cliché manner, offering a surprising amount of drama and character development as well.

The art of the manga is also worth noting. The earlier volumes had several attempts at digital coloring and shading but I found these subpar even by doujinshi standards. Thankfully, these are few and far in between, and the quality does improve over the chapters.

Even more peculiar is the artist's sketchy drawing style which seems to make use of traditional media. The copious application of hatching might seem unusual for the lighthearted scenes but the dark shades enhance the mood of the more dramatic moments.

Also commendable is Yoko's ability to emulate the styles of other artists; this is crucial since the parodies would not play out well if the reader is unable to recognize which series is being referred to.

Onani Master Kurosawa is not your usual content-free comedy. At only 4 volumes, there's hardly any filler material to stretch the series to unnecessary lengths. The result is a short but exhilarating roller coaster ride of emotions and hijinks.
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