Playing with Power: Reviewing Someya You’s “Pleasure & Corruption” Vol. 1!

Publisher: Denpa

Original Story & Art by:
Someya Yu

Translator: Zhuchka
Letterer: Brandon Bovia

Release Date: 2/25/2020
Page Length: 192
Color or B/W: B/W

Reader’s Note: I received a review copy of Pleasure & Corruptions Vol. 1 in exchange for a fair and honest review. This review was penned, originally, for a different site. However, due to the incredible NSFW content, this review will be posted directly to this blog. This review is spoiler and image free. Onions are my own.

CW // TW: Urolagnia, Dubious Consent, Semi-Public Sexual Scenes, Semi-Public Kink, Rope Bondage, Upskirting, Forced Orgasm, Human Furniture/Forniphilia, Anal Play, S&M, Power Play, BDSM

One Sentence Summary
Zen finds relief and release through upskirting as a way to rebel against his strict, overbearing parents only to find himself in a real bind when student council VP Hojo Ayame decides to teach him that power and control are mutual things that can be quite beneficial.

Expanded Summary (Take from the Product Page)
Broken souls achieving satisfaction through their corruption. Overwhelmed by societal pressures at home and at school, Zen turns to upskirting as a means of rebellion and control. But once he is caught in the act by the student body VP, he is soon taught that control is a two-way street and bondage is more psychological than he ever imagined.

Pleasure & Corruption Vol. 1 is a mature romance manga created by Someya You. Notably, Pleasure and Corruption is Someya’s debut series, both in Japan and globally. The series is published by American publisher Denpa. The series is translated by Zhuchka, with lettering by Brandon Bovia. Additionally, Nicole Dochych and Brandon Bovia worked on production for the series, with digital work by Tanelia Vatanen.

Here’s the premise: high school student Minedera Zen feels immense pressure from society, both in his home and at school. In order to relieve his stress, he turns to upskirting as a way to rebel and feel a bit of control in his life. However, he’s soon caught in the act by the student body Vice-President, one Hojo Ayame. Ayame has a penchant for bondage, and Zen soon learns that control goes both ways.

This manga, naturally, comes with a lot of caveats and content warnings, all of which I listed above. Still, I’d like to reiterate them before we continue. The most prominent is that this is a mature story about a power exchange between two high school students. The next is that it contains a lot of sexual scenarios, though not outright sex. I’d also like to let readers know that there’s content/trigger warnings for urination, forced bondage, dubious consent, semi-public scenes and play, among a lot of kink related activities.

Keeping that in mind, let’s dive into Pleasure & Corruption Vol. 1, a series all about power and control.

Pleasure & Corruption Vol. 1 kicks off with Zen getting lambasted for his poor test scores. Scores which are necessary to entering a decent college. His parents ire sends a clear message: produce better results, or be a social failure. All this happens right as Zen is getting ready to head off to his very elite high school.

On his way to school, Zen decides to blow off steam with his “hobby”: snapping upskirt pictures of his fellow classsmates and the students at his school. While on the way to school, he spies a beautiful student: one Hojo Ayame. Without hesitation, he attempts to snap a picture… only to immediately get caught.

Zen’s entire life flashes before his eyes, and he begs for his phone back, desperately afraid of bringing shame upon his parents. Ayame quickly agrees, but only if Zen does everything she says. Desperate to get his phone back, Zen agrees. Too bad it turns out that what Ayame wants is Zen trussed up in rope and completely at her mercy.

This power exchange is the foundation for Pleasure & Corruption Vol. 1, and most likely the entire series. It’s the first time I’ve ever read something like this, and it left a powerful impression on me, as well as a desire to delve into the next volume as soon as possible. Someya’s handling of this topic, as well as its high school setting, made it an egnaging read that easily could have sunk into being uncomfortable and leering.

It’s also the first time I’ve personally encountered a female-male dynamic like this. Seeing Ayame in action was intriguing, especially since it’s rare to see a high school girl claiming full control of her sexuality in the way she does in this first volume. I went into Pleasure & Corruption Vol. 1 fairly uninformed. What I found inside was really, truly engaging, and well worth any seinen fan’s time.

I think that it’s also quite interesting to see high school students focused on in this story. After all, sexuality and identity are things we all work through. For many of us, that happens in high school right as bodily awareness finally clicks. Someya skillfully treats this premise so carefully that it never crossed the line into being any level of disgusting.

That being said, I do understand and fully recognize that a story about high school students engaging in mostly consusual BDSM can be a very off-putting premise. In fact, I’ll say that i understand this could be a deeply discomforting premise. It’s partially why I put so many warnings at the beginning, and have been fairly blunt about the setting. I want readers to know what they’re getting into.

One thing the mangaka makes clear in the afterword is that upskirting is, by all means, a crime and not right. While it’s used as a plot device in this series, in reality, it’s a horrific crime to force upon someone. I actually quite appreciated this, in large part because it recognizes that fiction and reality do sometimes mix, even if we don’t mean to have them do so.

Another point in the mangaka’s favor is the art, which is quite dynamic. It helps accent the plot, along with Ayame and Zen’s master and submissive relationship. When paired with Brandon Bovia’s super lettering and Zhuchka’s stellar translation, Pleasure & Corruption Vol. 1 goes from an intriguing series about bondage and submission to a fascinating series about power and control.

All of this is from the perspective of a gender flipped dynamic. This, in particular, is the series strength, especially since male bondage is a pretty rare topic in general.

Ultimately, Pleasure & Corruption Vol. 1 is an easy recommend, though as said above, there’s some pretty severe content warnings.If those warnings are thing you’re okay with and you’re still curious, I think you’ll find an intensely complex thriller about sexuality, identity, and controlling your own body.

Just be aware that this is an ecchi manga with a lot of BDSM, though it’s a thoughtful story with a lot of room for growth. I’m certainly excited to engage with this series in future volumes, and hope to continue covering them on this blog. Heck, I might even write about them outside of reviews too!

Pleasure & Corruption Vol. 1 was released on February 25, 2020. It is available physically and digitally from various publishers.

TL;DR: The Life of a Yuri Couple in Love Vol. 1 is a cute, quick read about two twenty-somethings who are madly in love. It’s a nice, realistic series that feels very true to the lives of many WLW, and a solid piece of lesbian representation. I highly suggest picking up a copy to enjoy during your lunch or when you have half an hour as readers will want to induldge in mk’s incredibly charming art.

Read If You Like…
* BDSM with an Emphasis on the S/M
* Rope Bondage
* Semi-Public Kink Scenes
* M/F Power Exchange
* High School Drama
* Any fetishes mentioned in the CW // TW

Ratings (Out of 5)

Plot/Story: 5
Art: 4.5
Translation: 4
Lettering: 5
Characters: 4.5

Overall Rating: 🟊🟊🟊🟊½ / 4.5 out of 5 Stars

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