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How Good Was I? Hentai Manga Review

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How Good Was I?
How Good Was I?
Yamatogawa is back in English, and he’s very good indeed.

Creative Staff
Story and Art: Yamatogawa
Translation/Adaptation: Steven LeCroy

What They Say
A young man trying to get into college, a shut-in living out her fantasies online, a young couple in need of excitement, a clumsy girl trying to find her place in the world. Spring. A time for study, for play, for work, for rebirth… for sex. Yuu is a young man with one dream: To get into the same college as his lovely girlfriend, Saki. Unfortunately, he failed the entrance exam, while Saki got in! With Saki waiting for him, Yuu is even more determined to make it into college to fulfill their dreams. There’s only one problem: How can he focus and study when Saki refuses to let up on the sex? Aren’t you curious? Like the characters in the story, this manga just wants to know one thing: “How Good Was I?” Don’t disappoint it! Read and find out for yourself!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
I should confess that Yamatogawa is one of my favorite H mangaka, if not my favorite. And this opinion is not mine alone: Back when Project H was asking for title suggestions, other fans desperately asked for Yamatogawa’s works, which have not been seen since beloved Icarus Comics stopped publishing. Like Aqua Bless, How Good Was I? is a collection of Yamatogawa’s short stories, and like Aqua Bless, it’s a grab bag of titles, some older, some newer, some better, and some worse, with good variety for those with different tastes. I’m certainly not a fan of all of the stories within, but the good ones are so legendary, and so worth returning to, again and again, that the whole volume is a must-have.

How Good Was I? has a more expensive MSRP because it is uncensored, as Yamatogawa’s work demands to be seen. It contains a color insert page, and is of the same larger size and paper quality of Project H’s other releases. Yamatogawa’s art is phenomenal. If one were being unkind, you might joke that he seems to be one of the few eromangaka who has actually seen real naked women. Less generously, you might just say that his still idealized bodies have enough realism to seem more vital and alive. Breasts hang as if gravity actually has an effect on them. Proportions are within the realm of human possibility. And if not textbook-accurate, unmentionables have an anatomical accuracy that other artists don’t or can’t achieve. His only weakness might be in his faces, as though they are widely expressive, they tend to generally look alike from one character to another.

The volume contains eight stories, the first of which is comprised of three chapters. This is the eponymous “How Good Was I?” about a young man who failed his college entrance exams because his demanding girlfriend demanded sex all night long. Unable to study, he was unable to get into the college of his choosing, though she was still able to get in. The couple exists, therefore, in a kind of uneasy truce while he studies for next year’s exams while having to fight her seductions. She remains a supportive and loving girlfriend, though, and devises certain incentives to get him to study, including cosplay and exhibitionism. It’s a solid anchor to build a book around, but it lacks the mischievousness of Yamatogawa’s best work.

Yamatogawa is mischievousness precisely because his works skirt taboos in order for his stories to appeal to less wholesome fantasies. Men tend to force sex upon women, and women will force sex upon men, but once caught up in the passion, both parties enjoy it wholeheartedly. Consent is not one of his strong suits, but the focus is on enjoyment rather than the torment of crueler hentai. Three of the best stories are of this type. In Excitement on the Roof, a boy and his girlfriend climb on top of the school, just outside of a window so they might be seen. In Imp – Imp -, a younger sister invites her older sister over to her boyfriend’s apartment so that her boyfriend can show oneesan a good time. Initially, the stick-in-the-mud older sister is not interested, but soon the boyfriend begins to pay more attention to the older girl than his own girlfriend. Finally, in Don’t Mind if I Do, a female phantom thief ties up and drugs a rich heir in order to take advantage of his anatomy.

In Summary
It may not be “good,” and it may not be “clean,” but Yamatogawa’s works are always a lot of fun. There should be something in this volume of short stories that any fan of hentai can enjoy. While this volume may not have the legendary status of his Tayu Tayu or Witchcraft, it’s still a gorgeous work that fits snugly on the shelf with his others.

Content Grade: A-
Art Grade: A+
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A

Age Rating: 18+ Adult
Released By: Project-H Books
Release Date: August 14th, 2013
MSRP: US $19.95

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