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Splash to Love Vol. #01 Hentai Manga Review

6 min read

Splash to Love Volume 1 CoverPhotographers look at pretty girls all day, and models like to be watched.

Creative Staff
Story/Art: KUBUKURIN
Translation/Adaptation: Steven LeCroy

What They Say
When rookie cameraman Masato moves to Tokyo, what awaited him were two beauties: his sweet childhood friend and landlady Kannah and the sultry model Kanna! Can Masato juggle a budding photography career and two lovely ladies? Or will his love life and career shutter for good?

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
KUBUKURIN’s art style may seem a little uneven. On the plus side, censorship is avoided when possible. The artist will show the outline of a crotch through fabric, and even have copious amounts of moisture somehow flying through the air with just a touch. Censorship of genitalia is limited in ways that use white space with an outline, thereby not creating an exaggerated and distracting amount of white space. The most impressive element of style is the ability to make clothed figures into cheesecake pin-up girls—a great homage to the subject of the book. Parts that distracted me include a tendency to pose bodies in motion, giving them stretched torsos. Some faces have either no chin or a point somewhere under their jaws. The good certainly outweighs the bad, creating a clean art style with cute characters and seductive erotica.

To avoid listing the different erotic scenes, I will make a general statement that most are vanilla, all are consensual, and the scenes are too copious to list. In other words, there seem to be more pages with either cheesecake images or with explicit erotica than pages with characters engaged in non-erotic activities. When trying to describe the narrative that flows from chapter to chapter, it is difficult to find a singular purpose. Multiple threads wrap around bigger concepts, and some chapters seem to trail off in unresolved directions. Narrative elements include a romance, a world of photographers and models where sex is used for advancement, and finally, unresolved ideas of power relationships between the characters.

The first chapters privilege the romantic angle as Masato arrives in Tokyo early at the request of Eguchi, the guy who helped him get a job. His first mission: wait at the office for a model to arrive for an appointment. The model is Kanna, and by the end of first chapter, she has teased him, threatened his job, and had sex with him.

Like all young workers taking their first important job, Masato will be staying with his buxom childhood friend, Kannah, who acts as a landlady for the apartment complex where Kanna the model lives. In fact, Masato can now expect Kanna to come to his bed as she does his first night. Kanna continues to tease Masato, but Masato seems to have a thing for his childhood friend which culminates in an erotic dream from which he confesses his love only to have the wrong girl hear the confession.

The business world thread begins in Chapter 3 when Kanna relays that at the day’s shoot a magazine producer gave her a condom with the cryptic message that it “is a magic item that will grant the wish to whoever doth open it.” Masato rants about the guy, tears open the condom, and…his wish comes true. We are introduced to the world where models pleasure photographers, publishers, or anyone they think might get them a connection in the industry. First we meet Maya, the model Eguchi had originally left to find at the beginning of the story. She orally pleasures a man, Mr. Hasekura, with a shaded face in the back of a limousine as he talks to her about her career. Then the scene shifts to the office where Masato rants about what he will do if he sees a guy proposition a model. Eguchi and the chief, an attractive female boss, remind Masato that the client pays them, so doing anything publicly would be bad for the business and for Masato’s continued employment. Masato then is assigned to the photographer, Shioya, a pervert who sexualizes his shoots even when they are ads for pans. Shioya sends Masato away for one of the more interesting scenes in the book while he talks to his model to the expression he wants and a cooking pot handle stands in for a certain fleshy appendage.

In chapters 6-8, Masato begins to question his moral vision. He meets a new model at a swimsuit shoot, and he asks her to be his model for a competition when Kanna tells him a master photographer has asked her to pose for his contest entry. This causes him to question his purpose for shooting and gives Eguchi an opportunity to instruct him on the real reason a photographer can get the best from his model. At the same time, we encounter Maya again. Now she is being pleasured by an androgynous photographer while Hasekura stands by talking business with her partner. When the photographer is finished, the producer comes in and asks if he can try out Maya. Hasekura gives him permission and after a less-than-satisfying episode for Maya, he finishes. Maya then complains to her photographer who offers to give her digital satisfaction.

The final chapters find Eguchi telling the boss he has fixed the situation so Masato will improve as a photographer without being damaged by his mentor. This includes Kanna having sex with him until he realizes that it is in her beauty that he finds his muse.

In Summary
I’m drawn to hentai with a story, and this one has a story with potential. I find I like it as much for its faults as for the things it does well. The narrative does not start out smoothly, and I don’t see much character development until about halfway through the book. There are more characters than I care to keep up with in this manga, but the broad cast does allow for outside motivations to creep into what would otherwise be a standard story of boy meets the real world. When one scene called for emotion toward a character, the next chapter would provoke rational question of how the reader should feel for that character. When a book spreads itself so thin that I can’t find a singular focus being developed, I might be glad that it is over, but in this case, I’m interested to read part 2. The complexity of the characters acting within this corporate world could approach that of a more mainstream manga series. The tension between sex as a commodity, as emotion, and as romance could turn the next volume into a very different beast, one where moral and emotional ambiguity intersect in an erotic catharsis. I won’t hold my breath, but I will read the next volume. The potential is there, but the uneven nature of the chapters makes me question if KUBUKURIN wants anything more than to create oppositions between the rational, capital, and emotional moments of erotic experience.

I would recommend this to someone who cares about hentai with a plot and who prefers vanilla erotica with a focus on oppai designs.

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

Age Rating: Adults Only
Released By: PROJECT-H
Release Date: April 9th, 2014
MSRP: $17.95

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