We’ve reached Round 4 in Substandard Shoujo Spectacle. As per usual, Black Bird and Suki Shite Sadist continue to show a lot of potential in the questionable tropes and scenario department. In fact, Black Bird was so kind as to demonstrate the lovely logic of the Nice Guy™, while Suki Shite Sadist decided to cover the classic tale of Alpha Male dominance. Clearly, it must have been fate that these two are the first two manga that start off each and every round of Substandard Shoujo Spectacle.

Black Bird

Black Bird - chapter 4 cover

Bound, blindfolded, and afraid: the ultimate fantasy!

  • A tied up, blind folded Misao crying. What lovely covers we have!
  • Page 2: Right off the bat we have the new rival and Kyo already aggressively pursuing Misao. Shuuei, the rival, calls her Misao-chan and casually talks to her (he is, by the way, totally popular cause you know, can’t have them uncool guys interested in the heroine). Whereas Kyo waltzes up and tells Misao to see him at lunch. And then the two proceed to have a staring contest with Misao between them. Oh how utterly romantic~
  • Misao’s inner thought process? “People are jealous of me…because the two hottest guys in school want to be my boyfriend…but…they don’t know that those two are guys are demons!!” Fair enough, I’d be pretty stressed in that situation, but ugh, Kyo is her teacher and people are all ok with this teacher wanting to be her boyfriend? I mean, she says people are jealous cause two hot guys want her so that means people are ok with a teacher being sexually interested in a student, and in fact wish that it happened to them! Also, of course jealousy must happen when the heroine is wanted by the love interests! Shoujo cliches, we want MORE.
  • When summarizing her predicament, Misao says demons either want to marry or eat her. “Marry” huh? Is that what you are calling the constant threat of rape Black Bird? Oh I absolutely love how you try to spin this as oh so romantic and not at all creepy.
  • Misao gets attacked again, but this time, it’s cause she needs to learn that only Kyo is able to hold back when licking her wounds. Our dear rival says he’s not confident he could hold back after tasting Misao’s sweet sweet blood. Huh, I swear this is sounding more like Twilight with every new chapter. Sweetpea was right!
  • But of course Misao’s wound gets worse cause we need those steamy licking scenes!
  • Oh yes, I love it when my lover gets rough with me after hearing that his rival managed to save me. That’s so hot and not at all creepy.
  • You know, Kyo’s awfully brave to be licking Misao at school. I mean, anyone could just walk in on them and there is no way that wouldn’t look like some sort of sexual act.
  • What’s one of Kyo’s good points you say? He could totally rape Misao, but he doesn’t and Misao knows it! He’s a nice guy™!
  • Enter rival to make more trouble for our helpless lovers by suggesting that Kyo being Misao’s childhood friend isn’t a coincidence. Gosh, I just can’t get enough of this drama!

The Silver Lining?

This was actually a pretty tame chapter, especially compared to last time, but Kyo’s possessiveness flares up a bit and it’s not cute. It’s kind of creepy. Maybe I’m crazy here, but if you really loved someone, wouldn’t you want the best for them rather than keep them bound to you if that made them miserable? Sigh. Only good thing here is the possessiveness has been toned down, but that’s not much of a good thing. Oh, I guess that Misao actually understands her situation and isn’t acting like it’s the best thing ever. It could have been worse. She could have been totally ok with this like Suki Shite Sadist’s Aki. But again, that’s not saying much. Really, the only good thing about Black Bird is that it isn’t as bad as Sadist and actually has a heroine that shows some semblance of having a brain and will of her own.

Ranking: B+

The Ultimate Nice Guy™: I Want You so Bad, But I Haven’t Raped You! Bravo Black Bird, bravo. Kyo not raping Misao is totally such a good point to his character. I mean, clearly men are wild raping beasts demons that cannot control their impulses and any man who can is clearly a winning catch and Misao is freaken crazy not to be running into his arms already.

Suki Shite Sadist

  • Our nice Masaya tells Aki that she can take her time to consider his confession. She says she will while quickly running off. But we all know being nice like that is no way to get a woman. You have to force them if you want them, like Naoya and Kyo!
  • Another incompetent moment for Aki. She can’t even pour tea after that confession. I am at a loss for words. sigh.
  • Oh man, Naoya is such a charmer. He tells Aki he’d be happy to receive her virginity as a present. No sure fire way to tease them ladies than suggesting they give up something as valuable as their virginity!
  • This is followed up with, “[t]hat’s true…cause I can always seduce you anytime…” after Aki says that’s not a present. Seduce you say? I don’t think that word means what you think it does, Naoya.
Suki Shite Sadist - Gender Binary

Women bake them cakes and real men do the heavy lifting.

  • Of course Aki must strut her domestic female skills by baking a cake. And Naoya must strut his manhood by taking down some utensils that the poor frail Masaya cannot. All the more reason why Naoya is out of his league. Clearly if you want women, you must be an “alpha” male. That poor pathetic “beta” Masaya is so clearly out of Naoya’s league.
  • Man, you can’t get any more cliche than this little ramble of Aki’s after she sees Naoya’s sleeping face: “He looks so peaceful…but he’s just like a sleeping lion…One never knows what he’s going to do once he’s awake…He looks so innocent and childlike…” Oh Shinjou dear, you aren’t fooling anyone, the childlike and innocent (virginal one) is so obviously Aki. You couldn’t make a more demure child-like character if you tired!
  • Even the sexual innuendo is oh so original: Naoya tells Aki he dreamed “a dream where I ate you up.” Man, that one hasn’t been used like a million times in other smut manga.
  • I…I cannot believe this! It’s one cliche after another. Aki cuts her finger and Naoya puts it in his mouth. Truly the story-telling has blown me away!
  • Aki gets angry when Naoya shows no possessiveness after learning that Masaya confessed to her. He replies with, “You listen to everything that I say, don’t you…seems like you have fallen for me…can’t you resist me?” Yes of course, she’s so demure and childlike that she needs the smarter and better Naoya to tell her what to do. This is exactly it! See Shinjou, you don’t fool me with your talk of Naoya being the child-like one! He is so clearly the alpha lion. He must dominate everything and everyone!
  • So when Aki tells him that Masaya is all nice and gentle, Naoya replies with then you should accept him and then forcefully kisses Aki. Ugh. Wow. Just. I’m again at a loss for words. This is all sorts of twisted possessive shit.
  • “My first kiss…taken away from me, so forcibly, so violently…” -Aki. Well, that’s great that you use the right adjectives, I just worry about what sort of connotation you think they have Aki, cause I swear you say these things like they are a good thing.
  • More mild verbal abuse from Naoya. He calls Aki a “cheeky girl” after she weakens from that kiss. Yes, Naoya is so pimp he makes the ladies weak from just one passionate kiss. Clearly an alpha male if I ever saw one.
  • Big cliff hanger is Masaya passing out from heart pains. Hmm.

The Silver Lining?

Oh boy. Yeah, I can’t say anything good about this chapter. I mean, I was literally staring in disbelief as one cliche followed another in quick succession. Not only is the romance creepy, it’s not even written in a way that would not make it stand out from a million other shoujo romances. Really, I can’t say anything good about this manga anymore. In fact, I’m surprised anyone would enjoy this given the author isn’t even trying to write something more than just a throw away romance if she needs to invoke so many shoujo tropes. Hell, the whole alpha male versus nice guy myth this manga is playing into bugs me more than anything else, especially since the author appears pretty much aware of what she is writing and romanticizing given everything is called exactly like it is. This manga is so frustrating on a number of levels. I do believe it will be the worst of the worst if none of the others cross the lines that Suki Shite Sadist crosses with glee. In fact, the possessiveness Kyo displayed was troubling last chapter, to be sure, but I would say the stuff that goes on this chapter in Suki Shite Sadist is worse because Naoya is clearly playing around with Aki. He pretends he doesn’t care about the confession and then puts her in her place with that “kiss” and Aki is all blown away (in a good way) by this act. Whereas Black Bird at least had the decency to depict Misao in fear and not enjoying Kyo’s little jealous stunt. It’s not much and it’s not like suddenly Black Bird is not problematic, but in terms of degrees, I’d say Suki Shite Sadist is continuously heading lower and lower by framing alone.

Ranking: A-

Top Quality Writing. Clearly using all these true and tested shoujo cliches is a mark of a great story teller. In fact, my goodness no one does twisted possessive shit as well as Ms. Shinjou. Kyo is just plain possessive and doesn’t want Misao to look at other men. Naoya? Oh he’ll play games with Aki and then put her in her place by kissing her “so forcibly, so violently” and if you haven’t caught the drift yet, this is a good thing!