Rendou World: The Official Term for the Houkago Play Universe

One of my favorite manga artists today is Kurosaki Rendou, who’s known for lanky characters and a bizarrely sensual drawing style. Unlike a lot of manga, Kurosaki’s work actually cross over each other. For example, the main character of Receptacle is the big sister of his arguably most famous work, Houkago Play. In the past, I referred to it as the “Kurosaki Rendouverse,” but I recently found out (according to Amazon!) that there’s actually an official name: “Rendou World.”

There really isn’t much else for me to say. Kurosaki Rendou still has more new manga coming out, so I’m looking forward to seeing more characters from different stories intersect. Will we get cameos from the cast of Chou Nettaiya Orgy?

 

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The Fujoshi Files 141: Best Friend

Name: N/A
Alias: Best Friend (親友)
Relationship Status: Polyamorous Dating/Complicated
Origin: Receptacle

Information:
A girl who regularly discusses her very active sex life with her female friend, she is also secretly in love with her as well. In spite of the fact that her good friend is already in a relationship with a man, this girl begins to date her own friend as well.

Fujoshi Level:
A self-proclaimed fujoshi and shotacon, she believes that there is little difference between otaku and fujoshi in the end because it all comes down to attraction to 2-D.

The Fujoshi Files 140: Big Sister

Name: N/A
Alias: Big Sister (姉)
Relationship Status: Polyamorous Dating/Complicated
Origin: Receptacle

Information:
The older sister of a certain video game-obsessed high school boy with a mildly sadistic girlfriend, this girl spends much of her time in idle conversations with her female best friend about their sex lives and relationship issues with their respective boyfriends. However, this older sister eventually enters a relationship with not only her boyfriend but also her best friend as well.

Fujoshi Level:
Other than that she is less extreme compared to her best friend, nothing specific is known about the kind of fujoshi she is.

A Homosexual, a Prostitute, a Gamer, and a Sadist Walk into a Restaurant: The Kurosaki Rendouverse

receptacle-05

Kurosaki Rendou is a manga creator with certain recurring themes, notably an obsession with both food and bizarre, highly sexually charged relationships. However, in terms of where those general tendencies go, the sky’s the limit. Kurosaki’s most well-known work, Houkago Play, is about a gamer guy and his leggy, sadistic girlfriend arguing with each other. On depicts a very sexually graphic homosexual relationship. Receptacle is a manga about women candidly discussing their active sex lives, who find themselves in a bizarre love triangle and mutually attracted to each other.

The last title I’ll mention, Chou Nettaiya Orgy, features prostitutes arguing with each other about mundane things, made all the more bizarre by the fact that it runs in an actual porn magazine which mostly features the kind of work you’d expect from an 18+ magazine. Imagine if there was an adult video compiling various pornographic scenes, and in the middle is an episode of Seinfeld.

Kurosaki’s gender is unknown. though I suspect Kurosaki is a woman, I have no proof, and instead merely have an inclination because of how Kurosaki’s manga runs the gamut when it comes to sex.

One interesting wrinkle in Kurosaki’s work is the fact that a lot of these manga take place in a shared universe. While Kurosaki isn’t the only artist to do this (not to mention the fact that American superhero comics tend to thrive on this concept), normally these worlds are kept separate. Yuri manga will take place in an environment where yuri is ideal; yaoi manga is a similar deal. With Kurosaki’s comics, characters from one will cross over into another, making all of these different fetishes and types of sexual attraction exist in the same space. To give kind of an extreme example, it’s as if finding out Busty Blondes 5 and Macho Firemen 3 (I made these titles up) are set in the same neighborhood.

Personally speaking, I really like Kurosaki Rendou’s artwork. Characters in Kurosaki’s manga share the common traits of heavy use of black in their designs, deep empty voids for eyes, and constantly uncomfortable (or discomforting) expressions, like a more extreme version of Ueshiba Riichi (Mysterious Girlfriend X). Kurosaki’s distinct style exudes a strange kind of sensuality that transcends typical depictions of sexuality and attractiveness in manga for either men or women. Rather than having a “male-oriented” approach or a “female-oriented” one, there is only Kurosaki Rendou style. Perhaps this is why Kurosaki is able to draw all sorts of manga, and to bring them all together into one cohesive setting.

Part 1: PG-13, Part 2: NC-17?

Warning! Spoilers for Houkago Play Volume 1 . Also slightly NSFW.

The 4-koma manga series Houkago Play had its second volume released recently. Having enjoyed the first volume, I decided to place an order for Houkago Play 2 at Kinokuniya NYC. However, I received a call telling me that the book could not be ordered due to “content.”

Wait, what?

A call back had them explain that Kinokuniya has a policy about sexual content, which is perfectly understandable, but I didn’t even realize that Houkago Play fell into this category. The first volume is certainly sexually charged, as the story features a sadistic tsundere character frustrated at not getting any alone time with her guy friend, and there’s even a brief portrayal of sex at the end of the book, but there is zero nudity in the book, and the sex takes up only three pages out of an almost 200-page book. Next to some of the stuff that Kinokuniya sells already, such as josei manga, certain seinen titles, and even harem or shoujo romance stuff, this seems like small potatoes. So what gives?


This is literally as far as Houkago Play goes.

One possibility is that the second volume of Houkago Play may be significantly more graphic than the first, which is in itself odd. If that’s the case, where is the line of “content” that Volume 1 manages to keep clear of, but Volume 2 tramples over on its way to the other side? Or is it that the constant sexually charged nature of the comic itself is what takes it over the edge?

If anyone can tell if there’s a significant difference between Volumes 1 and 2 of Houkago Play, that would be very helpful.