• Spoilers
  • Heavy mentions of rape/sexual assault/dubcon/noncon, homophobia and transphobia
  • Light mentions of substance abuse and suicide
  • I tend to talk very flippantly about serious topics listed above, fair warning if you’re sensitive to my sense of humor

A/N: Welcome to the first review (or is this an analysis?)! I’ve wanted to jot down my thoughts for a long time, but I found out something disappointing about the mangaka after I just spent 3 days binge-reading and catching up on the most recent volumes. So I kinda need a place to vent!

To rip the bandaid off, I ended up on the mangaka’s twitter account and saw she was retweeting and engaging with a lot of anti-trans rhetoric. Fujos who are terfs are no good, man! Really burst my bubble!

I am no stranger to death of the author. My favorite genre of music tends to be headed by old white guys. But while I expect to be disappointed by old white dudes, I guess I had higher hopes for an artist who has written a story about learning to accept yourself for who you are and to cherish your loved ones for embracing their identities.

It’s not as joyous now to write this review as it would have been a few days ago, but for my own peace of mind I will do it anyways. I can’t say I would recommend purchasing Koisuru Boukun unless it’s at least second hand. I’m not even sure I want to recommend reading it at all, but if it sounds like your cup of tea you can give it a try.

What do you think about separating art from artist? Are you able to put an artist’s politics and morals aside to enjoy their art, or does it turn you off completely? Do you have any personal guidelines you follow when deciding to support or not support a creator?


Boukun follows the tumultuous relationship between Souichi Tatsumi and Tetsuhiro Morinaga, two scientists who work together in a college lab. It’s a spinoff of Challengers, in which they were featured only as side characters, the main focus being Souichi's brother, Tomoe, and Tomoe's eventual boyfriend.

<- Souichi

Souichi Tatsumi is brash and anti-social, and doesn’t show his emotions easily aside from anger. He seems to take his work in the lab seriously and doesn’t have many other interests. The bacteria in his petri dishes may be his only true friends. I also just remembered that he’s a smoker, but he either quietly kicked his habit or the mangaka forgot about his nicotine addiction because I don’t remember seeing him light one up since like volume 3.

He is described as a brocon but this seems to have been a bigger theme in Challengers. He’s not that occupied with his brother in this spin off, so don’t read KB if you’re hungry for that dynamic. He’s also violently homophobic as a result of being previously sexually assaulted, and he struggles coming to terms with his brother being gay.

Souichi checks plenty of boxes for me as a character type. He has glasses, he has long hair, he has some substance issues, and he has a cat-like personality. I’m very drawn to emotionally constipated characters, I love watching a cold personality forced into showing vulnerability. It’s been weird to write this whole thing calling him “Souchi” though, as he’s usually referred to in third person as “senpai” or “nii-san”, but I felt it’s necessary for clarity.

<- Morinaga

is Souichi’s lab assistant and underling, he’s slightly younger so technically this manga is younger top x older bottom, but it never comes up and their age gap is negligible. He repressed his attraction to Souichi for 4 years before confessing his unrequited love.

His sad and tragic backstory is that his family rejected him and sent him away after catching him with his brother’s best friend doing gay stuff. The friend subsequently tried to commit suicide and everyone blamed Morinaga for it.

Morinaga is honestly mid-tier for me. I don’t find a lot about him particularly appealing, he’s more so the vehicle that I use to drive over my uke, y’know? But that’s not his fault, I’m just built different and will always put my focus into whichever character I think is more alluring.

The two OVAs are identical to the very first volume of the manga, so it’s probably the most recognizable part of the plot. Below is a detailed recap of what happens:


Morinaga tells one of his bros at the local gay bar about this unrequited love issue he’s dealing with. Feeling sympathetic to his plight, the bartender gifts Morinaga a very special present- a wine bottle full of yaoi drugs with a 100% success rate of turning even the most stoic semes into desperate, whimpering ukes.

Morinaga is like “yo, wtf?” but takes it home anyway and stuffs it in the back of his kitchen cabinet. Souichi is emo-ing out because gay marriage just got legalized in San Francisco, and since his little brother ran off with his boyfriend to America he is worried they are going to gay elope (yes, really). So he’s madge and sadge and decides to get drunk at Morinaga’s house to soothe his pain.

They eventually drink all the alcohol, so he bosses Morinaga around like usual to go get more at the conbini, and while he’s in the apartment alone he starts rifling through Morinaga’s personal belongings for hidden booze. Naturally, he finds the special yaoi drugs and instead of assuming it’s rat poison or toilet bowl cleaner or something you’d normally find under the sink, he guzzles that shit down.

Morinaga is horrified to come home and realize his senpai just drank forbidden jaritos special yaoi drugs, but they don’t seem to have any effect so they go to sleep. Souichi wakes up in the middle of the night, feeling weird and realizes he has a boner. He plans to go jerk off into Morinaga’s toilet like a normal guy, but the scent of his omegaslick wakes up his alpha (just kidding) and they tumble to the floor for classic dubcon yaoi time.

After their first night together, Souichi wakes up the next day with a throbbing ass. He’s furious (and probably triggered), smashes the wine bottle into a handheld weapon, and attempts to stab Morinaga. Morinaga defends himself by saying his senpai was being “insensitive” to his feelings, saying he was “careless” around him (AKA being too slutty so he couldn't resist) (weak). Souichi shouts “I trusted you!”. Morinaga says something stupid again and Souichi decks him in the face.

After their fight, Morinaga plans to drop out of school so he’s not tormented by his lust anymore and disappears without telling anybody. Souichi realizes he wasn’t actually that upset about the bumming and cries when can’t find Morinaga and worries he may have offed himself. He eventually catches Morinaga while he’s packing up his apartment and yells at him to not run off without telling him. He lets Morinaga hug him, and then more yaoi time ensues. When they wake up the next morning, Souichi throws a fit again and basically says Morinaga is a perverted gay homo rapist, but they go to the science lab together like usual.

Morinaga comments internally that their relationship hasn’t seemed to negatively change at all, and wonders if maybe, in his own stilted way, Souchi is okay with the new romantic direction of their relationship.

And that is the bread and butter of this manga, cycling back and forth between a fight about misunderstanding each other, and then coercive (lest?) makeup sex.


I remember watching the OVAs as a teenager fondly. I always had a soft spot for Souichi, but the story itself didn’t stand out. The animation studio did an okay job, but it has a very 2010 aesthetic that I don’t find inspired. I prefer the 90’s stylization of Challengers. The Souichi of the 90’s is visually a very different character from the 2004 KB manga. I’ll take a Rumiko Takashi bang any day over the simplified, bulbous proportions of the digital anime era, but that is, like this entire body of writing, very much my own opinion.

I think the art style of the manga is prettier than the OVAs and the anatomical stylization and artistic choices are okay by me. Souichi’s strands of hair are drawn really prettily.

As for the juicy and spicy bits, the real reason we all read 18+ material besides the plot, I think they are nicely drawn. They have a delicateness to them. The sense of intimacy is heightened by Souichi’s uncharacteristic reactions to being touched and fondled. They also manage to mark off a couple spots on Fetish Scenario Bingo, such as “forcing the embarrassed uke to undress himself”, “It Started As A Haircut, Now I Found All Your Erogenous Zones”, and other great hits. I definitely enjoyed studying the atmosphere.

Despite some really heavy sounding themes, the writing is lighthearted and comedic. Serious things happen, but they aren’t taken too seriously.


An important note, the manga effectively has an end about halfway through, according to the author’s notes. The main story arc ends in Volume 8. Everything afterward is just “Extras”. I prefer the slice of life vibe of these chapters. The major events that take place up til then are a lil bit far fetched, like a stalker burning down the family home.

The closest thing we get to a confession from Souichi’s side happens in Vol 8. Morinaga is once again running away, and Souichi gets so fed up with it he blurts out something along the lines of, “If I hated you why would I let you keep fingering my ass?!”. I think it’s actually fun to never get the satisfaction of Souichi openly expressing his true feelings, but I’m kinda a masochist. Souichi’s whole appeal to me is that he never gives in, no matter how plainly evident it is that he reciprocates emotionally, no matter how badly Morinaga wishes the fantasies he has of Souichi smiling kindly at him and saying “I like you” were true, it’ll never happen. It subverts your expectations, and makes you linger, hoping for more.

We also get to see a kiss initiated by Souichi in vol 4. An extremely rare event. This leads to a sex scene where he seems to actually be into it.

Souichi’s hair being used as an expression of his emotions and reservedness is one of my favorite motifs. It’s simple and subtle yet effective. Usually he keeps his long hair tied back; in this mode he is guarded, unmovable, firm. During moments of vulnerability, his hair is unconstrained and freely flowing. It’s just a nice visual to pair with his stubbornness and resistance to his own feelings wearing down over time. I think the satisfaction of seeing Souichi’s uke face when he’s usually mean and angry is enough to enthrall me. I’m a simple person.


Throughout the series, the events are very cyclical; The formula is as follows: Morinaga professes his love, Souichi says “God Hates Fags”, Morinaga takes the rejection seriously and tries to detach and move away, Souichi hunts him down and says “BAKA why would me calling you a homophobic slur and a rapist means I want you to run away!”, Morinaga says “oh, poggers, time to shoot my shot!” and they have the most dubiously consensual sex possible.

They are obviously a very dysfunctional couple. That makes it really fun to read, but also funny to analyze with any amount of scrutiny.

One way to read their dynamic is a “Stockholm Syndrome” situation- Morinaga’s persistence combined with Souichi’s isolation is a breeding ground for manipulation. “Started as rape, then I fell in love” is a classic BL trope, so it’s a natural conclusion to come to.

My preferred interpretation, though, is that Souichi simply isn’t honest with himself and has liked Morinaga all along. It tickles my brain more to think that Souichi can only express his feelings physically when the choice isn’t left up to him. That it’s Morinaga’s openness that encourages him to let his guard down. It is called The Tyrant Falls In Love after all. I believe it’s obvious this was the mangaka’s intention, or else she wouldn’t have drawn so many panels of Souichi’s internal monologue hinting that maybe buttsex feels good even though he’s DEFINITELY NOT a homo.

If you analyze BL only from a literal and realistic way, you miss so much subtext and nuance. Of course IRL anyone sexually pressuring anyone is NO GOOD, but in lots of East Asian media this timidness and refusal is coded language for “I want to, but I can’t”. It ties into why rape fantasies are so common. You want to be able to have all of your needs met without having to beg and be the bad guy or the “dirty” one. Dub- and noncon can be code for the ultimate caretaking- Your seme already knows what you want deep down inside, and even if you can’t verbally admit it, will take care of it for you. Ooh so spicy, so romantic, so forbidden!


The homophobia is an interesting theme in Koisuru Boukun. It’s often used as comic relief or as a way to keep the conflict between Souichi and Morinaga going. I don’t at all mind Souichi’s bigotedness being the foil for their conflicted romance, but I am curious what the mangaka’s intentions were.

Gay relationships are referred to as “unnatural” and something that negatively impacts society multiple times, usually by Souichi. This isn’t necessarily out of the blue for BL, the “But I’m not gay!” trope is a backbone of the genre.

But Souichi repeatedly pushes Morinaga to reconnect with his unaccepting and homophobic parents, despite Morinaga explaining why he can’t. When he breaks down about his disownment, I don’t feel like the reactions from Souichi convey enough empathy. I’m not sure if it’s the translation, the drawn expressions, or the dialogue, but these moments of contention come off a bit awkward to me, as there never seems to be a point to them. It just keeps being brought up to remind you that Morinaga has a Dark and Tragic yaoi past. Maybe the mangaka didn’t take these moments too seriously or maybe didn’t have enough real life experience to draw from to evoke the weight something like that would have.

The casual inclusion of real-time politics in the story, like SF and Canada legalizing gay marriage, felt a little out of place even though these were portrayed as positive events. Maybe I just prefer fictional stories to exist in fictional realms, free from the drudgery of real life current events.

I’m not one to assume an artist’s work is a literal expression of their own views, especially when it’s character driven work. But with the mangaka’s opinions on gender clearly swerving conservatively, it does make me ponder how she views actual queer couples. I would hope a mangaka who made a career out of drawing gay porn would not be homophobic. Lest!


Overall, my takeaway from Koisuru Boukun is that it’s a sweet and fun time, but the story feels like every chapter was made up on the spot. The spontaneity is sometimes at the expense of a compelling story. I know the manga industry is, well, an industry, but I wish I came away feeling more passion from this work than the impression that it’s just a job. The mangaka agreeing with bad twitter takes really dampens my impression of her, but I’m not a fan of her other works anyway. They tend to lean more fluffy with more generically attractive characters and typical semexuke dynamics.

I feel like my criticisms sound harsh, but actually I’m really fond of this manga. I had such a good time reconnecting with these characters. As a nocturnal creature, I spent the last week folding laundry at 3am while reading it. Having the company of these characters felt strangely magical, transporting me back to being 15 and reading books under the covers with a flashlight, and unfortunately I will have a hard time seeing this work the same way again.

Koisuru Boukun or The Tyrant Falls In Love is published in english by Juné. The OVAs were produced by Prime Time studio, who’s other notable BL animation work includes Kirepapa and Maiden Rose. There are also multiple drama CDs available.