Manga Review | Dangerous Drugs of Sex by Yuki Mizuta

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Warning:

This review will contain spoilers for the and anime series Dangerous Drugs of Sex. While the manga may vary slightly from all other forms of media, it may have similar story elements and could be considered spoilers.

Content Warning: There may be references to confinement, mental illness, suicidal ideation, attempted suicide, rape, , death, mentions of overwork, forced , excessive drinking, violence, break ups (not between the main couple), self-deprecation, murder-suicide, bullying, PTSD, incestuous implications (not between the main couple), and trauma, as they appear in the manga.

Synopsis:

Katsuragi was your usual upstanding salaryman. He was praised in his position at work, had a loving girlfriend, and even made enough money to send his supportive parents on a vacation. Unfortunately, this act of generosity from a filial son ends in tragedy. His parents end up dying in an accident during their trip, leaving Katsuragi to mourn them. This starts a domino effect. While mourning his parents, issues start at work due to Katsuragi's absence. He resigns out of guilt. Then, his girlfriend leaves him with barely a world. Suddenly, the life Katsuragi worked so hard for and loved is unrecognizable.

Katsuragi is a walking corpse, unable to go on after losing everything that made his life worth living. He's prepared to end it all when, while standing on the ledge of a building, a stranger grabs Katsuragi, stopping him. The man tells Katsuragi that if he's going to throw his life away, he might as well give it to him. The stranger is sure he can make Katsuragi want to live again. Scared off the ledge, Katsuragi gives himself over to the man. What he doesn't realize is that the plans the stranger has for him involve unimaginable pleasure and humiliation, unlike anything Katsuragi has experienced before.

But why Katsuragi? Why him? And what does this man plan on doing with him when it's all over?

Review:

The art in this is not the star of the show. The cover art is pretty deceptive, but, of course, it's supposed to present the best version of the art, so that's not all that surprising. The art behind the cover is much rougher. It's very sketchy and inconsistent and can be hard to read in the more active panels. I wouldn't call it ugly, necessarily, but it isn't as pretty as the cover might suggest. I think the sketchy and rough art style fits the equally rough and ragged story, which I think might be more important to me than the quality of the art. I love it when the art style embodies the narrative's tone, and I think this does. It's not going to be to everyone's taste, and I wouldn't say it's mine, but I think the story does make up for it a good bit.

Cover art for Dangerous Drugs of Sex by

Speaking of the story, where this does shine is in the story. I adore that these two don't just end up falling in love. This is a Stockholm syndrome-style relationship that reminds me a ton of The Warehouse, which is great since that is one of my favorite dark BL manhwa. Even in the end, I wouldn't say they truly love each other. Katsuragi becomes reliant on Yoden for pleasure, the one thing that has sparked his want to live again, while Yoden seems to only exist to pleasure Katsuragi. What begins as a dependence for Katsuragi on Yoden becomes a codependent relationship. Yoden starts off wanting all of Katsuragi because Katsuragi is willing to throw his life away, but by the end, Yoden wants all of Katsuragi for himself, which is a deliciously toxic setup.

More impressive is the reason Yoden chose Katsuragi. It appears to be completely random at the start, but as it is revealed, Yoden is a doctor and happened to be at the hospital when Katsuragi's parents were brought in. There, he became privy to Katsuragi's first name, Makoto, which is his dead brother's name. As it turns out, his brother died after Yoden fell from a tree. His brother caught him but fell, hitting his head on the ground so hard that he passed away. So, when he saw Katsuragi about to jump, where many people were walking below, he wasn't trying to save Katsuragi. He was trying to save those who might end up hurt down below, much like his brother was. It's such a powerful and unexpected reveal. I absolutely adore it. This led to the rest of his family falling apart, and that left him feeling empty. He doesn't want to die, but he doesn't feel like he deserves to truly live, either. So, once Katsuragi no longer actively seeks to die, he feels he's done his job and saved another life to atone for the death of his brother. Now, Katsuragi is compelled to stir Yoden's desire to live a fuller life. It doesn't end on a super happy note, and Yoden is not all that close to seeking out and accepting happiness for himself, but that darkness is pretty satisfying as far as I'm concerned.

However, something that does disturb me is the near-incestuous feelings Yoden has for his deceased brother. He equates the torturous pleasure and need to bring Katsuragi back from the brink of death to what he feels for his brother. I'm sure it's just because he feels immense shame and guilt, and the closest intimacy he can have to a brother is what he enacts on Katsuragi, but I'm not fond of the link. I know Katsuragi's first name is what makes Yoden take note of him, to begin with, but I feel like the connection to his brother was created when Katsuragi was about to jump, threatening the lives of those below. The name thing just brings it to an incestuous level, as Katsuragi is constantly telling Yoden that it's him, not his brother, in front of him. I'm just not fond of it, and I feel this aspect weakened the overall story.

Results:

I really, really like this. The big reveal of why Yoden chose Katsuragi is something I think about frequently, and I nearly want to put this on my favorites list as a result. However, the weird, incestuous undertones aren't my favorite. It just felt needless in an otherwise well-crafted narrative. This is not a story for the faint of heart, and it is far from a romance despite the BL genre. So, if you want fluff and love, this isn't the one. I really enjoyed it.

Have you read Dangerous Drugs of Sex? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!

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