Manga Review | Dangerous Drugs of Sex Re:Life by Yuki Mizuta

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Warning:

This review will contain spoilers for the and anime series Dangerous Drugs of Sex Re:Life. 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 self-hatred, PTSD, codependency, , mentions of death, mentions of being orphaned, dubcon, overwork, physical illness, jealousy, obsession, excessive drinking, blood, violence, mentions of suicide, mentions of murder, and self-harm, as they appear in the manga.

Synopsis:

Ryuji's and Makoto's relationship didn't start like your average one; even now, they aren't a regular couple. Though Makoto has come to accept their irregular beginnings, Ryuji can't seem to shake his guilt, shame, and insecurities from that time and even long before. Still, Makoto does his best to shower Ryuji with love, and Ryuji, in turn, does his best to keep Makoto thoroughly satisfied in the bedroom. But once Makoto starts working more heavily at his new job, the tenuous happiness they've crafted for themselves begins to fray.

Ryuji fears losing the one thing that means anything in his life: Makoto. When they met, Makoto was confined and totally reliant on Ryuji for pleasure, sustenance, and happiness. But now, Makoto has a job that he loves, friends that Ryuji doesn't know, and doesn't need Ryuji to feel fulfilled. And though Ryuji has his own career and life outside of Makoto, he doesn't feel he deserves to love, be loved, or experience pleasure in any form or fashion, instead devoting all of his efforts to pleasing and keeping Makoto happy. But if Makoto doesn't need him anymore, what does Ryuji have left?

Meanwhile, Makoto only wants to know more about Ryuji, but Ryuji has an insurmountable wall around him. However, one of Makoto's new coworkers happens to have known Ryuji when they were children. What will Makoto learn about his distant lover?

Review:

As with the first entry in this series, the art in this isn't my favorite. The cover art, once again, is much prettier than the artwork inside, though this one does hint at the inconsistency, particularly in Ryuji's face (though it's an otherwise stunning cover). It's very sketchy and inconsistent, and while it worked in the first entry because of the dark tone, I don't feel like it works nearly as well in this one. We'll discuss the differing tones soon, but overall, the art is just a huge miss for this particular entry, and there isn't much difference in style from the first entry to this one. So, if you hated the art in the first, don't expect to like it any better here, and unfortunately, it doesn't have the story to back it up.

Cover art for Dangerous Drugs of Sex Re:Life by

This is very reminiscent of Raveled Tightrope Knot and Raveled Tightrope Knot Retie in the sense that the first and second entries are entirely different tonally. Like with Raveled Tightrope Knot to Raveled Tightrope Knot Retie, this series goes from the very dark and disturbing first entry to a much lighter, though still sad, second entry. However, unlike with Raveled Tightrope Knot to Raveled Tightrope Knot Retie, the switch in tone is not nearly as successful. The ending tone of Dangerous Drugs of Sex is rather dark and hopeless. Ryuji is still mourning the loss of his family, and though he accepts that Makoto is not and never could be his brother, he still sees himself as a pleasure tool for Makoto. Similarly, though Makoto does admit that he loves Ryuji, he is still heavily reliant on the pleasure and humiliation that Ryuji gives him. This ending, which works as a painful, happily ever after for the first entry, makes for a really bad transition into the second entry.

So, when we suddenly move from the cold and unsettling ending of the first to what appears to be an 's romantic, though kinky, domestic life, it feels like two totally different universes. We do see remnants of the darkness from the first entry, but it's shockingly fluffy in the beginning. Now, I love a dark, dingy, painful moment. I equally love a soft fluffest. However, when we have one bleeding into the other, I like there to be a gradual shift or at least an explainable sudden change. That doesn't exist here. It's a very sudden shift from one volume to the next, which I didn't personally like. Some people might find this as a bit of a relief or a breath of fresh air from the painful experience of the first entry, but it was too big of a jump for me. How the first title ended, I just can't imagine these two living together like a happy married couple.

Granted, they aren't totally happy. There is a light veneer of peace, which does make this more palatable. Ryuji wants to hide the darkness within himself from Makoto to ensure that Makoto won't be disappointed or leave him. However, it has the negative result of making it impossible for Makoto to honestly know him. It's to the point that Ryuji can't even bring himself to tell Makoto about his past, though he's willing to express his love (as well as obsession, jealousy, and dependence). Ryuji is scared to express the darkness he feels, so he can't even express the good and lightness. I do like that, as the first entry is very much tearing down Makoto's fears and sorrow to reveal the pleasure and want for life hidden beneath. So, where Ryuji has the power, aligning with his domination of Makoto in their play, in the first entry, the second gives much more agency to Makoto, who has to open Ryuji up to expose both the darkness and the light he's hiding within. I love that aspect of this pair.

Results:

This was a major disappointment. I wouldn't say the first entry in this series is perfection, and it certainly isn't a favorite of mine, but it was a very unique experience. So, when I saw this, I was expecting more of that interesting exploration into pleasure and life, obsession and love, etc. But that's not the care here. There are hollow echoes of that depth here, but nowhere near as satisfying or interesting. Add to it the sudden change in tone, and it's just an awkward and disappointing experience overall. I'd call this one a miss.

Have you read Dangerous Drugs of Sex Re:Life? 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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