Manga Review | Sweet Apartment In Paradise by Sakana Tojo



This review will contain spoilers for the and anime series Sweet Apartment In Paradise. 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 human trafficking, human ownership/enslavement, mentions of police, mentions of corruption, vigilante justice, murder, forced and consensual , dangerous BDSM (specifically breath play), blood, violence, implied rape/dubcon, pedophilia, shotacon, growth supression, implied incest/pseudo-incest, power imbalance, trauma, PTSD, knowledge gap, mentions of torture, implied drugging, forced cross-dressing, confinement, human experimentation, torture, break-ins, , mentions of forced sex work, and a relationship between a minor and adult (not the main couple), as it appears in the manga.


The man known as Demon hunts down criminals and enacts deadly vigilante justice. In this world, it's common to sell and buy people. People buy spouses, children, friends, and more, and it's perfectly legal and often a positive experience for all involved. But there is a dark underworld where those who may not qualify to buy others or those with more depraved desires traffic these people as merchandise, torturing and using them as they see fit. Police often don't intervene, as there are people within their ranks just as corrupt and depraved as the illegal owners. As a former victim of these criminals, Demon is determined to kill all who harm those purchased by them, and after one such killing, he rescues a young man named Sui.

Most people Demon rescues fear him, traumatized and afraid, never knowing kindness from their owners or strangers alike. But Sui is different. When Demon reaches out for Sui, Sui takes his hand. Demon himself has experienced very little kindness and acceptance in his life, and this one moment sparks a need in him that he didn't even know he had. But Sui needs to heal, and Demon refuses to take advantage of him like his owner did. Usually, Demon has a network of good and vetted owners to take in these strays, but as fate would have it, no one is available. So, the two begin to live together.

Over time, Demon learns just how terribly Sui has been treated. He's been sexually abused and assaulted, his body has been drugged to stop growing, and he's been trained to want to be abused lest he be punished and abandoned. Yet, Sui trusts Demon, and the two steadily form a bond. Sui even gives Demon his first real name: Angie. The two care deeply for one another, but can these traumatized and broken people learn to relish their newfound freedom together? Or are their painful pasts too much to overcome?


This is , so, of course, I love the art. It isn't the most consistent or clean style in the world, but it has a light and airy feel to it that just speaks to me. However, I usually hate it when the bottom is made to look super young, as it gives shota-vibes, and I'm not into that. 's style typically leans younger-looking as it is, so when I saw Sui, I was really close to dropping this (I, admittedly, didn't read the manga description because I saw Sakana Tojo and bought it as is). However, this design actually has a narrative point, which was super refreshing. Sui's owner purposefully drugged Sui to keep him young-looking, which is disgusting but really fleshes out just how cruel and depraved this world is. When Sui is rescued, he's taken off the drugs and given medication, prompting him to begin developing again, and we get to see Angie loving his more adult body, something he was never allowed to experience before. It's nice to see this growth suppression be recognized and fixed, emphasizing how wrong it was to do to Sui.

Just as a quick side note: as much as I dislike characters who look super young in BL, I can appreciate that there are real people who do look young despite being adults. I mention this because I frequently complain about characters giving shota-vibes without recognizing that adults can look young and deserve to be loved as they are, too. I'm still not a fan of it in my fiction, but I did want to mention that dislike does not transfer to real adults, as body-shaming is not cool, whether it be based on size, gender, perceived age, or otherwise.

Cover art for Sweet Apartment In Paradise by Sakana Tojo

Now on to the plot. Sakana Tojo is so good at creating a meandering plot. It has purpose and meaning, but it isn't high-octane, doesn't require much tension or resolution, and is filled with fluff and . It's so impressive, and though this deals with super heavy and dark subject matter, it's surprisingly fluffy. The focus is less on the horrors of the world, though they do appear, and more on the journey Sui takes in healing and learning to develop as an individual, not as someone owned and controlled. So, if you're looking for world-building and lore, you will be disappointed, as the unique world is just a foundation for Sui and Angie's relationship. Small interactions between Angie and Sui show the gradual shift from Sui's trained self to someone who feels empowered within himself. But it's not just Sui that grows as a person. Angie, who never had a name until Sui named him, grows, as well. Though he's lived as a free person for a while, he's never been able to grow close to someone, even those he's rescued. That is until Sui comes along and is so open, despite how cruelly he's been treated, Angie longs to grow closer to him. It's a fluffy on top of a dark and painful backdrop, but I enjoy how gradual and subtle it is.

Unfortunately, as much as I appreciate that Sui was prevented from growing due to medications, thus looking young purposefully, I hate that the side couple is between an actual teenager and a middle-aged doctor. This is the second time I've read a Sakana Tojo work where the main story is great for the most part but then has some weird thing tacked on that doesn't affect the main story in any meaningful way and just hurts the overall experience (see the voyeur sister in My Lovely Bunny). The doctor and the dubbed “boy-toy” play no significant role in the story. They can hardly even be called a side couple, seeing as they don't even have real names beyond the “Quack Doctor” and “boy-toy”. Yet, it's made clear they're a couple; one is a teen, and the other is middle-aged, and it's emphasized that they take part in breath play. It's such an icky addition. I know this story is dark already, so why do I care about this singular moment? It's just icky to me, plus, if it's there, I feel it should be purposeful. Why did “boy-toy” have to be a teen? What about him being a teenager was meaningful?

Now, a teen could be 18, which is the age of an adult in my country (though my state says 19), and in Japan, as of writing this, they do often call young people minors or teens until the age of 20 (which does make sense seeing as they are eighteen and nineteen), so there's always a chance he could technically be an adult by my country's definition. However, his age isn't specified, except to say that, unlike Sui, who looks young but is an adult, the “boy-toy” is an actual teen, which to me suggests that he is the age Sui looks. Don't get me wrong, the relationship itself is purposeful, as Sui and Angie use it to show how those who have been saved can have trusting and meaningful relationships, no matter how different, after surviving harsh ordeals. But, again, I think this same message could've been emphasized with a pair of adults.

If the “boy-toy”‘s partner had been his age, it might have made for a powerful showing of even very young people overcoming the terrors of this world together. If it had been two adults, the relationship would've been equally so. The disparaging age gap, for me, isn't the problem, as I love a good age gap between adults, but it's that this story focuses heavily on consent and learning to unlearn things after long-term abuse. Yet, we have a doctor, a person in a powerful and trusted position, having dangerous sex with a minor. That just feels utterly counter to the overall message (and is needlessly icky). I do need to emphasize I'm not here to police fiction. If you don't care about this stuff in your fictional BL, that's cool, but I think it's important to discuss it so those bothered by such content can avoid it.


I like this, but I don't love it. I like that Sakana Tojo went a darker direction, and I'd love to see more of that from them, but that weird secondary couple just really bothers me. I'm not sure I can recommend it because of that, and unlike their other titles, this one just doesn't sit right with me. I love Sui and Angie and how they heal and grow together, and I always adore Sakana Tojo's art and form of storytelling, but this wasn't their best work. Sakana Tojo has better titles, and I'd definitely recommend those over this one.

Have you read Sweet Apartment In Paradise? 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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