Scarlet Beriko’s Yaoi Manga JACKASS! (a.k.a. “When Your Best Friend Has a Pantyhose Fetish”)

Warning: The following review for SuBLime’s JACKASS! contains spoilers and sexually suggestive content. Reader discretion is advised.

Earlier this month SuBLime, the leading global English-language yaoi manga publisher, released the translation of Scarlet Beriko’s JACKASS!, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. Beriko’s best known for her other yaoi works such as Yondaime Ooyamato TatsuyukiMinori no Te, and Joou to Shitateya, and she brought her A-game with this face-first dive into the land of romance and buttsecks.

JACKASS! is 240-pages of romantic over-the-top smutty nonsense. This stand-alone manga centers on a high school romance, because the only things we have to look forward to as actual adults are legal alcohol, debt, and existential dread.

Of course our romantic lead, Masayuki, is the dreamy, wealthy, class president who goes through girls like we go through yaoi manga. He has everything we’ve ever dreamt of when picturing our someday-husbands: Money, charm, and a pantyhose fetish…? Who should catch his fetish fancy but our other romantic hero, Mr. Vice President Keisuke. He’s the yellow-haired Yankee who literally bullies others into giving up their seats for the elderly on trains; it’s a well-worn trope in both anime and yaoi, but we’re here for it as our tsundere Yankee becomes adorably flustered by Masayuki’s compliments. The chemistry is fairly apparent without being obnoxious.

At first glance, JACKASS! has a typical slice-of-life opening: Male students in a rush, school bags slung over shoulders to catch the bullet train. An irresponsible sister who doesn’t do the laundry is background noise to the greater plot of best friends who are polar opposites falling into lust and then love. Yaoi readers will approve of the fact that it only takes twelve pages to really dive into the plot when Mr. President happens upon his best friend in pantyhose. It’s a kismet coincidence of the negligent sister leaving said ladies’ legwear in her brother’s gym pants that leads us down the fetish path of no return.

Keisuke’s horrified reaction grounds us in the reality that he’s about to do P.E. in his sister’s pantyhose, but the entire situation is turned upside down when Masayuki claims Keisuke has the best legs he’s ever seen. We’re immediately given some very steamy, sexually tense (and embarrassing) moments that’ll induce nose bleeds and fanning in even the most seasoned yaoi reader.

The manga also boasts a couple of near-equally engaging side-plot romances. I’m not talking about the older school nurse pursuing the only openly gay character in JACKASS! (it’s just… no), Shinohara. What’s far more intriguing is the one-sided love that the homophobic Miyoshi has for the aforementioned out-and-proud. Miyoshi’s that attractive bully we’d all enjoy glaring at while walking with our arm around an equally attractive same-sex spouse.

His attempts to blackmail Shinohara go awry as, like most of us gay people, Shinohara’s used to that sort of behavior and has a trick or three up his confident sleeves. The predator-turned-prey aspect of their dynamic is one of the juiciest parts of this yaoi.

What’s honestly most interesting about JACKASS! is the wide range of gay men and teens we’re presented with at different stages of acceptance. The main couple, just discovering their mutual attraction and love for each other, heavily douse us with lust-filled scenes and sweet first love of first discovery. By contrast, Shinohara is incredibly self-assured within his gay identity and sense of self in a way that’s not only admirable, it’s somewhat baffling. He explains to Miyoshi that his parents are liberal, whereas Shinohara’s counterpart is the arsehole-apple that fell too close to the homophobic tree. Then, of course, there’s the school nurse, the only fully-grown gay man in the manga, still grappling with his relationships and sexuality… and breaking statutory rape laws.

Overall, JACKASS! is a well-paced read with good smut, great romance, and interesting if not riveting subplots. The only detracting factor is the inclusion of teachers dating students, even if they’re both attractive. Anyone who loves yaoi has a twisted taste, but we still have standards. Sorry not sorry. That being said, the manga is a fantastic read that every yaoi fan needs to add to their collection.

JACKASS! is rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers and available now as a single-volume release in both print and digital formats from SuBLime.

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Pros

  • 240-pages of romantic, over-the-top smutty nonsense.
  • Wide range of gay men and teens we're presented with at different stages of acceptance.
  • You will be fanning yourself and might suffer from one or two nosebleeds.

Cons

  • Teachers dating students isn’t cool, even if they’re both attractive. Sorry not sorry.
D Lockhart

If D were a superhero it would be Buffy with Cardcaptor Sakura’s wardrobe. She would have super strength, demon slaying abilities, and be able to fill her enemy’s bladder and her bank account.

She currently collects degrees, reads a lot of manga, and betas fanfiction. Her most recent cosplay was samurai Ariel, the Little Mermaid.