Year: 2004-2006 (completed)
Installments: 48 chapters and an after story
Author/Artist: Aya Sakyou
Version: Shoujo Magic (English fansub project)
Genre: Drama, Shoujo, Romance, Soap Opera, Smutt, School Life
Several years ago, I decided to give this series a read. It was the first Aya Sakyou series that I ever read but I found myself perpetually scratching my head as I read the entire series. Not long after that, I read Honey X Honey, a series in the same vein but a bit more rapey.
The Omori family have been serving the rich Jinnai family faithfully for generations. When Mio and Hinata’s father dies, their life is made even more difficult in lieu of their mother’s medical issues. Being a good big sister, Mio is working numerous jobs to give them a roof over their heads. However, it doesn’t give her a social life.
After an argument with a delinquent that is fighting on top of a car, he throws money at her and forcefully kisses her. She later meets him at the hostess club where she works one of her jobs, although she doesn’t realize it is him because… glasses. When he acts like a complete asshole towards her, she promptly pours a drink on him. A day or so, she learns that she is none other than the Jinnai heir Shoei Jinnai that she goes to school with. After being asked to help out as a maid, she arrives at the Jinnai clan residence and is sexually assaulted by Shoei who for some bizarre reason thinks that sexual assault might help her remember a time when they were childhood friends. So begins a tale of love, sexual assault and the power of friendship. And brotherly love? *scratches head*
To begin with, I was highly amused by this trashy manga series. However, the use of sexual assault was a bit of an odd choice given the quality of writing in Aya Sakyou’s series Biyaku Cafe. But, as I said before, I somehow managed to enjoy Desire Climax because it was complete trash. It was over-the-top and bitchy, to the point where one might expect Linda Evans and Joan Collins to pop up at any moment to start slapping each other.
Whilst I generally prefer to read stories where I can relate to the characters, there is a place for bitchy stories and tales of betrayal. These bad stories can be a guilty pleasure because they don’t even attempt to be realistic. These are the stories you read late at night when you have a bad day and simply wish to laugh at something. “Laugh?” you say. Yes. These sorts of stories are purely for the sake of amusement rather than trying to provide insight into human nature or convey some sort of moral.
Another thing of note is that the choices in this manga seem deliberate rather than random. That is not unusual for Sakyou’s writing. She also knows how to elicit emotions in the reader regardless of the genre. Whilst it is not necessarily a method that I would personally find myself using, the more that I read her work, the more that I can appreciate how she forms a story.
In conclusion, I really liked Desire Complex. However, I can’t really recommend it as an entry-level manga or to anyone that has difficulty with scenes of sexual violence, as mild as the situations in Desire Complex may be compared to other series. If these don’t apply, it might be worth you picking up.