Sex Ed 120% Volume 2 Review

Warning: This is an 18-rated title, described by the publisher as containing strong language, nudity and sex. See also Volume 1.

The second volume of Sex Ed 120% sees PE teacher Naoko Tsuji once more teaching the facts of life to the schoolgirls in her care in her typical over-the-top style.

Unusually however, Volume 2 actually begins with Tsuji doing her normal job: giving her class a PE lesson as her students, consisting of among others Boys’ Love manga obsessive Matsuda, the now out and happily supported lesbian Moriya, and animal lover Kashiwa, go for a run. However, Tsuji stops when she finds some abandoned porn by a riverbed (which she describes as, “That old cliché”. Interesting to know the Japanese have that cliché as well as us Brits) and tries to stop her class from seeing it. In fact her actions just make it more visible and she ends up talking to her class about male genitalia.

However, it is not just the physical acts of love-making that are the subject of discussion. When the school vice-principle criticises Moriya for wearing a skirt that is too short, this leads to a discussion about how the media portray women, both in terms of fashion and behaviour. This results in Tsuji talking about feminism, and the unfairness women face in everyday life. Another chapter talks about the importance of sexual consent in a relationship. We also see Matsuda taking Moriya and her girlfriend Aikawa to a BL convention where they meet with one of Matsuda’s favourite authors, Yumeko Pavilion, but while Aikawa is enthusiastic about BL, Moriya fails to understand why a lesbian would find it appealing, leading at first to a fight and then to a more friendly discussion about this manga genre.

As with the previous volume, there is much to both entertain and inform. For example, this manga deals with aspects of Japanese feminism such as the #KuToo movement – the movement against workplaces forcing women to wear high heels. In the BL chapter, there is discussion about the fact the word “fujoshi” is now increasingly being seen as discriminatory towards gay people. There are some odder moments too, such as in a chapter about periods where Tsuji talks about using menstrual cups, which leads to her fantasising being in a swanky hotel room swirling a cup of blood around like wine while saying: “seeing a cup of period blood is just plain impressive…”

Perhaps the best section in this volume is in the consent chapter. When Matsuda asks Tsuji, “What do you do when someone asks you to have sex but you don’t want to?” Tsuji bluntly replies, “SAY NO”, written in large text, with an accompanying speech bubble next to it reading, “Your font got huge.” First of all,  well done on giving out this important and simple message. Secondly, it is also entertaining to still get a breaking-the-fourth-wall style gag afterwards. Thirdly, credit to letterer Sara Linsley on this section of the book. It should also be mentioned that this chapter also deals with the subject of rape fantasies (although it is not described as such; Matsuda just says that there are, “people with kinks like that”), and on to BDSM and safe words.

Along with Linsley’s lettering, Amanda Haley’s translation appears to have no obvious problems. When it comes to extras, along with translation notes, there is a bonus chapter where school nurse and Tsuji’s colleague Nakazawa brings in a real-life midwife to the class – and when I say “real-life”, I mean the person in the manga is an actual person. Shiori-nu is a midwife and YouTuber who does sex education videos. The end of this chapter has a QR code that links to her YouTube account, although obviously all the videos are in Japanese.

Sex Ed 120% continues to be entertaining. It still also has the one big problem – why have Yen Press given it a Mature ’18’ rating, when an Older Teen 15-16 rating would be more useful?

9 / 10

Ian Wolf

Ian works as an anime and manga critic for Anime UK News, and was also the manga critic for MyM Magazine. His debut book, CLAMPdown, about the manga collective CLAMP, is available now. Outside of anime, he is data specialist for the British Comedy Guide, is QI's most pedantic viewer, has written questions for both The Wall and Richard Osman's House of Games, and has been a contestant on Mastermind.

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