Erica here. I’m busy chauffeuring Rica Takashima today to the Dykes Draw the Line slide show and discussion at the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, and with news, both good and bad, we’ve had few reviews here in the past week. Today we have one of those ever-so-special treats when a Guest Reviewer jumps in to save me from losing my mind and you from having to go a single day without wit and/or wisdom from Okazu. Today it is my very special pleasure to welcome back Okazu superhero, one of my dear friends and best lackeys, Bruce P. with what I promise is a very witty and wise review….
Just practicing. Its a word that will be used an awful lot in this review.
To begin addressing the manga Bustician (バステティシャン) by Oshima Towa, it is useful to refer to an earlier review by Erica of Gokujouu, in which that manga was described as ‘a more nudity-filled, more pervtastic, even MORE stupid version of the same exact set of gags in High School Girls…if Kouda was the lead character.’ Oshima Towa, author of High School Girls, apparently is not one to let such a challenge in the arena of plummeting taste go unanswered. Unfortunately with Bustician she succeeds brilliantly, plumbing the depths of bad burlesque in a fundamentally bizarre manga that centers entirely on the female breast. Incidentally, the term ‘plumbing’ was brought to mind by the manga itself, see below (‘plumber’s helper’).
The word Bustician is a contraction of bust aesthetician, an expert in breast aesthetics. Kokoa and Mami are new busticians working in the salon Bustnia. They are under the tutelage of the lovely and poised Sarasa, and are rivals for her affection (actually, they are less interested in the affection than in the groping, but we’ll get to that). Bustnia is a breast salon. Women who are unhappy with their breasts are treated to various massages and non-surgical treatments to augment, diminish, reshape, or otherwise change them. Each chapter involves a woman (or pair of women) who has a difficult relationship issue or career issue or self-image issue originating with their breasts and hopes that Salon Bustnia is the answer. These issues are serious concerns to the customers and obviously highly personal, but what we are treated to is a barrage of slapstick gags as the two new girls maltreat their customer’s breasts in painful, extended and explicit displays of nominally hilarious, clueless, Kouda-esque ineptitude. You would think the girls had never encountered a breast before. For breast augmentation cases Kokoa is always reaching for the vacuum cleaner. And yes, the plumber’s helper.
In fact Kokoa and Mami are girls only on the outside. They behave in every way like adolescent boys – presumably mirroring the intended audience. They are fascinated by breasts, excited to learn new things about them, unable to keep their hyperactive, groping hands off them. Their prime desire is to see Sarasa naked, and they get all nosebleedy on those occasions when it might just happen. You get the feeling that somewhere along the line they must have been hit on the head by one of those falling spaceships, and since their reconstruction as girls are now living a boy’s voyeuristic fantasy. On one page that will get you some interesting looks on the bus Kokoa is massaged by Sarasa and falls into a trancelike dream where she is lying in blushing, naked, orgasmic bliss in a bulging sea of elephantine breasts. This illustration takes up a full page, in the corner of which a chorus of smiling disembodied SD breasts are singing the happy breast song. You know, the one that goes ‘O, o, o, o, o–, oppai oppai oppai opapaai.’ Yeah, that one.
There is Yuri. Two of the employees have a relationship, one of whom, Asahi, is brought onto the case of the customer with the insensate breasts. Asahi’s explicitly sexual and obviously well practiced massage solves the woman’s problem, only to create another one: a hopeful repeat customer (it’s not that kind of salon, apparently, though it sure looks like it most of the time). A woman with large breasts wants to look more like a man when she is making love to her girlfriend (it turns out that her girlfriend likes her just the way she is.) Then there’s Kokoa’s and Mamai’s desire for Sarasa, but again, it’s more adolescent male lust than anything else.
Art – 7 Typical Oshima Towa, which is not bad. Her breast art is an adolescent’s dream. In this manga she had lots of practice.
Story – 2 Pain, embarrassment and interminable physical abuse can sustain a story only so far.
Characters – 4 It might seem like the customers deserve some sympathy, but they really don’t, because they rarely get up and pound the living crap out of Kokoa and Mami.
Yuri- 6 Some of the secondary characters are definite couples. Kokoa and Mami lust after Sarasa’s breasts. Put it all together and shake and OK, there’s some Yuri.
Service – 90 Breasts. Naked. Multiple. Massive. On every page. Without some of the women’s issues it could have been 91.
Overall – Oh, somewhere below 5. That the translucent first page that allows you to remove the negligee and reveal the breasts of a full color Kokoa actually sums it up pretty well.
Having enjoyed High School Girls, I would like to believe that Bustician was meant to be so unbelievably over-the-top, so tongue-in-cheek in its breast obsession that normal standards were sort of beside the point. But as in the case of Ernest Vincent Wright’s Gadsby from 1939 – a novel written without once using the letter ‘e’ – intense single-mindedness may be a source of amazement, but can make for a pretty lousy read.
Erica again: Hahahahahahahahahhahah
Better you than me, Bruce.