Unless you’re a relatively new reader of my blog, you might already know that I occasionally indulge in listening to Otome CDs (otome [ 乙女 ] is usually translated to maiden, thus audio-based media geared towards women — some elaboration in the link). I intend to “review” what I have listened to so far (the complete Shinsengumi Mokuhiroku Wasurenagusa, for instance — and I challenge you to say that title three times as fast), but I felt that I had to have this one skip the queue.
As to why I made that decision, specially despite the lack of existing translations for the CD, I think it’s just my near insatiable curiosity, and it’s the first otome CD that I came across that’s rated R-18. I wanted to know as what the otome CD industry considers as R-18. Wasurenagusa can get steamy, but it leaves a lot to the imagination, and is not rated R-18. The rabbit hole runs deep~
From here on in, I’ll be talking about things not usually talked about in polite company. So if that ain’t your cup of tea, I have other offerings in my blog. Otherwise, proceed, and giggle with me as if we’re ridiculous teens looking at “true stories” (and I’m doing air quotes in real life here) column of Cosmopolitan and FHM.
Without further ado —
During the summer break in your third year at university, you return to your hometown village for the first time in two years. There, you meet your childhood friend, Yuki, who is two years younger than you. You recall that when you left the village, Yuki said to you, “When I become an adult, I will go and meet you. That’s why I want you to wait for me.”
It’s one of your typical run-to scenarios in terms of the romance genre in Japanese media — childhood friends become sweethearts, in which one’s one-sided longing for another provide the tension. Usually, the affection comes from the one who was left behind, in this case it’s Yūki; and you, the listener, plays the role of his older friend.
If I were to translate this into what I know of romance literature, Yūki might just be carrying a torch for you, and the drama CD explores a summertime romance — one that can burn just as hot.
Again, I usually accompany my listening with translations, but here, I decided to see if I will be able to glean something, going with just the summary, the context via seiyū delivery, intonation, background sound effects, and the very few Japanese words and expressions I’m familiar with.
There was enough character movement I can make out to paint a vague picture in my mind: conversations while walking a rough path, taking the bus, walking around a closed area, watching fireworks…
… and Yūki taking his clothes off, with the distinct sound of him unzipping his pants.
That was the moment I lost it. I covered my mouth with my hand to stifle a guffaw. Junji Majima, makes for a convincing performance in terms of Yūki’s character, but his aural R-18 skills left me more catching my breath in laughter because of sheer awkward, more than catching my breath in ecstasy (– hey: sexy voice, R-18 rating, porn for the ears. What do you expect?)
— and it actually gets quite graphic! I can’t tell if the script was laying out the purple prose, but through sheer voice acting, each pant, sigh, hitched breath, and moan that were amplified by the dummy head mic technology, I’m convinced that if I actually understood Japanese and closed my eyes, I would get into it. I believe that foreplay doesn’t start in bed, and I do enjoy the subtler relationship buildup. But I don’t need Japanese to translate those… sounds.
There was even one moment where Majima’s breath came through the recording, and I actually felt it on my cheek. I was wearing earbuds for crying out loud, and not lying down with a 5.1 setup around my bed. I thought it was a fluke with the first time, but it happened again at a particularly hot scene — a breath that, with lesser technology, would just be a pop in your ear. It came out in such a way that I was fully convinced that Yūki was in the throes of ecstasy with me.
It’s creepy, amazing and ridiculous, all at the same time — I can’t even begin to write enough to cover the experience.
My lack of knowledge in Japanese had me miss the entire buildup, and so the sexier scenes came to me in a jarring manner. I found myself wondering as to where exactly are they (we?) doing the deed. I figured the first time was in a room (Yūki’s or that of my character’s); the second was… outdoors? Sneaking away during a festival? There were fireworks (literally). There was an attempt in a motel, I think (and it failed ahaha~); and the last one for the road was… I dunno, I started imagining them sneaking into their old school à la Ichigo 100% and doing it in the clinic.
OKAY I DON’T KNOW I JUST LET MY IMAGINATION FILL IN THE BLANKS CAN YOU BLAME ME??!! X(
Now. Sex. —
I really don’t know if this is an isolated case, or if it’s a standard in Japanese fiction, but Yūki felt like he was just so tense during intercourse. If I were allowed to really react and change the outcome of the disc, I’d like to hold him and stroke his hair, telling him hush, relax, it’s okay baby, let go, shh~ relax~
But, no. There were just times I felt that he’s out to go into cardiac arrest, or that he’s choking on something. I was just slapping my forehead, covering my face, chuckling, and shaking my head in sheer embarrassment.
I suppose it has its charms from an older woman’s perspective — a younger man exerting so much effort to please his partner — whether or not that floats your boat, that’s up to you; and, well, not everyone is Tatsun when it comes to sexy sounds. I just felt sorry for Yūki at times.
Final verdict: I will listen to this again, and if I ever get my dirty paws on like CDs (specially if it’s from a favorite seiyū), I will listen to more. Majima’s performance was very convincing, and sold Yūki’s character, lack of knowledge of the Japanese language notwithstanding. I was convinced of Yūki’s affections (albeit a bit on the juvenile side), his jealous tendencies, and his desire to please.
My only gripe for now is that, as the listener, I didn’t know what role to play. I suppose that the production team keeps the listener’s character as vague and generic as possible, so as she can insert herself into the story. My experience as a roleplayer has lead me not to mind inhabiting an existing character, so I would’ve liked to know more of the friend whom Yūki bears so much affection for.
I hope that it’s just the lack of translation, but would’ve liked to have had a clue as to how my character sees her childhood friend, and how she’s convinced that their relationship should take this course. Otherwise, it all feels one-sided.
Wow, I didn’t intend for this post to be so long, but I hope you enjoyed it. If you have otome CD’s to recommend me, fire away! /o/