Sense of Values of Wine: Wait…am I talking about a Hentai Manga?

Yes, this is happening.

If you have been following this blog, a few months back I threw up a list of my favorite manga and anime series of all time. On that list was a piece of work that is probably completely unknown to the general audience. I said that despite being a hentai (pornographic) manga, that I found myself invested by the touching romance between the two leads, which is far more than any work like this should be. So after the cut let’s take a dive into author Fuuga’s work: Sense of Values of Wine.

(This is a Hentai Manga, so there is a bit of NSFW content up ahead. Please read with discretion)

((I have re-dived into this series! Check out the up to date post here!))

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Yes, we are doing this.

Let’s get this out of the way right now.

This is a Hentai Manga, which means that it is a porno. Which means that like 65% of this book is pretty much people just having sex, raw uncensored sex. That’s well done, drawn well, and pretty much accomplishes what any hentai is supposed to do. However what this story is also, and surprisingly good at, is being a love story of two people who want to be together, but family expectations forbid them to.

The story stars Hayato Kaaya, the class president and lazy third-year high school student. and Nanami Wakase, a young teacher whose family wields considerable financial and political power “in the shadows”. Despite being popular among the student body and getting several confessions and marriage meetings. Nanami only seems to pay attention to Hayato, teasing him and using him as her pet. However, one night when she visits his home, a little too much wine is drunk and Hayato ends up taking Nanami back to her home, and well….I bet you can guess what happens next.

 

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Drank too much indeed.

What follows is a secret and illicit affair between Nanami and Hayato. What makes the story good though (aside from the obvious) is how much chemistry the two leads have. In between the sex scenes (and there are many), there are many pages dedicated to just Nanami and Hayato talking, figuring out their feelings and delving into their futures, pasts, and dreams. Hayato who dreams of being nothing more than a video game creator, and Nanami’s struggles of obeying her mother’s wishes of getting married, and her desires to choose her own destiny. What makes it work is that both of the characters feel human, and share a dry sarcastic wit that only couples who truly are comfortable with each other have.

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The “less is more” art style of this work really helps with the characterization.

Furthermore, Values of Wine also has a complete story arc, and by the end of the piece, Hayato and Nanami’s journey comes to a full and satisfying conclusion that leaves no stone unturned. Once you reach the last page, you have seen both characters lay all their cards on the table and make a decision on what they want and how they feel about each other. Again, it is a touching romance, with moments of humor, witty banter, sadness, tenderness and of course, sexual passion. The author of this work clearly showed up to play here in terms of story, because Hayato’s and Nanami both feel like human characters, and not just avatars for viewers to get their rocks off. If there is one issue, it is that the story often takes detours to the lives of the supporting cast, which is pretty much them just having sex. It’s fine again, but I wish a bit more time had been spent on the two leads.

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Again, this is the sort of drama and storytelling expected from actual anime. Not a porno.

Sense of Values and Wine is a piece of work I keep going back to, not because of the sex, but because of the characters and the story. Behind the sex is a story of passion, romance and trying to find your way in a world that doesn’t want you to have your own choice. The journey of Hayato and Nanami was far more compelling to me than most normal anime romances, and I couldn’t help but feel emotionally touched by the conclusion. This is a great piece of work, and if you can stomach the fact that it is a hentai. Give it a look and see if you walk away with the same opinion that I have.

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Only two things in anime/manga have ever made me tear up. This was ALMOST number three.

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