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Danielle Leigh’s Reading Diary — Hey, Class President! vol 2

Hey, Class President! vol 2, Kaori Monchi, is a bit of a surprise in that it doesn’t really break through any of the expected yaoi cliches (high school boys, smaller and not so bright uke, cool and controlled seme, sex that doesn’t further the plot, creepy stalker guy), yet I still found it an engrossing narrative about how two people actually use sex — okay, a lot of sex — to become closer emotionally.

So, you’ve got the requisite all-boys’ high school setting, and the adored Class President Kokusai, who is so innocent in matters of sexuality that he doesn’t even know when the student body sexually harasses him.  He’s also the least effective person on the planet — he owes his election win to the fact most of the student body wants to get their hands on his body.   Enter the cool and experienced Chiga, who serves as Kokusai’s Vice-President.   Chiga’s a first year but he’s impossibly cool — he’s taller than the older Kokusai, he’s more talented at judo, and he’s exudes sensuality.  Yet, he is the one who falls for Kokusai pretty hard and decides to initiate him to the pleasures of sex.  Everything’s consensual (thank god), and while Kokusai could use a little backbone, it is clear he’s drawn to Chiga, even if the strength of his attraction to other boy terrifies him.

I think it is pretty clear why Kokusai likes Chiga in spite of himself — Chiga is downright breathtaking.  But why does Chiga like the bumbling, spazzy student body president?  Yaoi law of randomness, I suppose.  Kokusai is pretty, cute and clueless — therefore, he’s adored (moe alert!).  Admittedly, he is a sweet guy, although he has a giant, and fairly tiring, inferiority complex when it comes to Chiga, who seems to handle every situation with aplomb, even various states of almost-public naked sweatiness that comprises the majority of the volume.  Luckily, we get to follow both Kokusai and Chiga’s inner monologues, which reveal while Kokusai is sorting out the confusing new desires Chiga has awakened in him, Chiga’s struggling with the fact he is completely unable to verbalize how much he actually cares for Kokusai.  Monchi emphasizes a complex interplay of touch, thought, and feeling that accompanies every interaction between the boys — there are a number of missteps, half-communicated intentions. and aborted declarations.  In other words, in spite of the impossible and public sexual interactions, there is a sense of emotional integrity to the story and the boys’ tentative steps toward establishing a romantic relationship.

Volume 2 is comprised of what feels like an extraordinary amount of anguished emotional foreplay — there’s plenty of climaxes sexually speaking — all leading up to the simple and stark realization that Kokusai isn’t just a plaything to Chiga, but is being very intensely loved by a partner who can only seem to communicate on the level of physical sensation.  There’s a ridiculous cliff-hanger and an even more ridiculous stalker plot, but the truth is, Chiga and Kokusai’s stumbling attempts to connect on a deeper level really made this title work for me.

Review copy provided by DMP.

3 Comments

Well, huh. I would have thought on the face of it that this would be something I’d hate, but you make it sound really intriguing.

Danielle Leigh

June 7, 2009 at 7:03 pm

Well, I’m honest about the fact I don’t think Monchi is trying to play with yaoi cliches, yet I still was surprised by how much complexity she was able to portray thanks to the interweaving of both boys’ inner monologues, which accompanied the (quite frankly) over-use of sex scenes. In the end, I was pretty intrigued myself, so much so I’m looking forward to the next volume.

[...] Over Flowers (Soliloquy in Blue) Lorena on vol. 2 of Gankutsuou (i ? manga) Danielle Leigh on vol. 2 of Hey, Class President (Comics Should Be Good) Katherine Farmar on vol. 2 of Ordinary Crush (Comics [...]

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