Ten Count (Vol 4) by Rihito Takarai

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I still can’t quite get over the fact that my public LIBRARY carries this.

SPOILERS

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WARNING: NSFW LANGUAGE BELOW

…especially since this volume starts with a butt plug scene.  There are none of the invisible penises, either. There are the usual useless censor bars that cover little strips of things that I wouldn’t necessarily think were more explicit than the whole member, but whatever.

I’m not complaining, mind you.

Volume 4 of Ten Count covers chapters 19 through 24 and includes what looks like three shorts, “Kurose, Shirotani, and Thumb Wresting;” “Kurose, Shirotani, and Silky Sensations;” and “Kurose, a White Cat, and a Can of Tuna.”

What can I say about this that you don’t already know?  If you’re into Ten Count you’re probably caught up to the latest scanlated chapter.  I took this out of the library, because I want to encourage the librarians to keep BUYING it.  I can’t always afford to support mangaka the traditional way, but library sales can be significant income for authors (at least they are to US novel writers.)

If you’re new to Ten Count, you should probably read my previous review.

But, this volume picks-up with Dubious Consent Boy (Kurose’s superhero name) torturing Shirotani with a butt-plug. I’m not surprised that poor Shirotani is pushed into telling Kurose that he’s disgusting and should get lost again, but OMG am I tired of this same old, same old.

As someone who has written this kind of m/m romance/erotic story, I understand the impulse to keep using ‘we’re breaking up!’ as the main conflict.  But no reader, anywhere, enjoys our paramours being apart! It’s literally the anthesis of what we signed up for (even with an extended masturbating scene). Takarai-sensei gets them back together in the most random, coincidental way, too. They randomly get locked in an elevator together and when Shirotani kindly asks to hold Kurose’s hand, Kurose goes full-on dom and demands a kind of tribute first: “You must kiss my hand.”

Oooo-kay.

I’ll be really interested to find out if the next volume is going to try to explain Kurose’s pseudo-sadism or whatever it is that drives him to push beyond Shirotani’s boundaries, the same way we got the full back story of Shirotani’s germophobia this time.

Shirotani’s backstory was interesting, if chilling to me, as a parent. I’m a little stressed out that a big part of Shirotani’s phobia is rooted in the fact that his father used to put his hand on Shirotani’s head and say, “I can read your thoughts when I do this.”

I’M TOTALLY THAT PARENT.  OMFG.

In fact, I do know that the sort of casual/I’m-being-flippant things I’ve said to my son did trigger some fears in him that I was going to go away and never come back (he was too little, and I basically just teased that his fears were silly, I wasn’t going to run off to France. Lesson I have yet to entirely learn: my son is ALWAYS serious. Teasing is NEVER a good idea.)

So, as far-fetched as it might seem, it’s not unreasonable that Shirotani might have developed fears based on a throwaway comment/awkward attempt to be the cool parent.  And, you know, masturbating to your dad having sex is… yeah, the combo seems legit traumatizing, especially with annoying girlfriend (named Lieda, no less, which is basically how my name is pronounced) telling you that you’re gross for having done so (and wanting to marry a man.)

The sex continues to be hot, so long as you’re down with the whole dubious consent thing.

Would I recommend it? Well, obviously, I’m still reading it. I’m not 100% sure how I feel about Kurose, but I can’t deny that he’s totally cut from a mould that I… appreciate. (I’ve totally written my own version of this guy, so hey.)

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One thought on “Ten Count (Vol 4) by Rihito Takarai

  1. TenCount is the only manga thing I read that makes me feel vaguely dirty (in a good way I guess? as I read it obsessively when it comes out). So inconsistent prude that I am, I will never ever read this one on the bus. Or ever admit to anyone else that I read it. It’s Shiro’s list that keeps me coming back I guess.
    I’ve already been mightily bewildered at the giant face out display of this manga in a regular J-bookstore I saw recently. So, yes I’m amazed at the extremely liberal purchasing mandate of your library! It is truly something to be cherished.

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