A young man named Kosuke Fujishiro wakes up, bound to a heavy chair. He’s in a prison cell of some kind. His hands and feet are bound in steel restraints. He is confused and terrified, and rightfully so. He cries out for help, and gets an unexpected response: a beautiful girl appears in front of him and tells him that he is going to save humanity by having sex with her. It sounds like a dark hormonal fantasy taken to the extreme. But is Destiny Lovers volume 1 worth reading or just pure titillation?
So, it sounds a little f’ed up but this is clearly a weird manga fantasy. But there’s just one catch (if you somehow overlook the rape implications): Fujishiro has already promised himself to someone else, and he is determined to keep that promise, a decision that might save his life.
Characters: A tale of six virgins
There are six boys trapped in this prison, all of them virgins.
A high school student who was abducted by the prison jailers right outside his school grounds. He once promised a girl named Sayaka that she would be his first, and he stubbornly clings to that promise, even in the face of this overwhelming temptation.
A punkish teenager who doesn’t seem all that interested in the affections of women.
A businessman whose germophobia keeps him away from women and his virginity intact.
A morbidly obese boy in his twenties. His physical appearance and bad hygiene have kept girls at bay until now.
An effeminate teenager.
The Mystery Boy
The most mysterious member of the pack. His age is unknown; his youth and looks make it a mystery as to why he is a virgin. He seems to pick up on things faster than the others and might know more than he is telling.
I didn’t list any of the women, as their names and personalities are revealed late in the book. I didn’t want to spoil any part of the story.
Rest assured the women aren’t two-dimensional, murderous seductresses. They have real personalities that are just as unique as that of the boys
As Fujishiro tries to make sense of what’s happening to him, his mind flashes back to the moments before he was kidnapped. He had just finished turning down an invitation to karaoke from a girl and was talking to one of his guy friends when a van pulled up alongside him, and he was pulled in. His mind next flashes to the promise he made with his middle-school(?) girlfriend, Sayaka.
Desperate to stay faithful to Sayaka, he resists his seductress with all his might, but what ultimately saves him is an alert that sounds over the prison’s loudspeakers. The girl is forced to stop but promises that she will be back. Then, she (along with some other girls who also act as prison guards) throw him into a communal cell with the five other boys that are there.
Not what it seems
As strange as this situation is, it has all the hallmarks of a heterosexual teenage boy’s dark fantasy. Trapped in prison and forced to have sex with beautiful girls? Most boys who have been through puberty would look mostly at the positives (and less of the implications).
But something isn’t right, and it begins with gunshots. There’s a sinister vibe that permeates everything. But how will they gain more information from where they are? And why do these girls want to take their virginity so badly?
Destiny Lovers volume 1 spoilers
The mystery boy manages to steal the cell keys from one of the girls. The boys escape and try to look for an exit, but what they find instead is evidence that their jailers, despite their pretty looks and seductive moves, are actually cold-blooded killers.
This guy isn’t one of their group, but whoever he was, he was definitely in the wrong place at the wrong time, and this girl had no issues with shooting him on the spot. And then shooting him a second time, to make sure he’s dead.
They also overhear – again – that they need to give up their virginity for the sake of humanity, although they still don’t know the reason why.
But it is Fujishiro who receives the biggest surprise when he’s caught by the prison’s warden, who turns out to be Sayaka, his promise girl.
She tells him that she hasn’t forgotten their promise. She also repeats a warning that she said only to him earlier in the book: if you want to live, protect your chastity at all costs.
It is at this point that the true nature of Destiny Lovers reveals itself: it’s a chess match between a group of virgin boys and the women who are trying to seduce them. Ordinarily, this would be an easy win for the girls, but not now when lives are at stake. The boys know they’re in danger if they lose their virginity. The girls have to win to save the world. Who will outsmart who?
The art of Destiny Lovers
The art is beautiful. All the characters, both guys and girls, are incredibly well-drawn, and the dark, angular backgrounds help create the claustrophobic feel of the prison. The women are, of course, gorgeous, with an exaggerated sexiness that’s part and parcel of a manga like this. The artist, however, still does a great job of giving them individual looks that reflect their personalities.
Ecchi vs Hentai
At a glance, this may seem like a full-blown hentai manga, but it isn’t. At its core, this is a manga about not having sex in the face of ultimate temptation, so you won’t see anything that’s full-on triple X.
You will, however, see a ton of nudity. The setup permits for a ton of fan service, which means boobs and skin galore. It’s far more than you would see in a typical volume Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs, for example, but it still doesn’t quite cross the hentai line.
Is Destiny Lovers volume 1 worth reading?
It is, and not just for the sexy content. This is a fascinating story and a puzzle that begs to be solved. And it feels far more sinister than it does sexy. But most importantly: the characters are varied and interesting, and I’m not just talking about the boys. Rest assured the women aren’t two-dimensional, murderous seductresses. They have real personalities that are just as unique as that of the boys, and they sincerely believe that they are saving the world.
But saving the world from what? And why? You’ll have to read the book to find out. And when you do, don’t be surprised if you find yourself pre-ordering the next volume! Destiny Lovers is available from Ghost Ship, Seven Seas Entertainment’s racier label. You can pick it up both digitally and physically.