They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I’m opening this review with the following panel. It features a girl telling a boy that she wants him, and the boy responds that he’s more turned on by the skin that she sheds than he is by her. That’s the kind of manga this is, and you need to be prepared for it. Ecchiromance, Shed That Skin, Ryugasaki-san, is Kaiten Books second release (we also reviewed their first). It’s currently available digitally from Amazon and BookWalker. Let’s find out if Shed That Skin, Ryugasaki-san! is worth reading!
Ryugasaki-san & Yugami-kun
A teenage lizard girl. Ryugasaki-san lives in a world where demi-humans are rare but accepted.
A classmate of Ryugasaki-san, who happens to have a very strange fetish.
Story or fetish acid trip?
The story begins as Ryugsaki sheds her skin. Since she is half-lizard, this happens quite often. Once she is done, Yugami-kun fishes the dead skin out of the trash. This is so that he can use it to make his masterpiece: a life-size Ryugasaki-san doll, made from her own skin.
Ryugasaki-san knows all about Yugami-kun’s fetish, and it frustrates her as she likes him. She can’t understand why he would choose a doll over the real thing. She’s also horrified to find that he’s found a piece of skin from a very particular part of her anatomy, but he doesn’t know where it goes. Again, it’s that kind of manga.
Shed That Skin, Ryugasaki-san! volume 1 spoilers
Ryugasaki-san wonders what’s wrong with Yugami-kun and does some research into whether being sexually attracted to a doll is a fetish. She stumbles into an online forum where various men brag about ejaculating onto expensive figurines. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: it’s that kind of manga.
Still, Ryugasaki-san manages to convince Yugami-kun to go on a date with her, because despite his proclivities, she still really likes him. And so he begins to warm up to her a bit. Enough for her to fantasize about what it would be like to have his child. Of course, being a lizard, she wouldn’t give birth the human way. Instead, she would have a hatchling.
The book gets even weirder if you can believe it? But I won’t spoil it here. You deserve to be surprised by it in the same way I was.
Art of the doujin
The art has a rough, unfinished, doujin feel. The characters are still nicely drawn, and there’s never any confusion about what’s going on. However, it looks very indie, which is probably the point. It’s not a bad thing by any means. Just be aware that Shed That Skin, Ryugasaki-san! looks less polished than most mainstream manga.
Is Shed That Skin, Ryugasaki-san! volume 1 worth reading?
It is, mostly for the unfettered, unapologetic weirdness. It’s hard to recommend it for anything else. At this point in my life, I’ve read thousands of manga volumes, but this book still managed to surprise me. It doesn’t feel like a great love story (at least not yet), but the characters are unique. Plus you will see things here that you have never seen in any other manga.
If you’re looking for something different, take the plunge. But beware: you will never be able to un-see some of the things within this book’s pages.
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