Desirable Swimming Boys does what it does very successfully.  And what it does is boys doing boys.  This is a lovely, smutty little romp that fails in its cursory attempt at psychological tension, but delivers in spades elsewhere. The story follows swim team members addressing their sexual obsessions in all sorts of complicated and counterproductive ways. Finally, a tall and dark deus ex machina turns this “love” triangle into a rectangle and brings our group to its symmetrical and rather moist climax. It is all highly enjoyable.

Here we find a very nice array of fetishes and tags, from rape to incest to group sex.  While there is censorship, the filth level is still plenty above average.   The art is good.  The toning is blocky and very liberally applied, and there are some noticeable instances of Yaoi Anatomy Syndrome, but really nothing distracting.  I was very impressed with the expressiveness of the faces, which are really beautifully and effectively rendered, and of course the aforementioned anatomical shortcomings are nowhere to be found in the sex scenes. Panel layout is frenetic but flows very intuitively, creating a complimentary feeling to the emotional tone of the story.  Composition in general is tightly pulled in, so there is very little background to speak of.   

What elevated this volume from one I was glad I had been able to enjoy one afternoon to one I was glad I own is the bonus story, Untitled.  This one shot is really beautiful and I look forward to revisiting it.  Untitled takes place in a single room in a vaguely dystopian context, where we watch as the routine of the lone character, a sex worker whose entire world is the plain room with the two-way mirror in which he lives and works, is interrupted.  Each page floats on an offset border of lace screentone,  deepening the effect of the decadence we feel from the world outside the room, and contrasting garishly with the stark  minimalism of the panels.  The common thread between Desirable Swimming Boys and Untitled is definitely their considerable explicitness, and I’m glad they’re in the same volume.

Overall, as long as what you’re looking for is a very high smut-to-story ratio, this book is a winner and I definitely recommend it! 

Review By: Dot Ringo

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