This review will contain spoilers for the manga and anime series Absolute Submission -Like Hell I'll Obey!-. While the manga may vary slightly from all other forms of media, it may have similar story elements and could be considered spoilers.
Trigger Warning: There may be references to violence, BDSM, forced bondage, dubcon, animal death, gossiping, and prejudice, as it appears in the manga.
Kikuma is a delinquent. He frequently gets into fights and leaves campus overnight, much to the chagrin of the teachers and staff of his boarding school. Determined to put him back on the right path, the staff reassign him to another room, one where his roommate is none other than the dorm superintendent, Takasumi. That doesn't concern Kikuma, and he has no intention of changing his ways, but while being treated by the nurse after his recent fight, the nurse reveals that Kikuma has been identified as a sub – a secondary gender that requires the person to be dominated, commanded, praised, and punished, otherwise, he might experience detrimental health problems.
That shouldn't be too big of a deal. Kikuma hasn't experienced anything yet, and he doesn't intend to, that is, until he meets his new roommate. As it turns out, Takasumi happens to be a dom – a secondary gender that requires the person to dominate, command, praise, and punish. While Takasumi probably couldn't have stopped Kikuma's delinquent streak usually, with Kikuma being a sub and Takasumi being a dom, Takasumi is in the perfect position to command and control Kikuma, whether he wants to be or not. But Kikuma is hardheaded. He has no intention of just going along with all of this, biology be damned.
The art in this isn't great. The cover art is the nicest this looks but doesn't exactly reflect the art in the manga itself. The character's chins are very, very narrow, giving them an odd shape. It also makes their eyes look a bit too big on their face, but then there is the tops of their heads. There are so many moments where their heads seem to slope backward or appear far too flat. I wouldn't say the art is terrible, but having seen some truly stunning and consistent art, this falls pretty low in ranking when it comes to art. I wish it were more consistent, but it's not the worst by any means.
Now for the story. I love a good delinquent being tamed by a good student storyline. It's the age-old opposites attract scenario, which is great as it is. But then it has the added layer of the dom/sub universe, which makes this all the more satisfying. Having a delinquent be truly tamed and dominated by a good student is everything. And for him to purposefully go against Takasumi just so that he will be punished is so good. I love that. This does start out a bit dubcon, with Kikuma being dominated by surprise initially, but then he ends up asking to be dominated and even enjoys it to the point of reaching sub space. It's just so great.
Unfortunately, while this has all the makings of a perfect BL manga (at least for me), it does end up feeling a bit lacking. This is another one of those single-volume works, so there's only so much time to develop the plot and characters. I wouldn't say this is bad, but it isn't all that great, either. This is just another one where, if you expect a deep storyline, careful and gradual character growth, and realistic relationship establishment, this one probably isn't for you. It's perfect for a quick fling, but don't expect too much more out of it.
I also don't think this is a good one to be introduced to the dom/sub universe. If you are looking for a good introduction, I would recommend Learning to Love at Your Feet for an entry into this fantasy world. For those desperate for more, then go ahead and add this one to the list. It's not the best I've seen of this universe, but it's still a fun take. I would have liked to have seen additional characters living with these dynamics alongside our main characters. I especially would've liked to have seen more of the school nurse since it is only revealed at the very end that he is also a sub, but with this being so short, there just isn't enough room for more world-building. Regardless, it's a good time, but it does leave you wanting.
I have to admit that I am a sucker for dom/sub universe (but that shouldn't be too big of a surprise since I've started my own dom/sub universe series with I Want You to Own Me). And with this world still being a bit rarer to find content for, I am quick to consume and enjoy every entry. This one is probably my least favorite of those I've reviewed thus far, but it's not terrible. I just don't think this is the best representation of this genre. So, again, if you are just testing out the waters of the dom/sub universe, this probably isn't the one for you, but for those of you just hounding for more, throw this one on the pile. Just don't expect too much.
Have you read Absolute Submission -Like Hell I'll Obey!-? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!