Today, we’re shining a light on the works of the hentai artist Hakaba (Dairiseki), and going over his works — including the hentai doujin Koukai Benjou.
I think a lot of people would agree that sometimes it’s hard to tell one hentai manga creator from another based on their work alone. There are certainly some standout creators with a style of work that can’t be mistaken for anyone else, but many tend to fall back on a fairly standard style of art and some relatively general plotlines that anyone could write. Hakaba is one of those standouts.
Hakaba, who is also called Dairiseki after his doujin circle, is instantly recognizable with his sleek bodied artwork that pays particular attention to sleek and reflective surfaces. He is instantly recognizable by the themes of bondage, latex, and psychological breakdown that inhabit his works. Perhaps most of all, he is notable for his choice in storylines, which are almost always dark, sordid tales of women slowly and methodically losing their minds in circumstances designed to rob them of their mental capacity to resist the person or people responsible for their slow breakdowns. He is a master of the mind-break genre.
Hakaba’s first few major works started appearing in the mid 2000s. From minute one they had the kinds of themes and content that Hakaba has fallen back on his entire career. Among them, the most interesting one is a manga called Shinobu, which follows a police detective being trained into a mindless pet by a group of slavers she was trying to rescue a friend from. Shinobu is good stuff on its own, but it lacks the cohesion and well thought out structure of Hakaba’s later work. These early works also show the gradual shaping of his signature style. The bodies we see have the characteristic Hakaba sleekness, but the art style is rougher than his later work, and he hadn’t quite mastered the art of drawing latex.
The period between 2009 and 2010 saw a massive uptick in the speed of release of his work, as well as the finishing touches emerge on his signature style. This was also when he first started working on fandom based projects. Most notably, he worked on Xenosaga, Quiz Magic Academy, Vocaloid, Precure, and Bakuman doujin. Personally, I feel these works aren’t quite as strong as his other stuff, if only because Hakaba is a really good erotic storyteller, and his ability to tell the kind of dark mind-break stories that he loves are harder to do with established properties. That said, he’s never made a manga I wouldn’t recommend, and the Bakuman doujin in particular are certainly quite strong.
At the same time, Hakaba produced an anthology book entitled Kowashite Kudasai (commonly translated to “Break Me”) that has served as something of a directional statement from him. Some standouts from the anthology include “Dark Ping Pong Club” which featured a school girl being gradually mind-broken by a ping pong machine. Not exactly the world’s most common premise. Another that stands out to me is Wakaba (say “Wakaba by Hakaba” six times fast), which is the story of a girl being trained as a sex slave by her adopted family who comes up with a plan to escape. It’s hot, of course, but it also has a really well thought out resolution that is aided by Hakaba’s accompanying artwork.
However, undoubtedly the most important work from that anthology was the first story, entitled Koukai Benjo or “Public Toilet.” It’s about a school that has an authoritarian program that it uses to improve its own reputation via the training of female students as sex slaves. Specifically, sex slaves that can be used as fuck toilets by anyone in the student body. The original work is mostly about establishing the world and showing the MO of the school, but the degree of how thought out it was, and the sinister psychological horror vibes made sure it was the best received story of the bunch.
That’s why in 2012, Hakaba came back to the story, and created an entire anthology based on Public Toilet. This one features a more fleshed out storyline about a pair of lovers who go to the same school as from the previous story. It’s probably the best thing Hakaba has made. By a lot. High praise, considering some parts rely on kinks I distinctly don’t enjoy — like malesub and forced feminziation. However, the storyline with it’s slow creeping build, it’s excellent pacing, and it’s magnificent artwork (for most of it at least) is really a standout in the genre. It’s no wonder it got a pretty decent quality hentai OVA made of it by Pink Pineapple in 2013. The OVA is worth it, but I really can’t recommend the manga enough.
It’s a shame that afterwards, the speed of new releases out of him dropped. In 2013, he put out another long work entitled Kedamono No Le, but it’s really not his finest work. As far as I can tell, there isn’t even a complete English fan translation to be found anywhere. Since then his output has been slow. Some doujin have come out for Kancolle, Tu-Love-Ru, and most recently Girls und Panzer. However, no substantial multi-chapter storylines or anthologies. According to his blog, he’s been working on a series of projects including onaholes and love pillows. Which is sad for us fans of his manga work, but a man’s gotta eat.
That said, not too long ago, we did get a small two-part sequel to Koukai Benjou — Hikoukai Benjou (Private Toilet). This one is about as Hakaba as a story can get. The same evil school reveals its technique for totally breaking down a girl into an animal. It involves an insanely detailed level of sensory deprivation, latex (duh), and and a lengthy stay in an isolation chamber. It’s pretty fantastic.
So that’s Hakaba. His work is intensely idiosyncratic and instantly recognizable, though the lack of major works in recent years is saddening. Although, if you’re looking for mind-break, no one does it with as much focus on psychology or with the storytelling fundamentals of Hakaba.
To find out about more of Hakaba’s various works, you can check out his page on Mangaupdates . To look at some of his unattached artwork, you can find his pixiv here. His blog (Note: in Japanese) can be found here.
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