When I first heard about Sex Ed 120%, I assumed that it would be a raunchy comedy, with a bit of educational content thrown in. This turned out to not be the case, but I was actually pleased that my expectations didn’t turn out to be correct, as I think the education-focused manga that we got is more valuable then the titillating series I imagined, plus it’s still a lot of fun.
Naoko Tsuji is a Physical Education/Health teacher who’s on a mission. Disgusted with the limited scope of the Sex Ed curriculum she’s been given, Naoko’s determined to teach the girls in her classes all of the things they need to know about sex, sexuality and their bodies. Even if that means throwing out the text book and going rogue!
Written by Kikiki Tataki and with art by Hotomura, Sex Ed 120% manages to be a good balance of useful facts and entertaining story. Naoko’s zeal, and completely open and and positive attitude towards sex, is both refreshing and amusing. Her efforts to provide more practical and comprehensive lessons than what’s laid out in the standard curriculum gets her in some trouble with her school’s principle, and also greatly annoys her colleague, School Nurse Nakazawa, but when she sees how her efforts are benefiting the students, she becomes determined not to give up. Even if she’s criticized for handing out condoms and offering up too much personal information, she’s plowing ahead full steam!
The main students who participate in Naoko’s classes are Matsuda, a BL fangirl, Kashiwa, who doesn’t seem particularly interested in sex or romance, and Moriya, who’s a lesbian and is dating another girl at the school. I was glad to see that Sex Ed 120% included queer characters and information that would be useful to gay readers, as well as straight ones, as it’s not uncommon for real life Sex Education classes to offer only minimal acknowledgement of homosexuality, or to ignore its existence altogether.
On the topic of queer representation, there’s some romantic tension between Naoko and Nurse Nakazawa which I’m very excited about, as they are very cute together. The more serious and by-the-books Nakazawa acts as a good foil for Naoko’s more zany personality and I like how they play off each other. I’m hoping we’ll see this develop into a relationship as the series continues.
While Sex Ed 120% is an educational work, there are plenty of jokes crammed in amongst the stats and figures. Given the subject matter, the humor can be rather saucy or suggestive, but this manga doesn’t feel salacious, despite the fact that it’s labeled as an ecchi title. Rather, Sex Ed 120% is both frank and funny in it’s approach to talking about sex, and I found myself really enjoying Naoki’s over-the-top passion for the topic and her students mix of interest and bewilderment.
Despite being informative and engaging, I think this manga would be most helpful to teens and young adults. Sex Ed 120% covers a wide range of topics, from masturbation to the use of dental dams, but it’s, thus far, presented information that I think the average adult would be more or less aware of. Well, except for the chapter that covered animal genitalia. There was some genuinely shocking information in that chapter!
Even if I didn’t gain much new knowledge from reading Sex Ed 120%, I still had a lot of fun reading about Naoko’s struggle to provide the most complete Sex Ed course that she can, and I definitely plan to keep reading the series.
Final Score 8 out of 10
For more information on this manga, visit Yen Press’ website.
What did you think of this manga? Did you learn any interesting tidbits from reading it? Let me know in the comments.
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