Fourth Generation Head: Tatsuyuki Oyamato Review

fourth genFourth Generation Head: Tatsuyuki Oyamato is the latest Boys Love manga by Scarlet Beriko to be released by SuBLime Manga. I had read and enjoyed Jackass!, a singular and poignant BL manga by the same mangaka, so I was eager to pick up this new release. While I wasn’t disappointed by this title, I do feel I should warn readers that this manga has a much darker story then Jackass! and delves into some twisted territory.

Synopsis:

Tatsuyuki Oyamato is the heir to a yakuza syndicate but has no interest in taking over the family business. He has recently gone through a break-up and has been listlessly moping around the house playing video games, when it’s decided that he is to be sent to Fukuoka to manage a branch of the gang and, hopefully, gain some experience. Not too pleased with this development and still struggling to get over his heart break, Tatsuyuki goes out for a night on the town and ends up having a drunken hook-up with a stranger he mistook for his old lover. This young man is Nozomi, and it turns out he knows Tatsuyuki from an encounter they had years ago and has been carrying a torch for him ever since. Nozomi is clearly interested in pursuing a relationship and Tatsuyuki finds himself warming up to the idea, but unfortunately Nozomi isn’t the only person from his past who’s lurking in the city. Just as Tatsuyuki and Nozomi are starting to explore the possibility of a relationship, a man with a history with Tatsuyuki’s father puts in motion a scheme that threatens them both.

Review:

Fourth Generation Head is a story that goes to some dark places. While I ultimately thought this was a good manga, it is one that I would have a hard time recommending to people due to the upsetting nature of some of the subject matter. Some of what I’m about to discuss might be considered spoilers, but I feel it’s important to warn people about this type of content so they can avoid it if they want to. To that end, please note that this manga contains scenes that deal with the sexual abuse of a child, scenes that depict an attempted suicide and there are some graphic scenes where one of the characters is blackmailed into having sex with the villain. What’s more, the start of the relationship between our two leads is problematic; Tatsuyuki is too drunk during their first sexual encounter to be able to consent and this is something that is clearly evident, as he obviously thinks Nozomi is someone else, calling him by a different name at multiple points. Nozomi does express remorse for taking advantage of Tatsuyuki later in the comic, so the lack of consent isn’t completely ignored, like similar situations often are in other BL manga, but this is still not a good start to a romance. If any of the things I just described would ruin your ability to enjoy other aspects of the manga, I completely understand, and I recommend that you steer clear of this title.

That said, there were enough good things in this story that, despite my objections to some plot points, I did wind up liking it overall. For starters, this manga is surprisingly funny. I know that might sound strange, given some of the things I’ve described that take place in the story, but Fourth Generation Head manages to avoid becoming a melodrama and contains plenty of lighter scenes and jokes in the dialogue and backgrounds. My favourite example of one of these little background gags involves some of the kids at the daycare where Nozomi works. In one chapter, Tatsuyuki helps some kids pile up a bunch of sand and then, in a later chapter, you can see the same kids in a little panel, shouting about how they finished their castle, while behind them is an epic masterpiece of sandcastle craftsmanship! Apparently, these kids were working on this sandcastle for weeks! I loved all those little details and I found myself laughing throughout the book, in spite of some of the troubling story developments. Tatsuyuki and Nozomi also manage to develop a relationship that is pretty sweet (if you ignore how it started), with Tatsuyuki being considerate of the fact that Nozomi experienced abuse in his past and asking for permission before touching him and checking in with him to make sure he’s okay. In the end, I do like them together as a couple and I enjoyed most of their interactions, even if I wish the creator had chosen a different method to get them together.

While having many good points in its favor, this is not a manga that’s for everyone; there are multiple things that made me uncomfortable and which I could see potentially ruining the manga for some readers. I recommend exercising your own discretion when deciding whether to pick this one up.

Final Score: 6.5 out of 10

For more information on this title check out SuBLime Manga’s website: https://www.sublimemanga.com/reader/778

Be sure to let me know what you thought of this manga in the comments. You can also check out some of my other BL manga reviews:

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