Memoirs of Amorous Gentlemen or Bikachō Shinshi Kaikoroku came to my attention when I was scrolling through the manga offered on the Crunchyroll manga app, and I’m genuinely glad I decided to start reading it. This manga is generally out of the ordinary for what I tend to read, being a josei story set in 20th century Paris where brothels were legal places to seek pleasure and the company of a woman. And the story could not have been written by a better josei mangaka, namely Moyoco Anno (interestingly enough, the wife of Hideaki Anno), who is the creator of such big-name mangas as Sakuran and Hataraki Man. You can really see her experience come through especially in her creation of characters and the design of the the specific pages.
Sometimes back-cover descriptions can be pretty terrible to read, but the one Crunchyroll has on their site is a great representation of the manga: “Perverts are people who know the shape of their desires. They have carefully traced those contours like a blind man using both hands to measure the shape of a vase. Colette works in a brothel in early 20th century Paris, an occupation she can’t escape. She and the other girls support each other, satisfying the desires of their clients, day in, day out. The one source of hope in her difficult life was her trysts with Leon. But Colette could never be sure if Leon really loved her… The strength of women in their pleasurable confines; the naked desires of the ‘amorous gentlemen.’ Welcome to a beautiful, bewitching bordello of love and desire.” Continue reading