Nikuman de Go! (Full Japanese title: 学園クラッシャー 肉MANでGO! – Gakuen Kurassha Nikuman de GO!) was a Rugby themed comedy originally serialized in Erotopia magazine under the title Ninkimono de Go! (人気者でGO!) and later collected and published in 2 tankobon volumes by Wani Magazine Comics on March 1st, and April 1st, 1988.
Nikuman de Go! is the story of a rough and ready High school student called Yosuke Nakamura. Yosuke is the captain of the Rugby team at Toyo High school and, like any other male his age, he has a very healthy interest in picking up girls on the side. In fact, the very first thing that he does in the opening pages of the manga is get it on with a mysterious masked girl. Naturally, Yosuke has a whale of a time with the girl but when he rocks up to school the following day, he discovers a group of girls crowded around the school notice board. To his horror, the board is covered in photos of Yosuke banging the girl from the night before. Realizing he’s been had, he gets called to the principle’s office for a stern talking to along with the threat of having the rugby club dissolved permanently. Though Yosuke is obviously very fond of his rugby club, in just the first 15 pages it’s clear that he’s the kind of guy that thinks with his balls before anything else.
Several days later, Yosuke bumps into a girl named Kei whose aunt owns a traditional Japanese style diner. Whilst enjoying his meal with Kei, he overhears the loud conversation going on in the adjacent room. By sheer twist of fate, the men in the other room start talking about Yosuke and how well they stitched him up by taking those photos of him on the job with the masked girl. Kei explains that the group of men are from Yosuke’s rival high school Chutokuai Gakuen and that they are regulars at the restaurant. Unable to hold his anger any longer, Yosuke bursts into the room and rugby tackles them all at once sending the men flying and utterly wrecking the room at the same time. Before leaving the scene, Yosuke gives the principal of the rival school a solid right hook to the eye knocking him unconscious. Due to the ferocity of the attack, the story is reported in the local newspaper which of course catches the attention of the school principle. Infuriated by Yosuke’s actions, he demands an explanation but Yosuke manages to diffuse the situation when he mentions that he punched out the rival principle. The future of the Rugby club, it seems, is treading on very thin ice…
Incensed by the scandal that Yosuke has brought upon the school and rugby club, the third year students challenge Yosuke and his team of first and second years to a match. If Yosuke’s team can win, they will leave him be but if they win, Yosuke will have to step down as captain. Naturally the second year students tell Yosuke to take a hike and solve his own problems. The first years also decline to help but with a little threatening courtesy of Yosuke’s Yakuza friend, Kojiro Naniwa, the first years soon agree to play the match. By token of goodwill, Kojiro thanks them for helping out Yosuke and then promises them all that if they win the match, they can all finger the pussy of Miss Yoshida, the team manager. Spurred on by their unbridled desire to cop a feel of such a beautiful young girl, the team manages to completely overwhelm the third year students.
A few days later, a group of delinquents show up at Toyo High school looking for Yosuke. The leader of the group, Ishii, is a huge guy that wears an Arabian head gown and steel face mask. Ishii comes with his underlings Hiruta, a spiky haired punk, and Nishimura, a bald headed guy in thick circle rimmed glasses. The three of them make it quite clear that they have come to give Yosuke an ass-kicking but instead take it out on some of the rugby squad due to Yosuke being absent. Ishii and his gang soon track down Yosuke and confront him face on. Yosuke tells Ishii that if he wins, Ishii must do whatever he says. Convinced of his victory, Ishii agrees to the terms but Yosuke throws wasabi powder in their faces before ramming a huge glob of wasabi paste through Ishii’s facemask. Defeated, Ishii agrees to join Yosuke’s rugby team along with his underlings. With Yosuke’s team mostly complete, the new group of friends go about getting involved in all kinds of hilarious hijinx for the remainder of the manga.
Nikuman de Go! is a short, simple story revolving mainly around the sort of silliness that teenage men like to get up to. Rugby is only really a backdrop to the story really but that doesn’t take anything away from the overall feel of the manga. In the second volume, each of the characters get properly fleshed out with their own side stories which is a lot of fun and adds a lot of depth to the overall story. Though the manga is only 12 chapters long it neither feels to short nor too long. Personally I would love to see more of these characters again as Ishii and Nishimura are really funny guys. The manga is peppered with Maeda’s unique brand of humor too which gave me lots of laugh out loud moments. In short, it’s a typical Maeda manga. A short story with equal amounts of sex and action all done in a humorous way. Definitely one to pick up and read for sure!
Like most of Toshio Maeda’s work, Nikuman de Go! is long out of print but fortunately it’s very easy to track down both volumes on either Yahoo! Japan or Amazon.jp. As of yet, the manga hasn’t been translated into English yet but don’t let that stop you tracking down both volumes as there are plenty of visual gags to enjoy not to mention the usual high quality artwork. Go ahead, get some Nikuman in your life!
Here’s the original Japanese cover artwork for both volumes: