• remind me tomorrow
  • remind me next week
  • never remind me
Subscribe to the ANN Newsletter • Wake up every Sunday to a curated list of ANN's most interesting posts of the week. read more


by Lauren Orsini,

Nude Model: Tsubasa Yamaguchi Short Stories

Manga Review

Nude Model: Tsubasa Yamaguchi Short Stories Manga Review

A delinquent attempts to seduce his high school classmate, a taciturn artist. An outcast boy finds a perverse way to get the attention he craves. A woman with a phobia of blood finds her guilty pleasure at a vampire host club. These three stories with dark, sexualized themes show a different facet of the Blue Period artist's imagination.

Nude Model And Other Stories is written and drawn by Tsubasa Yamaguchi. Daniel Joseph edited it, Yuki Tejima translated it, and Lys Blakeslee lettered it.


Nude Model delivers on the promise of its lurid title. This manga, consisting of three equally intense short stories, is charged with eroticism and danger, with epiphanies lurking around every corner. Created by Tsubasa Yamaguchi, Nude Model is nothing like her most well-known work, Blue Period, a safe-for-work seinen manga about high school art students. Though the first story in this book also has an artist protagonist, this theme is wholly eclipsed by the same story's exploration of sexual vulnerability.

Each of the tales in Nude Model combines sex with something skin-crawling, leading to an unsettling cocktail of sexiness and discomfort. It wasn't always easy to keep reading, but Yamaguchi's storytelling was so gripping that I couldn't take my eyes off the page. These three stories plumb the darkest depths of the human id and deliver disquieting insights. This is a slim volume that will take you about 45 minutes to read, but each of its short stories is a fully encapsulated whole—and each one is earth-shattering in its own way.

Yamaguchi's art is both sexy and humanizing, simultaneously creating characters who look attractive and vulnerable. Her artistic and playful style leads to character designs like Natsume, who is described as having a face “like a Noh mask” and who looks like she came out of a 14th-century painting. Each story is like a dark portal into a realm of human sexuality that society usually sweeps under the rug, but I can't look away.

From here on out, this essay transforms from a recommendation to a review. I'll be discussing spoilers to explain how Nude Model goes above and beyond. Since this book's content can get pretty heavy, it might be helpful to spoil some of the plot points in advance so you know what you're in for. Check the objectionable content at the bottom of the review if you want to know more.

In the titular story, “Nude Model,” a delinquent boy named Momose accepts a bet to sleep with Natsume, the class oddball. Natsume is an artist, and Momose offers to be her nude model. But under Natsume's intense gaze, Momose begins to feel less like he's exploiting Natsume and more like he's exploiting himself—and he doesn't hate the feeling. If it weren't for the uneasy tension that grips their every interaction, Momose and Natsume would be a textbook odd couple in romance; Momose is outgoing and playful, Natsume intense and severe. But that would be a different story; here, each person has an ulterior motive. Momose is trying to bed Natsume as part of a bet with his friends, while Natsume uses Momose for his body in her own way. Momose begins nude modeling with a smug half smile, but he soon realizes something unexpected: he likes to be watched. Natsume is nothing but professional, but under her gaze, Momose begins to shift. “How was I not embarrassed up 'til now?” he wonders.

This pattern of turning the tables continues into the even more disquieting second story, “Girl,” a scrawny high-schooler named Yada records himself moaning like a girl and nearly breaks the minds of every hormonal boy in his class. Yada is a bit of an incel who prides himself on beating girls at their own game but soon discovers that if he wants to reap the benefits of femininity, he must also face its risks. He has nothing but contempt for his classmate Asahina, who is obviously being sexually assaulted throughout the story, while clueless Yada badmouths her as a slut. It isn't until Asahina's attacker finds an opening to attempt to rape Yada that this story's unlikeable main character realizes Asahina's predicament was never consensual. Yada thinks girls have all the power because he desires them but can't have them. He eventually realizes the darker side of being desired and having no power over who does the desiring.

In the third story, “Kamiya,” a doctor with a fear of blood finds herself at a host club that exclusively employs vampires—leading to a quite literal metaphor for the host industry sucking the blood of its loneliest and most vulnerable clients. Akamine was at the top of her class at medical school, but she couldn't become a true doctor until she overcame her crippling inability to draw blood. Instead, she works at a tiny clinic in a dodgy part of town surrounded by host clubs. It's one such club, called Kamiya, which catches Akamine's attention after one of her patients winds up dead there. Cause of death: blood loss. Akamine tells herself she's just investigating but soon winds up enamored with Johan, a vampire who can change his gender at will. Johan has a personality that echoes Momose's in the first story, but his happy-go-lucky nature gives way to something sinister. Johan does help Akamine overcome her fear of blood, but she soon begins drawing patients' blood under false pretenses—and then giving it to Johan. Akamine spirals out of control in thrall to a romantic obsession that will surely become her doom.

These three stories are best read in order. Each one doubles down on the tension—of both the sexual and terrifying kinds—of the story that came before. Each begins with a titillating flirtation before delivering a gut punch of a revelation. I'll be thinking about all three of these stories for a long time.

Overall : A
Story : A
Art : A

+ Stylish, sexy drawings and artistic manga paneling combined with three unique page-turner plots make this book best read in one fell swoop.
Content that includes voyeurism, nudity, crass language, sexual violence, and murder can make this an uncomfortable read that isn't for everyone.

discuss this in the forum (1 post) |
bookmark/share with: short url
Add this manga to
Production Info:
Story & Art: Tsubasa Yamaguchi
Licensed by: Kodansha Comics

Full encyclopedia details about
Nude Model: Tsubasa Yamaguchi Short Stories (manga)

Review homepage / archives