REVIEW: Sex Ed 120%

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Sex Ed 120%

When you see “sex” on a manga cover, you tend to think about the fan service​ side of the medium, and I’ll be honest, that was my knee-jerk too. But the truth is Sex Ed 120% is a stunning and wholesome title that will easily open the door to understanding sex and sexuality for many older teen readers. Written and illustrated by mangaka Kikki Tatako and Hotomura respectively, Sex Ed 120% is localized and published in English by Yen Press. The volume features a translation by Amanda Haley and lettering by Sara Linsley.

In Sex Ed 120%, Naoko Tsuji is an unorthodox health teacher at an all-girls school who doubts whether the sex-ed status quo truly teaches young people everything they need to know — which as someone who got a sex education in the Texas Education systems, same Tsuji-san, same. So, to give her students the guidance they need she ramps it up to 120%. While her methods may lend to a tiny bit of fan service (and not in a bad way) Tsuji’s class is ready for the challenge as they prove to be an almost unflappable group, including a BL fan, a lesbian, and a girl who just really likes her cat.

Sex Ed 120% Volume 1 does an amazing job at balancing a story that adults can laugh at while also providing a story that offers moments of actual teaching. the most important of which is that Tsuji takes time to discuss topics like safe sex for same-gender couples and masturbation positivity. Plus, the learning is supplemented with comedy that dives into why sugar gliders have three vaginas, some dirty jokes, and a whole lot of heart.

Each of the characters works as a trope to help Tsuji teach. That said, the girls of Sex Ed 120% are endearing and work well as stand-ins for readers. While the book comes with an explicit content warning, it’s actually a great series to share with teens, older and younger to help them understand or at least lay a foundation about a sexual education to keep them healthy and positive. To be honest, the sex-positivity in Sex Ed 120% is bright and healthy in a way that I wish I had read as I was learning about my own sexuality which makes it a great story and even a good teaching tool. To add to that, the end of the volume includes a “self-study” portion that comes from the Japan Association for Sex Education. While the site is only available in Japanese, the elements of self-study translated as an extra can also work as a starting point for conversation for English readers.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Sex Ed 120% Volume 1 but after reading I’m thankful that Yen Press picked up the license. It’s especially welcomed with a continued attack on sexual education that still happens. For teens, it can serve as a path to understanding more about themselves and about sex. Plus, Tatako handles topics both seriously and with humor in a way that makes the series welcoming and accessible. Plus, Hotomura’s artwork shines in balancing anatomical illustrations and the girls learning.

Overall, Sex Ed 120% is a great start to a series I want to see become a mainstay for people. It’s a great story, with greater characters, but most of all, it does vital work in opening the conversations about sex and sexuality and help those looking to learn — especially if they’re stuck in parts of the country that shun any talk of sex.

Sex Ed 120% is available now wherever books are sold. 

Sex Ed 120% Volume 1
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TL;DR

Overall, Sex Ed 120% is a great start to a series I want to see become a mainstay for people. It’s a great story, with greater characters, but most of all, it does vital work in opening the conversations about sex and sexuality and help those looking to learn — especially if they’re stuck in parts of the country that shun any talk of sex.