Sakuranbo Syndrome has one of the more bizarre plot contrivances to appear in a smut manga. But as always in this genre, logic is secondary to uncensored nudity, passionate sex scenes and strong character art – all of which this manga excels in.
At least two things will stand out from reading Sakuranbo Syndrome – that nearly every female character is in their mid to late twenties, and the lack of women with extraordinary proportions. Constructing relatively conservative body types is an intentional decision by Taku Kitazaki to make the intimacy scenes appear grounded.
This works in tandem with the amount of interiority given to each character that makes their expressions feel convincing. The loli for example isn’t just eye candy to entertain the reader – we gain insight to Reina’s struggles to adapt to a world that has suddenly left her behind. She is progressively losing her grasp on reality throughout the narrative, having been reduced from an a college student with independent aspirations to relying on the saliva of a stranger to survive. The twenty six year Asou, the girlfriend of the protagonist, is on the surface no more than a domineering tsundere. But we learn that her insecurities of aging and not feeling feminine relative to her more social peers are to blame for her cold demeanor. The continual build up of characterization helps to make the intimacy feel very meaningful, as it becomes clear that the characters use kissing and sex as a means for releasing the tension that the outside world gives them.
Is any of this necessary to have great fanservice? No. But at least to some it can make the scenes more gratfying to experience, knowing that the characters have some level of emotional investment and purpose behind their actions beyond that of a raging libido.
Sakuranbo is one of the very few smut manga that can double as a riveting human drama and fap material. No pun intended – you may come for the fanservice, and stick around for the engaging story.