Caste Heaven

Vol: 8; Ch: 38
2014 - 2021
3.694 out of 5 from 1,085 votes
Rank #18,887
Caste Heaven

Today’s top could be tomorrow’s bottom when playing the caste game! School is hard enough as it is, but when students are forced to play a cutthroat game to determine their social ranks—and subsequent treatment—all bets are off. It’s a cruel game where the card you possess determines your class rank. Azusa has the king, the most powerful of the cards, allowing him to rule his class however ruthlessly he chooses. But all bets are off when Azusa is double-crossed, shattering his pride as he drops to target, the lowest of the ranks. Now bullied by the very people he himself mistreated, Azusa is given a choice—become the new king’s plaything…or service the entire class!

Source: SuBLime

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Caste Heaven is a dramatic yaoi manga that contains the elements that make it a brilliant work within its niche. **Just a warning, this is very much a yaoi manga – so expect graphic imagery of intimate relationships between males. Furthermore, many of these intimacies are somewhat violent and are underpinned with potentially distressing themes (to be blatant – rape, blackmail, etc.). So just know this is not another Gosan no Heart or such. ART: 10 As with all of Takagi’s (Ogawa Chise) works, I find this manga to be exceedingly aesthetically pleasing. While character designs are unrealistic and undeniably feminine, the art ultimately works really well to construct atmospheric scenes that range from shocking the audience, to instilling a sense of foreboding and anxiety. STORY: 9 The concept of a corrupt governing party, and an unethical society, it itself is not particularly original, and the initial premise of the schooling system seems slightly illogical. What makes the plot of Caste Heaven so engaging is its brilliant story telling. The progression of the plot is wonderful: scenes cut enticingly from the past to the present in such a way that raises just enough questions to make you want to binge read the entire series, and changes in the perspective of the manga allow the audience to deeply understand the dynamics of the characters and their respective relationships. What more, the romance intertwined within this manga is very dark, and yet very addictive. Ultimately, while not entirely original, the construction of the story and its themes is very well done. CHARACTER: 10 All of the characters within this manga are wonderfully distorted and broken in their own way. Many of the characters undertake in cruel and savage acts, and yet ultimately no (main) character can be considered evil or entirely unpleasant – somehow all the characters are charming. The story is broken into two interlinked stories (as of volume two), with each story varying in the narrating perspective as well as providing scenes of the characters’ pasts. This allows the audience to slowly develop a keen and satisfying understanding of the characters personality and behaviour. ENJOYMENT: 10 Overall, Caste Heaven is everything I look for in a dramatic yaoi manga. The art, the story telling, the characters, it is all wonderfully executed. I honestly enjoy reading not just every chapter, but every page of this manga. The romance within this manga is shocking, the story is cruel and emotionally provoking, and yet somehow you cannot refuse this manga – it’s charming like that. *Note, this review is for Caste Heaven up until chapter 10.


Warning: spoilers about how the manga ends, but I tried to signal where Well, where to start? This story had a high potential to become something I really enjoy. The concept was great, and the first chapters were very interesting. I was angry, disgusted, and very looking forward to what was to come. Then it started going downhill, and midways it completely crashed and burnt. Oh, first I have to state that I love dark, psychological and twisted stories, so my dislike for this manga doesn't come from the fact that it is a fucked up story or anything like that. My dislike comes from how it played out. Story: Let's start with the concept and story. The concept, as I said before, was great. But it was just that. The reasoning behind the caste game is that everyone has malice in them, desire to rule if given the chance, will act according to the ambient and the people around them, following the group mentality, etc. Someone in the high castes will act high and mighty even if they would be losers outside the game. And it was a great concept. But it never went further than being a ploy for rape and bullying. It never evolved. It was never explained, how it started, why, why people agreed to it. It was just an excuse for high castes to rape lower casts and no one saying anything because 'the game'. I understand the whole thing about 'if you refuse to participate you automatically become a target', but if many people refused to play, they wouldn't be able to control them. The ones who are always naturally at the top, the famous, good-looking ones have no reason to play, since they are naturally at the top, and the targets and low castes have no reason to play either cause they are going to get bullied and abused ans they can't say anything. Also, you will become a target if you don't play, if you disobey, if you act outside of your role. Why does no one tell the teachers? Because they don't do anything. Why don't they do anything? We don't know. Why don't they tell the police? Their parents? We don't know. There is never stated a reason to why the game exists and everyone participates, besides 'people are influenced by others and the ambient they are in', you know, basically joining the bandwagon. And while that, as I said, is a great premise, it can't stand on its own. It needed more foundation, a more solid base. The game was also never questioned by almost all the school, aside from a few characters that decided they would 'end the caste game' (this only after they were put through bad situations, because these characters only have morals when they themselves are in the low) and then they did absolutely nothing. So, the manga had a great concept/premise, but it didn't stand. The story was also practically nonexistent, and the tiny bits of the story that did exist were terrible. It was all rape and victims falling in love with their abusers. Let's not even say anything about what happened to the game, cause if it was that easy then I don't know why no one did that before. [spoilers here] The ending was also bad. I mean, it's not like I needed a happy ending where everyone got arrested and the game ended, I would love a fucked up ending where the caste game continued, everyone went unpunished and kept being horrendous people, if the vibe/mood of that ending was something dark, like a 'look how fucked up the world is', 'those who have power and influence can do whatever they want'. I would love that and I love those types of stories that show the horrible side of the human being and human society. But a romantic mood, everyone in love and happy with their abusers ending? Feels like it's romanticizing and excusing rape, because the abuser actually loves you etc etc. Kinda nheck to me. When I say that the manga crashed and burnt midways is because not only some abusive couples were already happily ever after, it started to hint at the main couple ending up together and it really went that way. It could also have ended with Azusa somehow getting his revenge on that mf, but it didn't. none of these endings happened (or other endings someone could come up with) and it's a shame how it eneded, a waste of a good psychological setting. [spoilers end] Characters: So, the characters. The characters were all horrendous, hateful people. They fit with the setting of the story. It was just weird how almost everyone was a rapist, a gang rapist and a rape plotter. Also, everyone knew that rape was happening but no one did shit. The characters have no purpose in the story, aside from providing rape scenes. And they all in the end have a somewhat redeeming reason as to why they raped or planned to rape someone. Which is totally shit because it feels like the author is trying to excuse their actions with a sad background story. [spoilers here] Don't even get me started on how the main character, who is shown to have a strong personality even after all he is put through, never wavering, never submitting, becomes sex needy and affection needy with his abuser whom he hates. Going against everything set in his personality and behaviour. Even if he, like everyone, actually needs affection and someone to trust, it doesn't fit his character that he seeks it in the person he hates the most. [spoilers end] But I liked his character, I think it was nice how he was the only one who never changed throughout all the game despite what caste he is in, he stayed true to himself, while the others just played whatever role they were given. There was only a side couple who wasn't part of the 'victim ending up with their abuser' trope. They were both crazy and loved each other like that, with their fucked up relationship. I liked that one. Stayed both fucked up till the end ahah. Art: The art is the same as this author's other manga. It's not perfect but it's nice. It has this sexy aura (?). I don't know if it's just me but Azusa (the main character) is very sexy. Overall: It starts great for those like me who love fucked up fiction. It ends bad for those like me who like those stories to stay fucked up to the end. Or to end in the right way like abusers getting arrested and victims being free and healing. It's either one or the other, it either ends with the lesson that society is fucked up and the human being is horrible, or it ends with the happy ending that people who do bad things get punished. But if you don't mind victims ending with their abusers (this is fiction after all, the fact that i don't like that type of ending doesn't mean no-one can't like it) then maybe you'll like it. It's such a shame for me tho, because I really really loved the first few chapters.

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