First Impressions: Your Neighborhood Tentacle Shop

Tentacles are a staple of a lot of things when you think about it. Hentai, cosmic horror, seafood dinner, they all have tentacles in them once you dig into the higher quality offerings. But you might be wondering: where do all the tentacles come from? Well, they probably come from your friendly neighborhood tentacle shop.

Your Neighborhood Tentacle Shop was written and illustrated by Okunoha, a doujin artist otherwise known for Symbiotic Era of Beasts and Humans and contributing to the Interspecies Reviewers anthology. The story is about a mystical shop that only appears to people who are truly in need of it, kinda like Xxxholic. Though instead of wishes, this shop deals in tentacles of every shape, size, and level of sentience. Anything your perverted desires might require, the Neighborhood Tentacle Shop can provide.

The story mainly follows Matsuri Naedoko. She is a cute, young girl who appears prim and proper on the surface, but who is secretly very curious about sex. She eventually discovers the shop and comes to befriend its owner—the mysterious Yurika—who sets her up with a starter kit containing some beginners-level tentacles. Matsuri quickly grows addicted to the sensation and eventually takes on a part-time job at the store just so she can continue to afford her new “hobby”.

In terms of art, Your Neighborhood Tentacle Shop is fantastic, especially when it comes to the sex scenes. These emphasize the overwhelming power of the tentacles, as they crawl all over the customers and enter any tiny crevice that they can. There is a lot of ecstasy displayed in the art, as characters all but lose their minds to the tidal wave of wiggling organisms washing over them. It’s messy and has a lot of energy to it, but also doesn’t compromise on visual detail.

The same can be said about the rest of the art. Much of the series is set inside the shop, which makes for a fascinating setting. It’s full of terrariums that contain strange creatures and all manner of displays, pots, and strange containers. It has an ominous yet tempting vibe to it. Character-design is similarly strong, both for the tentacle creatures themselves as well as the human characters. I particularly enjoyed the slightly deranged vibes that Yurika gives off, exacerbated by her pushy sales tactics and casual familiarity with all things unnatural.

Sadly, backgrounds are often excluded in dialogue-heavy scenes, which can feel a bit cheap. It’s just characters talking with each other in a void for several panels, until we get back to a shot where the artist deigned it worthwhile to draw the shop.

What further sets the series apart is the effort put into its storytelling. Across the five (and a half) chapters currently out, Your Neighborhood Tentacle Shop makes an honest effort to flesh out its lore. Tentacle creatures get bios explaining things like where they come from, how they survive, or what they’re good at. Some chapters are actually very light on porn, in favor of just telling stories about Matsuri’s work or the shop in general.

The characters are also quite fun and something that I hope the series will continue to build on further. I am especially fond of Shogo; a girl that looks human, but is actually a host of tentacles. She makes for such a strange, unknowable creature; only to use her horrifying powers for little more than ordinary chores or to improve her sales. She brings a lot of additional comedy to the series and gels well with the other main characters.

And that’s really Your neighborhood Tentacle Shop‘s greatest strength. It has some very extreme sex scenes and horror influences, but actually tells a very lighthearted story with them. All the sex is consensual and the tentacles—while menacing in appearance—are actually a jovial lot that adore their customers. I am not aware of any other series that tackles so many extreme fetishes, while telling such a fun, inoffensive story.

I look forward to future chapters and hope that Your Neighboorhood Tentacle Shop will keep going for a while still. Symbiotic Era ended up amassing 7 chapters and I feel that Tentacle Shop has even more potential. Releases have been slow, however, so those who prefer binging their manga might be left waiting for a long time.

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