June 28, 2015
Tarako Kotobuki – SuBLime – 2012 – 8+ volumes
This volume is a lot about having kids. I wasn’t particularly fond of the featured couple… one of whom is a friend of the mongoose guy from a few volumes back, who is somehow related to Karen (I think). Mongoose’s husband, snake, is also the brother to the guy who has a crush on Shiro.
Again, for being so infertile that they had to invent a way for guys to have kids, the zooman families are huge.
Apparently some zooman babies are born fist size, especially if you are a “heavyweight?” So… I don’t know what to think about that. I prefer not to.
ANYWAY. The couple here is a new type of Zooman that doesn’t belong to one of the six categories, flying types. There’s a guy who’s French/Saudi, and also a rare hawk zooman, one of the last. His boyfriend here is a fruit bat guy, also a rare flying type, but apparently bats are the more common of the flying types. Fruit bat has led a hard, awful life, and is currently dating a rich friend, the same rich friend who pulled him out of his hard living. He likes the rich friend, but the rich friend doesn’t really make much time for him, and loves hanging out with other “rare” types of zooman. Their relationship isn’t portrayed particularly affectionately. So he starts hooking up with the hawk, who he keeps running into at parties and winds up saving while he’s on the brink of death one time.
Things get pretty hot and heavy with the hawk, but bat eventually pushes him away because he feels he has to be loyal to his distant boyfriend. Hawk kidnaps him to Saudi Arabia, because he’s impregnated bat and it turns out he needs that kid to be the heir to his rich, murderous, and contentious family. Bat has actually taken a bunch of experimental drugs that turn him into a woman, because when he lived hard, he wanted to be anything else but himself.
The end of this story isn’t even that romantic. The hawk keeps a harem, and wants bat as a second wife. Eventually, this is apparently okay. He sends bat away, because it is too dangerous for bat in Saudi Arabia. When he comes to get bat, it looks like he’s trying to kidnap their kid. He then invites him to be a second wife, and this is apparently incredibly romantic.
Characters that are only tangentially related to the main ones, a terrible love story, and more creepy pregnancy logistics. This wasn’t my volume. Volume 7’s cover appears to have a mermaid on it, so I’m hoping volume 6 is better (the covers tend to feature the prominent character from the last volume… this one has David, next volume has Seth Hawk, et cetera).
June 28, 2015
Kanoko Sakurakouji – Viz – 2014 – 18 volumes
“I love you, Kyo!”
“I love you, Misao!”
“No, I love YOU, Kyo!”
“Misao, I LOVE YOU.”
That’s pretty much the last three volumes of this series. Interesting that it sets up for a big, dramatic storyline, then becomes more about the two main characters enjoying the pleasure of each other’s company as a deadline looms. It’s super-cute, and none cuter than this final volume. And, to be fair, Kyo never tells Misao he loves her before this, so that was a big deal (and to be even fairer, I didn’t notice until Misao pointed that out… but few shoujo manga love interests are as sappy as Kyo, so I wouldn’t have noticed).
It actually goes out of its way to avoid drama. A potential storyline about Misao’s parents/mom is avoided handily early on, in favor of Misao and Kyo being cute together.
It was a refreshing ending to a drama-packed series. I enjoyed the whole thing way more than I should have, but I was happy to see it end like this after so many years.
June 28, 2015
QuinRose / Mamenosuke Fujimaru – Seven Seas Entertainment – 2012 – 7 volumes
Slow, but good! It might only seem slow because I’m reading it so fast, though.
This one has a rather exciting start, since last volume ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. Literally, Alice is hanging off the edge of a cliff that opens up in the unstable forest. Boris saves her, but injures himself, and there’s a cute scene afterwards. Their relationship moves on, and seems to be doing well. I’ve not read such a well-developed relationship in one of these spinoffs yet, so that was nice.
Ace is major creepy in this series, and his disturbing behavior continues to be a plot point here. I’m not entirely convinced it’s going somewhere different or interesting yet, but I’m somewhat intrigued, if only because he seems to have done violence to Alice here.
A plot point I didn’t understand from the end of this volume seems to have more of a bearing on the “Alice in the Country of Clover” plot – mainly, that Peter White is somehow linked to Alice’s sister, because he shares a memory, or is the sister? I don’t quite get it, hopefully it will be a bit more clear. The characters hint that Alice has to lose her memories of her sister in order to gain her life in the Country of Clover entirely… apparently finding reason to stay, in Boris, isn’t enough. I’m waiting for her to gain some sort of role, or to lose her beating heart.
We also learn what Boris’s job actually is. Actually, this was mentioned cryptically last volume, so it gives me hope that my questions about the weird stuff in this volume will be answered soon.
June 16, 2015
Chika Shiomi – Viz – 2015 – 4 volumes
I like Chika Shiomi a lot, and I’d heard of this series before. I’m putting an embargo on new series for myself, but this one I had to give a shot.
It made me laugh, because in the author notes, Shiomi mentions a few times her editor told her to do a historical series (it didn’t sound like she wanted to), she doesn’t know anything about Japanese history, doesn’t feel like researching, and doesn’t want to draw the elaborate costumes. It sounds like she’s really pouring some love into this one.
Having said that, this series is a lot like Oyayubihime Infinity (wow, I can’t believe I remembered that one), in that it’s about a group of young people who all sort-of remember a past life and are reincarnated together in the present. The main character, Yukari, seems to remember more than other people, and has recently been able to slip back into his old body and witness past events. The twist here is that Yukari, a high school boy in the present, was an Oiran, a high-ranking courtesan, in his past life. So that’s interesting, and I hope it goes places with that.
Yukari seems indifferent to the whole thing, but then again, he’s made a very good living for himself turning his (formerly indistinct) memories into bestselling novels. Its his novels that draw the other characters from the past to him in the present. He’s not very good at being an Oiran in the past, or even feigning interest in what he’s supposed to be doing when he’s Yumurasaki of Edo.
It occurred to me after I finished this volume that it does not actually contain that much history. Everything I know about Yoshiwara (the brothel district in Edo) came from Sakuran by Moyoco Anno. I know that the Oiran is the head of the house, and I know that she does a little walk/parade thing. Yukari also mentions how heavy the clothes she wears are. That’s the extent of my knowledge of that period of Japanese history, I think, and it made me laugh to think of Shiomi (who mentions she doesn’t like or know anything about history) tallying those same facts up to include in her series.
I’m intrigued, but not super into it right now, and I will keep reading. It will be one of the only series I’m following as it’s released right now!
June 16, 2015
Mayu Shinjo – Viz – 2007 – 18 volumes
This is an extra volume that I was saving for a rainy day. The main series ended with volume 17, and this is two epilogue chapters and two unrelated short stories. It wasn’t raining today, but I needed space on my unread shelf… I cracked this one open, and 20 minutes later, I was considering a re-read of the whole series.
Mayu Shinjo… the cheesy dialogue started within a few pages, and that was one of the best things about this series. Part of me thinks I really liked it because so many lines in every volume made me laugh. The stuff that comes out of these people’s mouths is incredible.
And WOW. This was filthy. I don’t remember the main series being quite this dirty, but maybe I’ve blocked it out of my memory. I’m a shriveled old woman, and it made even me blush. I’ve never heard people speak that way in my life. This is why I love Mayu Shinjo.
The two stories at the end were only okay, but I like shoujo short stories, so that’s fine. One was about a girl who started dating a nice guy/geek type and found out he was a smoking hot street racer in his spare time. This one was a little dirty, but weirdly, that all came from the girl (so unusual in shoujo!) and it didn’t go very far. The second was about a girl who’s friends stood her up on a matchmaking camping trip, and she winds up going with three guys. They all treat her really nice and make her feel safe (which is surprisingly positive for a shoujo manga), and things heat up between her and one of the other guys, of course. The moral of the story is that she should stand up for herself and say what she wants. She needs to tell the guy that asked her out no, and ask the guy she does like out. Again, surprisingly positive and assertive for a shoujo manga.
This is definitely an unnecessary volume for Sensual Phrase (I finished the main series years ago), but if you want to see the happy endings for everyone, and just a few more sex scenes for Aine and Sakuya, then this is your book.
Seriously, they have sex a lot, and this is only half a volume. Wow.
June 16, 2015
Rumiko Takahashi – Viz – 2012 – 56 volumes
(this is an omnibus containing vols. 31-33)
On one hand, there’s always something for me in Inu-Yasha. There’s an awesome bird-demon and her daughter in this set of volumes. You don’t see the mother until volume 3, but the daughter (some sort of demon princess) is a great character. Super powerful, very predatory, and extremely snobbish to the half-demons Naraku and Inu-Yasha. Apparently her mother was poisoned by Naraku’s miasma, and she needs blood to purify her mother. So there’s about a volume as she runs from village to village with Inu-Yasha in her wake. Later, her mother wakes up, and her mother is a huge demon with a very unique attribute.
Sadly, both of them bite the dust quickly once Naraku is done with them. I was disappointed.
On the other hand, Inu-Yasha is very repetitive. Paramount in annoyance in this volume is that Kikyo is a huge topic in these three volumes. I THOUGHT WE WERE DONE WITH HER. Similarly, we have to see Sango struggling with Kohaku being violent again. Guess what? Naraku is one step ahead of all the characters in all three volumes! The big reveal, the place all the characters are trying to get to during all three volumes… was someplace we’ve already seen.
I got a little excited when I realized the Shikon shard they’re going after is the last shard, but nothing comes of that this time. Maybe next volume. It’s a quick read, and I will likely finish the whole series now that I’m more than halfway, but I really hope it switches gears now that we’re done (?) with the Shikon shards.
June 16, 2015
Yun Kouga – Blu – 2005 – 4 volumes
I’ve always been partial to Yun Kouga. Reading this, I realize her work has a lot of the same weaknesses, which are especially glaring here since this is such an early work (from, I believe, 1988).
Her characters really, really look the same. Chihaya is dark-haired, and Kagetsuya is light-haired. Sometimes, Chihaya doesn’t have his hair shaded, and it’s not clear who is speaking (they technically have different hairstyles as well, but the wispy, indistinct art also sometimes blurs this line). In one chapter where the narrative shifts, it took me quite some time to realize the main character wasn’t Kagetsuya, just someone who looked and kind of acted like him.
The narrative also jumps around. A lot. At one point, we are told that Chihaya has shown his wings to two people, including someone named Toki. This actually made me flip back to the first chapter, since I didn’t remember him showing his wings to that character, nor did I think that person was named Toki. I was right, he’s describing something we haven’t seen. Then, the narrative jumps from the present to the past (in the middle of a rather dramatic decision), to tell the story of how he and Kagetsuya met. Then, the narrative shifts again, and we learn about a character named Toki meeting a little girl he names Chihaya (this was the one where it took me a long time to figure out Toki wasn’t Kagetsuya). Neither Kagetsuya nor Chihaya is in this chapter, and their relationship to Toki isn’t explained. After that, we get a story about how Toki and Chiyaha met. Then it goes back to the present for the last couple stories in the volume.
I’m willing to bet at least part of this was… maybe a doujinshi, but at best, serialized irregularly. This would have been around Kouga’s debut, so the scattered nature might be due to an irregular serialization. Still, it ain’t so great collected into a sequential volume like this. Having said that, I would have hated for this material to be left out… I just wish it was organized a little better. And, hopefully, it was serialized more regularly after this, and later volumes have a continuous narrative.
Anyway, angels are evaluating humans. Chihaya is the kind, overachieving angel who is grading humans based on good actions, Kagetsuya is the curmudgeonly angel who is tallying up the bad. Whichever side gets to 10,000 actions first wins (minuses means humanity is eradicated). Chihaya is also a rare “black mutation,” and all other angels are white. There is a relationship implied between Chihaya and Kagetsuya, though it’s not romantic as of yet. It is forbidden though (mysteriously, m/f relationships are not), and they would both be excommunicated and possibly killed if they fell in love with one another.
Confusingly, there are relationships heavily implied between a lot of the angels. Uriel makes no secret of having a huge crush on Chihaya later in the volume. A relationship is also heavily implied between Michael and Raphael. So… there’s that.
This was a tough volume to make my way through, and I usually do like Yun Kouga. It picked up some momentum after the narrative stabilized towards the end, and I’m curious to see how it continues into a second volume. I’m a little confused by the Blu imprint, since they usually published more explicit series… and Kouga is normally CLAMP-like in her implied-but-not-confirmed BL relationships. I’m trying to picture Kagetsuya and Chihaya having sex, and I cannot. If they do, it is wispy, indistinct sex, and again, when I think of Blu, I think of Gerard & Jacques, Love Pistols, and some dirty Hinako Takanaga stuff. But maybe I only remember dirty Blu series, and they published some less explicit stuff, too. It’s been many moons since Blu released a book.
Anyway, on with Earthian. These books are certainly the prettiest ones Blu released.