Sunday, May 31, 2020

My original yuri romance

Looking for something hopeful to read in these dark times? Each week I'm posting a chapter of an original yuri romance I've written. You can find it at the link above or right here:

I hope you enjoy!

Friday, May 29, 2020

Shortcake Cake volume 8 finally hints at the return of Rei (Manga Review)

A high school boy with an open collared white shirt
Shortcake Cake vol. 8 - 6.25/10 (*see full scoring rubric below)

Shortcake Cake (Shojo Beat/Viz) has been an up and down series for me so far. I like the main character, Ten, and the side characters. The early volumes introduced a complex back story for Riku in the form of some hidden relationship with the rich strange kid Rei. But then Rei went missing after a couple volumes and the story focused mostly on Ten and Riku coming together as a couple. But now that they are together, Rei pops up in volume 8. And so finally, we start getting a deeper and more interesting story than the bland romance we've had so far.

In volume 8, Ten and Riku are dating and go to visit her family over the Christmas Holiday. On New Years, Ten is leaving for home again, but gets off the bus and returns to the boarding house where she finds Riku alone. The two spend a wonderful night together celebrating the new year. But finally, Rei has popped back up in the story, and his minder (butler?) Shiraoka offers to let Ten know about Rei and Riku's connection. I won't spoil any details, because THAT's the part of this volume you need to read.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Daytime Shooting Star volume 6 - they're actually dating (Manga Review)

A teen boy with his shirt open stares upwards with a hand on his face
Daytime Shooting Star vol. 6 - 5/10 (*see below for full scoring rubric)

Daytime Shooting Star vol. 6 (Shojo Beat/Viz) sees our teen heroine Suzume actually start dating her teacher (and uncle's friend), Shishio. I don't like manga that has kids and adults in relationships, and I'm even more opposed when one is a teacher. But that's the premise of Daytime Shooting Star.

However, I've been assured that the series finds a meaningful way to resolve that situation that doesn't tie it up in a neat bow like nothing is wrong at all with that form of sexual abuse (and yes, I consider an adult with a child to be sexual abuse, I don't believe a child can consent to that, even if they're 16 or 17. And more so when the adult is a teacher which adds another layer to the power imbalance). On to the review of volume 6.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Missed It Monday: Someday's Dreamers - complete series (Manga Review)

A teen girl in a tank top and skirt walks up a road carrying a suitcase
Missed it Monday is the regular column where I review manga/anime that I didn't get to read/watch when they first came out.

Someday's Dreamers volumes 1 and 2 (complete series) - 5.5/10 (*see below for full scoring rubric)

Someday's Dreamers is a two volume manga that was originally published by Tokyopop in English in 2006. I've watched the anime based on it as well as the "sequel" anime "Someday's Dreamers II: Sora" (which was the far better anime, and definitely worth checking out). So I was glad to finally get my hands on the manga it was based on.

Someday's Dreamers takes place in our world, but with one difference: some people can use magic. There is a formal government agency which regulates those who use magic in adulthood and the magic users (mages in the anime) are public servants who work to help others on a contract basis. Someday's Dreamer's follows Yume, a senior in high school, as she goes off to Tokyo to study with a professional and take her final exam to become a licensed magic user.

Friday, May 22, 2020

She-Ra season 5 review - both miraculous and inconsistent

Adora, with a broken sword, see's an image of Horde Prime hovering above a destroyed landscape
She-Ra season 5 - 7/10
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power - whole series - 8/10

It's almost impossible to know how to write this review of She-Ra season 5. The show was both miraculous in so many ways and also inconsistent in writing and animation across its episodes (and seasons).

So I think I'm going to start by talking about the incredible and rewarding nature of this series/season before diving into the nit-picking. Please know that the nit-picking is just that, it isn't some pissed-off fan-girl, it's just a discussion about the quality of the writing and animation that should in no way detract from the incredible things this series did. This was a fun, funny, moving series that also added incredible representation in so many ways and layers.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Love Me, Love Me Not volume 2 mines teens' raging emotions (Manga Review)

A high school boy puts a finger up to his lips to tell the girl to keep something a secret
Love Me, Love Me Not vol. 2 - 7.5/10 (*see full rubric below)

Love Me, Love Me Not volume 2 (Shojo Beat/Viz) is the second volume in Io Sakisaka's newest series to be translated into English. I'm a huge (HUGE) fan of her series Ao Haru Ride. While this doesn't quite rise up to that level, it shares much of its essential DNA: nothing happens but the characters feel a lot of feelings, everyone is nice but fighting their inner demons, and the art is amazing.

In volume 1 we met the four leads, old friends Yuna and Kazuomi, and siblings (actually step-siblings) Akari and Rio. This is a romance shoujo, so you know where all this is going: lots of complex will-they-won't-they and conflicting feelings. We find out at the end of volume 1 that Rio was in love with Akari before their parents met and married. He's determined to ensure they are good to their parents and he never lets Akari know his feelings.

Monday, May 18, 2020

A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow volume 3 - I'm still not sure about this series (Manga Review)

A teen girl holds another girl's hand against her face
A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow vol. 3 - 5/10 (*see full scoring rubric below)

I'm still not sure about "A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow" as a series. Volume 3 (Viz) only added to that slight unease. I can't quite put my finger on why, but something about it just doesn't feel genuine to me. There are lots of types of yuri out there, I'm just still not sure what type this is and why it needs to be so hard to decipher.

There's a forced quality to the internal dialogue of the characters and there also seems to be a forced confusion about their feelings and what they want. It doesn't feel like the genuine confusion of whether they're gay or not, nor does it feel like the simpler confusion of "am I attracted to this person or not?"

I think if I had to sum it up, the whole thing feels like queer baiting, when there's no need for that. Just make it clear that the purpose of this series is that the girls realize they like girls and that they are in love with each other OR make it clear that the purpose is exploring deep friendship between girls and not about romantic feelings. Either is fine. But by not being clear which of those two paths the series will take, everything feels like baiting without sincerity. I don't have specific examples for that, it's just the general feeling I'm left with in each and every interaction in the three volumes, and volume 3 seems to really be that confused. I just feel like I'm being teased by this series. And not in a good way.