Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Missed it Monday - Waiting for Spring volume 3 (Manga Review)

A older high-school boy in uniform, raises his glasses, peers out sexily, and holds a basketball
Missed it Monday is the ongoing column where I review anime/manga that I didn't get a change to watch/read when they first came out.

Waiting for Spring vol. 3 - 6/10

Just like the prior volumes in the series, Waiting for Spring Vol. 3 (Kodansha Comics) is a pretty by-the-numbers shoujo romance. It's predictable and bland, but that's not always a bad thing. Sometimes you just want what you already know, but truthfully, I'm pretty bored with it. However, that's not why we're here today, there's a little something unexpected in this volume I want to focus on.

I won't bother talking much about the plot of this series: it's basically girl likes guy, guy likes girl, some other guy tries to get between them, no one really says what they feel out loud or otherwise the story would have ended quickly. But I do want to talk about a small moment where this series rose well above its cliche, trope-heavy predictability, and did something extraordinary.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Breath of Flowers volume 2 tries to tackle a big LGBTQ fear but falls flat in the execution (Manga-inspired Comic Review)

Two high-school girls sit on a couch smiling at each other
Breath of Flowers vol. 2 - 4/10

After a promising first volume, Breath of Flowers vol. 2 (Tokyopop) goes off the rails. It tries to tackle a really important fear within some members of the LGBTQ community (two fears in fact) but does so in a clunky, in-delicate way. But even before that, this volume was already weaker than the first. Sad because I sort of liked the first one, but I really can't recommend volume 2, which is the conclusion to the series.

In volume 1 we meet Azami who has a crush on Gwyn, the star player on her school's boy's basketball team. Quickly though, Azami finds out that Gwyn is actually a girl. What's great about that volume is that Azami says that Gwyn's gender has nothing to do with her feelings, and it turns out Gwyn's been crushing on Azami. They get together, and we have the makings of a cute lesbian romance.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Missed it Monday - Wake Up, Sleeping Beauty Volume 2 (Manga Review)

A high school boy and girl back to back surrounded by flowers
Missed it Monday is the ongoing series where I review manga or anime that I didn't read/watch when they first came out.

Wake Up, Sleeping Beauty  vol. 2 - 6.5/10

Wake Up, Sleeping Beauty (Kodansha Comics) is a series about an only child, Shizu, who is inhabited by the spirits of several deceased people, including her grandfather. Several good spirits ensure that no malevolent spirits take over her consciousness. But at the same time, Shizu shares her waking time with these good spirits. As she so eloquently says at one point in volume 2, "I don't really know what myself is."

But the story really centers around Tetsu, the high-schooler working part time as a housekeeper in her rich parent's house. At the end of volume 1 he is asked to spend time with her since she is more or less locked away from the world. In volume 1, he is shocked when a malevolent spirit shows itself in her body. In volume 2, this concept is explored further, while Shizu takes some important steps forward thanks to Tetsu's commitment to her.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Original Yuri Comic Scripts - Chapter 5 up now - REMINDER

Hi, just a reminder that I'm posting the scripts for my original yuri comic "In the Morning, I'll Say Hello" under the Original Yuri tab above or at: https://www.yuristargirl.com/p/in-morning-ill-say-hello-original-yuri.html

Hope you enjoy!!!!! Chapter 5 is up now.

All comments are moderated by a real person who only checks them once a day. Therefore, comments may take a while before they show up. Thanks for understanding. It's how we keep this a community of lovingkindness.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Roadqueen: Eternal Roadtrip to Love (LGBTQ comic review)

Two young women pose on a motorcycle
Roadqueen: Eternal Roadtrip to Love - 6/10

In short, I wanted to love it, but I only sort of liked it. Roadqueen: Eternal Roadtrip to Love (Seven Seas) despite it's flaws, is also a lesbian graphic novel, and you can never have too many of them. Representation alone makes it valuable. But unfortunately, the story is corny, tropey, and obvious and the artwork is only okay. It's not without its virtues, but it isn't a landmark comic either.

In Roadqueen, we meet highschooler Leo: the hot, bad-ass motorcycle riding senior girl at the Princess Andromeda Academy (which sounds more interesting than it is and which barely features in the story at all). She's too cool for school, and while every girl wants to ask her out, she turns every one down, every time. She's actually a loner other than her friend and her friend's girlfriend. She's emotionally blocked and hides behind a false bravado.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Osamu Dazai: "The Setting Sun" (Book Review)

The Setting Sun by Osamu Dazai book cover 1956 edition
1956 translation
"The Setting Sun" - 8.5/10

There is absolutely nothing I could say that hasn't been said about the incredible, and tragic, author Osamu Dazai or his brilliant novel "The Setting Sun." I'm not Japanese, nor an expert in Japanese culture, literature, or history, so I'm not really in any place to discuss this book with any nuance. Instead, consider this a review for people who have never heard of him or this novel. Because, at the very least, more people should be reading his works.

Osamu Dazai led a short and tragic life, leaving behind several stunning novels and other works of fiction. I came across his name in several anime and manga whose characters make reference to reading him, so I figured it was a good place to start (since the only other Japanese author I've read is Haruki Murakami - whom I LOVE!).

Monday, October 14, 2019

Missed it Monday - Love at Fourteen volume 2 (Manga Review)

A teen boy and girl dancing in front of a classroom window, their arms align to form a heart
Missed it Mondays is the ongoing series where I review manga and anime I didn't read/watch when they first came out. 

Love at Fourteen vol. 2 - 7/10

Like the first volume, Love at Fourteen vol. 2 (Yen Press) is light, sweet, slightly funny, cute, and a little bit insightful. In short, a worthwhile read.

The series follows Kanata Tanaka and Kazuki Yoshikawa, two fourteen year-olds in love. In volume 1 they started as childhood friends, who just sort of realized that their friendship had naturally grown into more. In volume 2, they continue to grow together, and enjoy each others company, while we also get to know some of the surrounding people in their school lives.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Kase-san and Morning Glories Blu-Ray suffers from its short run time (Anime Review)

Disc cover with two high school girls surrounded by plants at school
Kase-san and Morning Glories (Blu-ray) - 7/10

Oh how it pained me to type that rating above and not a higher one. I wanted to gush about Kase-san and Morning Glories (the OVA) because I love the manga series so much. But for all its wonderful qualities, there were some tough decisions that had to get made to bring this to light, and so it's an imperfect anime. But one that surely will appeal to existing fans, like me.

For those unaware, "Kase-san and..." is a manga series that had some publication trouble between the magazine it was published in getting stopped and moving to a web publisher, etc... and yet somehow managed to build an audience, keep going, and actually building up enough steam to go into a second, sequel, series. So the thought that it would ever get an anime was out of the question, and yet here we are reviewing it.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Ao Haru Ride volume 7 is filled to the brim with plot and emotion (Manga Review)

Ao Haru Ride vol. 7 - 7.5/10

My favorite part of Ao Haru Ride vol. 7 (Shojo Beat/Viz) is that we get to see another side of Shuko, one of the side characters. We also see that Kou is completely aware of his complex feelings regarding Futaba and Narumi, and stuck with what to do about them. Further, that other boy, Kikuchi, keeps showing up. How long can Kou deny Futaba before Kikuchi scoops her up? That's a lot to pack into a volume, and this one is just as good as the rest of the series has been so far.

To catch up, Futaba and Kou had a mutual crush in middle school before Kou mysteriously vanished. Now back, with a new last name, we find out Kou was taking care of his sick mother and when she died, he moved back in with his father. But during that time away, he met a young lady named Narumi who was also going through something similar. Just as Kou and Futaba seem about to rekindle their romance, Narumi shows up and Kou seems determined not to let her suffer in silence like he did. But to do so, he's drifting away from Futaba.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Missed It Monday - Iroduku: The world in colors (anime review)

two school girls sit on a bridge in misty backlight
Missed it Monday is the ongoing column where I review anime and manga that I missed when they first came out.

Iroduku: The world in colors - 5.5/10

Let me be blunt. "Iroduku: The world in colors" was an overwrought, under developed, and exceedingly boring anime. I also think it served mostly as a vehicle for male fantasy. In short. I didn't really like it.

Hitomi lives in 2078. She is a high-school student in a world where some people can use magic and that is a normal part of society (in some ways, like a huge rip off of the Someday's Dreamers series of manga and anime - a far far better series). For whatever reason, and we'll come back to this later, she cannot see colors. She is also sad (oh so sad) and her grandmother decides to send her back in time 60 years without warning.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Nameless Asterism Volume 4 opens up Washio's experience (Manga Review)

three teen girls sit on a couch doing their hair surrounded by stars
Nameless Asterism vol. 4 - 7.5/10

Nameless Asterism vol. 4 (Seven Seas) is split between Washio's back story and Subaru's current story. Both add some needed depth to the characters, and overall it's a strong volume.

To catch up, since it's been a while since volume 3 came out. Nameless Asterism is the story of three female friends trapped in a love triangle. Tsukasa is in love with Washio, Washio is in love with Kotooka, and Kotooka is in love with Tsukasa. Got it?! Then we have Tsukasa's twin brother Subaru who is strangely tied to his sister (maybe it's a twin thing and not a gross thing) who has become friends with Asakura who is in love with Tsukasa. Got it?!

This could be a hot mess, but it's a dramedy so while there is some moping and angst, there are also funny moments and levity. In volume 4, Washio's story, particularly how she met and fell for Kotooka, takes center stage. Through that story, the reader watches as both those girls wrestle with their attraction to girls in vastly different ways. Washio doesn't even bother pretending to be interested in boys, and as she thinks more about her feelings for Kotooka, she realizes that it is romantic love. However, we see Kotooka in her early stages of denial, as she hops from boy to boy trying to find something that will work for her.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Our Dreams at Dusk volume 3 explores the painful complexity of identity (Manga Review)

Two teen boys, one looking out, one looking away, stand on a bridge
Our Dreams at Dusk vol. 3 - 9/10

Wow. This was the most challenging and difficult volume in the series so far, but in some ways the most direct about its feelings. Our Dreams at Dusk vol. 3 (Seven Seas) picks up with Tasuku's crush, Tsubaki, spending more and more time helping out with Cat Clutter leading to significant conflict.

While Tasuku and Tsubaki spend more time at Cat Clutter, Tsubaki also starts associating with Tasuku more frequently both in and out of school. This leads Tasuku to begin questioning whether there could ever be something more between them.

However, several times, in several situations, it becomes clear that Tsubaki is struggling with his own identity and lashes out at the LGBTQ+ community as a result. We are left watching as Tasuku gets hurt again and again, but also concerned that Tsubaki might be gay/bi and in denial, punishing himself and those around him in the process of his struggle.