Category Archives: Manga

Snippets from various shoujo and BL manga.

Koban by Ishikawa Chika

Koban

Koban is a simple, yet very entertaining series by Ishikawa Chika. I was first drawn to her eye-catching art style and boldly colored covers, but stayed for the fun and endearing characters. She might be my favorite new (to me) mangaka of this past year. So I’m going to introduce you (the whole three of you who might actually care about this type of manga, ha) to the police comedy, Koban.

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Addition to oyaji romance list: Amatsu Sora Naru

Another Oyajism title makes its way into the Oyaji Romance Manga: Amatsu Sora Naru. I thought reading this title would be a chore because there’s a lot of specialized terminology I’m not familiar with, ranging from the characters’ Kansai-ben to specific terms associated with tea ceremony and traditional Japanese clothing. However, I managed and even enjoyed because it flowed naturally and I was able to fill in (and look up) the blanks. The best part of the manga is the lovely clothing–true to the story’s theme, the main characters are seen in both traditional and Western outfits.

Amatsu Sora Naru by Mori Hinoto
type: josei, romance
length: 1 volume (complete)

Chidori is the heir to a household that has practiced Japanese tea ceremony for generations, but she has no personal interest in these traditions or carrying on the family business. She’s more enamored with modern and foreign trends and attends an American university. However, she’s called back to Japan and has to endure her strict mother and uncomfortable, constricting kimono.

Chidori meets a local kimono merchant and cleaner, Saiuchi Tsumugi. Although Tsumugi always maintains a polite smile, his words are sharp and he’s not shy about sharing criticism. Although a bit harsh and hard to read, he never completely rebuffs Chidori. She is intrigued by Tsumugi, always finding herself drawn back to his shop. But before she can get to know him better, she has to deal with her mother’s plans for an arranged marriage. With Tsumugi’s (not particularly gentle) encouragement, Chidori has to assert herself and decide her own future.

The oyaji: Saiuchi Tsumugi

42 years old. His store sells and cleans kimono. He’s not a dry cleaner–his shop practices the arai hari cleaning method in which the kimono is taken apart, the panels are washed separately, and then resewn together. Although he’s quite skilled in traditional practices and often seen wearing kimono, he has interest and experience in foreign affairs and culture. Chidori’s mother offhandedly warned her not to become interested in Tsumugi, which was a bit of a mystery.

Addition to the oyaji BL list: Bamford Koushakuke no Shitsuji

I have a literal pile of oyaji BL manga stacked on top of a bookshelf that I need to add to my oyaji BL list. Instead of adding to that never shrinking pile, I’m going to try more timely additions as I read the manga (and before I forget the details). So here’s a quick addition: Bamford Koushakuke no Shitsuji (aka The House Steward of the Bamford Marqis House) by Ike Reibun.

The steward from No.99: Ningen Omocha gets his own (very porny) love story. While Graham appears cold and stern on the outside, he has quite a salacious affair with one of the butlers, Alex. Is Alex just a toy or will the unflappable countenance crack when someone else threatens to claim Alex? Either way, it’s Ike Reibun, so expect dirty sex and lovely period costumes. The best part of the manga is Graham’s character: he’s a shrewd guy with a monocle and princess curls ponytail.

Addition to oyaji romance list: Ojikoi

Here’s a late addition to the Oyaji Romance Manga Selections that I mentioned months ago: Ojikoi. While Ojikoi is available for free at Hana to Yume Online now, a print volume will be released this January! So to celebrate, here’s its official inauguration to the oyaji lovin’ list:

Ojikoi by Tsutsumi Kakeru
type: shoujo, comedy
length: 0 volumes (ongoing)

Ojikoi is a rare treat–it’s a shoujo manga that features a romance with an older man. While josei and BL have a dedicated and expanding oyaji niche, shoujo manga lags behind. But Ojikoi is a great start.

Sanjou Arashi (nicknamed “Ran-chan”) is a high school student who works part time at an agency that does private investigations and odd jobs. She’s quite serious and has a strong sense of responsibility that offsets her boss, Kageyama, a man seemingly more interested in goofing off and smoking than running the place.  Being a smart girl, Ran starts to notice that this isn’t quite true. The boss can be quite reliable and she’s drawn to the kindness hidden beneath his eccentricities.

“What, did you fall for me?”

The oyaji: Kageyama Kiichi

Kageyama smokes, likes pachinko, and is quite messy. He runs his own small agency and while he’s immature and irresponsible at times, he does try to take care of Ran. If he doesn’t keep her out of trouble, he’ll at least pull her out of it after she finds trouble!

Kageyama is great at throwing out mixed signals. After sharing a brief, spontaneous, and chaste kiss, he acts like nothing is different, much to Ran’s frustration. However, when Ran takes his flippant offer to sit in his lap while watching fireworks, his composure is visibly shaken. Ran asked what his first name was and he replied that it was a secret and he’ll tell her once she becomes an adult. He likes being called “boss.”

Addition to oyaji romance list: Shuuden na Futari

I never seem to sit down to update my blog lists, so I’m attempting a new approach: add just one at a time instead of trying to add everything at once. That way, something actually gets done! I have several titles that I want to add to the Oyaji Romance Manga Selections, so here’s the most recent addition while it’s still fresh in my head. Shuuden na Futari is published in the Oyajism digital magazine. Honestly, I’m having issues with their PC reader program, such as incomplete downloads of their monthly magazine and one issue never opened at all.  Reinstalling, repairing, redownloading, etc. doesn’t change anything. So you might want to wait for the print manga of this title. It will be worth the wait at least.

Shuuden na Futari (Shuuden na Kankei) by Tatada Yoshio(?)
type: josei
length: 0 volumes (ongoing)

From the oyaji-centric digital magazine Oyajism, Shuuden na Futari is a delight. Hibari works long hours and inevitably rides the last train home. It’s not all bad–she also runs into the train station worker, Yokose. Yokose is kind and polite, looking out for Hibari as she often sleeps defenselessly (and with a bit of drool) on her way home. Their brief encounters are a bright spot in her hectic days. It’s a slow romance as two strangers progress from being polite, to friendly, to that point where they have to figure out if there’s something else. The characters are simple, yet refreshing.

The oyaji: Yokose

Yokose is about 20 years older than Hibari. He’s a diligent worker, but a bit scatter brained. Yokose may be clumsy, but he’s self-aware enough to always have a spare pair of glasses and an extra uniform. Due to his frequent accidents, he’s abnormally fast at changing his clothes. Sometimes when he’s trying to pack customers into trains during rush hour, he gets pushed onto the train himself. Both Yokose’s actions and faults are endearing. He has a great smile.

“Oyajism” is a thing

There’s a line of manga dedicated to serving oyaji lovers: Oyajism.  While it was exclusively digital before, it recently released three print titles. I received two of the three today. I missed the third because my casual cover browsing did not detect the third oyaji. I will fix that mistake soon enough. You can stalk the publisher on twitter as well.  Here’s the covers for the print line-up:

I haven’t looked into the digital titles at all yet, so I don’t know if there’s any region-locking, DRM, time limits, etc.  But some of them look ridiculously cute. If I didn’t have ~20 new manga staring at me, I’d be digging furiously. I shouldn’t covet  more manga before I’m done unpacking the new….

….but look at this.

Urk.

Update:  Yeah, that lasted a whole 5 minutes. I purchased the oneshot shown above (74 yen) and loved it. It’s linked with a T-Time application. So it’s tied into their program. But damn, I can get so many adorable old guys that I just don’t care at the moment. Oyaji moe is at maximum capacity.

Torch Song Ecology by Ikuemi Ryo

Torch Song Ecology

Ikuemi Ryo has been drawing manga for a few decades now and there’s lots of titles to choose from if you want to sample her work. Torch Song Ecology is one of her newer series. The art is gorgeous and the tone of the work is interesting: it’s a mix of slice of life and supernatural. You have a man adrift in his own life who begins to hear a song in his head. The source is a young girl’s ghost that no one else can see or hear.. unless they are approaching their own death.

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BL Fantasy/Supernatural Manga Selections

I’ve been kicking around the idea of a list covering favorite BL fantasy and/or shoujo/BL fantasy manga ever since I started my blog. But I always dismissed it as not very useful. What changed was that I actually felt like reading some new fantasy BL manga. So I peeked at those genre searches on MU/MAL and was met with a cesspool of horrific manga (most of which I already knew about). That’s no good. So installing a filter should prove somewhat useful to fish out any gems you might have missed hidden in that sludge.

Just like my previous lists, this is stuff that I like, so it’s not all inclusive (thank god). It’s a mixed bag: there’s old and new titles, popular and obscure, translated and untranslated. Some are new, possibly passing fancies while others are definitely tinted by rose-colored glasses. But even those titles are part of the experience, so if you skipped one, think about going back to see what it was about. I had to poke my fuzzy memory and ran out of patience while creating this baseline list, so it’s somewhat incomplete. I’ll add to it as I read, discover, and revisit more relevant manga. Particularly that last one–sometimes I just don’t remember titles or if I actually liked them. I’ve also been wanting to renew my hunt for good fantasy BL manga and this will let me record the stuff worth the paper it’s printed on.

So here’s some recommended fantasy/supernatural BL manga in no particular order. Unless I’m modding on MAL, I don’t bother differentiating between the two: if it’s weird shit that can’t happen in real life, it’s fantasy to me. There’s so little high fantasy stuff that it’s a moot point. So you’ll find angels, demons, dragons, magicians, spirits, and supernatural phenomena all listed below. Titles, artists, and a tidbit of information are given for each manga. If one catches your attention, begin your hunt for more information or feel free to ask questions here that Google can’t answer.

Tsumasaki ni KourozuSaka no Ue no Mahoutsukai

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Yuujin ga Yuusha by Chocodoughnuts

Yuujin ga Yuusha

Where do RPG heroes go when they die?

Bought on a whim due to a pretty cover and RPG story elements, Yuujin ga Yuusha (My Friend is a Hero) was a satisfyingly adorable manga by Chocodoughnuts. Yes, that is someone’s (tasty) pen name. It’s an enjoyable story for a reader who can appreciate a light-hearted old school JRPG parody.

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Utsubora by Nakamura Asumiko

Utsubora

Utsubora is a mature, suspenseful mystery manga that was published in Manga Erotics F by Nakamura Asumiko.  The story focuses on a famous, but struggling novelist who is ensnared by a mysterious young woman and the novel she presents to him. This entry will focus on the beginnings of the story–which means many enigmas will be left just as that. Don’t want to spoil the fun too much.

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