Tag Archives: shoujo

Shiny New Releases: Ojikoi by Tsutsumi Kakeru

Hana to Yume launched an online magazine, which is newsworthy on its own.  There’s a number of new series featured, but a particular one immediately caught my eye and I’m compelled to write about it because–

Here’s Ojikoi by Tsutsumi Kakeru.  You can read the first chapter online and I did so while barely containing all my oyaji lust love. Continue reading

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Trafalgar by Aoike Yasuko

Trafalgar

I have a strong dislike of mangaka who dismiss putting any effort into creating backgrounds and settings for their stories. Our environment shapes us, so why should stories and the lives of their characters be any different? I believe comics should consist more of just heads talking to each other. At least if there’s any illusion of depth. So it’s rather sad, but I get overly excited when I see someone create a well-structured, detailed backdrop for their stories. I’ve been obsessively reading the works of Aoike Yasuko, particularly Eroica Yori Ai wo Komete, for a while now. Eroica is a manga that focuses on a world-class art thief and a NATO intellgience officer, so naturally, there’s a lot of globe trotting. They travel to so many different countries and Aoike always manages to make sure you’re actually aware of that. The setting is different and spiced with her characteristic hint of comical stereotypes that seamlessly blend with the manga’s tone. So I knew Aoike was no stranger to creating detailed, varied settings. But that still didn’t prepare me for her maritime story set during the Napoleonic Wars, Trafalgar.

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Koi to Gunkan by Nishi Keiko

Koi to Gunkan

An unconventional love triangle–How much is real? How much is imagined?

I like Nishi Keiko.  That much is obvious enough around here.  But I wasn’t sure how much I liked her.  Is she top tier?  Second?  Occasional indulgence? Should I automatically buy any and all of her works?  After reading Koi to Gunkan (Love and a Warship), I’m starting to think–yes, yes I should.  She has a very distinct style, both in drawing and in the interactions between characters and I like them very much~

I briefly covered Koi to Gunkan before, but it’s good enough to warrant a more detailed look.  Koi to Gunkan is currently serialized in the shoujo magazine, Nakayoshi.  There’s a common theme to the internet chatter–shock that this story is “allowed” in Nakayoshi, which often carries fairly light (shallow sounds a bit harsh, but true?) shoujo manga that focus on school life and budding romance of young girls.  Honestly, Koi to Gunkan really isn’t that different.  It’s just different because the romantic interest might already have an established relationship–with another man.

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Shiny New Releases: Koi to Gunkan

Taking a look around here shows that I read some of Nishi Keiko’s manga, so I was naturally interested in her newest release, Koi to Gunkan (Love and a Warship).   What interested me the most (aside from that title) was a common cry from readers: “Wow, this was published in Nakayoshi?!”, implying it was a bit uncharacteristic/mature for the shoujo magazine.  I love things that exist outside the boundaries they’re “supposed” to remain within, so I ordered this one.  It’s pretty popular–there was even a lag in the supply, with amazon temporarily out of stock (otherwise I’d be reading it now–I’m not bitter or anything) and bk1 just recently got another batch after low availability.  So what is this manga all about?

Endou Kana is a middle school girl secretly in love with a man 28 years her senior, the town’s handsome mayor.  However, he has a suspicious relationship with an older, scruffy, and smoking ero-mangaka.  The two men wear the same cologne, have matching bathrobes, and they even regularly stay overnight together…?!  So which is the purest, most acceptable form of love?  The love of a middle school girl or adult love?  And is it really okay to let Nishi Keiko run rampant in Nakayoshi like this?

Look at that scruffy oyaji, oh yeah!  Oh, I guess the girl is cute too. Got distracted..

Apparently, it is more than okay.  Actually, you know what?  I AM bitter.  I wish I was reading this right now and not a month from now.  I’m kinda pissed that it didn’t make it into my first order. :-p  Koi to Gunkan is published by Kodansha, so there’s the usual 3-ish page preview available.  In case you’re not familiar, at least you get to see Nishi Keiko’s cute line art. :3

Shiny New Releases: Oujisama to Haiiro no Hibi

For being a relatively new magazine, Aria has some tempting manga. While trying to decide on my latest order, I was going through their works and picked a few. Oujisama to Haiiro no Hibi (The Prince in His Dark Days) by Yamanaka Hiko was a surprising purchase for me, considering that I didn’t care for Ouji to Kotori. I think I was the only one that wasn’t crazy about it (lol), but it just felt too much like a Harlequin romance novel plot, down to the main guy being the classic foreign damsel in distress saved by the wealthy, handsome oil money prince. Characters are usually the most important aspect to me in a book and they were very lackluster to me. But when I read the blurb about her new work, Oujisama to Haiiro no Hibi, it sounded like she was showing us a much bigger range and I wanted to give her another chance.

It's hard to say no to that suit/flower combination.

Atsuko is a high school student who leads a harsh life because of her alcoholic father.  She works dubious part-time jobs just to get by.  The opening pages show her con a man who wanted to take an upskirt picture out of his money.  She does this with no malice or any emotion for that matter.  Atsuko figures misfortune is a given in life and nothing can be done about it.  That is, until she meets people at the opposite end of the spectrum: a group of rich high school boys named Ryou, Itaru, and Shuuya. (?)  From there, all their fates change drastically… Atsuko becomes a body substitute for the financial group’s heir, Itaru, and is subsequently taken away to a palace and becomes a “prince” in his place.  With so much to gain from this deal, what could Atsuko possibly lose?

It’s a premise that has certainly been done before (I love HanaDan!), but I’m particularly intrigued by just how… dead Atsuko seems at the beginning.  I’m curious to see how that will change.  There’s just a few pages available for a preview.

If you poke around a bit, there’s positive buzz, including good comments about the characters, so I think this will be much more agreeable with me. :3 I’ll find out in early November when this order arrives (aah, can’t wait)… if it turns out to be crap, we are SO done. :-p

Shiny New Releases: Z Complete Edition

On 10/14, Aoike Yasuko will release Z Complete Edition, which is a full collection of Agent Z’s short stories and will include numerous color pages.  Z is a minor character from Eroica Yori Ai wo Komete.  He’s an earnest, hard-working, and capable rookie agent that even the picky Major favors.  Z’s own spin-off stories were originally published from 1979 to 1985 (her style’s golden years, btw!) and collected into two volumes of manga.  The stories tend to be more serious than the main Eroica storyline.

With the revival, Aoike herself even remarked in her blog that it will allow readers to (once again) experience some of her great years. With a price tag of 1680 yen, it must be one hell of a high quality, collectable edition!  I held off on buying the originals/earlier reprints of Z since there was news of this complete edition and I’m glad I waited.  Now that the date is announced, looks like my next manga order cut-off date is decided!

The Jack and Elena Stories by Shimizu Reiko

With this blog’s one year anniversary, I want to uphold my tradition of putting lots of effort into things no else cares about, so let’s talk about some older shoujo manga by Shimizu Reiko! The depth and variety of her work represent a golden age of shoujo manga to me:  the mid-80’s to mid-90’s.  There was a lot of freedom and creativity and classics like Tokyo Babylon, Banana Fish, Boku no Chikyuu wo Mamotte, and more were born.  One of my favorite (now all but extinct) movements in shoujo manga was the creation of vast, imaginative worlds within sci-fi stories by mangaka like Hagio Moto, Hiwatari Saki, and Shimizu Reiko.  Within these examples, Shimizu Reiko wrote some of my favorite shoujo stories ever about two robots, Jack and Elena.

Featured in multiple manga, Jack and Elena are highly functioning androids who couldn’t be more different, yet complement each other perfectly.  Jack is nearly indistinguishable from normal human beings, to the point he wasn’t aware of his own nature at first.  Jack is what shoujo lacks these days:  a handsome, older male lead who is not perfect, not an asshole, and not a bumbling fool.  He’s kind and good-natured at heart, but level-headed and capable.  He’s a gentleman that cares for others and is one of the most human characters I’ve seen to date.  Yes, even though he’s technically a robot.   In fact, these robots offer some of the most genuine glimpses of human nature that I’ve encountered in shoujo manga.

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