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let me preface this with stating that i generally don't like shoujo (marketed to girls), and i especially don't like shoujo romance, because it's filled with cliches. ditsy damsel in permanent distress is surrounded by a harem of guys who all want to date her, she gets rescued (often from fainting) by super-good-looking, super-capable, super-everything boy -- who can't express his emotions; there's a rival (often underhanded), and there'll be a lot of stupid misunderstandings which could easily be solved if the characters only TALKED to each other.

and you know what? kimi ni todoke sort of offers the cliches all up too. and yet i love it.
read on to find out why )
you know what it reminds me most of? nobuta wo produce. which has a stronger stress on friendship and very little on romance, and is overall much more... true and touching.  but the overall feel of it is somewhat similar. it's a feel-good story; just don't expect it to BE a second nobuta wo produce.

the anime has just started its second season, and the manga is at 13 volumes and ongoing, so i am looking forward to more of this; so far the anime has been very true to the manga.  oh, and the manga is licensed by viz.  there is also a live action film, but i haven't seen it yet; the cast looks good though.
piranha: (sai)
returning to the study of japanese means that i'm again mainlining anime in my free time; i've got quite a bit stored up from a couple of years ago.

tales of the abyss (shounen[1]) is based on a video game. normally i avoid such anime if i haven't played the game, because the anime tends to be directed at people who are familiar with the game, which means newcomers often don't have implied information and it becomes hard to figure out what's actually going on. but hey, this one has suzuki chihiro voicing not just one, but two characters, and i've made it my life's goal to watch/listen to everything he's done :). click to read the whole thing )

overall i'd recommend it for fans of the game, and of anime in general, but not to people who want an interesting intro to anime, or an outstanding example of it.
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genre: homoerotica, gay romance, m/m

i won't buy the book in paperback solely because i am reducing the square footage my books cover, since we're still gonna move onto the boat some day, i hope. but here's another good example of why the current model of ebook licensing publishers force on us is crap: if i could buy this ebook for other people, i would buy several copies, because this is an example of what m/m can be at its best. does anyone need more reasons why otherwise law-abiding people pirate? will publishers ever learn this? not holding my breath.

summary blurb: Ever since Chris Bennett graduated high school a year ago, he's been trying to figure out what's next. His lifeguarding job has kept him busy, and in southern California, poolside isn't a bad place to be. But he's spent most of his time thinking about Seth, the former classmate who became something more for a few brief moments last summer. Now Seth is back, but he seems to be running toward Chris and running away from him at the same time. Meanwhile, Chris is increasingly drawn to Alex, his gorgeous new neighbor who puts up a sexy, confident front but may be harboring a few romantic demons of his own.

covers with 3 men on them always make me hope for a good polyamory read, of which there are sadly all too few. alas, it was not to be -- but i didn't mind at all (except that i kept wondering how the writer would get there, because once my mind drops in a rut, it really keeps, uh, rutting, *sigh*). anyway. no polyamory, no threesomes. but solid, believable, fully realized characters, a lovely romance which takes its time to develop and never becomes too gushy (these are actual guys, not bishonen uke in disguise), a plot line that doesn't trod the same fallow ground as so many, and loads of hot sex.

i didn't like all the characters equally, mind. while i initially grokked why he acted the way he did, i ended up not too fond of seth, and i am not sure i'd buy a book in which he is the protagonist (then again, i might, since i was this impressed by the writing). i'd buy a book with marty, alex's long-time friend though!

also, tiniest of quibbles: does anyone else have trouble telling characters apart when their names have the same number of characters? it seems even the author got confused a little, because the actors are accidentally reversed in a couple of places. it seems odd to me that this would confuse me because "chris", "alex", and "seth" are all quite different from each other, but i did have to re-read chris/alex scenes at times to remind myself of who was who. anyway, no biggie.

all too often in m/m i am faced with the choice of either hot sex or great story. not here; the book delivers both. very satisfying read, no complaints.

i'm now gonna buy everything rachel west has written. unfortunately that's so far only one other book, but i am sure hoping there will be more.

you can read the first... 94 pages (wow, that's some excerpt) at google books.
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serene wanted to know what i think of the book that inspired the tv series. i rather like the series.

short summary: surprisingly, i was disappointed in the book.

for those who don't know, dexter is a serial killer who dismembers his victims and derives considerable pleasure from that. to make this anti-hero palatable to the reader, he only kills fellow killers who have evaded the judicial system; a utilitarian ethic instilled in him by his adoptive father harry, who was a cop and saw early on exactly what dexter was becoming. conveniently, dexter works as a blood spatter analyst at the miami metro police. to leaven both his professional and his private work, he has a wry sense of humour, and a penchant for alliteration.

things are overall going pretty well for dexter; he has his "dark passenger" under control (well, as much under control as he can be). dexter's half-sister deborah who works (and hates) vice as an undercover hooker, wants to move up into homicide, and her opportunity is a new killer who kills and dismembers prostitutes. she enlists dexter's help in trying to find out who he is. to dexter the new killer has admirable -- and strangely familiar -- work habits, and surprisingly he soon appears to be sending dexter messages through his kills.

this all works well in the tv show, but for me it doesn't work nearly as well in the book. for one, i find tv's dexter is more likeable because he is something of a geek, and while he has managed to adjust sufficiently to society to not stand out like a sore thumb, he behaves much like a borderline asperger's. i can empathize with that. the book's dexter, on the other hand, is smooth and charming, and has women falling all over him; he blends in perfectly and there is not the same degree of fear of exposure.

the supporting characters are paper-thin in the novel, but are rather well fleshed-out in the tv show. dexter's backstory is much better foreshadowed and developed in the tv show. his engagement with the main killer, finding out more about him, and the denouement are given enough time in the show; in the novel the tracking of the killer seems rather deus ex machina, and the denouement feels very rushed. the chilling effect of -- despite us liking him -- dexter being a serial killer who enjoys his kills comes across much more solidly in the show (though this might easily be caused by blood and gore being much more visceral in pictures than in words).

so, while i think the book is a respectable first novel, the show's writers have even more of my respect now, because they took this as a blueprint and improved on it -- quite a different story from so many adaptations.
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i've been watching "bones", which i overall mostly like (though not quite as much as CSI, which has more nuance). but just now i finished an episode i want to throw against the wall. hard.

season 3, episode 3, "death In The Saddle" deals with the murder of a man who engaged in pony play. the show is quite disrespectful of the fetish, mainly in the form of agent booth whose conservative, catholic, white-bread personality can't seem to keep a professional front; aside from various dismissive comments towards the people who're involved in the subculture (who all are shown to be quite cooperative with his investigation), he actually assaults one of the ponies (grabs the guy by his reins and pulls him forward). bones, on the other hand, gives us a few anthropological insights about fetishism, and mentions that she, too, has engaged in some role playing, albeit not pony play. ok, that's something, at least.

at the end, however, they're sitting in a restaurant, and booth pontificates some more about fetishists, culminating in the claim that it's crappy sex. why, asks bones? booth goes on about how we're all lonely, and forever searching for that real connection with somebody else, and now and then, in lovemaking we reach the miracle of becoming one with another. and that fetishists and their little role playing games are nothing compared with that.

and bones says "you're right".

*barf*. of all the time to let him win an argument, this isn't it.

i really hope they'll never end up together. i can tell they will; the show has that feel to it, the never-ending sexual tension between the two main characters who don't admit to it until the show has had a good run (and then they get thrown together and the show goes downhill). but i dislike booth a lot, and wish bones (whom i like a lot) somebody less mired in pablum philosophy.

this makes me want to go back and rewatch the CSI episodes with lady heather -- that was so well done in comparison.
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bright, blue sky, three pigeons on a wire; two looking at the third


marathoned doujin work today. osana najimi learns that her friend tsuyuri draws erotic manga. after an initial shock, she thinks this might be just her thing when she finds out how many volumes another childhood friend of hers sells -- she's got money on her brain. the trouble is that, while she has a lot of fun drawing, she isn't very good.

this sounded promising, but it's mediocre at best. the only worthwhile character is tsuyuri because she's drily straightforward and not at all embarrassed. we don't learn anything about actual doujin work, and the animation is poor.

3 big yawns.
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i just watched the pilot for caprica (the sorta-prequel for battlestar galactica, and i liked it.

now i am going to be slave to the darn television schedule.

the pilot was very good. if you want to watch it, do yourself a favour and do NOT read syfy's summary; it is very spoilery IMO (i read it afterwards, and was glad for that). i have read very little about the show, so i'll only be talking about my impressions, and try to do so without spoilers. read on )

the show is filmed in/near vancouver as was BSG, and it's fun again to spy buildings and settings i recognize -- and here they're not shot in grainy high key, but they have spiffy CG additions, as befits an empire before its fall. there are quite a few little nods to BSG fans, but it's a series that stands alone, one needn't have watched BSG, or know anything about it.
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when the cover of a book features a grungy skull instead of naked torsos, you know this isn't your average erotica, even if it was shelved with the lovely smut when you bought it. which was a good hint for me to time the reading for an evening when i was looking for a good story instead.

blurb: When Craig Robertson's religious fanatic father disappears, Craig is forced to return to the home he'd left behind after an underage affair in order to look for answers. His new lover, private investigator Paul Maloney, agrees to help so they can continue to enjoy their fledgling relationship.

During his initial search, Craig finds items that belonged to Michael, his lover in that long-ago ill-fated affair, and soon discovers that Michael has disappeared as well. The search becomes an investigation into Craig's past, and, because of distressing gaps in his memory, he's terrified of the truths he might find. Finally Craig tells Paul his deepest fear: that Michael is dead and he himself is responsible.

While Paul refuses to believe his lover is a murderer, Craig's obsession with uncovering clues grows, and their fragile relationship begins to disintegrate. Now on his own, haunted and stalked, Craig has to face down the horror of his memories if he wants to have any hope of a future at all.


i thought it was rather a captivating psychological mystery. the whole thing was hard for me to read because it had religious zealots in it of the type of my birth family (the supremely self-righteous, god-fearing kind who think they must beat said fear of god into you). while there is some sex and not just fade-outs, it's not erotica, and while there is romance, it takes a back seat to the story of craig uncovering his suppressed past. i figured out early on who did what, but that didn't bother me, since this is less about whodunnit, but more about craig dealing with the slowly unveiling reality of what really happened.at times i wanted to shake craig, but i believe that was more a personality difference between the character and myself than bad writing. in many ways craig is stuck at the emotional maturity of a traumatized 17 year old, and even when i was an emotionally traumatized 17-year old, i was much more prone to using logic to attack my pain than hiding from it, suppressing my memories, and going "lalala, i can't hear you" to people who point at the logical flaws in my arguments.

to some degree i could identify much more with paul, the PI, who had different tools to cope with the things they find out. but he, too, has secrets, and it's not a simple task to mix romance and business, especially not when neither of you are gonna win a prize for good communication.

the writing was good. both main characters are complex and conflicted, the supporting cast features strong women (this is a positive marker for me; i hate gay fiction that casts women only ever into the role of villains), the plot holds together pretty well for something that's not genre mystery. the villain is a bit uni-dimensional, a bit too nasty, and he gets away with things that might make modern city folk raise their eyebrows -- but i am ok with that because hey, i come from that background, and it is so very nasty, and has such dark secrets behind every door that i am ok with the broad brush; it's even a bit cathartic for me.

the romance, while not being the primary line of the story, is still interesting. both men have secrets, both are gun shy, both aren't exactly great at communicating intimately, but i liked the slow development here, the fragility of a budding romance that comes under immediate pressure where the writer shows a delicate balance between the definitely possibility it will crumble -- or become a source of strength.

i'm shelving this under "gay fiction", and i'll be looking for more from this author. in fact i found out after reading this that there's a semi-prequel, paul's story before he meets craig: maloney's law. i wish i had read this beforehand, because i am sure it explains much about the baggage paul brings to his relationship with craig.
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i bought this as m/m, but it isn't really. i still view m/m as primarily erotica, and while this has some sex, it's not particularly erotic. i am trying to be fair to it even though it wasn't what i expected, especially not coming from extasy books, and described on the author's site as "sizzling and action packed" -- i guess he was being sarcastic, but not knowing him it just felt seriously misleading.

so that's what it is not. what is it then? it's an quiet little story about a boy's coming of age and growing up, with a wee bit of what could be seen as paranormal from his loving mother. but it's not a real coming of age story either, because it feels too light, too short; i remained at too much of a distance from the main character to feel his anguish. it's got more of a vignette feel even though it covers a much greater time span than a vignette usually does. it is well-written, and there was definitely an attraction there for me. i liked the depiction of both the mother and the father, and especially the quiet interplay between the mother and the main character. i sort of enjoyed it overall, but i'm unlikely to reread it.

oh, and warning: character death. it didn't hit me particularly hard because i stayed remote from the characters, looking into their lives from the frame of the vignette, but still.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
is some of the best tea i've ever had.

it comes from the mist-shrouded wuyi mountain region in china. just look at those images. *sigh*. so beautiful. and occasionaly amusing, like the one of the mountain that looks like a teapot (i suspect a photomanip).

ti kuan yin takes its name from the goddess kuan yin who is often depicted at buddhist temples. she's usually considered the goddess of mercy; i call her the transgender goddess because some of her origins point to a male boddhisattva. the legend of the tea says that an iron (ti in chinese) statue of the goddess stood in a rundown temple in a poor village in fujian province. the goddess appeared to a farmer in a dream and told him of a treasure in a cave behind the temple, which he must nurture and share with others. when he woke up he looked and found a small tea seedling, which he planted and nourished. the leaves from this plant produced a very fragrant and flavourful tea. the farmer dedicated the tea to the goddess kuan yin, shared cuttings with his neighbors, and henceforth the whole community prospered.

oolong is partly fermented, so it's really neither a black tea nor a green tea. ti kuan yin is delicately aromatic, with a rich golden colour, and a slightly sweet, fruity fragrance. i am now on infusion #4, and it's still decent tea (though i think i'll usually stop at 3 -- they all have subtly different flavours). it is a really versatile tea; with milk or without, with sweetener or without; goes well with any sort of meal, even strongly flavoured ones, but tastes just as good as the last cup of the evening to come down from the day.

not cheap, but well worth it.
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i think the books that irritate me the most are those that have a story seed of something valuable and characters i could come to care for, which then gets squandered bit by bit until nothing is left.

i thought i'd give claire thompson another chance, despite my prior disappointment with masked submission. this time i read golden boy, the story of johnny wilson and eric méndez.
long, even for me, and contains some explicitly sexual language )
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
albeit in more muted colour schemes.


smut that annoyed me:

claire thompson's masked submission. dylan is searching for something more, something deeper than random play scenes, and he thinks he might have found it in tomas, a mysterious, masked dom he meets at an exclusive BDSM club. they have a definite connection, and dylan falls in love -- except even at their closest tomas will not unmask himself, he remains distant and that hurts dylan.

the rollercoaster ride of his new love and the submissive feelings it brings out in dylan make him confide in his thesis advisor jack, who's come out as gay and dominant to him during their blossoming friendship. jack seems to be developing deeper feelings for him, and things come to a head after a drunken tumble in bed. but dylan can't give up his fantasy love, and jack has ... secrets.

ok, so overall this isn't all bad (if a bit overly dramatic at times), which is probably why the big scene towards the ending really really annoys me. there's the usual amount of squick because of too much pain (which i don't grok) and too much humiliation (which makes me a bit nauseated), and this book didn't help me feel less squicked, but that's not what i am talking about. no, what's stuck in my craw is that after all the talk about trusting in your dom even when the dom really pushes your comfort envelope -- trusting even when you're very much afraid, because your dom has promised he will be there and watch over you, and have your back, _this_ dom isn't there and isn't watching, he leaves dylan in the hands of other people, and dylan almost gets badly hurt (and not in the good way).

now, it's not totally swept under the carpet because the dom rides in as a knight in shining armour at the last moment, and feels guilty afterwards and promises himself to never let this happen again, but if i had been dylan, i would have ripped the dom's face off, and it would have been a long time before i would have trusted him again. because this wasn't a small oversight or some unforeseeable accident; the scene was planned this way, and the dom's vetting of the other people was terrible -- everything was about pushing dylan (and consequently making himself look good), but he seemed to put no thought into keeping dylan safe while pushing him way beyond his comfort zone. and this after he'd already gone through one major trust issue with dylan (which he also fucked up).

grade-A prick. it spoiled the entire relationship for me. it also turned dylan into a doormat, and i rather liked him at the start.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)


running from me at buttertubs marsh. i wonder about that bright red colouration -- what's that good for? mate attractor? it really draws the eye, and makes the turtle NOT blend in with the environment.

walklog:

6-17 long mailbox loop, 2.41 km, 0:27, new personal best. note to self: do NOT start doing this, checking the timer at the bottom of the hill and then pushing yourself up that last bit just to beat your previous time. you know what that leads to, and it's not good for you. take the seconds off that time above. there. better.

insomnia with smut reading apparently leads to me walking faster. *snrk*.

best smut read:

sean michael's catching a second wind. dakota lost his life partner of 16 years less than a year ago, and he thinks he's coping pretty well, considering. but there's something just not right with him at work. as a veterinarian he's got to occasionally euthanize an animal, and while that was never something he liked doing, now it leaves him shaking and hurling his guts out. his partners in the practice think he should see a psychologist. he's not keen on that, but what the heck. ben, the psychologist, turns out to be sympathetic, a good listener, and a fine looking man, even if he asks uncomfortable questions.

this wasn't actually a real smut read for me. not because the smut is bad, it's in fact quite good. but because stories in which people have lost their life partner bring up memories, and those memories don't go well with smut. the story itself is very good, and i'd recommend it to anyone -- except, you know, the m/m smut which is not everyone's taste. *wry grin*. all the mixed feelings dakota has about getting involved with somebody else so soon, the agony of the loss, the guilt of living, the quandary of having a new lover in the place built with the old. dakota is very well written. ben is maybe a little bit too good to be true -- even psychologists get the blues, and a tad more insecurity wouldn't have hurt for somebody just out of college; he felt like a much older, wiser man to me. but i didn't care that much because i could identify with dakota's feelings and because i was ruminating over my own memories. it was a very satisfying read because so much of it rang true for me even if the details were completely different.

glass

Jun. 14th, 2008 21:52
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walklog:

6-14 jack point, 4.73 km 1:43, elevation gain 305m. the good part was the light on the way back. the not-so-good part was the sun in my eyes all the way out; forgot about that. tide was in, so no puttering around tidal pools. saw ravens chase a bald eagle. newly blooming: alumroot, couple of as-yet mystery plants.

best smut read:

mike shade -- dust and violets -- jason bought violet house, a run-down victorian, in order to restore it to its former glory. when he settles in and explores, he finds out that no prior occupant stayed for long in the house, and the neighbours think the house is haunted. but jason doesn't believe in ghosts. it's probably mice, or squirrels, or a racoon that keep moving his stuff around. and the cold drafts the source of which he hasn't found yet -- well, old houses are drafty. but some of those breezes are ... interesting, to say the least.

i don't usually care a whole lot for supernatural stuff, but this one was touching. also, hot. :) the house is almost a character in itself, and i really enjoyed that -- but then i also love watching this old house. i had a bit of a problem with the crisis -- the way it was done i didn't see it coming and didn't understand why jason did what he did, and i think it could have been foreshadowed much better. but i liked the resolution, and am fine with it being somewhat open as to whether joshua really is who jason believes he is.
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zipang (ジパング jipangu) was apparently the first mention of japan in a western account, by marco polo, who took it from chinese -- it was a golden land of legend. the anime is based on the seinen manga (demographic: post-teenage men) of the same name by kawaguchi kaiji, which is serialized in kodansha weekly morning.

the japanese maritime self-defense force vessel mirai (= future), an aegis missile destroyer, along with a couple of other vessels, is enroute to a joint maneuvre with US forces in hawaii. neat the midway islands it encounters strange atmospheric phenomena and when the storm lifts, the mirai finds itself in the middle of a large fleet -- which turns out to be the main imperial japanese naval fleet on the evening of june 4, 1942, just before the battle of midway begins.

if you're now going "huh? what are YOU doing watching this" i can't blame you. i usually avoid military anything like the plague. there is no mansex, and i don't even have the usual excuse that my favourite seiyuu are in this. i found the manga through looking at japanese award-winner lists and it sounded interesting, IF it were to mostly look at the ethical problems such an SFnal plot would provide. and since i've had generally good luck with seinen, i torrented down a few episodes, prepared to stop watching right away if it was all fascination with military hardware and battles.

at 7 the next morning i finished watching the final episode. it was so good, i didn't want to stop watching. there was a little fascination with military hardware, and yeah, there was plenty of action, but the majority of the story was about exactly what i had hoped it might be -- in such a situation will we change history if we act? and if, do we care? if we act, how? rescue people? join the fight? try to end the war? who is our enemy? what do we do if somebody wants to use our power and puts sufficient pressure on us so we can't just walk away? different people had widely varying motivations and rationales; the anime is very strong in defining characters, well-nuanced characters at that, and there is character development as well -- people change under pressure. there was overall refreshingly little jingoism -- no "japan good, US bad", though individual characters had their own opinions.

i learned a good bit of history while watching as well because i kept looking up names and their roles in reality. from what i could tell, while the interactions with the mirai and its crew were of course fictitious, the characters based on real people were done quite well. i can't say in how far the military details were true to reality, but the show had an advisor from the JDS, so it is probably reasonable. some things made no sense to me (the mirai crew itself was well aware of resupply problems, but nobody else who wanted to get their hands on it seemed to be, but maybe i underestimate how quickly a war machine that's 60 years behind could manufacture tomahawk missiles if it got a sample). but that didn't bother me a whole lot; most things seemed realistic to me.

art-wise the anime is quite fine -- though the military hardware got much more lovingly drawn detail as compared to the humans, *snicker*, but the humans are for the most part not hard to distinguish from each other. a lack of eye whites in many characters was mildly offputting, and i would have generally preferred a little more facial detail; they looked a little simplistic, especially compared to the hardware. the effects were mostly good, except some of the CG integration was a little rough. the music was excellent, as was the cinematography. the voice acting was fine, though nobody from my a-list was cast in it; miyano mamoru (yagami light in death note) has a minor role, nojima kenji (sakamoto harumi in princess princess) a secondary one.

it has no cute, no fan service, no homoerotic subtext (yeah, yeah, i know, on a ship filled with men there's gotta be some, but honestly -- i don't want to slash any of these guys, there are bigger issues). it's historically interesting since most of us probably never learned much about the japanese side of things. it's mature. it's thoughtful. the scene where kusaka is in the mirai's library and reads about how WWII ends for japan moved me almost to tears. (he's an information officer whose plane was shot down, and he's been rescued by the mirai -- "zipang", the golden land of legend, is his dream for his country.)

there are 26 episodes (all fansubbed), and while that reaches by far not the end of the manga (which is 34 volumes and ongoing) it is a logical place in which to end, it doesn't just leave the viewer hanging. well, the story between kusaka and kadumatsu (kusaka's rescuer) hangs, but i can live with that. it'd be great if there were to be a sequel though.

zipang has been licensed in english by geneon, but i've not heard the dub, and y'all know how i feel about american dubs in general. i'll be putting this one on my list to buy for when my japanese is good enough. i want to read the manga very badly, but only 9 chapters have been scanlated, by an inactive group. *sigh*. i might just buy it and try for myself, but oy, that's a major undertaking.

if you want to have an intro before torrenting it down (there are active torrents): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVYNLb0nXe0
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
aside from the "death watch" as the paramour lovingly calls it, i'm watching more anime than is good for me. but hey, i'm catching up on years and years of not watching anime when all my pals were doing it. but i am woefully behind on reviewing. as usual, it's easier (because, uh, shorter) to write about the mediocre and outright crappy than about the really good shows. and i've not actually watched a lot of crap.

this last week, for example, only one stands out as so bad that i dropped it after 2 episodes. well, actually after mere bits and pieces of two episodes. i usually give a series at least 4, sometimes 8, because some shows are slow to grow on me. but this one i just could not bear watching at all.

amaenaideyo! features ikkou, a young buddhist monk in training, who lives at a temple with several young priestesses in training. they're all hot cuties and their characters cover some basic sterotypes: tsundere (hot-n-cold), semi-autistic genius, kind speaker to animals, libertine, butchy dyke [*]. ikkou is your typical japanese anime loser boy (self-centred, whiny, irresponsible) with a hidden great power to exorcise spirits -- which is activated by him getting turned on by the sight of a naked or even just partially naked girl (*sigh*). other than that he spends most of his time being picked on by the girls who're generally more capable than he is, while they all go on adventures and cleanse spirits. a mere 2 minutes into the first episode butchy dyke strips tsundere in order to get ikkou to power up and save the day. give it 3 more minutes, and he walks in on the girls in the shower. typical harem comedy, which bores me stiff, and where the humour doesn't even make me crack a smirk.

the character design is instantly forgettable. ikkou is clearly not meant to appeal to anyone, he's even more forgettable than the girls who're at least cute (and mostly well-endowed, naturally, except for the small-breasted one who is jealous of all the big boobies). i decided to watch this despite knowing it wasn't gonna be my thing to begin with because ikkou's voice actor is suzuki chihiro whom i adore, and if i love the cast, i can watch even mediocre anime for quite a while. but no, his talents couldn't get me past the hideousness; besides, too much screaming even from a much-adored seiyuu grates.

the show is basically just fan service (and a lot of it, but you don't get any full nudity until the last episode. oops, is that a spoiler? so sorry). the plot is thin -- the paramour actually watched most of them, and apparently the episodes all sort of go like this: some nasty spirit shows up in human guise, only one person sees through the guise right away, a girl "loses" her clothes, ikkou's amazing power exorcises. in between ikkou gets abused. no character development worth mentioning; one of the girls is clearly interested in ikkou (and jealous of anyone else who might look at him), but abuses him along with the others for being a pervert -- except the actual pervert is our butchy dyke, because she's the one groping and stripping others.

the best thing is the ending song. (no, not just because that means an episode is over :).

[*] i should probably not call her a dyke because she's to an actual dyke what the much-desired HBB of personal ads is to an actual hot bi babe.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
since hibernation season has started and i can't seem to get myself to write anything interesting, yet i am more likely to do that occasionally if i write something at all, a report on my current anime viewing. under the cut )
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
warning: yaoi|boys love|gay|men x men manga. do not read review if that sort of thing offends.

japanese title: どうせ、めろめろ (douse, meromero), english title: melted love;
1 volume 8 chapters (complete), not scanlated. published by kaiousha under GUSH COMICS, licensed in english by DMP, juné imprint, translated by sachiko sato.

japanese ISBN4-87724-475-1
english ISBN-10: 156970760X, ISBN-13: 978-1569707609
single-author anthology.

about the title -- oy. "melted love"? the original title means (literally) either something like "anyhow, madly in love" or "after all, falling down drunk". um, yeah. not a great start, but couldn't it have become at least "melting love"?

but onward. this is the first english BL manga for which i hadn't seen a scanlation or japanese raws first. and it wasn't a terrible buy, even though i am not all that much into short manga. there's quite the range of stories here.
description and commentary )
art sample; no sex )
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
warning: yaoi|boys love|gay|men x men manga. do not read review if that sort of thing offends.

japanese title: 夢の子供
english title: children's dreams
6 volumes (complete), scanlated up to v5 ch5 by essence of purity. not licensed in english, originally published by biblos.

v1: ISBN4-88271-306-3, v2: ISBN4-88271-307-1, v3: ISBN4-88271-561-9, v4: ISBN4-88271-760-3, v5: ISBN4-8352-1109-X, v6: ISBN4-8352-1275-4
takashima youji is a high school student who lives with his older sister senko. he's got a bit of a "sister complex" towards her (the japanese as per manga wisdom, frequently have such "complexes", a love that goes above and beyond the call of kinship, albeit not quite to the extent of oedipus. well, mostly not to that extent. not here, in any case.). one day senko introduces youji to one of her old university friends, akishima ren. she hopes they will get along, but things don't go as expected; youji notices the warm familiarity between ren and senko, and takes an instant dislike to ren, suspecting that they are lovers and that he wants to marry her. and then senko reveals that she's leaving for NYC to advance her career, and that she intends to leave youji in ren's care. ren is not thrilled, but agrees to the arrangement because it's senko asking him, and senko is important to him -- but youji just about goes through the roof.
however, he has no choice, and starts living with ren. it doesn't go well; when ren isn't cold and distant, he treats youji like the brat that he is, but worse, even when youji isn't a brat, ren makes light of the things he cares about -- such as his favourite author whose books mean a lot to youji. only when youji tears up and runs off does ren realize that maybe he's gone too far; and when he follows him and they talk, youji breaks down and talks about his sister and what she means to him. since she means a lot to ren as well, they make peace with that in mind, however uneasy.

since youji has decided to make the best of things, he starts watching ren -- who doesn't take very good care of himself, and forgets to eat and sleep properly when he works, and youji decides that he should make himself useful by taking care of the household. then one day he sees ren arguing with a man whose name he later finds out is hirose, a name towards which ren acts with extraordinary coldness when other people mention it. and when cleaning up, youji finds several floppy disks that seem to have something to do with his favourite author. the plot thickens. :)


commentary; download )
art samples; no sex )
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
warning: yaoi / boys love / gay / men x men manga. do not read review if that sort of thing offends.

english title: the other side of you; scanlated by nakama and memory for you; 2 volumes 11 chapters complete.
2 years ago in junior high school sakisaka shou was hirose takashi's best friend, but then he abruptly moved away and never replied to takashi's letters, nor maintained contact by any other means. now he's suddenly a new transfer student in takashi's senior high school class, and takashi is overjoyed. but far from being happy about it as well, shou snubs takashi, and when takashi keeps pursuing him, finally tells him that he hates him and that he should stay away from him. takashi doesn't have the slightest clue as to what happened. and kanako who's living with shou (his girlfriend?) isn't helping, but she takes a decided interest in takashi. what's up with her?

i've been plowing through a lot of crap lately, so this one came as a lovely relief; several thumbs up. depth, good characters, sensible and realistic development once we get past shou's initial behaviour.

this story is possibly a little dated because i don't know that even in japan people would still go to the lengths shou goes here to hide his feelings in order to protect takashi, but maybe i am too hopeful about the state of the world. this isn't a spoiler, i imagine, since the story is yaoi -- i guess everyone realizes that shou doesn't actually hate takashi, *snicker*. :) i think takashi is wonderful; the strength of purpose he shows under pressure, and how he is unwilling to give up on something or someone once he has committed himself, and how honest he is even when it's difficult to figure out how he really feels, is something i admire in real life, and think awesome in a yaoi manga (because it's rare, at least in as thoughtful a manner). shou on the other hand, oi, shou! i feel sorry for him, but i also want to slap him verbally upside the head. communicate, shou! kanako i just want to kick to the curb. i know i might be harder on female characters in yaoi, but must they always be so conniving, dammit? i feel a little sorry for her, and she does once do the right thing at the right moment and it's a pivotal moment, but really, she could've done the right thing all along, so i don't forgive her. and especially not considering what she does afterwards. still; she is a good character; not a throw-away threat or airhead.

the art is clean and uncluttered, and quite good in dramatic moments -- it really grew on me, and the flow is excellent; the manga was extremely easy to read.

the sex is there, and it's well done -- it fits the story. it's not particularly graphic or drawn out, and that's fine; i am not reading this story to wank.

i think this ranks among my very favourite stories to date.

i want to buy it, but it might be hard to find. not licensed in english, published by tokuma shoten, volume 1: ISBN4-19-960075-2, volume 2: ISBN4-19-960115-5 (jpqueen has the second one!)

if you'd like to test drive it, here's the f-locked download. should be about 91MB.

art samples; no sex )

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