piranha: red origami crane (Default)
darn, i wish i remembered how i found this manga -- it was through one of mangaupdates' algorithm to show you manga in some way related to a manga you had read, but i can't recall now with what i started out... hm. kimi no todoke, i think? anyway...

this was a fantastic find! i downloaded the first volume to taste test it, and when i was done, i grabbed not only the other 5 scanlated volumes but also hunted down the remaining raws. the manga has been licensed by viz, but they're way behind, and i hope the scanlators won't drop it; the scanlation is good.

before 16-yr old orphan kurebayashi teru's older brother souichiro dies of cancer, he gives her a cellphone and tells her that if she needs any help, to use it to contact a mysterious man who goes by the pseudonym of DAISY. she soon finds solace in the messages she exchanges with DAISY, he is kind and thoughtful, and he always there to encourage her when she is down. while teru is determined to make her own way despite her poverty and being bullied in school, that support is her lifeline, because whenever she is lonely, DAISY will send her email. in stark contrast to the comfortable relationship with DAISY, teru is working off a debt to the rude, inconsiderate, and obnoxious school janitor kurosaki tasuku. aside from those lovely traits, kurosaki is also lazy, a bit of a pervert, has a lousy temper, and is quick to use his fists -- but even though he makes teru do most of his own work, he also always seems to show up whenever teru needs help (being quick to use his fists is a bonus in that case). and help she needs, because not only does she get bullied, but some nefarious people are starting to hang around for reasons unknown.read why this is great, no spoilers; graphics )



highly, highly recommended. i'll now go and seek out motomi's other works.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
picked this up because i got into a yamapi mood.

iwase ken (yamashita tomohisa) and yoshida rei (nagasawa masami) have been friends from elementary school through university. rei is about to get married. ken, who is attending the wedding ceremony, is filled with regrets that he never expressed his true feelings to rei while there was time, that he naively thought they would continue to always be together. just then a somewhat unconventional fairy (mikami hiroshi) appears and sends ken back in time, giving him another chance to do things differently.

details, possibly mild spoilers )
highly recommended if you're in the mood for a romantic comedy that's not made from the same mold as so many, and if you don't mind fan subtitles, of course. the translation (by "love song") is clumsy in a lot of places (really, guys, 事 does not translate to "stuffs"), but it's good enough to understand, and i didn't notice any really serious mistakes.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
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: red origami crane (Default)
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.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
elsenet i was linked to victoria brownworth's article in the lambda literary blog.

let me first say that i read brownworth's article and thought it was abysmally bad, so bad that it totally obscured its own central concern. that's a crying shame. it's also a shame that there was no enlightenment had from the other side in the comments, for the most part. it was typical defensive derailment, complete with the usual bingo excuses, as paul g bens showed so poignantly. but, having observed such discussions before, commenters would have derailed the thread anyway, even if victoria had done her research instead of putting more falsehood than truth out there about m/m, and being rude to everyone who disagreed with her. they wouldn't have listened even if she had been well-informed and courteous. but they should listen, because the central concern is important.

the central concern is that m/m AS A GENRE fetishizes gay relationships for the titillation of heterosexual women, and that this is detrimental to actual gay people.

i believe that concern is warranted.

i read a lot of m/m, and by "a lot" i mean around 1500 stories a year. i do not just read based on reviews; i pick a large number of books at random. disclaimer: i know that there are some actual male writers behind some of the pseudonyms (as well as lesbians and bisexual men and women and trans folk), and i know that some actual gay men read m/m and enjoy it. end disclaimer.

but the vast majority is born from slash fiction and yaoi, is written by straight women, and is read by straight women. and yes, yaoi is much worse when it comes to faulty information and fetishization -- but that doesn't mean m/m escapes the accusation. some of m/m's best selling authors are its worst offenders. and IMO the majority of the genre is at least mildly offensive to actual gay persons.

i also know that m/m is empowering for many women and genderqueers (i won't go into why here, but it's fascinating. and way cool. some of the analysis in fandom way surpasses anything i've seen come out of gender studies.).

but i've also read many comments from fangirls that show they get a lot of misinformation from m/m, and that they thoroughly objectify the men in m/m. if an author writes badly informed fiction, some people will swallow that crap with gusto, and will think they now know something about gay people and their sexuality, their relationships. and they will be wrong. that's not empowering anyone; it damages.

writers who're defensive when confronted with the accusation that they're appropriating and objectifying, are not being asked to "get out" of writing about gay relationships. however, if they don't get it right, if they are lazy, if they write formula, then they better be prepared for scathing criticism from gay people whom they offend with that dreck. it is totally possible to write authentic gay fiction as a non-gay writer; there are many talented m/m authors who're taking their craft seriously. the problem is not THAT women write it, it's HOW they write it.

the entitled whining from some m/m authors in the comments to brownworth's article was painful to watch, and it didn't impress me one bit. yup, it can be hard to look at one's own work with a critical eye, even if one writes "just fiction". but one doesn't get to trample all over an already oppressed group with impunity "just for fun". because fiction is never "just fiction". fiction has power, fiction teaches, fiction influences people. and if, as an author, you appropriate a facsimile of people's lives in order to gain personal profit from what happens to also be their pain, they have every right to tell you that you're an arse who makes their lives harder.

an author is not directly responsible what people do with the information they convey. but the author is culpable. i suggest to take that seriously, even if one just writes plot-what-plot stories -- getting it right matters to those whose lives one borrows in order to have a bit of fun.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
when i read fiction, i generally love it when something unexpected happens, when people find interesting ways to deal with whatever life throws at them, where relationships don't always end in happily-ever-after, where the most important thing isn't necessarily a romantic relationship. i love it when i learn something from fiction, when it makes me think.

when i read romance, i want a goddamn happy ending where boy gets boy, even if boy and boy fight at the start, or in the middle, or all through the story. but they damn well better end up together if i've angsted with them for 200+ pages.

when that doesn't happen, no matter how amiable the breakup, no matter even how necessary the breakup for one of them, i feel cheated, and i get cranky. i allow myself to wallow in the angst much more so than i do in general fiction, because i know it'll all be relieved by the end. romance is comfort reading. and it's not comforting to feel all the angst and then not receive the expected resolution.

if this had been non-romance fiction, it would have been quite decent, and i'd say "well done", because sometimes love just isn't enough, and other factors must overrule one's heart if one's ever to find any peace, and grow as a human being. even if the other person has done nothing wrong, sometimes the dynamics just don't work out despite all people trying their hardest.

but it was a romance, and damn you, julia talbot, for depriving me of my happy ending *whiny grump*. i am totally pissed off at kevin, and never want to read anything about him again. and i don't care whether ross finds somebody else in the next book. i don't even want to read it. my heart aches.

stupid.

ETA: talbot julia, the thatcher series: 1. jumping into things, 2. landing with both feet, 3. taking the leap -- it's #2 with which i have the problem; #1 is interesting and got me easily attached to the 4 main characters as well as their dogs (julia talbot is clearly a dog person, *little grin*).

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