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New Ameiro Paradox by Netsuke Isaku is out!!! My copy is in the mail and *knocks on wood* should arrive in a week or so. Along with the new Ten Count manga by Sakurai Rihito. I was disappointed by Ten Count volume 3 because it felt gratuitously smutty without enough of the psychological stuff I really enjoyed in the first two volumes, but I’m hoping volume 4 will be good.

Had a laugh listening to an episode of the Guardian Books Podcast because the music editor read Morissey’s new fiction book and it was awful. He called it the worst book he’s ever read. The sex scene he excerpts is….I don’t know if there’s a word for it, the entire scene is really rather repulsive, with an erect cock called a “bulbous salutation.” If you’re wondering, yes, Morissey is the singer Morissey.

So Kekkai Sensen actually ended. It was an okay ending, but I think they should’ve tightened it up to a normal episode length and aired it back with the rest of the episodes. I think it lost a lot by having such a long gap, and I thought it was flabby enough that they could’ve cut stuff out. But at least it didn’t suck. :P

Read some fanfic for the series, though sadly there doesn’t seem to be much. Am gravitating towards Klaus/Leo even though I don’t believe in the pairing at all. I think it’s because I stumbled upon an author, nekokoban, who writes very lovely stories with that pairing.

meminerunt omnia amantes is a longer fic in which Klaus is hit with a curse and there is a bit of angst. The author recently followed up with To Those With Love, which is set after the first fic and has Leo meeting Klaus’s family. Who are charming, if overwhelming. I hope there’s more in this universe. In an unrelated story, Climb Every Mountain, Leo wants to get it on with Klaus and is frustrated. It’s really adorable. Leo’s attempts to get advice and the unwanted advice he does get are just awesome.

Also got into Wincest. I figured I’d dive in one of these days, just hadn’t gotten around to it. Lots of crap, of course. What is killing me is all the alpha/omega fics. They are everywhere in all fandoms, so you hit them constantly. I’ve read a bunch, a handful were actually good* (or at least decent), but a lot of it was just too….icky? I hate the biological determinism and don’t see the point. The Wincest ones I do like tend to be set when they are younger, back when they are with their dad (who, according to fandom, was a terrible father. Is this canon?). So much teenage angst! So much incest angst! With demons, etc. thrown in! Lovely, lovely stuff.

So far my favorite (though a WIP) is Brothers by Sera_Necto23. It’s really fucked up and I assume the characters are nothing like canon, but the author really puts together a world and a dynamic that just works. Also, very dirty. And angsty.

*One “good” alpha/omega fic I came across is a Free! Sousuke/Haru one called Boundary Waters. It’s one where the alpha/omega dynamic comes about from some kind of attack in a war or something. Haru’s rage at the crappiness of a world gone bad and he having drawn the short straw is very well portrayed.

Another Free! Sousuke/Haru fic I thought was very well done was another AU, Artist, Imitate Thyself by orphan_account. Haru is an art student who likes sex very much. He hooks up with Sousuke and continues on as AWB (acquaintances with benefits). It gets serious and quite a bit angsty.
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Good things happened last week:

1. My deadline is over! Still lots of work, but the big horrible soul-sucking deadline has passed.
2. The order I’d given up for dead showed up! It turns out I’d accidentally selected surface mail instead of air mail, thus it took forever to get here. Will get into the contents later, but seeing it appear was a very joyous moment.
3. The Natsume Yuujinchou OVA arrived! More Natsume! So pretty! The story was just ok (tho the extra story with Nyanko-sensei and the little kids was pretty funny), but I was so happy to see anything new (in such good quality) I'm not too unhappy. Of course, now I want *more*…New TV season, please.
4. I watched the lantern scene in Tangled in 3D at home and was actually pretty impressed. I own a TV and Blu-ray player that happen to do 3D (I bought them for other things and the 3D was completely superfluous to me) and finally unpacked the glasses to try it out after watching the entire movie in 2D. Naturally not as impressive as in the theatre (I want a bigger screen!) but still quite lovely.

Quick comments on the manga:

Super Lovers 6...I still don’t get Haru or Ren and because of that I just wish they’d get it on. I like it when there's more brotherly fun and affection but the angst and confusion between them seem quite silly to me.

Ikasama Memory 2…Wow, I knew that the entire volume wasn’t about the main couple, but I didn’t expect their part to be less than half. The scene when they get together is so sweet, but…I wanted more! I didn’t dislike the second couple, but I am disappointed. There should’ve been another chapter, at least!

I laughed while reading: I Like Big Trucks And I Cannot Lie: Cars, Trucks, And The Lady Brain
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The Natsume Isaku Fan Book arrived, and it was better than I had hoped it would be. It has a bunch of shorts, one that is a x-over in a public bath and more than one from Ameiro Paradox, Doushiyoumonaikeredo, and Tightrope. I guess those because they won the readers favorite awards…I was surprised by Tightrope's ranking, but perhaps the existence of the OVAs helped that one. I enjoyed the other manga artists’ shorts as well. Is it just me, or does Kaori Monchi just make everything seem more perverted? She did one of Tightrope. My favorite has to be Amagure Gido’s short for Doushiyoumonaikeredo. OMG so cute! Kurokawa has to decide whether he wants a drunk (and thus adorably open) but prone to falling asleep Shimano or a sober and tsuntsun but up for sexy times Shimano, and takes a gamble that he can get Shimano *just* drunk enough to be adorable but not drunk enough to just fall asleep.

There are also lots of 4-koma bits and pictures both color and B&W. So pretty! I’m happy to learn that Ameiro Paradox is definitely going to be continuing. I am with the fans in that Doushiyoumonaikeredo and Ameiro Paradox are my favorites.

On my not-so-favorites, I wasn’t that interested in Ayakazri Zoushi and Heart no Kakurega. The former just wasn’t that interesting, and the second…the couple in the first volume was meh, and I am not a fan of series that go from one linked couple to another so I didn’t pick up the second volume.

I finally watched the Tightrope OVA, and…it was so bad. I had really low expectations and was still horrified. My god, the production values were CRAP and Natsume Isaku’s character design does not translate well to anime. Or was it because the production values were so crap that they did a crap job of designing the characters? It was painful to watch, so I skipped around. And WTF was that midi garbage that was supposed to be the opening music? The voice acting was great (man, Ryuunosuke’s “Nao~~” is great), but overall... :P

I’m really worried about my previous order now, over a month overdue. The Fan Book arrived in about a week. Is my package lost? Do I have to reorder all the books in that order? ;_; I want to read volume 2 of Ikasama Memory! GAH.
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What I just ordered: Natsume Isaku Fan Book

There are manga bits from Ameiro Paradox and Doushiyoumonaikeredo and Tightrope!! Plus extra pics! (at least according to the Amazon blurb). The only bad thing is that the estimated time to shipping is 7 to 21 days, and lately airmail from honto has taken many weeks. It used to take 10 days, but my last order that shipped three weeks ago still hasn’t arrived!! I want my copy of Ikasama Memory 2. ;_;

Speaking of Natsume, I’ve become completely addicted to Natsume Yuujinchou. The first two episodes really didn’t do much for me, but I kept going because the praises were so high. I’m sooo glad I did. Yes, there are gaps in logic and inconsistencies. But that’s not the point of this series. I am in season 4 and slowing down on the watching because I don’t want it to end. I am so ordering the OVA coming out next year. XD; I looked for fanfic to help with the addiction, but it seems to be a pretty sparse fandom.

I want to own the discs, but there is no Blu-Ray version for the first season in English. I’m tempted by the Japanese box set of the first two seasons.

One thing that is driving me crazy--"Natsume" sounds like a first name, so when someone (usually the Fujiwaras) calls him "Takashi" it bothers me since I think of Natsume as his first name and Natsume is a much nicer name than Takashi. :P
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Yesterday I got a small order from Japan that made me UBER HAPPY. My happiness was slightly diminished when I realized that Castle Mango volume 2 (the final volume!) was out and I hadn't ordered it. But back to the happy stuff...

Ameiro Paradox volume 2 (also final volume!) by Natsume Isaku: LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE. Can I say love some more? It keeps the light, humorous touch of the first volume, just with couple-issues (rather than becoming-a-couple issues) as well as the work stuff. Onoe is adorably dorky and you can so see why Kaburagi can't help but be in love. SO CUTE. my favorite bits )

Super Lovers volume 5 by Abe Miyuki: Still kinda odd, but now that the twins are truly settled in their roles I feel more comfortable. I still can't get the hang of Haru and Ren's relationship and Haru in general just baffles me, but I can deal. Not *that* fond of the new character introduced in this volume and the developments that come from it. Haru being an overprotective mother hen and total dork never stops being amusing, though. And the commentary from the peanut gallery (everyone else, mostly the twins and the other workers at the cafe) are great.

Silver Diamond volume 25 by Sugiura Shiho: I had previously bought volume 26 but forgot to stick volume 25 into my shopping cart. (My chagrin when I got my box and realized I hadn't ordered 25 was huge. HUGE.) Oooh, man. I love this series so much, and I really want to get my hands on volume 27 (the end!) when it comes out later this month. How much better can it get? It's fantasy with great characters and great friendships, in an interesting world. In the end, though, I love this series because it has heart and the angst/bad-shit isn't overdone. The reveal re: the sanome was pretty awesomely nasty but not over the top, mainly because we see it through the eyes of someone who is uber-repressed at this point. I want to know how it all goes down!

I will have to do a mini-order consisting of SD 27 and Castle Mango 2 for later this month...
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Only two more days till the weekend! Yay! I spent all of Labor Day watching videos. I initially tried to watch the ROD TV show and had to give up after one and a half episodes because all the main characters made me want to spork them. My god, so irritating. I was told it was a good series, too. To cleanse my mind I watched Pride and Prejudice (the Colin Firth version, of course) and topped it off with a bunch of Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi episodes. Happiness!! I want more Nakamura Shungiku anime...Can we get another season of SIH or JR? Please?

I want to see the live action Rurouni Kenshin movie after seeing the trailer. He says "oro!" and "gozaru!" I know, I know, it wouldn't be Kenshin if he didn't...But it still trips me out. There's apparently a channel on Youtube with lots of videos.

Apparently mocking Bic for Her pens are a thing, and I've read some funny and some not so funny stuff out there. I enjoyed the reviews on Amazon UK the best, though.

And now a random list of books I noticed is coming out/already came out...

Books coming out I won't bother reading:
Fei-Long centric Viewfinder novel
Yet another Deadlock spin-off
I am just not a fan of spin-offs. *shrugs*

Book I plan on reading when I finally catch up:
Last volume of Fujimi! It's finally ending!

Book I am so excited about getting:
Ameiro Paradox 2
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I figured I should do a "I LOVE THIS" post because sharing the squee is always a good thing. So...the following are things I love.

Castle Mango volume 1 by Ogura Muku (art) and Konohara Narise (story) is a manga I picked up thanks to [ profile] wednesday_10_00 and OMG the cute is pure love. It's about a high school student who lives at the love hotel his mother runs (his father had run it until his death) along with his younger brother. They have themed rooms and a porn production decides to use various rooms for their movies. The director is a gay guy and the high school student gets it into his head that the director may have designs on his younger brother. So one night when the director is brought by his co-workers to sleep off major drunkenness the student decides to pretend they've had sex and guilts him into dating him. As a condition he wants the director to stay away from his younger brother. The director is a nice guy and vows to keep his hands off the student until the student is 18, but they do have interactions that bring them closer. Really adorable interactions that mostly emphasize intimacy rather than sex (sex =/ intimacy!). I so look forward to the next book. The student is one of those capable but not emotionally expressive kids, and he has a father complex. He wants to string the director along long enough to protect his younger brother, but finds himself drawn to the director. I worry about Konohara Narise springing a horrible turn of events later on as this series is so far mostly fluffy and sweet, but I'm going to classify my fears as just being a worrywart. Oh yes, and the art is fabulous. ♥

Merry Checker by Suzuki Tsuta is a spin-off of a manga I haven't read, Sangen Tonari no Tooi Hito. It's about a salaryman who runs a BBS-ish site where he writes about other people in a very perceptive and amusing manner. At a RL meet-up he gets to know a popular blogger who everything thought was a high school student (female), but turns out to be a very tall adult man. The story is sweet but not cloying. The salaryman and the blogger are both nice mature guys, dancing around their attraction to each other. The story doesn't fall into a lot of the genre cliches and just makes me feel warm and fuzzy. It is a bit shallow, but I can get behind this kind of shallow. My biggest complaint is that there should be another volume. I want to see them act adult and nice! And dorky with awkwardness and apologetic when they feel like they've hurt/offended the other person! The art is fabulous and the last panel of the manga ) is pure gold.

Switching to novels, Sore wa tsumi na anata no sei by Hagino Siro and illustrated by Natsume Isaku is something I reread quite often and had planned on summarizing because I love it so. Unfortunately I've become quite lazy lately (and it is LONG), so I'll just squee about it. It's about a high school student, Saiga, who is dumped by his girlfriend because she's fallen for some awesomely cool looking guy named Natsuki. He is incensed and goes looking for Natsuki to see for himself, and ends up falling down the stairs in front of him. And is confronted by a very good looking and very nice guy. He becomes a bit obsessed and basically stalks him. Except his stalking sucks and he's found out very quickly by Natsuki. They end up hanging out together. Saiga realizes over time that he's fallen for Natsuki, but Natsuki is very very very dense. Natsuki is used to keeping people at a distance because he's so good looking he's had people fawning over him his entire life, but isn't very perceptive when it comes to people he's let close. So Saiga has to make the first move. There is a lot going on in this quite long book (almost 300 pages) because Natsuki is dense and Saiga is spastic (and thus isn't the most efficient at getting what he wants). some things I really like about the sex ) Of course, the art is wonderful. Saiga is splendidly spastic in that way Natsume Isaku is very good at portraying in her manga.

Beauty & Ghost by Umino Sachi and illustrated by Isaka Jugoro starts off and ends hilariously. Sato Seiji is a salaryman who doesn't really like his job but feels pressured to do well because he's quite capable and is depended upon (and he's proud). He's even more stressed lately because of a younger employee, Sakaki Kouta, who he doesn't care for and is also quite capable. How does he deal with the stress? He finds kids in a playground and tells them scary stories. He is filled with unholy glee at the look of pure fear on their faces. He learns that Sakaki can't handle scary stories and is again filled with unholy glee telling scary stories to Sakaki and getting that white faced reaction. And get revenge for being a problem in his life. When he pushes Sakaki too far, not letting him cover his ears to avoid hearing any more scary stories, Sakaki shuts him up by kissing him. So cliched! But still so funny to read! The relationship develops over time with Sato being tsundere and Sakaki being one of those puppy-dog types. Very cliched but very funny.
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I am loving the Sekaiichi Hatsukoi anime SO MUCH. I giggle through the whole episode. I have no idea how they will end the anime, but so far I am enjoying the ride. I also recently got volume 5 of the manga and was sad that the first really long chapter was about Kisa and Yukina. I don't dislike their characters, but I'm quite tired of Kisa's insecurity being the source of all problems. I felt really sorry for Ritsu as the end of chapter 9. I wish Yokozawa would just lay off on Ritsu. He causes so much trouble for the two by being such an unrelenting asshole. I did like the manga on the cover showing Yokozawa surrounded by cats, though. Also, the "we work at night"=hosts was fabulous.

I also got Natsume Isaku's new manga, Ameiro Paradox volume 1. It's about a reporter for a weekly who ends up partnering with a photographer he feels a rivalry against in the paparazzi division. I...couldn't read it straight through. The characters act like annoying kids. But the end made up for EVERYTHING. why the end kicks ass ) I look forward to volume 2.

Honto Yajuu volume 4 by Yamamoto Kotetsuko wasn't quite as awesome as volume 3, but I don't know how you'd top Aki's mother anyway. But the little kids at the run-down ryokan(?) adoring Aki in his awful yazuka get-up and getting upset when he is dressed normally and looks like a regular good-looking guy was wonderful. Also, the sempai policeman lending Aki his clothes and getting stuck at the police box because he can't go home dressed in Aki's outfit was hilarious. XD;

I liked volume 2 of Shizuku Hanabira Ringo no Kaori by Kawai Toko even more than volume 1. They are so sweet, the uke is so upbeat, the sex is frequent but not gratuitous, the seme isn't a bastard. It's not the best thing I've ever read, but it's so satisfying.

[ profile] rachelmanija posts about Diana Wynne Jones' Charmed Life, which she likes and many of the commenters like. I am a Cat person so reading it made me happy.

Via [ profile] genkischuldich, what happens when you greet people in the street as per (a really annoying) commercial (Japanese).

I already knew this: If You're Looking For A Little Diversity On Television, Try HGTV. One of the few TV stations I watch is HGTV, and I noticed a while back that they had a lot of minorities on their shows. Lots of non-whites, same sex couples, mixed race couples, all presented without comment. Wish all the shows on TV were as (or more) diverse.

NPR: Rickrolled: Or How One Politician Overcame Partisan Divide To Pull A Prank
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I don't know what to say about Kiraboshi Dial by Natsume Isaku. I like it, but don't love it. It's about a doctor who goes to a small village and meets the very nice villagers and a very odd rich guy who likes to pay everybody for everything. The doctor and the rich guy both have their own problems that come out and are sort of resolved in their interactions. The art is pretty as always (love the not-very-graphic sex scenes as usual), but the story and the characters just didn't sparkle. I didn't find anyone super adorable at any point like I usually do in Natsume-sensei's stuff....

I listened to the cd drama hoping it'd make me love the manga, but I found it lacking. I think this is a story that needs the visuals to make it work. The voice actors were excellent (esp the rich guy!), but they couldn't make up for the fact that I wanted to see what was going on. I felt frustrated more than anything.

some rather large pics )
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I saw a post for the CD dramas of Kyuusu wa cheese no yume wo miru and Sojou no koi wa nido haneru by Mizushiro Setona and recoiled in horror. Am I wrong to think it'll be overdone and ruin the wonderful tension the manga creates so well? :P

On the other hand, I am IN LOVE with the CD drama of Tightrope by Natsume Isaku. It has made me love the manga, I take back the bleah post I made on it a while back. I adored Ryu's pure, puppy-dog adoration of Naoki. He was born to be yakuza, but he's grown up so not messed up because Naoki has been there to keep him from becoming a total delinquent and a worthless piece of scum. The voice actors were PERFECT. Ryu is manly when mad but like a puppy around Naoki, I want to pet him and want him so much to have what he so earnestly wants. Naoki has this throaty voice that is perfect for his slightly distant personality. How I wish they had dramatized the side story in the manga because I would've loved to hear Ryu's little spiel on how Naoki had been so sweet when they'd had sex and how wonderful a sweet Naoki is since Naoki is usually so bitter...But then he thinks that a bitter Naoki is pretty awesome and so cool, but then wouldn't it be nice if a bit of sweetness was mixed in? Not like in an unnatural way, but...

And then his thoughts are interrupted by Naoki and he jumps back. Oh, how wonderful it'd be dramatized! XDXD

I think I hadn't appreciated Ryu's pure devotion and his sweet earnestness. I love how he can't even imagine ever doing anything to make Naoki cry, even if it means being tortured with lack of sex. So cute!
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I read Natsume Isaku's newest manga Free Punch and wished desperately for more Shimano and Kurokawa. Not that Free Punch sucked or anything. It was cute. The first story is about a very happy and enthusiastic teacher and his very manly yet adorable student. It's really cute, especially when the teacher makes wobbly eyes. And when you learn of the teacher's past (his picture as a teen is priceless!), and his "master!" outbursts. XD;

The second story is about high school dorm roommates. The uke is very nastily aloof. The seme is a normal guy. This is totally Natsume-sensei's thing, and she does it well. I think I liked this one better simply because I like prickly tsundere-ish ukes and the poor semes who love them.

What really excited me, however, was coming across a booklet with a Doushiyoumonai keredo side story about Kurokawa becoming worried at Shimano's increasing popularity with males as well as females. OH, how I love this couple! The cd drama didn't quite do it for me because Shimano's voice felt wrong, but I might give it another chance.

I can't wait to hear Tight-rope's cd drama since I love love love kansai-ben. I hope the voices don't throw me off...
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I checked out the scanlation group Vices and Devices to see if they finally had the next Ore ni koishite dousunda! by Yoneda Kou, and was disappointed by the horribly misleading title of their newest update post. I did see that they have a new release of the wonderful Doushiyoumo nai keredo by Natsume Isaku, which led me to reread the series. I even tried reading the chapters with another couple at the end of the second volume. The characters are not particularly engaging (I have a problem with guys who constantly tease the object of their affections in order to get attention, especially if they don't realize their own feelings. I guess I like bastards more than jerks. XD;). The short chapter about their last day in junior high was lovely, though. Slightly bitter, juxtaposed with cherry blossoms, incredibly pointless.

I also reread the bit in Tightrope....I want more Doushiyoumo nai keredo! ;_; Will she write more???

In any case, back to Yoneda Kou. She has a blog where she posts work info ( Looks like she has steady work, though she hasn't done a chapter of Ore ni koishite dousunda! since September...Did it end in that chapter or is it going to take forever for her to finish it and for a volume to be released? GAH.

Switching gears, I am still reading Japanese Naruto fanfics. It's sad how I faithfully check certain sites to see if they've updated. Mostly I've been disappointed. I randomly read some English fics as well and rather enjoyed But a Little Thing by [ profile] ka0richan, a Kakashi/Sasuke "songfic" (it's a fic set to a real live song that you can listen to while it plays). Frankly, I don't understand the Kakashi/Sasuke pairing (I've come across it in various fanfic sites and have read some). But this fic doesn't really require belief in this pairing, it's so generic. But I think it really works with the song. XD
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Tight-rope by Natsume Isaku was the perfect salve for a crappy day. Most of the manga is about childhood friends normal guy and son of yakuza. It was extremely conventional and not quite as shiny as Natsume-sensei's other works, but still a pleasant read. Son of yakuza is very fixated on normal guy in a romantic but puppy-dog kind of way. Very been there, done that, but what made me smile is that they all speak kansai-ben. Even the banal sounds just a bit better in kansai-ben, I think. The problem is normal guy who is just too...ambivalent about his feelings towards son of yakuza. He totally knows how son of yakuza feels (since son of yakuza doesn't hide his feelings) and wants to be close...but he just doesn't want to take that next step. Even though he knows he's basically torturing the poor son of yakuza. Yes, it's that kind of story.

What was very shiny was the Doushiyoumonaikeredo story included in this volume. I love that couple (and Shimano's dad) SO MUCH.

I'm glad to see Natsume-sensei's art looking better with each volume. The characters have her distinctive look but look more refined.

some pics and general squeeing )
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I can't believe it's 2009 already. I actually had some champagne in celebration, at work. Usually I don't have anything sparkling. It was Moët & Chandon White Star, which was very pleasant. So pleasant, in fact, that I drank too much of it. XD; I liked that it wasn't brut. I think I prefer sparkling wines slightly less dry...

In any case, in happy manga news I found out that Natsume Isaku's really new manga Tightrope has a side story of the Doushiyoumonaikeredo series...I want to read it! The main couple of the manga, a son of a yakuza clan head and a son of a restaurant owner who are childhood friends, sound cute as well. According to Natsume-sensei's blog there will be a CD drama for Doushiyoumonaikeredo coming out 2/25. There will be a booklet included as a limited special (which I assume I will not be able to get ;_;).
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I adore Doushiyoumonai keredo volumes 1 and 2 by Natsume Isaku. It's about a salaryman and his boss and their romance. It's cute and silly and fun. I love that though the two aren't perfect, neither are they irritating. Shimano, the salaryman, isn't just any salaryman. He's the son of the company president who will someday succeed his father. He's good-looking, smart, good at everything. His boss Kurokawa doesn't treat him particularly well, but Shimano comes to appreciate Kurokawa's gruff kindness. Yeah, it's been there, done that. But it does conventional so well. And they make such a cute couple. It also helps that I really like this artist's style.

much squeeing with many pictures )
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Just wanted to share a couple of manga I've fallen in love with. No damn clue if they are licensed or being scanlated, sorry. :P Hopefully they are, because they are both very enjoyable.

No Color by Natsume Isaku is about neighbors serious student Sakamoto and easy-going but driven part-timer Iida. Sakamoto is often irritated with the noisy Iida as he tries to study, but he is even more inconvenienced when Iida moves in with him after Iida's room explodes and has to be renovated...Aaand things just kind of go from there. XD;

The manga is not very original, but terribly delightful. It helps that the artist illustrated Junjou Island, a novel I adore, and it kind of has a similar dopey feel (if not quite as retarded). There's a bit of breaking out of the mold of parental expectations, learning to be honest with what you really want, some misunderstanding, and a lot of sweetness. The art is very clean and attractive. There are a couple of very pretty panels, and the way their first time happens is pretty damn hilarious.

some panels )

Kiss Blue by Kinoshita Keiko is even more predictible and cliched, but instead of being yet another ho-hum been-there-done-that manga it was a shining example of when superb execution trumps hackneyed storylines and characterizations. Tomosaka and Noda are college students. They were friends least junior high? In any case, Tomosaka is a serious, low-key, nice guy. Noda is also mostly a nice guy, just one of those that have two or three girlfriends at one time. A certain incident makes Tomosaka realize that...He's in love with Noda!! The requisite suppression and denial and suffering follow, leading to the most annoying cliched development that can happen in these situations...That instead of annoying me actually made me feel really bad and sad for the characters. The beauty of this manga, for me, was the mood. It feels slightly reserved, a tad bit detached, but with flashes of the underlying fierce emotion allowed out in tightly controlled phrases expressing Tomosaka's feelings.

As this is only the first book, I have no idea how the story is resolved. The second book, Kiss Blue II, comes out next week. Hopefully I'll have it in my greedy little hands soon after, but in some ways I don't feel an absolutely burning need to read it. I'm worried that the end will be predictable yet lame or suprising but retarded...And I like the uncertainty at the end of the first volume. Even if the end sucks, the first book is so strong I'd reccomend it (with a warning not to read the second volume!) to people who don't need closure to enjoy a well-told story of that type.

a nothing scene )
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Junjou Island by Sunahara Touko (author of another favorite book of mine, Seventeen Drops) and illustrated by Natsume Isaku is a delightfully ridiculous light-hearted comedy I thoroughly enjoyed reading. It's not quite crack, it's just...retarded. In the best possible way, at least in my opinion. I could not put this book down the first time I read it, zipping through it at breakneck speed so that I could get some sleep. I finished with a big grin on my face and went to bed not regetting (much) how awful the next day was going to be--I figured I'd be planting my face into the keyboard when I'd inevitably nod off... I wasn't even too stressed the next morning when I woke up late and had to rush to get to work on time--I had forgotten to set the alarm clock in a post-reading daze of happiness, apparently.

Sakiyama Kouhei, a 20-year-old college student, has two big problems. First, he can't leave the island he was born and raised on. Every single time he tries to get off, the weather turns really bad really quickly and prevents him. Second, he has a "stalker." Hinase Ryo is the rich, good-looking, completely clueless "prince" of the island who has been in love with Kouhei for the last 11 years. Nothing Kouhei does (including having girlfriends and telling Ryo that he does) clues Ryo into the fact that he doesn't like Ryo, thanks to Ryo's selective hearing/seeing/comprehension and unbelievable optimism (I love to use the phrase "magical thinking" to describe Ryo's mindset). Kouhei ends up doing things like tricking Ryo into running errands to make him go away for a while. As anyone with even a passing aquaintance of BL would know, this story is about how things (finally) change between the two of them.

While I may squee about this book, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it willy-nilly. To me this story falls into the same category as Kodomo no Hitomi or Yome ni konaika, in that it is a patently ridiculous story that you kind of have to "buy into" to enjoy (if you don't, you may end up irritated and frustrated). Personally, it kills me with its silly child-like sweetness. It is overflowing with a kind of earnest, pure fairy-tale quality. Neither of the main characters nor the story irritated me, even when they ran into some fairly cliched (or really retarded) roadblocks to happiness. I found this combination of earnestly hetare seme + earnestly clueless yet devoted uke a winner, all around. I was laughing with/at/for them for most of the book, while still being touched/saddened at the apppropriate times.

the summary )

the pics )

the omake manga )

"Ryoute Ippai" by Suzuki Shoko is the ending from one of the Arlsan Senki OVAs and a lovely, lovely song. I thought it was appropriate for this book because of a) the image of an armful of flowers and b) the lyrics in general--so sweet and about always being together! Download the song here and check out the lyrics here.


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December 2015

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