Tag: Manga Review

Castle Mango – Boys Love Manga Review

A love hotel, the adult film industry, and a high school aged uke… sounds like the set up for a really sleazy, cliche boys love series. But don’t let the synopsis fool you, Castle Mango written by Narise Konohara and illustrated by Muku Ogura is a surprisingly heartfelt read. A hidden gem in an otherwise sex heavy genre, Castle Mango is a breath of fresh air! 

The series follows Yorozu Shirosaki, a studious high schooler whose family runs the love hotel, Castle Mango, where for a few hours, couples come to let off some steam. Yorozu sometimes helps run the front desk, but otherwise keeps his family’s business a secret from the rest of the world. His “quiet” life is interrupted when an adult film director, Togame, decides to use Castle Mango as the set of their next porno shoot and he is mistaken for one of the “extras” in the film. Embarrassed and ticked off, he vows to give the director a wide berth, but when it seems like Togame has his eyes set on his younger brother, Yorozu devises a plan. So, he tricks a drunk Togame into believing they slept together, in hopes of diverting his attention. Yorozu thought it would be enough to scare Togame off, he never imagined Togame would actually ask him to be his BOYFRIEND?! 

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What Did You Eat Yesterday? – Volume 1 Manga Review

I am a huge boys love fan, but looking back at some of the series I own, a lot of them aren’t exactly what you’d call “wholesome”. I’m not ashamed of this, I like smutty BL as much as the next fujoshi, but every so often I like to pick up something a bit more tame—so during one of my RightStuf hauls I snagged a few copies of Fumi Yoshinaga’s What Did You Eat Yesterday? I’d run across the series a few years ago in the dealers room at a Con and back then I wasn’t ready to invest in a longer series, especially when each volume is $12.95 a pop. But, when faced with extra time at home, I figured now was a good time to start adding to my manga library and I have not regretted my purchase! What Did You Eat Yesterday? is one of the most wholesome boys love manga I have read in a long time.

A hard-working middle-aged gay couple in Tokyo come to enjoy the finer moments of life through food. After long days at work, either in the law firm or the hair salon, Shiro and Kenji will always have down time together by the dinner table, where they can discuss their troubles, hash out their feelings and enjoy delicately prepared home cooked meals!

-Synopsis

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Behind Story – BL Manhwa Review

Like many of you, I’ve spent quite a bit of time confined to my apartment, waiting for the COVID-19 pandemic to blow over. And while the bulk of my time spent teleworking during the week, I do need a bit of a break from the monotony of my computer screen. So I’ve taken to buying manga on Amazon and in the two weeks I’ve been social distancing I’ve amassed quite a few new titles. Of course, most of these are boys love  (which seems to be pretty much all I buy now), which given my not so secret fujoshi tendencies shouldn’t be a surprise (especially if you follow my Insta).

While I definitely snagged some interesting stuff, the one that I was most interested in starting was the manhwa, Behind Story by Narae Ahn. Now, some backstory—Amazon has been suggesting this to me for WEEKS and while I like manhwa, I kind of find their stories a bit on the soap opera side when it comes to drama. And BL manhwa tends to really crank that shit up with their angsty drama and penchant for tragedy, and… I really need to be in the mood for that. So, I kinda dragged my feet a bit. It’s just 3 volumes long so it’s not as big of an investment as say a longer running shounen or shojo series and it was on sale when I got it, so I figured I could do worse.

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Behind Story is the debut title of Narae Ahn, so it is a bit rough in places, but despite some flaws I actually really enjoyed reading this story. It’s more on the shounen-ai side of things, with very little in the way of actual sex, BUT, it does deal with some intense themes like: non-consentual sex, drugs, and abuse. There are a few characters that have been the victims of sexual assault and while most boys love media tends to sexualize rape, Narae Ahn makes it very clear from the get go that this is not meant to be taken lightly! These are traumatic experiences and they are handled (for the most part) in a realistic way.

Where to Read: Lezhin (Digital) | Netcomics (Digital) | Amazon (Print)

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I Hear the Sunspot BL Manga Review

I’ve been on a real boys love kick lately, so I decided to finally read through Yuki Fumino’s I Hear the Sunspot. The series focuses on the relationship between a hearing impaired college student and his cheerful and outspoken classmate. Originally released in 2014 as a stand alone volume, the story was expanded into a second volume, I Hear the Sunspot – Theory of Happiness and then again as the ongoing series I Hear the Sunspot – Limit. The series is currently licensed in English by One Piece Books, I picked up the first two volumes at con and I fell in love with the series, so when I saw them up for pre-order on Amazon, I snapped the rest of them up as well. Unlike most of the series I buy, I Hear the Sunspot is an ongoing series, with only four volumes available in print (as of this writing).

 

Kohei is a hearing-impaired college student who is used to being misunderstood by his peers due to his disability, to the point that he’s resigned himself to a life of loneliness. But, when he meets the outgoing and friendly Taichi, Kohei finds his quiet life of solitude is no longer enough to satisfy him. After sharing their lunch together, the pair strike up an instant friendship that slowly develops into something more than friends, but less than lovers, where will life take these two very different young men…

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Escape Journey – BL Manga Review

The boys love genre has always toed the line between what is acceptable and what isn’t when it comes to romance, usually straying into some pretty questionable territory in how it depicts same sex couples. Either you get an angst filled drama fest or a lot of non-con smut, and every so often you come across a title that manages to give you something genuinely wholesome. Escape Journey is Ogeretsu Tanaka’s English-language BL debut and like many boys love manga before it, struggles to find that balance between wholesome romance and the appropriate amount of “drama”. However, despite its flaws, Escape Journey is a solid boys love title and at only three volumes it delivers a rather savory reading experience.

Escape Journey follow Naoto and Taichi, two guys who went from friends to lovers in high school, but the relationship proved to be too much and the pair split after a huge argument. Even though years have passed, Naoto is still upset (read: pissed off) about how things ended with Taichi and is looking forward to getting a fresh start in college. But, on his first day he discovers that Taichi has also enrolled at his university and interested in being friends again. While Naoto is initially unsure about his feelings for his ex, the two quickly fall back into their old friendship, which eventually evolves into something more… but, old hurts don’t heal easily and the pair finds themselves falling back into the same routine. Will they be able to move on from the past and build something stronger this time around or will Naoto and Taichi continue to hurt one another?

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Fangirl Moment: Harukaze no Étranger

TGIF! It’s that time of the week again, it’s Fangirl Friday!! WOOT! I’ve been on a bit of a BL manga binge this week, so it seemed fitting that this week’s post be about one of the titles I read. If you aren’t in the mood for BL, I highly recommend checking out one of my other Fangirl Moment posts (there are a ton to choose from) by clicking right, HERE, I cover a range of topics so I’m sure you’ll find something worthwhile over there!! For everyone else, let’s get this show on the road shall we?

This week I’ll be covering the Kii Kanna’s ongoing slice of life boys love manga, Harukaze no Étranger, the sequel to her 2013 manga Umibe no Étranger. The series was released back in 2014 and as of this writing, comprises of 2 volumes, with a third on the way. While it’s prequel was was licensed in English by Renta!, this series has not been licensed for an English language audience, however it’s currently being fan translated by Stranger by the Sea Scans!

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Fangirl Moment: Umibe no Étranger

TGIF! It’s that time of the week again, it’s Fangirl Friday!! WOOT! I’ve been on a bit of a BL manga binge this week, so it seemed fitting that this week’s post be about one of the titles I read. If you aren’t in the mood for BL, I highly recommend checking out one of my other Fangirl Moment posts (there are a ton to choose from) by clicking right, HERE, I cover a range of topics so I’m sure you’ll find something worthwhile over there!! For everyone else, let’s get this show on the road shall we?

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This week I’ll be covering the Kii Kanna’s 2013 slice of life boys love manga, Umibe no Étranger. The series is four chapters long, all of which have been compiled into a single volume. While there hasn’t been an English language print release for this title, it is available digitally from  Renta!under the title ‘The Stranger by the Sea’. 

*Note: I will be covering the sequel ‘Harukaze no Étranger’ during next week’s Fangirl Moments post, just a heads up!

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Fangirl Moment: Ohayou To Oyasumi To Sono Ato Ni

TGIF! It’s that time of the week again, it’s Fangirl Friday!! WOOT! I know I said I’d write about Shunju Aono’s comedy slice of life manga series, I’ll Give It My All… Tomorrow, but I recently came across another manga that ignited my fangirl spirit, to the point that I just had to write about it, so, I’ll Give It My All… Tomorrow will have to wait until next week, which in and of itself is kind of poetic. *ahem*

So, for this week’s Fangirl Moments post I wanted to cover a BL manga I came across the other day. I know, I know, I can hear the collective groans of all you BL naysayers out there, sorry, not sorry. If you aren’t in the mood for BL, I highly recommend checking out one of my other Fangirl Moment posts (there are a ton to choose from) by clicking right, HERE, I cover a range of topics so I’m sure you’ll find something worthwhile over there!! For everyone else, let’s get this show on the road shall we?

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Fangirl Moment: Don’t Blame Me

TGIF! Here we are again with another Fangirl Friday! This week I’m covering one of the first BL manga I ever read! So when I saw it on sale on the Juné site, I wasted no time snapping it up. Of course I reread it for this post, and OMG, I fell in love with the story all over again… I’m talking about the yaoi classic, Don’t Blame Me (Ore wa Wakarunai) by Yugi Yamada!

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For those of you that have been following me for a while, you might recognize this manga from my Top 5 BL/Yaoi Titles post, as the series that showed me there was more to BL than sex. This a heartwarming manga and one of my all time favorites!!

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Fangirl Moment: Hot Gimmick

TGIF! Here we are again with another Fangirl Friday! This week I’m covering a manga that’s just so bad it’s good. There are so many reasons to hate this manga, unnecessary angst, drama, questionable romantic relationships, just to name a few, but for some reason I can’t bring myself to condemn it and believe me I tried! I’m talking about the shoujo manga,  Hot Gimmick by Mika Aihara!

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I have never read a manga so problematic before in my life, but there’s a beauty to it, albeit a twisted and rather cringe worthy kind of beauty… This manga is like watching a really bad soap opera or those telenovelas, you just have to see where all the madness leads, even if a little piece of your soul dies in the process.

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Fangirl Moment: Kokoro Control

TGIF! Here we are again with another Fangirl Friday! I went a little overboard reading Haikyuu DJs last week and this week, so I figured why not share my new obsession with you guys? Generally I’m not much of a shipper, but I will admit that I’m partial to the Eren x Levi pairing from Attack on Titan and the Kageyama x Hinata pairing from Haikyuu. But, I’ll save the angsty AoT stuff for another day… *ahem* I think KageHina is the cutest thing there ever was!! So, this week I’m gonna cover one of my favorite KageHina DJs…. *drumroll* Kokoro Control!!

While some folks credit doujinshi (DJs) as the medium that sparked their love of Boys Love/Yaoi, my journey was quite the opposite. I only discovered the wonderful world of DJs after I’d already fallen hopelessly into BL hell, so this is still relatively new territory for me. Ah, yeah, so for those of you that have no idea what a DJ is, or if you need a refresher, I’ve included the wiki definition below:

Dōjinshi is the Japanese term for self-published works, usually magazines, manga or novels. Dōjinshi are often the work of amateurs, though some professional artists participate as a way to publish material outside the regular industry.

Wikipedia

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Fangirl Moment: Does the Flower Blossom?

Happy New Year and TGIF!! This is the first Friday of 2017 and with it comes a brand new Fangirl Moment post!! Since this is the first post of the new year and because I have quite a few new followers, I figured this would be a good time to explain what Fangirl Moment posts are:

Fangirl Moments are a part of a weekly post series where I cover a wide range of topics (books, movies, anime, manga, etc). These posts are relatively short (roughly 500 words), just a short snapshot about the topic of the week and are uploaded every Friday (give or take)… Previous Fangirl Moment posts can be found under the Fangirl Moments tab on the top menu, organized by type (or just click the tab for the master list). 

So now that that’s out of the way… *ahem* I thought long and hard about what I wanted to cover this week and after much deliberation and many sleepless nights I decided to go with… Oh who am I kidding? I don’t really plan these posts out! 😛 This time around, I decided to go with a BL manga that I bought over the Christmas Break, Does the Flower Blossom? (Hana wa Saku ka) by Shoko Hidaka.

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I’m still waiting on my copy of volume 3…

Does the Flower Blossom? is a five volume slice of life boys love manga, that follows the budding relationship between a mature office worker and a young artist. This manga series is licensed in English by Juné, please support the author and purchase the volumes when they become available in your area!

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Fangirl Moment: Dengeki Daisy

TGIF! Here we are again with another Fangirl Friday! This week I’m covering a manga by one of my absolute favorite mangaka. No, seriously, I have read just about everything by this author, but this is one of my favorites… I’m talking about the shoujo manga Dengeki Daisy by Kyousuke Motomi!

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Check out my awesome photography skills…

I have been periodically buying all of the volumes for this manga over the years and I’m just missing the last six volumes… That’s how much I love this series, I actually bought it! I don’t waste money on sub-par manga!

*Also, I am not done with this series, SO KEEP THE SPOILERS TO YOURSELVES! I’m serious!*

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Fangirl Moment: Uzumaki

TGIF! Here we are again with another Fangirl Friday! This week I’m covering a manga that scared the crap out of me when I discovered it a few years ago. To this day, I still can’t look at spirals without getting a chill… I’m talking about the seinen horror manga Uzumaki .

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I absolutely love horror movies, the creepier the better, there’s just something fun about being scared. So it was only natural that I would eventually discover the wonderful world of horror manga and what better mangaka to introduce me to the genre than Junji Ito!

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Fangirl Moment: Summertime

TGIF! Here we are again with another Fangirl Friday! It’s summer break, and what better way to spend the hot summer days than by reading manga. This week I’m going to cover a oneshot  I came across a  few years ago called Summertime.

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Summertime is a 1985 manga oneshot (from the oneshot collection, Dahlia no Obi) written by Yumiko Ooshima. The story follows a young man, who is set to marry his childhood sweetheart, in one week’s time. But when his childhood friend who is supposed to be visiting from Tokyo never shows up, he ventures to Tokyo in search of some answers. What he uncovers will alter his way of life forever.

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Fangirl Moment: Doukyusei

TGIF! Here we are again with another Fangirl Friday! This week I’m doing something for all of my BL/Yaoi Fangirls out there…Today I’m going to cover the boy’s love manga, Doukyusei. This post will be SAFE FOR WORK…There will be absolutely NO NSFW images in this post, so rejoice (or curse my name), this post can be read in public without consequence! Also, Doukyusei is licensed in English by Digital Manga Guild (however, while I am grateful for the work they put into translating it, there are some minor faults with their product). Doukyusei and its sequels have been licensed in English by Seven Seas Entertainment. The print of volume one is now available for purchase (the subsequent volumes will be released later this year).

When I heard that this manga was getting an animated film adaptation back in February, I damn near pissed my pants! I absolutely adore this manga, quirky art style and all, and I am more than willing to shell out $60 for the Blu-ray, when it is released in September. This is exactly how I like my BL, I’ll choose slow natural romance over non-con romance any day of the week! This story gave me butterflies, because it very much reminded me of my own experience with first love (though mine was nowhere near successful). I’m still fond of that awkwardly bittersweet time, and this manga captures it perfectly.

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Fangirl Moment: Blue Morning

TGIF! Here we are again with another Fangirl Friday! This week I’m doing something for all of my BL/Yaoi Fangirls out there…Today I’m going to cover the yaoi manga, Blue Morning. This post will be SAFE FOR WORK…There will be absolutely NO NSFW images in this post, so rejoice (or curse my name), this post can be read in public without consequence!

I’ve said this before, but it is extremely rare that I pick up an ongoing series. They are just more trouble than they’re worth, and I end up forgetting about them anyway due to huge gaps between updates. In order for me to even think about picking up an ongoing series, the plot has to be on point, something that I won’t easily forget between releases… But the true test of an ongoing series is whether or not I will also spend money on it! I don’t throw my money around lightly, so I certainly won’t bother buying a manga series until it’s complete…  I have been burned one too many times in the past (looking at you Tokyopop), so I am extremely picky about which manga series I buy. So for me to not just read an ongoing series, but go so far as to purchase it as well, says a great deal about my opinion of the series…. I have made that exception only four times to date, and Blue Morning was one of them!

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Fangirl Moment: Banana Fish

TGIF! Here we are again with another Fangirl Friday! This week I’m reviewing a genre fluid manga…technically it’s a shojo manga, but you wouldn’t think it to read it. This manga has everything, gang battles, political deals, mysterious drugs, romance (?), drama, angst, tragedy, and to tie it all up, subtle (like really subtle) BL undertones. The manga I’m about to cover is my favorite series of all time. No matter how much time passes, and no matter how many manga I read, nothing has even come close to it! The series is licensed in English by Viz, but it is currently out of print! I have searched conventions, old book stores and online…and I still don’t have the whole series yet….soon though!

Banana Fish, a 19 volume classic manga series by Akimi Yoshida, was released between 1985 and 1994. The series was immensely popular in Japan, spawning three spin-off stories: Private Opinion, Angel Eyes, and The Garden with Holy Light. The musician, Gackt loved this manga so much that he wrote a song about it entitled Asrun (Aslan) Dream (it’s really good too)! This manga really took me by surprise, the artwork while rough at first really grew on me, and the plot…wow…this is not your typical shojo manga, it transcends genre labels! While this post will be Safe for Work, I do need to clarify that this manga does have some content that may not be suitable for some readers. However, none of said content takes away from the plot in any way, in fact it only enhances it!

Trigger warnings: child prostitution, rape/forced sexual situations, coarse language, death


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Fangirl Moment: Ten Count

TGIF! Here we are again with another Fangirl Friday! This week I’m doing something for all of my BL/Yaoi Fangirls out there…Today I’m going to cover the yaoi manga, Ten Count. This post will be SAFE FOR WORK…There will be absolutely NO NSFW images in this post, so rejoice (or curse my name), this post can be read in public without consequence!

Let me preface this by saying, I generally don’t start ongoing series, I hate waiting on updates. But, I have made a few exceptions in the past…very few. In order for me to go against my no ongoing series code, the series in question better be damn good; this manga is that good!

Ten Count is an ongoing (currently 4 volume) yaoi series by Takarai Rihito, the author being Seven Days and Only the Flower Knows. The series follows the relationship between mysophobic secretary Shirotani Tadaomi and clinic counselor Kurose. While the relationship between the two men is essential to the plot, a lot more focus is put on Shirotani’s mysophobia. If you don’t know, mysophobia is a pathological fear of contamination and germs [Wiki].

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Fangirl Moment: Flowers and Bees

Flowers and Bees, also known as Hana to Mitsubachi by Anno Moyoco is a 7 volume slice of life, comedy-romance manga and one of my favorite manga series of all time! I was originally introduced to this manga by a friend of mine back in high school. She lent me all of the volumes that she had (at the time the first five), it took me less than a week to read through them all. So i quickly ran back to get the remaining two volumes only to discover that she didn’t have them! I quickly turned to the internet for scans, but there aren’t any! After a brief moment of dispair,  I convinced my mother to order the remaining volumes from Barnes and Noble. The series is out of print…so it was a while before she could even track down the remaining volumes, hell it took me forever to get the first five volumes for myself!

Released in 2000, Flowers and Bees, follows ordinary high school student Komatsu, a hapless underdog in the most basic and literal sense. Komatsu is the guy that girls ignore or laugh at, especially the school it-girl, Sakura, who goes out of her way to make his life a living hell. Our poor hero is the guy that just can’t catch a break no matter what he does. So, tired of living a life of ambiguity, Komatsu vows to change his luck around and become a heartthrob girls like Sakura will be tripping over themselves to get with… He seeks the advice of the Devil Sisters Kyoko and Harumi, who submit him to their own special torture training so that he too can become a Beautiful Man. He puts himself to all manner of treatments and make overs just so he can pick up girls and experience the sweet life. Follow Komatsu as he learns about a world of desperate housewives, sadistic women, love hotels, as he stumbles and fumbles his way towards love and self acceptance.

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Fangirl Moment: Hotarubi no Mori e

TGIF! Here we are again with another Fangirl Friday, where I write about my absolute favorite anime, manga, dramas, webcomics, books….whatever! This week I’m taking it back a little to one of the first manga to make me actually cry, Hotarubi no Mori e (lit. Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light).

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Hotarubi no Mori e is a 2002 manga oneshot (also apart of a 2003 tankobon of the same name) written by Yuki Midorikawa, the author behind Natsume’s Book of Friends. The story follows a young girl, Hotaru, and her friendship with a mysterious masked man, Gin,  who lives in the woods outside of her grandfather’s home. She meets Gin at the age of six and quickly learns that Gin is not a normal man, but a supernatural being. He warns her that she must never touch him or else he will disappear forever. She promises not to touch him and they strike up a summer friendship that spans years. But, as the years pass and Hotaru matures, her feelings grow into love, and both struggle with the limitations of not being able to touch.

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Fangirl Moment: Mushi-Shi

Mushi-shi is a 10 volume manga series, released between 1999 and 2008. In 2005 the series was turned into a 26 episode anime series and a 20 episode second season was released in 2014, there are also two OVAs, a live action film (Joe Odigiri is awesome 😀 ), and an anime film. In a world of fast paced action shounen series and overly fluffy shoujo romances, the episodic occult detective series, Mushi-shi, is an oddity.

I love Mushi-shi, in fact it is one of my favorite series, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve re-watched the series over the years…it’s just so calming. From the open chords of the OP to the ethereal instrumentals of the ending themes, Mushi-shi definitely puts you in the mood for something mystical.

The story takes place in an imaginary period between the Edo and Meiji periods of Japan and follows Ginko a Mushi-shi (Mushi master) as he travels Japan solving problems caused by Mushi. It’s kind of hard to explain what mushi are, but for the most part mushi are primitive creatures more akin to fungi and bacteria. Usually, they co-exist with plants, animals, and human, without much problem, in fact they are imperceptible to humans, save for a few exceptions. Mushi are an integral part of nature, and rarely interact with humans, but when they do people tend to get the short end of the stick. The stories all range from bittersweet to downright Disney, but please rest assured that every person that comes into contact with mushi are changed in some way…usually for the better.

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Fangirl Moment: Kanata Kara

Kanata Kara, also known as From Far Away by Kyoko Hikawa is a 14 volume shojo fantasy and one of my favorite manga series of all time! I can not tell you how many times I have reread this manga and I never get tired of it. Released between 1993 and 2003, From Far Away, follows ordinary high school student Noriko as she is propelled from her home in modern Japan to a strange magical world. Little does she know, her presence is the manifestation of an ancient prophecy that has the power to tip the balance in this new world. It has been foretold that the Awakening will arrive and awaken a monster known as the Sky Demon and bring destruction to the world. With mercenaries from every kingdom closing in, Noriko must rely on the handsome warrior Izark, for protection. But, there is a dark secret Izark is hiding, that no one not even Noriko can know about.  What will happen to the two unlikely companions? And could Noriko be the Awakening?

Okay, so I will admit that the story is the typical girl gets transported to another world romance, with all the shojo cliches imaginable. However what makes this title stand out is that Noriko, unlike most fantasy stories where the heroine automatically speaks the language (be it magic or coincidence), has to learn the language gradually. So for the first couple of volumes Noriko takes the time to learn an entire language, and while she does get better over the course of the series, she still makes mistakes (though they are few and far between in the later volumes). This was the first time that I had ever seen something like this in a manga, and I wish more titles did this!

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Fangirl Moment: I Shall Never Return

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So one of the manga series that I bought at Katsucon was the acclaimed yaoi classic, I Shall Never Return by Kazuna Uchida. I absolutely love this manga, everything about it just screamed 90’s, from the fashion to the angst ridden plot, it was a non-stop ride from start to finish. I couldn’t help but get swept up in the story of Ritsuru and Ken, as their friendship evolves into a passionate love affair. I could not put it down, quickly breezing through all five volumes in a matter of hours, it was just that good! Don’t let the art put you off this amazing title (I happen to love 90’s art), you will regret not reading this amazing title.

The five volume series released between 1992 and 1996 follows the friendship between Ritsuro, a straight laced high school student and Ken, a high school drop out who leads a life of sex and drugs. Despite Ken’s destructive lifestyle, Ritsuro sticks by him even after it causes friction between him and his girlfriend Moeko. I want to commend this title for actually having a female character that is important to the plot! Moeko is much more than the typical female prop character, she is an important friend to both Ritsuro and Ken, without getting in the way of the relationship between the two male leads. She is a side character that actually adds depth to the story in a meaningful way.

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