elwen: (reading)
After watching the No. 6 anime, I've started both the manga and the gensaku novels. I usually don't like to start another version of a title too soon after I've finished one, because the story is still too familiar. But with vagaries of bringing stuff to read on the train to work, I ended up starting the novels, and then I had to read the manga to figure out if I want to grab the third volume today while I have a coupon from Kinokuniya.

Since the No. 6 anime was probably so abridged anyway, I don't think there's as big a problem from reading another, fuller account now.

Anyway, my conclusion on the manga is that I have to keep collecting it because Nezumi is just so hawt. Also because Kino-sensei does these really cute mini facial expressions when it's otherwise unclear who a speech bubble belongs to. If I had to point to one frame that says it all, it's when Nezumi sees Shion with the syringe and asks, "What are you going to do after that?!" And Shion, back to the camera, says "Stitch it," but you've got the little starry-eyed face in the speech bubble.

In the end, though, gensaku-worship aside, I think I will like the novels the best. I think there's something about that medium that suits this series best. The little reflective moments you can't capture in an anime or manga. For example, I liked how the novel really explored Karan's being bored in Chronos and then being much more lively after they moved, which gets disposed of in one frame in the manga and not addressed at all (that I noticed) in the anime. Also, you just can't get inside Shion's head (or body) in the manga or anime. Like his... response to Nezumi being on top of him (with a spoon to his throat). I think it was something like "he went numb and his whole body was tingling"? That kind of seals the deal, way early in the series, doesn't it? How can Safu's "I want your sperm" even compete with that?

On the other hand, the novels seem really prone to random digression. Which provide nice little glimpses of the world but sometimes could be handled a bit better. For example, the park scene went something like this:

The garbage-collecting robot has discovered what appears to be a corpse in the park!

Shion leaps onto his bike and pedals for his life.

...ah yes, bikes. Bikes had experienced a sort of boom in No. 6 recently, so that the ratio of bikes to people was now about two to one. And other self-powered forms of transportation. You could say there was a sort of revival.

Where was I? Oh yeah, bikes. So normally there'd be a speed-limiter preventing people from racing through the park. But fortunately Shion's bike was modded.

Wait, you want talk about where he was riding

[I may have filled in a lot because it's now been a month or two since I read the passage, but that really is the gist of it.]

Not sure how I'm going to deal with this series going forward. Whether I'll take a break after catching up in the manga or jump back to the novels. Maybe the novels, since Shion-Nezumi interaction is like crack. \o/
elwen: (reading)
I was wrong when I said last time that I haven't read shounen manga since Hikaru no Go. After picking up the new anime series, I got myself caught up on the Hunter x Hunter manga. Someday, when I want to reread the series, I will go and get the tankoubon, I think. Togashi-sensei's art style is very bold and simple sometimes, but I kind of like it. Also, he tends to clean it up a lot for the tankoubon. I'll never forget that big looming shadow thing that Pitou summoned, that in the tankoubon became an intricately drawn nurse robot thing. And those couple chapters where Gon's and Killua's faces were really just a bunch of zigzaggy lines.

I saw on Wikipedia that the manga has been described as "an almost random collection of psych-outs, battles, puzzles, and trickery" that works. And I really agree with that. I love the puzzles and trickery, and always fall for the psych-outs.

I'm glad the series is moving again, and the Ant King arc is finally over. I've kind of lost my hold on the story so far; I just remember the characters and the world. The Ant King arc got better, I think, and less gruesome, but the last chapters went up and down a lot. Maybe I just lose attention when the characters I really like (read: Killua) get pushed to the background.

As for the new arc... I couldn't care less about the Hunter Association elections. Yeah, we finally get to see [spoiler] but he's not really that interesting, and everyone else involved is annoying. Fortunately, the other major plotline features Killua, so I have no complaints. It's also more puzzle-y than battle-y, not that I mind the battles usually.

I also started reading 07-Ghost recently, which I guess is partially shounen, or shounen-shoujo confused, or something. It certainly has parts that are very light in text, in a way I associate with shounen series.

I saw some reviews on Baka-Updates Manga by people who really hated the series and complained that it was incredibly hard to follow, and I realize they're right. I really like the story and the characters, but the "writing" is awful. There are really short scenes that just cut off, that leave me wondering, "What just happened?" And within single dialogues I feel like there are often these non sequiturs that I have to go back and reread. I don't think all of them can be blamed on my poor Japanese skills...

(I recently read a nice article of tips for legal writing -- probably generally applicable -- and the main idea was that writing is a contract between the reader and the writer. And if you make the reader go back and reread something, you've broken the contract.)

I don't believe in blind gensaku-worship, but I do usually think the gensaku is better. I think 07-Ghost may be the rare exception, though. I really loved the anime, and from what I remember I think they fleshed out some scenes in ways I really enjoyed, and which probably improved the flow and ease of understanding. I will stick with the manga because I want to know what happens, and because I don't think the poor writing is so bad as to be fatal, but I think a rewatch will be in order once I catch up, plus I will never stop hoping for a sequel.

And now, having said the inferior gensaku is a rare exception, I have to mention another candidate: Pandora Hearts. It's on my list to read next to 07-Ghost and Uraboku, and lower down only because I haven't impulse-bought any volumes yet unlike the other two. But recently I came across a discussion of it on a message board, where someone said the manga was better but mentioned the plot had become confusing lately. So I had to ask, "Confusing in a good or bad way?" And it sounds bad. It was so bad that I read all their spoiler-tagged discussion and don't feel spoiled at all because it is so confusing it doesn't make sense.

Unlike 07-Ghost, I think this may be fatal. It's disappointing because Pandora Hearts was another series whose anime left me thirsting for more of the story, which I can only get from the manga. But if the story starts falling apart, then I guess there really is nothing there for me. Maybe it's time to just get those beautiful limited edition DVD sets and content myself with that.

In other manga news, I discovered a neat series called Superior about a demon queen who's killed half of humanity and then disguises herself to tag along with the hero sent to kill her, then falls in love with him. It's got nice humor, and the chapters have those dark reflections on humanity that I like in a series. (I don't know how to describe it better than that. Think Akino Matsuri, but less gruesome.) Not the biggest fan of the art, particularly the design of Exa, the main character, but what can you do. Plus, I'm always a sucker for series with a fantasy setting.
elwen: (reading)
Apparently there was a Best and Worst Manga Panel at Comic-Con. Kind of feels like one of those "bold all the banned books you've read" memes. Of course, I haven't read most of these, but there were some notable titles in there.

I'm even almost tempted to read Ao no Exorcist, except that I don't really believe in shounen manga. I will watch shounen anime, but I think the last shounen manga I read was Hikaru no Go, in like 2003. Ao no Exorcist was the only thing I'd heard of from the first page, so my only other thought was, "There's a 'grown-up manga' category? What does that correspond to? Seinen and josei?"

Page 2 had stuff I've heard of, mainly because they have anime adaptations, like Chi's Sweet Home, Kekkaishi, Twin Spica, One Piece, Fullmetal Alchemist. Still nothing I would actually read as a manga. Maybe I'll try the Kekkaishi anime, someday when I have time.

Page 3... Hm, Deadman Wonderland has a manga. I considered watching the anime, but got lost at the trailer.

And, the main reason I am even posting about this thing, the comments on Seikon no Qwaser, on the "worst manga" list:

David Brothers: "Oh, this is the Catholic lactation thing, right?"

Carlo Santos: "Yes, exactly."

I totally cracked up because I can see exactly why it can be summed up that way. I thought the series had good promotional art and a reasonably interesting description. Then I watched a trailer, and had to wonder when I had signed up for hentai. Seriously. It was like, "What is happening to those women? o_O" So yeah. I guess the series doesn't really get better from there.

(The anime has a sequel, though, so someone must like it...)

Page 4... CLAMP is coming out with another new series? C'mon girls. Stop starting new series and resuming series I don't care about (Gohou Drug), and finish X, dammit.

And Gokusen is on the "most wanted" list. Personally, I don't think it would do that well. Sure, there are the drama fans, but I don't think dorama really have that wide an audience, and what audience it has has probably bought the Japanese manga or overdosed themselves on scanlations already. And, as much as I love it, I don't think the anime is really something that would get people into the manga. In the end, it just seemed that the general reaction I've seen to Gokusen is "it's like GTO... but not as good." It's because it's really not for the same market as GTO, but the market for josei series like Gokusen is still not that big in the U.S., as far as I know.

But who am I to say, since I am not in the market for English-licensed manga at all.

Even if, now that the yen is so strong, Japanese tankoubon are often more expensive than the English version. ;_;

Page 5 is "most underrated." I would actually consider these, if I was looking for more manga to read -- which I am not, and probably won't be for another like 10 years. Even though the first thing I thought when I read the Kaze Hikaru comments was, "Romantic shinsengumi exploits? Is it like Hakuouki? Or just BL?" I should mention I've never really watched or read a bakumatsu series and have always been kind of skeptical of them and all the Shinsengumi obsession. I've always been meaning to find a good one and try it, though, since I've seen plenty of Three Kingdoms and Sengoku retellings by now.

Maoh sounded kind of interesting, too, though I am skeptical that a shounen series can have a lot of action and violence while being "thought-provoking."

Anyways, on the "things I am actually reading" front, I've been reading Matantei Loki recently. I just caught up to where I think I dropped off last time, right around the start of volume 5. Too bad I've got three more volumes and all of Matantei Loki Ragnarok between me and the new series that just started last week, Matantei Loki Ragnarok ~Shin Sekai no Kamigami~. Not that I didn't already read the first chapter of that. I gotta say, not a big fan of Freya's redesign. And now that someone pointed out that Hoenir looks like Harry Potter, I will never get it out of my head.


Dec. 12th, 2010 12:32 am
elwen: (work)
[Note: this may be one of the most random, stream-of-consciousness posts I've ever written. I decided to add bolded annotations after the fact, just to make things easier to find.]

In which I don't sleep...

I think Wednesday was the longest all-nighter I've ever pulled. I got up at 7am and didn't go to bed until around 10pm the following day. The week before, we called one of our experts and he was saying how he'd just been up 40 hours working on a grant proposal, and I thought, 'Wow, 40 hours is a long time.' Well, now I know just how long.

I did doze in my chair in 10-15 minute intervals for about 40 minutes at 8am Thursday. Does it still count?

I'm not a stranger to all-nighters, but I think I usually don't make it too far past the 24 hour mark. Before college, my all-nighters tended to begin at 4pm, so if I went to bed after dinner (or frequently before), then it wasn't really very long. At Tech, I'd usually take a nap in the middle of the following day.

This time, I had to get up early because our source code expert kept saying he'd come in between 8 and 9, forcing me to be there at 8. That was really killing me, even ignoring the need to stay up late. I'm a late riser. I keep trying to fix that, but haven't gotten anywhere near succeeding. I've also discovered that 8am is when people send their kids to the elementary school I pass on the way to work, so my normally heavenly commute (5 minutes, local streets only) has a hiccup. Then, on Thursday, by the time we were done with what we'd stayed up for, it was too late to go home and shower or nap before having to be back for afternoon meetings. Well, it was technically possible, but there was a very high chance that if we went home, we'd never come back. So we stuck it out. And then by the time I went home around 6, I was in the zone, and still didn't get in bed until 10.

I took yesterday easy. Perhaps too easy, since we got a bunch of assignments dumped on us at the aforementioned Thursday afternoon meeting. It seems like we were able to remember what we were assigned to do; we remember very little else from that meeting except the overwhelming desire to close our eyes.

In which I digress into manga...

Today I went to a friend's housewarming in San Francisco. He moved to near Japantown, and the original plan was to drive up early and shop the Kinokuniya first. But I got up late, and dithered around at home, and then the drive up was miserable, so I basically got there at a good time to just drop in.

I'm not that bummed about the Kinokuniya, really. It would have been nice to go just because I was in the area and I so hate driving to and in San Francisco. (But I discovered that there's a Safeway nearby that I could probably get away with parking in for a quick Kinokuniya run...) But I've been in a covetous mood lately, being tempted by all the Christmas deals, especially those at RightStuf. And there are all these series I liked the anime of, that I'd like to follow the gensaku for, though I haven't actually bought any of them: Pandora Hearts, 07-Ghost, Uraboku, Denyuuden. But I've been reading La Esperanca lately, and really enjoying it, and it kind of makes me realize I should just sit down and work methodically through things one series at a time, preferably starting with things I already own. I'm too fresh from the anime with series like Uraboku to start following the manga, anyway.

I'm really glad I picked La Esperanca back up, though. All of the characters are so endearing, and the stories are really sweet. Even if I can't who any of the characters are. Like when I got to the Erwin story, I was like, 'Who the heck is Erwin? Is his roommate Henri?' It took me a volume and a half to be able to reliably distinguish between Henri and Robert. Sometimes it's still tough when you can't see their collars.

In which I hate San Francisco and get drunk (not really)...

Anyways. The housewarming.

I was reminded how different San Francisco and the people who live there are. I really like my friend, and would love to hang out with him and catch up more, but his friends are not like my friends. His work is probably not like my work, even though we are both patent litigators in BigLaw. Hanging out with his motley gathering of friends was fine for a night, but I am just not used to those personality types. Toward the end, I discovered that a couple were apparently second-years from his firm, and . . . wow. I just can't imagine there being any people like that at my office. I like my people better.

But I'm glad I went and got to see it. And reaffirmed that I'm not missing out on anything that I would desire. Maybe that he can have such a nice apartment 2 miles from his office (which is about the distance I am from mine). But, his 2 miles goes through downtown is 10 minutes, according to Google. I hate San Francisco streets. I do wish east Menlo Park had more than crappy college student apartments and $5 million homes, though.

I think I drank more alcohol than I have in a while. It's hard to tell because I don't know what the alcohol content of all these things are. I think I did half a shot of vodka, a shot of tequila, and a shot of soju mixed with Calpico in some unknown ratio. Maybe it's not that much. I felt a little clumsy trying to type in my BlackBerry password while at his place, but other than that I felt fine, and I drove home okay... As long as I don't have a hangover tomorrow. But someday I think I need to get drunk just to have the experience.

In which I digress into seiyuu...

I got to listen to a couple of episodes of Omae ni Hyper Rainbow while driving up and back. There was someone who wrote a letter to them and kept calling him "Okiayu-sama." ^_^b I am so glad I got these CDs. They actually have re-listening value (because my comprehension is so bad, sigh). And speaking of covetousness, it makes me want the Souken no Mai CDs all the more. C'mo~~~n, exchange rate!

I think that's enough jumbled topics in one post, don't you?
elwen: (Default)
So I mentioned that the CEO of Digital Manga made a big plug for their new Digital Manga Guild project at Yaoi-Con. He really tailored his pitch to the yaoi fans, so I was left with the impression that he was starting with only yaoi titles and publishers. I thought the idea was great, but piloting it with yaoi not so much. After looking at the site more carefully, and watching the video of his not-tailored-to-Yaoi-Con pitch, I realize that it is not just for yaoi, so now I am even more excited to support it and see where it goes.

So what is it? I'm just going to crib the description I just posted at Baka-Tsuki:

Digital Manga is starting an interesting project that might be worth watching in the area of getting content to fans within the bounds of copyright law. They managed to convince some publishers to go to a revenue-sharing model. So no up-front fee to license a series, which is often a great deterrent to getting many series. Instead, the translators, publishers, and DM will split whatever money comes in. It seems the plan is to recruit translators (and editors and letterers) from the scanlation community and really bring them in from the cold, so to speak. Whether this will work is anybody's guess, but this is probably the only venture I've ever seen that even tries to reconcile the demand for translated content, the willingness of fans to do it mostly for the love of the series, and the need to deliver money back to the authors.

I signed up shortly after getting back from Yaoi-Con, and since then I got an announcement that the tests for translator, editor, and letterer are now open. Of course, I have too busy since then to take the test -- which also does not bode well for my ability to participate in actual translating down the road -- but I really want to at least keep my foot in the door just to see where this all goes.

Of course I encourage any of you who are interested to take a look and maybe sign up, but I also realize there aren't a whole lot of details out there yet. (The video says the revenue split has yet to be decided, but let's be honest here, are people on the fan side really thinking about that? If you're a professional translator, this probably isn't going to sustain you. And if you're a scanlator, I think the legitimacy is compensation enough.) So right now I can't say anything too strongly. But I'll report back on the selection of titles once things have gotten that far.

[I confess, I have this tiny hope that somehow I will find a title I've already worked on, and we could spare everyone some work.]

ETA: Okay, despite the general-ness of their website, their FAQ in the forums says they are focusing on yaoi titles initially. Bah. Well... I guess all the more reason I need to work at it, so hopefully they will keep expanding the venture. :|
elwen: (reading)
I swung by Kinokuniya yesterday because it's been so long since I've been, even though I'm at the point where I have to special order of most of my series. [And in writing the preceding sentence, I just realized I forgot to check for new Genbu Kaiden, d'oh!]

To my pleasant surprise, they had a bunch of stuff I wanted: Koisuru Boukun 6, Junjou Romantica 13, and all three currently released volumes of Kimi ga Koi ni Oboreru. In fact, they seemed to have ported over all of the Takanaga Hinako stuff I had had to get from the SF store last time. (I wonder what yaoi series got kicked out, since the section as a whole didn't look particularly expanded.)

While scanning the books in, the checkout guy said, "You know she's coming here, right?" I looked at him blankly, trying to process his statement. Did he mean Takanaga-sensei? Did he mean "here" as in Kinokuniya? Or the United States? After a few seconds, he added, "...to Yaoi-Con." (I think maybe he didn't want to be the first to say it. ^^;;) The lightbulb went on, and I said, "Oh, yeah." Then, after a beat, "I did't think you would know." Not in a "are you a closet yaoi fan or something" way, you understand, just in a "why would you ever know that" way. [I was kind of sleep deprived yesterday, so it took time for things to percolate through my brain.]

So he explained that Kinokuniya goes up there every year, which makes lots of sense. Though I still kind of wonder why the SJ branch would care; seems like it would mostly be the SF store involved. Then again, maybe they need to pool inventory or staff or something to handle all the fangirls. The guy read Tanakanaga-sensei's name out loud from the cover, as if confirming to himself that he had the guests right. (After all, Nakamura Shungiku isn't going...) Then he said, "There's another person, too... uh..." "Yamane Ayano," I supplied for him. By then, the transaction was finished, so I left.

It was kind of a surreal conversation. But it made me more excited for Yaoi-Con. And more conflicted about prioritizing which guests I want to see. Okiayu-sama obviously has to come first, but I still can't decide if -- assuming I could even get a second session -- I want to see Takanaga-sensei or Lynn Flewelling. Especially with Glimpses coming out and being the perfect thing to ask her to autograph. I know it could all be a moot point, but I still have to be prepared for the possibility. One month to decide!
elwen: (Default)
Oh oh oh, KSB trailer. (From [livejournal.com profile] takanaga_hinako, duh.)

Crap. I've been imagining Souichi with a way deeper voice than Midorikawa Hikaru. :(

Morinaga I can get used to. He was always kind of generic in my head anyway.

Ahhh, I don't know. I kind of don't want to get corrupted into hearing Souichi as Midorikawa. But other than that, it looks good.

I wanted to hear Hiroto-kun. Osaka-ben, yay! But I'm too lazy to look up his seiyuu right now and get a preview.

Bah, I guess this is what happens when I start with the manga. (Junjou Romantica I started with the anime, and so only had to deal with Misaki sounding just like Shibuya Yuuri.)

Going to San Francisco Kinokuniya today to pick up the manga. ^_____^

ETA: Hiroto is voiced by Hirakawa Daisuke. I've seen some of those shows, but none where I would remember what he sounds like. Oh well. But... Senbonzakura has a voice? Is that a spoiler? @_@;;
elwen: (squee!)
I take back what I said about them republishing the Morinaga x Souichi chapters from Challengers. I didn't realize that practically 50% of the last two volumes is Morinaga x Souichi. They need a warning at the beginning of Koisuru Boukun or something. It was pure chance that I stumbled across Challengers, otherwise I would have missed so much!

Not just in their backstory, too. So much LOL. (I skimmed anything that was pure Kurokawa x Tomoe, so the wading wasn't so bad.) Kanako finding out! And Isogai in the special! OMG, I love Isogai even more now. He's as good as the twins in Ouran. XD XD XD

Though I have to object to the hint that he ever had anything for Kurokawa. =/ Spoils my image, even if it was only part of his just deserts. But I guess that's where that rejected polygon went... ^^;;

Ah, Isogai. I would give him presents without the act. ^_______^
elwen: (reading)
As promised, a post devoted to Koisuru Boukun. Let's hope I remember everything I wanted to say.

First of all, I think I have done a 180 from when I started watching Junjou Romantica. At this point, I kind of like Koisuru Boukun more. What makes it 180 is that, at first I really disliked Nowaki x Hiro, but now they're my favorite couple. And Morinaga x Souichi is like Nowaki x Hiro, but amplified. You have the puppy-dog seme and the prickly, not-entirely-willing uke. Also the age reversal (without which I suppose the puppy dog part would be harder to pull off, especially in Japan's social structure).

But I guess what really bugged me about Nowaki x Hiro was Nowaki's tendency to be a doormat. Morinaga is much more likely to fight back and stand up for himself, even though he then lapses into moments of angst and uncertainty when Souichi's not around. And Souichi is much more violent and arrogant and totally self-unaware than Hiro, though I'm not sure which I prefer. (But there were a few moments when Souichi's attitude reminded me of some of the Shuuei x Kouyuu doujinshi I've read. <3 But Kouyuu I think falls somewhere between Hiro and Souichi.)

Storywise, the first, um, lay is utterly lacking in believability. But I guess it works to move them along, given the length of their acquaintance.

BTW, I should mention that I am really excited to see all of this animated. It is going to be hilarious. And hawt.

Koisuru Boukun just has a good blend of everything. There are the LOL moments, and the Souichi being a big softie moments, and of course the hot steamy moments. Also, as I was skimming the raws last night, I noticed that Morinaga is really cute when he has that slightly cowed look on his face (usually accompanied by a welt on his cheek).

Not that things are perfect. Especially after reading some of Challengers, I gather that one of Takanaga-sensei's devices is the seme who can't control himself, especially in the early stages when the uke hasn't even come to terms with his sexuality. Which is a little disturbing in a way, plus I think it shifts the focus too much from the emotional aspects to needing sex all the time. Not that it doesn't sometimes play out in hilarious ways, but, you know. I'm not in it for the sex.

Speaking of Challengers... So Challengers is Takanaga-sensei's debut manga, and it covers the relationship between Souichi's little brother Tomoe and Kurokawa. It's pure shounen-ai so far, and from Takanaga-sensei's comments in the omake comic, it seems that back then she was too shy to even draw their naked butts. How she got from that to Koisuru Boukun... well, I guess that is the corruption that BL works. ^_^;;

Anyhow, Kurokawa x Tomoe holds nothing for me. I hate clueless ditzy characters like Tomoe, and Kurokawa practically has no personality at all. But I have to wade through Challengers to get the background on Morinaga and Souichi, like when they first met and when Morinaga confessed. Kind of unfortunate, how the publishing worked out. They should just republish those chapters somewhere in the Koisuru Boukun volumes. (And then, if she ever carries on with KSB volume 5 spoilers )...)

But, one good thing about reading Challengers is that Isogai has grown on me a lot. He's also probably the only straight guy left in the entire series. When he showed up in KSB, I didn't know who he was, and the whole arc with him is kind of weird and outrageous. But it makes more sense now. I see him as that shady, quirky, slightly pervy guy that would be voiced by Ishida Akira. XD (Except, of course, he can't be that pervy because he's straight. For realz. Takanaga-sensei says they rejected the love polygons that included him. :P)

But, speaking of Isogai being the only straight guy left, is it just the way of yaoi series to slowly pull in everyone? Like in Junjou Romantica, you start with Usami x Misaki. Then meet Hiro, who used to be in love with Usami, and now hooks up with Nowaki. Then meet Miyagi, who works closely with Hiro, and . . . you get the point. I think Nakamura-sensei is done doing that now, but I hope you see my point.

Now take Challengers/KSB: you start with Kurokawa x Tomoe. Then meet Tomoe's overprotective older brother Souichi, who is totally homophobic out of hate for Kurokawa who corrupted Tomoe. But he has his own stalker/puppy-dog admirer in Morinaga. And then, spoilers. )

As an aside, there was one thing in KSB that was kind of painful without any intent from the author. So as I mentioned, Souichi starts off rabidly homophobic, and the manga actually begins with him ranting to Morinaga in outrage about San Francisco legalizing gay marriage. [In the scanlations I read, they said Los Angeles. I suspect the translators were relying on Chinese raws and geography somehow got garbled in the process.] Souichi frantically calls Tomoe, which actually ends up prompting Kurokawa to propose. Then their being married pops up randomly throughout the series. ...sigh. I guess they will continue on in the happy alternate reality in which Prop 8 never happened. T_T

Ummm, so I think that was all I wanted to say. If you made it all the way through that, you are amazing and should come with me to Yaoi-Con.
elwen: (reading)
I was going to call this "vicious cycle", but I thought about it, and it wasn't really vicious as in tending to a bad result. So, I thought, "virtuous cycle?" But if in Japanese they call us fujoshi, "fu" meaning rot and depravity, I suppose it's not really virtuous either. :P So, I guess it's just a cycle of me running around as a fujoshi.

With the thrust of the cycle being that I want to go to Yaoi-Con.

The problem is, it kind of sucks to go to a con all by yourself, and I know absolutely no one who would be even the least bit interested in coming with. In the end, too, I think I probably won't go because, really, what would I get out of it.

Anyway, to go back to the beginning:

It all started when I was browsing the AniDB calendar and saw they were making a new BL anime called Koisuru Boukun. There haven't really been any good BL anime lately, not since Junjou Romantica. (I don't even want to talk about Uraboku.) I had come across the Koisuru Boukun page a few times, but this time I decided to investigate. I found the gensaku manga . . .

. . . and couldn't pull myself away until I had read all five and a half volumes or so that are out. I want to fangirl talk about the series some more, but I think that needs its own separate post.

So then, I thought, well maybe I would like the mangaka's other series. And in Googling her name, I realized she was going to be a guest at Yaoi-Con this year!

So then, I started perusing Yaoi-Con's guest list. And I have to say, they get so much better guests than FanimeCon. I guess it's not that surprising, since Yaoi-Con is the one and only, while Fanime is just another generic anime convention. But seriously, Yamane Ayano, Takanaga Hinako (the Koisuru Boukun mangaka), and . . . Kiuchi Hidenobu.

Okay, how in the world did they get a male seiyuu to guest at Yaoi-Con. I have to admire his courage. I mean, every girl in the audience is fantasizing about his characters being with other male characters. And even if he distances himself from his characters, it would still be his voice that's supplying the sound effects. >_>

[Actually, if I went, it would no longer be "every girl," because I see some of his roles that I like (Oshitari from PoT, Ryuuren from Saiunkoku, and, OMG, Hei from Darker than Black) but none that I would slash. He did play someone in Cluster Edge, which is one of those series that has zero insinuations but just happens to have a lot of pretty boys so girls take it and run. I guess PoT could be like that, too. But I speculated in a post once about potential pairings in Darker than Black, and just none of them appealed. I mean, Hei is a hot, sexy guy and deserves someone, but no one suits. The second season didn't help much in that area, either. What, is he going loli and hooking up with Suoh? *shudder*]

Anyways, so also in the guest list, I found Lynn Flewelling. Who apparently writes a fantasy series called Nightrunner. And I thought, "hey, I just finished a Pern marathon, which came after a Tortall marathon, and I am out of familiar series to marathon, so why not try something new?" And I read a couple of reviews at WeRead, including one that said Flewelling really did her homework on spycraft.

Two of my favorite genres, spy fiction and fantasy. Can it even be? Forget the slash part!

So now there are at least three big-name Yaoi-Con guests that have something on me. (With the potential fourth, Yamane Ayano . . . I don't know. It's been a long time since I read any Finder, much less Crimson Spell.)

But, what would I really get out of seeing or even meeting these people? That's why I think in the end I probably won't go. I will obsess for a while about how all these people I know are guests -- a stark contrast to Fanime -- but then I'll get over it. I'll keep consuming their media, but I'm not a star-chaser. It would be cool, maybe, to get an autograph or a sketch, but even with cons I tend not to make enough effort to get anything from the signing sessions. So that's that.

But it is crazy the amount of new stuff I have been dragged into, starting with this one little screenshot on AniDB.

I'm three chapters into the first Nightrunner book, now, and five chapters into the Koisuru Boukun prequel. ^^;;


Jan. 30th, 2010 09:00 pm
elwen: (reading)
So in addition to working hard, lately I've been trying out a few new series in various media.

First, there's The Deep End, the new show about first-year lawyers in a big law firm. When I read the summary of the first episode -- especially the part about the impossible pro bono case -- I thought, "Hey, this show is about me!" and worried a little that it would be too close to home for me to be able to watch it. Ha. I should have known Hollywood would never let me down like that. Now, I watch it because it is so ridiculous it's funny. Amazingly, the second episode was even more outrageous than the first. Having a first-year co-chair a million-dollar class action lawsuit? Telling her to go memorize the requirements of Rule 23(b)(3) two hours before the class certification hearing? [What about 23(a), huh?] Having the judge certify the class from the bench at the end of the hearing and schedule a pretrial conference the next day? And people don't think Hollywood could make a show about grad students interesting.

Then, I've been trying out manga series whose covers catch my eye at Kinokuniya.

The first series I tried is Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai, or "The World God Only Knows." It's about this guy who is so good at dating sims that he's known as "Otoshigami" -- it doesn't really translate, but basically it means he's the god of capturing girls' hearts. He ends up in a contract with the underworld, who missed the fact that his expertise is only in games and real life girls shun him. Now he has to make real girls fall in love with him (kissing is enough), which forces out evil spirits that hide in their hearts. Of course, he does it by applying the scenarios he's learned from games.

Obviously, the series is totally not targeted at me. For the guys who read it in Shounen Sunday, it's probably a sweet romanticomedy with lots of moe girls. Whereas I find it amusing because it gets so ridiculous. I guess you would say I get an extra degree of mocking out of it that guys probably don't. But yeah, it's pretty hilarious. And I guess the stories are kind of cute, too.

The next series I tried is Ilegenes, which is more targeted at me. It's about boys at a military academy on an island that specializes in genetic modification technology. The main character hates how genetically modified beings and clones are treated like merchandise, especially in the black market, and he's out to change the system.

I imagine that the series is what 07-GHOST would have been like if it had spent more time on Teito while he was in school. You've got the prickly main character with a tragic past (Teito/Fon), the easy-going guy roommate who tries to get close to him (Mikage/Jacques), and the jealous, privileged son of a high-powered family who bullies him (Shuri/Andrew). And, you know, the whole military academy setting and all.

It's not really BL, but I'm sure anyone who looks at it will think it is, from high concentration of bishies and the lack of females. It's funny how to a certain point you want protagonists who are the same gender as the target audience -- think shoujo heroine and shounen lead. But at some point an over-concentration of one gender makes it more attractive to the other gender -- especially the all-boys schools and the all-girls schools settings. And so many of them aren't even BL. I got sick of trying to disabuse people of the notion with series like Cluster Edge and Meine Liebe. (Actually, I think the school in Meine Liebe is co-ed.) But at least with Ilegenes, I think it might get to the point of BL, or at least something like the deep bond of friendship/brotherhood. Like what Teito has with Mikage and Hakuren in 07-GHOST. Definitely slashable, but not really slash if you follow the word of the series.

So yeah, Ilegenes has basically nothing original plot-wise, really. It's just your typical fighting off the bullies at school type of story. Plus some moralistic stuff about genetic modification and cloning, which is also pretty well-covered at this point. But I like the characters. Fon is hot. Jacques is intriguing -- I mapped him onto Mikage, but he's a little less effusive and more thoughtful, and with a deeper background, I think. Also, there's the good-student glasses-guy Nicolas who cracks me up. So yeah. We'll see. I'm afraid the series will either spin out of control or run out of steam, but in the meantime, it's not a bad ride.
elwen: (Default)
I guess the season is almost over now, huh. ^^;; Well, at least I've been keeping up with two whole series this time (the first two below), even if I haven't found the time to post about them.

Sacred Blacksmith - A nice little swords-and-sorcery series that has yet to spin out of control (although there have been hints that it is coming). Sometimes a bit gratuitous with the fanservice -- are you really telling me that Cecily wears nothing underneath her breastplate? -- but generally knows what to focus on. It's only slated for 12 episodes, so I kind of hope it stays with its current slice-of-life and sinister-plot-of-the-day format. I mean, the novels are out to 7, so maybe they'll never get to the end-of-the-world part.

Darker Than Black: Ryuusei no Gemini - The first DtB was very cool and stylish and totally awesome, but in a slow, non-compelling kind of way -- much like Cowboy Bebop. The new DtB is a little less cool and stylish, but still totally awesome, and now in a riveting, I-need-the-next-episode-now way. I liked the old, ice-cold Hei better than the new, prickly Hei, but underneath he is still as tormented and a little bit of a softie, which is still fun to watch. There is a bit of a Geass R2 feel to the show, in that both were original anime series not initially intended to be multiple seasons and now they have to make up new plot devices to carry it forward. But... we'll see.

Miracle Train ~Ooedo-sen e Youkoso~ - Legend has it that there is a train full of at-your-service bishounen that appears only to women in distress. ...well, at least we're dropping all the pretenses. I've only seen two episodes so far, but it looks like each episode is a self-contained drama between a woman and one of the guys -- pretty platonic, but enough to get the josei fangirls' hearts thumping. I'm saving this series for laundry-folding and other such activities -- I don't need to keep my eyes on the screen, just my ear on the seiyuu. [Hey, it's hard to find series with a flirty Okiayu as opposed to an evil Okiayu.] The other saving feature is the random trivia about the train line. It's kind of like reliving my Japan trip. Especially the time Tsukishima started making monja-yaki on the train. :D

Kampfer - A guy turns into a girl with superpowers in order to fight against and alongside other girls at his school. It's actually pretty amusing to watch in a variety of ways.

Shin Koihime Musou - Yay, more yuritastic fluff. I've only watched the first episode so far, but I have no doubts it will be the same kind of fun as the first season. And maybe we'll get to see the real Liu Bei this time.

Kiddy Girl-and - I'm not sure I want to watch this series so much as I want to rewatch the original series. The first episode was cool for the nostalgia, but the new characters were super-annoying.

Tegami Bachi (Letter Bee) - Couldn't bring myself to care about any of the characters by the end of the first episode, so dropped.

Tatakau Shisho: Book of Bantorra - More fighting librarians! Except the books are actually stone tablets that form from your body after you're dead and contain your personality and memories, or something like that. It seemed like an okay series, but too dark for my liking. It did have a very sexy evil Okiayu in it, though.

On the older series front, I've been trying to rewatch KareKano again (I must have watched the first episode like 10 times now) and to pick Kaleido Star back up. Also maybe getting back into Prince of Tennis. Back around episode 101, I was so sure that the match with Rikkaidai was just around the corner, so I got demoralized when I realized that there was a bunch of training first, with some filler, and now a random rematch with Hyotei first. The Hyotei episodes are okay so far, but I suspect there will be yet more filler after that before Rikkaidai, which makes me want to tear my hair out. Also, I've already forgotten who all these Hyotei people are and what their backstories are and all. Like the guy who cut his hair -- but I guess the producers kind of realize that and helpfully provide flashbacks.

And the stuff from last season that I actually finished:

Shangri-La - Kind of a blah ending... a little like Geass R2's in some ways. Like, there was a huge climax, but then... nothing really. I think the series needed more stable underpinnings (harhar) than its barely-explained mix of occult and science.

07-Ghost - Still one of the best series in a long while. I love Teito's friendships with Mikage and then Hakuren -- though I shudder to think of the amount of slash they must generate. And Frau is awesome, of course. I hope they come out with a sequel. And I am debating with myself whether to pick up the manga. The problem is that whenever I pick up gensaku, I always want to start at the beginning, no matter how faithful the adaptation was -- and it appears that 07-Ghost was pretty faithful -- but the plot is still too familiar for it to keep my attention. So I have to wait a bit, or suck it up and skip to where the anime left off. Haven't decided which to do here -- probably wait, and hope for an anime sequel in the meantime. The other problem is that I don't really like the manga's art style, and it seems to move too quickly through the moments I really liked in the anime.

Pandora Hearts - It seems like there are a lot of Alice in Wonderland variations lately. Pandora Hearts borrows a few characters, and the warped reality feel, but not much more, really. I don't know how to explain what makes this series good. And it's not just Ishida Akira as Break, I promise. [But OMG, Break. It's very hard to decide whether he or Xellos is more awesome.] I am having the same dilemma as with 07-Ghost above about whether to pick up the manga.
elwen: (squee!)
So I've discovered this new series and I desperate need to get the books. I should wait until I get my Kinokuniya postcard from last time's special orders, but I really want to run there right now so they can start shipping them from Japan as soon as possible. Maybe I'll call them and ask if they take special orders by phone. ._.

Anyway, the series is called "Fujoshi Kanojo" and was originally a blog. I'm assuming they just compiled the blog posts without major edits into the two books. (I guess that's how Densha Otoko came about, too, but I don't know anything about that series.) There's also a manga now, but I can't imagine how it could capture the same spirit.

From what I can gather, "fujoshi" basically means yaoi fangirl. And "kanojo" means girlfriend. So it's a blog by a guy whose girlfriend is a major otaku and in particular a yaoi fangirl. Though so far I haven't read any posts that show off the yaoi side, really. And she reads Shinjou Mayu, which is about as un-yaoi as you can get.*

I guess that summary has probably scared off more of you than it has interested, but I encourage you to give it a try. There are a few posts translated here. The way the guy writes, the story is just so cute!

Most of the posts have been taken down from his blog, but you can at least check out some of the illustrations he did. They're cute, too. (His pen name is "pentabu" from the Japanese pronunciation of "pen tablet", which is what he used to draw the pictures.)

* Actually, if you pretend Shinjou Mayu's girls are guys, you pretty much get yaoi, and if you pretend the ukes in most yaoi series are girls, you end up with Shinjou Mayu. Hahaha. I guess I should say "most yaoi series that I would read", as there is a wide range of yaoi sub-genres out there, I'm sure. (Shinjou Mayu plotlines, not so much.) Certainly Finder and Junjou Romantica could both be Shinjou Mayu series with a gender-swap, and those are my current BL mainstays. So I guess it's unsurprising that fujoshi would also like Shinjou Mayu.
elwen: (squee!)

Seriously, I am so in love with this series. I could reread the manga a million times.

No time to elaborate right now.


Jun. 17th, 2008 11:38 pm
elwen: (reading)
I got two artbooks over the weekend: Angel Text, the Hatenkou Yuugi artbook, and Illustrations Rebels, the Code Geass artbook. They're both really, really sweet as far as artbooks go. [I suppose Illustrations Rebels could have used a little more Lulu x Kallen, but hey.]

I feel like Kinokuniya has come full circle and gone back to big, flashy artbook displays as the best way to turn a profit on silly otaku. Back in the day, that was what they did, too, I think. Then for a while they tried to capitalize on slightly more delusional savvier otaku who might actually buy, y'know, raw manga and even *gasp* light novels! Since the peak days when light novels got about 3 full shelves, they've gradually been cutting back on that, as well as on certain manga titles (like Akino Matsuri's *sob*). Even then, though, they weren't necessarily stocking more artbooks yet. When I got Akino Matsuri's artbook, it was the only copy they had, and I got the sense that it was so not because they'd sold out of all the others, but that they'd only ever stocked one copy. [The San Francisco branch probably had more.] But now it's back to artbooks getting almost an entire mid-floor shelf unit thing to themselves. I guess they're relatively big-ticket items, so moving one artbook is worth moving up to six shoujo manga.

Anyhow, shiny artbooks induced me to attempt to scan a few pages as best I could with my obsession of absolutely not hurting the books in any way. By closing the books gently around the scanner bed, I could get pretty good scans of the pages, although missing an inch or two from the spine. Expect skins when I have time. [Considering work is keeping me so busy I barely update anymore, that might be a while.]

In the meantime, I'd like to share two images:

1. I really want a full-size, non-pagefold version of this image. (It has Suzaku and Kallen on the other page, which I'm less worried about than the fact that Lelouch goes across the pagefold and I need all of him for a skin. Though Kallen is pretty hot in the picture, too.)

2. I swear I'm not a Schneiser fangirl, even after that doujinshi, but put him with Lelouch and get a black/white chess theme going, and it's hard to resist.

I was going to include the cover of Illustrations Rebels, too, but you can see that well enough at jpqueen.

I'm not sharing the Hatenkou images because I'm too lazy to resize and upload them to Photobucket. Most of you probably haven't seen the series anyway. But you should.
elwen: (Default)
I've been meaning to do this meme, stolen from [livejournal.com profile] kalquessa, for more than two weeks now, but I just kept being busy. (Not that I'm no longer busy, but I can only do law non-stop for so long, especially when I have a cold that inhibits brain activity.)

So here are my fandom loves. Like [livejournal.com profile] kalquessa, these refer more to the series themselves than the fandom, because I tend not to be involved in many fandoms.

The one who seduced you, screwed you over, broke your heart in a million pieces, and then laughed about it.

Code Geass. I used to be excited about original series that were not based on novels or manga. [I'm not exactly sure why. Perhaps because then there wasn't the chance that the source was unfinished and the anime would have an inconclusive ending. Or maybe out of a sense of self-preservation, because I always end up wanting to go back and read the original. Or maybe I just wanted to know that I was watching something original and that an anime could be good by itself without having drawn on something else.] Code Geass taught me that not having even a supposed template to work off of can be just as bad as an unfinished template. Because it lets producers decide, "Hey, this is popular and making money. Let's drag it out." I was absolutely in love with Code Geass until around episode 20. Then I started getting more and more suspicious that it was not going anywhere I liked. By the time the postponed episodes aired, I practically hated it. And yet, there's no way I'm not going to watch the sequel. D:

The old flame, the steady, and more. )
elwen: (reading)
I think this entry is child-safe, even though it talks about things that aren't. Just in case my cut titles make you squeamish. It's not as bad as it sounds and is really just me being mocking and/or overanalytical. :P

Very wrong manga: yaoi edition. )

Very wrong manga: shoujo smut edition. )

Very right manga: shoujo (smut?) edition. )
elwen: (procrastinating)
Today I decided to sign up for the Valentine's Day exchange at [livejournal.com profile] shinkumi. I've never done a V-Day exchange before, but I figured an icon or a wallpaper is no longer beyond my abilities and shouldn't be very time-consuming. If I'm feeling really motivated, I might make a Winamp skin, but that's highly unlikely. As should be patently obvious, I do not write fic anywhere near quickly enough to gift it.

So I guess that put Shinkumi on my mind.

After dinner, I started reading the article I'm reviewing for STLR, which is a lot longer than the one I edited last term. [Review = read and make a recommendation as to whether the journal should accept for publication. Edit = go through and fix stuff.] So between sections, I started getting distracted, and decided that I wanted to make a Shinkumi icon I've been thinking of making for a while, using this scene from volume 8 where Kumiko is in her schoolgirl disguise and is practically fangirling over Shin. [The truth behind what's going on, of course, is very different, but I thought it would make for a great out-of-context icon.]

I . . . I ended up coloring it. ._.;;

As the comm post says, I've never shaded anything before. I've been doing more colorizing lately for my Zaphkiel icons, but I just rely on the original art to provide the shadows and color variations. [The only exceptions are a few gradient fills, and highlights in Anael's hair.] So yeah, what followed was a lot of fudging and screwing around. Elbows and knees are hard, and they're probably still wrong. ^^;; And the final result looks hardly spectacular -- although I liked to turn off the line-art layer because then it almost looked like I knew what I was doing. I don't know if I'll do it again. But I guess it was a good experience.

Much credit goes to [livejournal.com profile] nendil, who not only has helpful tutorials posted at AFC -- OMG, magic wand and bucket-fill when you've got pure line-art <3 (but sadly it doesn't work for most of Kaori Yuki's stuff) -- but also from whom I've heard lots of random tips over the years, like use blue for shadows on white. ^^v

I haven't done an icon purge to upload the new icon yet, but I'll get around to it eventually. It says "fangirl", which I originally intended to refer to Kumiko's squeeing, but I when I look at it now I realize it has the ideal double-meaning of Kumiko's fangirling and being a fangirl of Shinkumi itself. :D

Speaking of fangirling... (Spoilers up through Gokusen 8, in case anyone cares.) )

And finally, some meta about tags: I realized that the "fandom" tag is used extremely inconsistently. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it from now on. Also, I wonder if I should change the "gokusen" tag to "shinkumi"? Eh, well, you guys should be able to figure it out. ^.~
elwen: (V)
[For new readers (?) and those who never caught the explanation, which I'm sure I had somewhere... "flicking" is Caltech slang for avoiding work and getting nothing done.]

It's been an awesome, much-needed winter break. First, of course, there was the trip to Hawaii. I think there could have been nothing better for getting my mind completely off of law school -- there were just so many new things to see and do. After getting back, I got to hang out with [livejournal.com profile] nendil and other high school and junior high friends, which was great fun. I never want to let go of times like those. For New Year's Eve, we had a family get-together to eat hotpot and play lots of mah-jong. As when my third aunt visited over the summer, it was heart-warming to see so much of the family gathered together, bantering and enjoying themselves.

For all that awesomeness, though, I am in the end an introvert, and this past week has been essential to completing my recharge cycle. I just needed time to flick -- with job applications being the convenient thing to avoid doing -- and revisit things I haven't had the chance to do since starting law school.

Books, games, anime, manga, yay! )

My schedule this semester looks kind of odd. All of my days end at or before 12:15pm except Thursday, when I have my climate change paper class from 4-6pm. This either means I'll generally be coming home early and reading at home -- gotta beat the traffic that starts to get bad around 4pm, which is when I'd leave after torts -- or I'll really be living in the library. -_-;; Last semester I worked really hard to get most of my reading done at the library because I didn't want to lug all my casebooks home, but amazingly only two of my classes have casebooks this semester (constitutional law and advanced civil procedure). My arms and my pocketbook are both grateful.

Tomorrow is my last day of break. The registrar apparently came up with this diabolical scheme whereby, if they began classes on Tuesday and ended on Wednesday, and turned a Tuesday and a Wednesday each into Mondays, they'd come out with the exact same number of school days on each day of the week. o_O;;
elwen: (reading)
I went with my sister to Kinokuniya today (first time riding with her after she got her license, hee) but came back empty-handed. Which is frustrating, because apparently there are tons of things that should be out now that I need to get. So this is kind of a shopping list for myself:
  • Elixir 5, by Akino Matsuri
    OMG, the series isn't dead, yay! I was sad because Elixir 4 came out a couple years ago, and from skimming it didn't seem like it ended on a conclusory note.

  • Shin Petshop of Horrors 3, by Akino Matsuri

  • Maboroshi no Hana, Yoi no Tsuki, by Akino Matsuri
    It's a Petshop of Horrors artbook! *squees and dies*

  • Fushigi Yuugi Genbu Kaiden 6, by Yuu Watase
    Dude, I need to know what happens, like, now. Shoujo series should not be allowed to end manga volumes in the middle of a fight scene. That's what shounen's for.

  • Gokusen 14, by Morimoto Kozueko
    Okay, so I don't actually know for sure that this is out yet, but I think it's about time for a new volume, maybe. Supposedly there's been some awesome ShinKumi action in recent chapters. <3

There's a new volume of Ginban Kaleidoscope out, and while I was content to stop reading after the first two volumes, which correspond to the anime, I'm very intrigued by this new volume. I'm still trying to figure out whether I can get away with skipping the intervening volumes, in which I still have very little interest. It looks like the new volume is about the 2010 Olympics, so there will be more focus on Gabriella, whom I really like, and Lia.

I found out that the BL novel I got last time, Majutsu wa Yogoto Yomigaeru, is actually the third in a series. The author doesn't number her series (and she has a ton of them, and some of them are longer than 20 volumes) but rather has a naming convention for each. All the titles in this series begin with "majutsu". I've mostly picked up what's going on, so I think I should be okay with Ginban 7, too. I'm also trying to decide whether I want to stick with the Majutsu series, either future or previous volumes. Kino only has the second now, apparently, and while the summary didn't sound that interesting, the illustrations make me happy. [Yes, I have a very shallow method for choosing novels.]

So I guess I could have been less empty-handed leaving Kino today, except, perhaps, for the fact that I'd feel really guilty about buying more novels. I've been telling myself that after I finish reading Majutsu wa Yogoto Yomigaeru I'd start reading the Scrapped Princess novels, which I do want to get to. I also need to steal my sister's copy of Tasogare no Kishi, Akatsuki no Sora, the Twelve Kingdoms novel from which I can finally find out what the hell happened to Taiki. I've also been wondering if I'd find the Kyou Kara Maou novels more palatable now that I've come to terms (maybe) with first-person narration in Japanese.

Aaah, so much to read, so little time. (Because I have to read other things, like casebooks. *ahem*)


elwen: (Default)

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