Archive for the “Manga” Category
I recently re-read Kare Kano, for the 4th time in my life — all 21 volumes of it.
I remembered the plotline. I remembered the characters. Yet I couldn’t help but feel mesmerized once more. It shocked me that every time I read this beloved series, I encountered a different experience, felt a different emotion bloom.
It wasn’t story inconsistency. It was a change in the appreciation and understanding of life.
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It’s unfair to classify Hourou Musuko as merely a genderbender. Where the average merely uses gender identity as a plot device, Hourou Musuko addresses it seriously, realistically, as a coming-of-age topic; and that made all the difference — enough to enter its upcoming adaptation as the Winter 2011 Noitamina slot anime~
[CH65 fan-art, by KL]
Written by Shimura Takako (Aoi Hana), Hourou Musuko follows the story of Nitori Shuichi, a feminine boy with a serious case of confused gender identity. Yet as he meets other friends, including ‘Takatsuki-kun’, a boyish girl who wishes she was born a man, Yuki, a gorgeous post-surgery trans-woman, and Makoto, a boy who is confused between transexualism and homosexuality, Shuichi’s desires of wanting to become a girl slowly blossoms, all at the same time as he undergoes puberty, falls in adolescent love, and watches horrifically as his own body mature into that of a man. Read the rest of this entry »
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As Misaki finally begins to break down the door to Usui’s problems in Kaichou wa Maid-sama (manga), I’m reminded yet again of just how ridiculous predictable and common this trope is; yet despite the unoriginality, this tried and true formula still delivers much enjoyment for me~
The setup has got to be one of the most overdone within Shoujo manga: the selfless and caring heroine, either by nature or becomes that way from friendship/love, meets the ideal guy, whose stoic personality always serves as the front to a dark and troubling family/childhood background. After building up the relationship through several arcs (usually helping support characters), the girl must directly confront the guy’s family problem in order to heal his past scars and firmly establish their happy future~ Read the rest of this entry »
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A story of war between a poor girl and the upper class
The damsel in distress is an overused literary cliche. It annoys a lot of people, especially in the shoujo genre, where a heroine’s need to be protected by the ‘stronger male’ draws all kind of venom from readers. Stamping it as gender stereotyping, readers look toward the other side of the fence, putting the spotlight on the independent and badass heroines of shounen/seinen as ‘true strength’. There is some validity to that, but I’m far from agreement.
The banner for my Strength Arcana card highlights my beliefs quite well: “Perfection is a State of Mind.” Read the rest of this entry »
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The shoujo comedy genre is mostly known for its flowers, sparkles, and sugary bubbles, so for the longest time I couldn’t understand the use of organized crime as a premise within shoujo comedy (shoujo smut is a different story). Outside the whole ‘bad boy’ image, what’s so great about getting deeply involved with a pack of uncouth and rough-looking thugs, especially given the social stigma and the possibility of getting involved in their gang wars?
Well, Bancho politicks aside, Arakure (or Wild Ones as Viz Media calls it; no clue) sure taught me that I’ve never paid attention to the Japanese Romanticization of Yakuza. While Arakure mostly avoids the ‘crime’ part, it really highlights the beautiful idealism surrounding them, from the brotherly love to their version of chivalry; plus, the Yakuza humor is just hilarious. Read the rest of this entry »
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At first glance, Misa-chan is anything but your traditional girl. She’s aggressive assertive, independent, and bold; she is part-timing to earn income for her household despite still being a student; most of all, she is the Student Council President of a formerly all-boys school, taking leadership over an overwhelmingly male population. Even feminists would be proud of her accomplishments, as Misa-chan stands out as the obvious first place wherever she goes…
Except when Usui it around, whose mere presence instantly demotes her to second place. As this is from a popular shoujo manga, do girls have a thing for being in second place? No, don’t think that way for even a second. Read the rest of this entry »
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For the longest time I wondered about why I read Zero no Tsukaima, which might be better than its anime adaptation but is still pretty subpar in just about every aspect. Then I remembered something a friend said: “does it matter whether or not I’m actually playing a game as long as I feel like I am?”
From last season’s Baka to Test to Shokanju to this season’s Angel Beats, the game inspired premises are becoming more and more obvious. Is this just a coincidence? Does the ‘game-like’ story/setting have an appeal of its own? After all, the current generation of anime-fans are also those who grew up playing video games, especially the stylistic classic adventure-party RPGs that range from tabletop D&D (Standard RPG System for Japanese) to Final Fantasy. So I’d say there’s something special in making the viewer feel like they’re immersed in a well-paced game, especially when it not only takes less time, but also saves you from the boredom of grinding and side-questing.
But what makes a story ‘game-like’? Is it just the conceptual similarities like NPCs, recovery exams points, and leveling up? Well, it’s all that and much, much more. The game-like story shares a great deal with both the classic adventure and shounen genres, but to truly give the excitement of playing a RPG yourself, there’s a couple of bases you to cover and balance. Read the rest of this entry »
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Tales of saving the world usually involves adventuring and confronting difficult adversaries right? Well, what about saving the world by befriending a little girl and savoring cakes, stars, and the joy of everyday life? Momo is rather unique in this, and despite being a shoujo slice-of-life which usually falls to extremely slow pacing, the series quickly sucked me in with its plot hooks, rapid character development, and some light drama that touches the common insecurities and issues in real life.
It’s also nice to read a shoujo manga where fawning over guys is the last thing on the heroine’s mind, where she is not only independent and strong, but also very level-minded. Combining a lack of unnecessary angst and no perfect bishies stealing spotlights goes a long way to adding realism to the characters and their actions.
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