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「Doujin Review」Tododeku: Tohka

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 / No Comments
It's no secret that I'm into My Hero Academia (otherwise known as Boku no Hero Academia) and my favorite pairing is Todoroki Shouto with Midoriya Izuku (Tododeku). 
I do look at ships concerning other pairings in the series as well, but since this is the main pairing which I ship and I also collect a ton of doujinshi (doujins) about them, I thought I'll take the chance to highlight one of my favorite artist for Tododeku: Tohka!

Please note that as I do not have permission to showcase any page in the doujin itself, I will only be showing the cover of the book. As the four books are primarily in Japanese, my introduction will include a brief premise of the story. Although Tohka does not typically draw R18 stuff for Tododeku, do note that there is one R18 book in here, that I will highlight later.

Left: One Week Sidekick (一週間サイドキック; Isshuukan Sidekick)

Characterization: 4/5
Story: 4/5

This story follows the later part of their training as heroes, probably closer to their graduation. In this, the A-class is split into pairs, where one would take the role of Main Hero and the other would take the role of Sidekick. The sidekick would then be ranked according to the teacher's (Aizawa) and the main hero. Here, Todoroki is the main hero and Midoriya is the sidekick.

The book is rather long and emotional. It starts of by touching on how protective Todoroki feels for Midoriya, going to the extent of using an ice wall to break Midoriya's fall from a height he would be able to manage alone. 

It then goes on to cover how this protectiveness actually stems from Todoroki's insecurities about his relationship with Midoriya: even long after All Might's death, Midoriya is still keeping his relationship with All Might under wraps. That signifies Midoriya's lack of trust to Todoroki and they grow slightly more distant, but we all know what is the real reason behind Midoriya keeping this secret, which allows us to empathize with Midoriya better in this scenario.

Eventually, after pairing up with Bakugou-Tsuyu pair, where Tsuyu is the main hero and Bakugou is the sidekick, we get a daily dose of Bakugou's enraged yelling and Tsuyu's calmness as they play the role of cupid to this Tododeku relationship. This enabled both Todoroki and Midoriya to return to how close they were before and at the very last part of the book, they actually made a promise to remain together, grow stronger and overcome obstacles as one.

One line that really struck me was Midoriya saying that because they (are in the minority that) are able to achieve their dreams, the only path for them to take (as heroes) is to become stronger. Midoriya and All Might are really inspirational characters throughout the series and I love how this aspect of him shines in this book.
Right: The book where Midoriya-kun and Todoroki-kun are doing XXX in the gym warehouse (緑谷くん轟くんが体育倉庫でXXXする本; Midoriya-kun to Todoroki-kun ga taiiku souko de XXX suru hon)

Characterization: 4/5
Story: 2/5

If it isn't obvious by the title yet, this is a R-18 book, depicting explicit male/male sex. There's not much to say about this since it doesn't really have much of a plot, other than the fact that it was mentioned that Todoroki loves pleasuring Midoriya and finds it alright if he doesn't climax in a session, so long as Midoriya enjoys the action. Cue in Midoriya finding that unacceptable and sets his mind to (unintentionally) "seduce" Todoroki and get him to enjoy the session as well and... well, that's in the gym warehouse!

While there isn't much of a plot, I do enjoy seeing the interaction between this pair, and realistic reactions, such as Midoriya being extremely uptight about keeping the gym equipment clean in their session. I also did enjoy the inserted humor into the book, such as Todoroki stoically suggesting to burn all the dirtied equipment. 
Left: Ichibanboshi my hero (一番星マイヘーロー)

Characterization: 4/5
Story: 4/5

This book follows Todoroki and Midoriya while they are working as pro heroes. They face a lot of troubles with scheduling and meeting up despite seemingly working in the same agency. Hence, when Todoroki moved out, he passes a key to Midoriya who graciously accepts to stay over on weekdays and goes back to visit his mother on weekends.

As they are also already in an established relationship that is kept under wraps from the public, we get the drama of the paparazzi capturing an photograph of them that shows Todoroki kissing the top of Midoriya's head, and suddenly the fact that they are living together and in a relationship is public. This causes problem for both the reputation (since homosexuality isn't acceptable via societal standards) and for their agency as well.

This sparks them to question why they are dating in the first place, as well as re-awakens them to reality and the burdens that they are shouldering, societal expectations on heroes, as well as how much they depend on each other.

Endeavor and Todoroki organizes a press conference, trying to cover up the issue, but Todoroki, against his better judgement, goes against his father's plans and confesses that what is in the picture is the truth, and that he has never liked anyone before Midoriya, regardless of their gender.

Given that this could have potentially crushed Midoriya's dream of being the Number One Hero, he is very surprised to see Midoriya return back to their shared apartment after the press conference. And what surprises him more after that, is Midoriya taking out a ring that he bought. They then exchange rings and Todoroki admits that he wants to become Midoriya's strength, and a hero that Midoriya can always count on.

After a blank intermission page, we are also treated to a scene where the two men dress up in tuxedos and get married, with the promise of finding happiness together.
Right: Doppelt

Characterization: 4/5
Story: 4/5

This is one of Tohka's longest and most controversial book by far. We start with Nezu bringing in a cat with a quirk and threatening Midoriya to keep it. The cat was a part of research about giving people quirks, and if the research were to succeed, it would drastically change people's opinions on quirkless people, as instead of being worthless and useless, they can now become vessels that can hold any quirk of choice.

Note that in this book, it is mentioned that Midoriya has been hurting himself a lot with One for All (OFA) and Nezu wishes for him to pass down OFA quickly before the damage on Midoriya's body becomes irreparable. The passing of OFA to anyone would be favorable, even to Todoroki.

After the cat starts living with them, the three of them get closer. But on the flipside, it also makes the cat question if Midoriya can be truly happy without a quirk. Todoroki joins in as well, by discussing that Midoriya can still be a hero despite being quirkless, but as that is far from what Midoriya himself considers a hero to be, Todoroki also wonders if Midoriya can be truly happy without OFA.

Eventually, the cat is accepted to the institution that Nezu was in, and from there, the cat would get certified for having a quirk and hopefully also become a hero like Nezu did as well. Both Midoriya and Todoroki start missing the cat after it left them for the institution, but the time together with the cat also gave Midoriya new-found resolve.

Midoriya requests to be given permission to keep OFA until he reaches thirty, and on the other hand, he starts considering how he could reduce the load on his body if he devises better combos with Todoroki that uses more/equal parts of each other's quirk.

This ending to the book really touched my heart because Midoriya had always been one that's really huge on cooperating, and his decision to devise new battle formations and plans with Todoroki makes it seem as if he grew as a character, and matured. It's amazing how I can feel his character growth in just one doujin! While Todoroki didn't have as much character growth, his insights into Midoriya's personality and what being a hero means to Midoriya clearly states the extent and depth of their relationship, selflessness and understanding for each other.

I genuinely love Tohka's storylines and how each character is melded nice into the story enough to give new believable insights into their personalities that may not have been gleaned from the original manga or anime, but still keeping them nice and in-character.

My favorite books would have to be Doppelt and Ichibanboshi my hero, as they both touch on deep emotional concepts, dark pasts and their effects, as well as some trust issues. Tohka was also able to present the depths of these issues in a way that fitted Todoroki, Midoriya and Tododeku perfectly. The slow-paced storytelling that Tohka's doujins have is very much appreciated, as they do play a very important role in creating that 'other world' for me to be drawn into when reading their doujin. 

Unfortunately, if slow-paced stories aren't your thing, you might be bored out at the start, but I'll recommend that you push on because the feels that you get at the end of the book would be worth it! Also, Tohka's doujins are generally longer than average, so be prepared to dig or request for any fan translators who are willing to translate the book to English!

~ Reina-rin

「Ani-summary」Mahou Shoujo Site: Episode 6

Thursday, July 12, 2018 / No Comments
Nijimin is inexplicably infatuated with the only person on Earth that wouldn't possibly ever be interested in her: Aya's brother, Kaname, who thinks of himself as being better than every other human alive. 
 But as expected of a former idol, even while she is trying to impress Kaname, she still manages to dig for information regarding Aya's whereabouts rather naturally. Both she and Kaname are also able to perfectly hide their killing intent towards Aya from each other.

We get a cameo of Nijimin's fan during the whole ordeal as well, since he conveniently misunderstood the scenario and assumed that Kaname had defiled Nijimin. This would probably tie in to some other scenes in a later episode.
The white haired girl that first appeared at the end of the previous episode, Amagai Kosame, slices her wrist and feeds Shioi her blood. It appears that as a penknife is her stick, this gives her blood healing properties and whoever consumes her blood would recover from their injuries.

With this, she manages to wake Shioi up as well as heal Aya and Yatsumura's injuries.
She then goes on to explain her purpose for paying this town a visit. It turns out that there are many different Magical Girl Sites and they are all handled by different administrators.

But despite the differences in the site and emblems when the girls use their powers, all the sites point to the same revelation, and that is, the impending Tempest. Hidden in the site is a log that tells the girls how they can possibly survive this: and that is to accumulate negative energy, which would be used to satiate the king's hunger.

They realise that not only did the administrators never intended for any of the magical girls to survive, they are actually starting to round up and kill the magical girls who found out too much.
Hence, the group of girls concluded that in order to better understand the situation as it stands currently, as well as to find out more about what will happen and what they can do to survive it, their best bet would be to capture a site administrator, as they are likely to know the most.
However, that is definitely not a simple task, and so, they have been gathering magical girls that are willing to help their cause from across different towns and now, they are approaching Shioi, Aya and Yatsumura.
 After agreeing to help capture a site administrator, Yatsumura then moves into Aya's house.
 We are then treated to a scene at the end of the episode where we see a bloodied girl floating amidst some purple light as a site administrator does the narration.

Long story short, Mahou Shoujo Site sure likes its mind-boggling cliffhangers.

~ Reina-rin

「Ani-summary」Mahou Shoujo Site: Episode 5

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I'm finally back with another episode summary for Mahou Shoujo Site! This show definitely has most of its main cast psychotic in one way or another and this time, we really get to see Shizukume, Nijimin and even Yatsumura's insane sides.

The episode begins by delving into Yatsumura's past. She was part of a happy family, but a burglar that broke into their house one fine night murdered her parents. He intentionally left child Yatsumura alive as he thinks that she'll grow up to be a great beauty and he'll love to come back to "play" with her then.

Yatsumura was living in fear of when he'll return until the day she was granted a stick by the admins and since then she has been setting up the stage for the day he'll come back for her, waiting...
We see the extent of Yatsumura's insanity as she holds the man captive in her room, strapped down in chains and buckles. It is also implied that she has been keeping him drugged up, though it wasn't mentioned where the drugs were obtained from.
It is also suggested that she tortured him tremendously, though only one frame consisting of his body parts (extracted teeth) were shown.

Strangely, although Aya is suddenly exposed to this side of her friend, she seems to accept it rather easily and was even saying encouraging things to Yatsumura, for instance, of how great of a friend Yatsumura has been to her and how she hopes to be with her from now on as well.

However, this moment is abruptly cut short with Shizukume's arrival.

She announces that she has gotten powers as a magical girl and brandishes her yo-yo (stick) at Aya. With Yatsumura immobile from the side effects of over-using her stick, Aya is now tasked with the job of protecting her from Shizukume.

At the same time, Nijimin arrives at the hospital which Shioi is hospitalized in, thanks to a tip from Shizukume, and finds her lifelong enemy in the ward.
Unfortunately, Yatsumura has anticipated this and protected Shioi with the powers of Mikado's stick. Mikado was a victim of Shioi's indiscriminate killing and her stick had the ability to form a barrier against all magical and physical attacks. In fact, the reason why Yatsumura over-exerted herself was because she was using Mikado's stick along with another stick that allowed her to propagate her magic (the barrier) at a distance away from the caster (at Shioi's ward).
This turn of events enrages Nijimin and she angrily stomps out of the ward after giving Shizukume a call and screaming about how things were not supposed to go like this as per Shizukume's plans.
Shizukume is frustrated at being outwitted by Yatsumura and enters a crazy spree of relentlessly destroying things with her yo-yo. This results in the man being sliced into half, leading Yatsumura to go unstable about not having taken her revenge yet, before passing out.
Knowing that she is no match for Shizukume's brutality and speed, Aya seizes the chance to enclose herself and Yatsumura in a barrier made with Mikado's stick. She spends some screen time yelling about her need and desire to protect her friend, while Shizukume calls her a hypocrite for saying that as she killed her best friend (in Episode 1).

They delve into deeper talk about depression and death but before either of them could accept the other's explanation, the building begins to collapse.
Being the sweet girl Aya is, she decided to teleport Shizukume back to the classroom so she wouldn't die here. When Shizukume awakens, she appears to be touched by Aya's actions but she still feels that that isn't sufficient to call off her revenge plans, which further instils the belief in me that Aya should have just left her to be crushed by the falling debris...

With the protagonists having plot armor, they were safe from the debris and were found and swiftly taken to the hospital. While Aya suffered only superficial injuries, Yatsumura's condition was far more severe due to the over-exertion, but both managed to survive.
The scene then changes to Nijimin realizing that Aya and Yatsumura were likely accomplices to Shioi and were trying to keep her alive. This leads her to believe that Aya and Yatsumura are on Shioi's side. She visits Aya's house attempting to find her but. On the way there, she brushes past one of her fans who shadows her to Aya's house.

However. as Aya is hospitalized and her parents are at the hospital, only her brother, Kaname, answers the door. Her fan then sees Kaname inviting her into the house and misunderstands the situation.

The last few minutes of Episode 5 also introduces us to a new character, a white haired girl with an eyepatch over her left eye. She proceeds on to Shioi's ward and pulls out a penknife.

Is she another person after Shioi's life, or...?

~ Reina-rin

Calamity of a Zombie Girl

Tuesday, July 10, 2018 / No Comments
Otherwise known as "Aru Zombie Shoujo no Sainan", this ONA is a total of 79 minutes long and consists of a lot of gore and violence, and the occasional nudity. Please be warned that this post is picture-heavy and there might be some NSFW content and spoilers below so proceed at your own risk!
Characters 5/10
There are three main groups of characters in this show. 

First, the zombies: Euphrosyne Studion (left, a rich young lady from the esteemed Studion family) voiced by Hayama Saori, and her maid, Alma V (right), voiced by Ogata Yui.

The second group of characters would be the teacher Takanashi Shuichiro voiced by Sugita Tomokazu, and his younger sister, Takanashi Mako, voiced by Shiraishi Ryoko. 
The last group in the main cast would be the five students of the Occult Research Club staying on campus during summer break:
Kamoshida Sayaka voiced by Sawashiro Miyuki
Abe Masahiro voiced by Suzuki Tatsuhisa
Minagawa Yui voiced by Ichimichi Mao
Sudo Noriko voiced by Kubo Yurika
Azuma Hiroshi voiced by Miwa Takahiro
There is limited character development throughout the episode. In addition, characters were killed left and right, and most of these instances were due to their own and/or a result of another character's stupidity. This made it a little frustrating to watch.

A good point about the characters, however, were that they were all twisted in their own way and all had a clear motive for doing what they did. For instance, Sayaka loves the teacher, Shuichiro, and is willing to go to any lengths just to get on his good side. On the other hand, Abe is a selfish coward and would do anything in order to stay alive, even at the expense of the other club members. The zombies want to retrieve their Stone of Life (which Sayaka stole and passed to Shuichiro),

Plot and Pacing 6/10
Putting the whole story into chronological perspective, Sayaka was in love with Shuichiro and wanted to help him further his research. On the other hand, Shuichiro is in an incestuous relationship with his psychotic younger sister, Mako. Shuichiro is also a scientist interested in zombies and the Stone of Life which appears to be able to keep corpses moving, and hence staged a plan together with Sayaka to retrieve the Stone from the unmoving undead Euphrosyne Studion, which is a coffin placed in the warehouse on campus.
She spread rumors on a site about the Tokugawa Buried Treasure being in the same warehouse, to get the President of the Occult Research Club, Abe, as well as the other members interested and participate in the raid. Shuichiro's role during the raid was to keep the janitor away, as well as to set off fireworks as a distraction. Sayaka managed to get the Stone, which she later passed to Shuichiro, while the rest of the club returned empty-handed and grouchily settled back in their own rooms.

Meanwhile, Alma and Euphrosyne awakens after the Stone was stolen and made plans to retrieve it as it was a "gift" from Euphrosyne's beloved father. 
Here we get introduced to Euphrosyne's durable body and supernatural strength...
... as well as Alma's metamorphosis abilities as she transformed into the janitor after eating a small amount of his brain matter.

Their target was to find out which of the students had the stone, but as the zombies delve into the matter, and in the process, killed many of the students...

They realized that the mastermind of the whole debacle was Shuichiro, who is a descendant of the Studion family and the next rightful owner of the Stone. Unlike the previous heirs, Shuichiro only wanted the Stone and had no wish to keep the zombies alive. For this purpose, he transplanted the Stone into Mako to turn her into a weapon to kill off Euphrosyne, as well as killed Alma.
However, he miscalculated the depth of the love yandere Mako had for him and this oversight resulted in his death as Mako wrenched his heart out from his chest and ate it, believing that this would mean that they would stay together forever.

His corpse is later shown to be useful in helping Alma heal from her injuries, so at least his death wasn't in vain...?
Following Mako's murder of her brother, she then launched an all-out attack on Euphrosyne who was at a disadvantage due to the depleting amounts of energy left in her body. Mako showed immense skill at using the powers of the Stone, and even managed to corner and injure her (tearing off her head and bashing her skull in).

However, the lesser amount of experience turned the tables as Euphrosyne was able to keep Mako stuck to the ground by penetrating Mako's stomach with the same baseball bat and drop a church bell on her, thus severing Mako's body into two.

She retrieved the stone from Mako's abdominal area and regained enough energy to easily overpower Mako when she tried a last, albeit futile, attack against Euphrosyne.
Frankly, the plot on a whole does make sense, but the execution in the ONA does leave a lot to be desired. My main gripe would be the pacing, as it was terribly slow in  the beginning and lead-up to the climax, but the ending was rather abrupt. This was probably due to their attempt to expand on the characters during the first one-third of the show, but that failed terribly as the characters still appeared one-dimensional. Also. the animation was not always smooth, though still tolerable.

Possible improvements
The whole plot ties back to the Stone of Life, which Sayaka stole from Euphrosyne and passed to Shuichiro to aid him in furthering his research. This Stone was made by the first Baron of the Studions (Euphrosyne's father), and upon its removal, resurrects the zombies. With the unfolding of the plot, we understand that the Stone acts like a sort of powerhouse where Euphrosyne (and likely, Alma) draws energy from to move. Even after the removal of the stone, Euphrosyne is seen to still be able to move well for a period of time due to the residual energy of the stone left in her body. However, she feels her body steadily getting heavier as time goes on.

Unfortunately, this is also a jarring plothole. The story does not cover further about how the Stone came about and what it actually is, other than suggesting it has some magical origin, as the Baron dabbled in magic, and Euphrosyne's body would perish without it.
If the Stone was a source of energy for the zombies, why did they only awaken after the energy source was removed? Besides, when Sayaka removed the Stone from Euphrosyne, we see that the maid was the first to awaken instead of Euphrosyne, who had the Stone in her initially. On the contrary, at the end of the movie, after Euphrosyne claimed the Stone back from Mako, they do not go back to sleep and instead, seem to be planning on living in modern Japan. This doesn't add up with the idea that the Stone is the cause of their resurrecting/sleeping cycles.
Also, Euphrosyne said the line in the image above, suggesting that while Alma is a mummy while she is a zombie. However, the ONA didn't delve into the specific differences between the two beings other than the obvious difference in strength and durability.

Overall rating 5/10
The poor pacing and lack of character development was definitely a blow to the show. This is definitely not a show that I would recommend if you are expecting something crazily good, however if you want to watch something where the zombies are shown as the good guys, this is one of them in the small proportion of shows which you can consider watching. 

The amount of gore and occasional badly-placed comedy also makes it a very good show you can check out on a movie night with your friends, just be sure that they are alright with unclothed female breasts before you press the play button!

~ Reina-rin