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Watashi ga Motete Dousunda!

Saturday, September 17, 2016 / No Comments

Where to start with this manga…ah…

Firstly, understand one thing… I haven’t read the shoujo genre in a while, so picking up this series was surprising even to myself. Other than the typical reverse-harem feature in most shoujo manga it isn’t anything special in my opinion, but what caught my interest was the feature of a hardcore otaku protagonist and what’s more she’s a fujoshi (a girl that enjoys yaoi/BL) too!
Main Character - Kae (after losing weight)

A quick run of the storyline, Watashi ga motete dousunda (or Kiss Him, Not Me!) is about a high school girl named Serinuma Kae. She’s your typical otaku – attending conventions, in love with 2-D characters, and with the added interest of shipping guys together. At the start of the manga, she’s not any sort of looker at all, in fact she’s fat and somewhat clumsy. However, in a dramatic turn of events where her favourite manga character dies, resulting in her going on an impromptu diet, and TAH-DAH! Kae becomes not only thin but incredibly cute as well. And in usual shoujo manga fashion, Kae gets her entourage of hot guys that pine for her attention after that. 
Recipe no Oujisama - by Junko

At this point, I’d like to note that the mangaka, Junko, actually authors more yaoi/BL related manga titles than shoujo (I do read some of her other titles), so I guess an introduction of a fujoshi character would be something close to her heart as well. Haha~
Kae (Before losing the weight) She's so cute ><

Anyway, moving on moving on, I loved the art of the manga, everything is proportioned properly, Kae and her suitors are well drawn and look gorgeous. Kae looks cute in her chubby look and really really pretty in her slim look. The spazzing over hot guys and well paced scene cuts makes the manga a smooth read. With most of the conflicts that rise being solved within the chapter itself. You won’t see much cliffhangers here.

All is fine and dandy, but here’s where I take issue with the manga. Is that the guys! The guys were being extremely superficial at the start. Good art really saved the manga for me, if it weren’t for the well-drawn pages of art I might not have stayed to read on. Initially, all of the guys have had previous interactions with her, but all of them literally fell for Kae’s looks first. And then immediately redeemed themselves for not judging her for being an otaku. And then immediately going back to superficial when Kae suddenly gains back all the weight she’s lost. And then redeeming themselves again by suddenly discovering her inner beauty. Much wow! The insta-love is also a running trope of shoujo for sure, but the insta-declarations of love, and some of the situational setups… felt like something out of a BL manga.

I'll leave it to you to find out who is who~ ;)
More about the men in the manga, well, you have your stereotypical guys, the brooding one, the goofy one, the senpai – the weird one, the kouhai – the one that looks like a girl. Nothing particularly interesting, they all get their chance at character development through interactions with Kae, which is nice. And since this is shoujo, I don’t actually mind the cliché-ness of everything, sometimes a norm in a genre is comforting. And have I mentioned the art? Haha… yes this article is all about the fluffy art. Junko is obviously good when it comes to drawing guys.

Oh, and there’s also an addition of a girl Nishina Shima – a tomboy of sorts who is rich, athletic and a doujin artist, as well as a fellow fujoshi like Kae, needless to say they become best friends of course.

The poor girl...
Story development was fairly good across the chapters until recent chapters, where all of Kae’s suitors confess to her, and she doesn’t give a decisive answer (like every shoujo manga out there)… And man does this situation drag out really long. Any longer, and it would be really selfish on Kae’s part to keep them all hanging actually. I do hope she comes to a conclusion soon. But I guess when you're in love with 2-D... coming to terms with 3-D can be a bit challenging. (Nothing can be as bad as Watashi ni XX shinasai though…)

Cute, fluffy art~
Watashi ga motete dousunda is a typical shoujo manga with a slightly more interesting premise. The art is to read for, and if you’re a BL fan yourself, the level of how much you’d be able to relate to this manga will go up in spades. (Frankly, if I didn't read BL as well, it might not have been as appealing.) You’d find yourself amused with some familiar BL tropes disguised as shoujo plot points and experience the same kind of slow maddening frustrations you might have had while reading other shoujo manga. Still, I think the manga is worth a try if you're looking for something light-hearted and humorous.

If you’re interested, the manga will have an anime adaptation starting this fall season, and a drama CD, which you can listen to here, has also been released. The seiyuus are stellar in the tracks. The first track of the drama CD follows the first chapter of the manga, while the second track is an original story. I might do a translation of the second track depending on my time, and if there's demand. 

Till next time nya~ :3

Written by Neko

Kanojo wa Rokurokubi

Wednesday, June 22, 2016 / No Comments
I have been wondering about strange phenomena and supernatural occurrences lately, thanks to the timely touchdown of not one but two iconic ghosts in Japanese film history. I find immense pleasure from indulging in such, though it is mostly a quiet, lonely process. As mentioned before, my friends don't really dig the scary stuff. I suppose that I have long been used to that feeling, since horror is considered a tough genre to crack for many people. The idea of getting scared or scaring others is nowhere on their bucket lists.

Anyway, while thinking of something else along that stretch to write on, I was pleasantly reminded of an ancient folklore in which a woman would transform into a long-necked monster in the middle of the night, and attack unsuspecting people. Until today, I didn't know what that yokai was called. She is the Rokurokubi, classically known for her ability to stretch her neck extensively, turning and twirling at corners and such. A different variation has the head flying off instead. In any case, the Rokurokubi is a true stretch of horror, pun absolutely intended.

Then, I discovered that there is actually a modern, though slice-of-life interpretation of the monster, in the aptly titled manga series 'Kanojo wa Rokurokubi' (She is a Rokurokubi). The main character is essentially a high-school student who just happens to have a flexible neck. This peculiar aspect seems to have sat well with the people around her, as they are pretty much used to the random stretching of her neck at incredible lengths. The running gags are refreshingly hilarious, with the Rokurokubi (by the way her name is Natsuki) mostly getting victimised by her own actions, be those neck-related or not.

You see, I believe that Natsuki is also a tsundere whose awkward feelings towards her childhood friend, next-door neighbour and classmate Itsuki often emit weird vibes down her neck (there doesn't seem to be anywhere else for that matter), causing even more awkward situations which seem to take on a predictably heart-thumping romantic route, though there is still a striking difference in this get-up. Well, I wouldn't mind keeping up to see what the relationship between Natsuki and Itsuki would become.

Honestly, there are just too many things in this manga that might trigger an uncontrollable laughing fit if anybody were to read it outside or something. One of my favourites has to be the convenient, lazy demonstration of hair-washing in the sink. But that is actually rather dangerous to say the least.

One thing leads to another. I'm glad that I have managed to stumble upon something which I could kill time with on a lazy day! Currently, two tankoubon volumes have been published. Ah, before I forget...the manga artist is Nieki Zui. I can't wait to read more!

Eccentrically Yours.

Written by J.Fluffysheep ♪

High School Life of a Fudanshi

Saturday, June 18, 2016 / No Comments
Have you tried buying something ecchi before? The heat on your cheeks, fast heartbeat, awkward eye contact. Well, Sakaguchi knows. Except he's buying BL ヾ(o✪‿✪o)シ

First things first, this isn't Boys Love. Well, it focuses on the topic though. This is a humorous manga about BL! I smiled the whole time reading it. A fudanshi is not so different from being a fujoshi. I can relate! (๑˃̵ᴗ˂̵)و

The main character, Sakaguchi, looks at the world around him the way fujoshi look at manga, with BL eyes.

He has a BL sensor!

The manga also dips a little into transvestism and crossdressing (although Sakaguchi is unaware of that second one).

By the way, he and his best friend Nakamura are really close too... *wriggles eyebrows* I'm kidding, Nakamura feels straighter than a flag pole to me. Speaking of Nakamura, I really like him!

Despite having no interest in BL, he entertains Sakaguchi's BL talk for hours, and (unwillingly) acts as a shield for Nakamura to spy on people.

Nakamura's verbal vomit after mulling over the plot of a BL Sakaguchi shared.

He even sits through Sakaguchi's fantasizing.

When Nakamura asked why not go to a boy's school which would be better for *ahem* Sakaguchi's interests, Sakaguchi says he likes the forbidden feeling of BL in a mixed school! "Even with girls surrounding me, I chose a boy" kind of feeling... Sakaguchi is scary Σ(゜ロ゜;)

However, Nakamura draws the line at accompanying Sakaguchi to buy BL.

Actually, Nakamura draws the line at Twitter as well.

But before long, Sakaguchi finds a kindred spirit! A *drumroll please* fujoshi!

Illegal transactions aside, Sakaguchi bought BL doujin of Nakamura and a senpai?! (((╹д╹;)))

This is bad, how is Sakaguchi going to explain himself! Who drew the doujin! For more, please check out Fudanshi Koukou Seikatsu yourself!

Written by Nana

Terra Formars

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 / No Comments

Antagonists in any novel, comic or movie these days are often multi-faceted, having their own set of beliefs or rules they live and die by no matter how misguided they may be. They aren’t just evil for the sake of doing so. Heck, you might’ve rooted for them on occasion rather than the heroes. Yagami Light from Death Note is an outstanding example.

Terra Formars has no intention of having a villain with that many shades of grey. Instead, you have perhaps the most irksome household pest as the antagonist of choice: the cockroach.

Grant them superhuman levels of strength, speed and intelligence thanks to centuries spent evolving on Mars and you have yourself an enemy that every reader will hate. Oh, did I mention that their sole purpose is to exterminate every single human being?

To add to the woes of the human race, an extraterrestrial virus with no apparent cure has been discovered, leading to a war on two fronts. Thankfully, all is not lost and mankind has a trick up its sleeve to combat these mutated household pests. Selected people have undergone genetic modifications, giving them the characteristics and abilities of a specific insect (or animal in later chapters) when activated.

These range from moths and scorpions to crabs and even octopi as the story progresses. The characters imbued with these powers are reason enough for me to continue flipping through the pages. Throw in an increasingly complex plot (the political agendas of each nation are exposed plus Earth receiving a very nasty surprise in the more recent chapters) and the manga becomes a weekly must-read.

These ridiculous events escalated from a simple premise. Humans planned to colonise Mars, terraforming the planet via the use of a modified algae to absorb sunlight and cockroaches to feed off the mold. Their corpses would then spread the mold as they fed and this process would eventually raise surface temperatures to Earth-like levels.

As you can see, Murphy’s Law decided to come into play, leading to all the members of the initial expedition to Mars getting killed by these superhuman cockroaches. Fast forward several more years and you have the ongoing Terra Formars storyline.

Making the increasingly complicated plot easier to understand is the art of Tachibana Kenichi. Adding to that is a single page summary at the start of every chapter showing what everyone is doing. Useful for more absent-minded readers.

Each character is incredibly detailed and the satisfaction you get from seeing cracks form on a humanoid cockroach’s shell and its innards spewing out as it’s beaten to a pulp will have you blazing through a 100 chapters in no time. Because who in their right mind actually likes these pests, let alone one that looks like its spent way too much time in the gym, right?

Terra Formars doesn't seem to ending its weekly serialisation soon and rightly so. Its novel concept, plot depth and attention to detail keeps it in my weekly must-read list.

Written by ET

April: Cardcaptor Sakura

Friday, April 1, 2016 / No Comments

Hello readers. Happy April Fools'! Don't most of us appreciate a lighthearted prank or some? The best part is that we could always leave the revenge for another occasion. Spring is here, and cherry blossoms are still not blooming outside my house. I have Cardcaptor Sakura though, but quite unfortunately I wouldn't be able to have her summon the Flower card in reality. It would be awesome to have some pretty flowers overwhelming the corridor, and right past the neighbours' too. Then, I would put the entire Cardcaptor Sakura soundtrack on repeat, while pretending that I have gone out for the day. Actually, I should just go out.

Speaking of Cardcaptor Sakura, the franchise has been celebrating its longevity with a whole line-up of wonderful stuff. Nakayoshi is one, and readers might be familiar with the 60th Anniversary commemorative edition of the manga which saw the series donned in brand new cover art, and slightly condensed. The Nakayoshi edition has nine volumes, as compared to the original twelve when the manga was first released. I'm so relieved (and happy, of course) that I have the complete set sitting comfortably in my bedroom. Just yesterday, I had finally finished reading the fifth book after such a long, long interval.

A recent stopover at Books Kinokuniya (this is pretty much the only option over here) had my heart in tangles with the discovery of a 20th Anniversary commemorative book of illustrations! Gosh, quit blinding my eyes. This timely (for the lack of a better word) release (pun absolutely intended) celebrates with meticulously selected art by CLAMP. In 1996, Cardcaptor Sakura made its debut in Nakayoshi, and would serialise over the next four years. This collection also comes with a giant poster measuring 70cm by 100cm! Jeez, I would love to get it...despite the steep price. Then again, with the manga that I have been piling up in my bedroom, paying for what could be my very first illustration book is...(kindly insert an appropriate adjective on my behalf)

Oh, there will also be a re-run of the anime beginning on the 6th of April. But it won't be the entire 70 episodes. Nope, the series isn't being condensed whatsoever. Simply put, the focus this time will be solely on the pursuit of the Clow Cards. That arc spreads over 46 episodes. Yeah, it is rather an awkward feeling. I mean, while I understand that the idea is really about gathering all those scattered cards and putting them in order so as to prevent a catastrophe, the Sakura Cards arc is just as intense and important. Oh well, since there is virtually no new content in the works, the reminiscence could play out on our own terms. Just a few days ago, I was listening to the soundtrack during the long bus ride. Hmm.

If anybody happens to be in Japan for the next six months or so, please visit the Cardcaptor Sakura Animate Cafe on my behalf. The first leg takes place in Ikebukuro, and subsequent locations include Sendai, Okayama, blah blah blah. Somebody should just import that concept right over here. We need a Daidouji family for this! Jeez, the best things are at where their origins came from. Once again, if anybody is in Ikebukuro, please...

Read more manga. Watch more anime. Have more fun. Be happy.

Eccentrically Yours.

Written by J.Fluffysheep ♪

March: Accel Star

Sunday, March 27, 2016 / No Comments
Hello readers, another few days before we bid farewell to lovely March; the days just love sneaking past us while our routines get going. The first quarter of the year will soon hold the door for the next quarter to begin. Springtime represents the beginning, has cherry blossoms waiting to make people happy, and sparks off a little envy from the rest who don't have the pleasure of experiencing such. Yeah, easily put I'm talking about myself. An old classmate is in Japan for several days; it seems like a routine to him though. Another acquaintance will be flying over in due time. Suddenly (for the lack of a better word), a lot of people have plans to escape to Japan. Quite unfortunately, I don't know anybody well enough to be thick-skinned and ask for an omiyage.

Anyway, it is time for a little sharing on tennis. Yeah, tennis. The sport which I don't usually and will never easily associate myself with is gracing today's entry in a rather refreshing way. Nope, I haven't signed up for tennis lessons or bought some fancy racket at a clearance sale. So, why tennis? I attribute that derailment to a brand new manga which has caught my eyes and heart. From manga artist Hana comes Accel Star, a refreshing story about tennis. But how does it link up since I don't even consider myself a tennis enthusiast? The cover art. Yeah, once again I have judged a book by its cover. In a positive way. Well, there was a little struggling here and there for a while. I was hoping that amidst the confusion there would be a beam of light somewhere for guidance. In the end, there wasn't anything. But I got the book anyway.

I would like to believe that something wonderful is brewing in an invisible cauldron as I begin savouring this newfound sparkling gem. The synopsis brings about a promising story of a young boy called Matsuri who has a burning passion towards tennis, all thanks to an old racket among the toys which were given to him as a kid by others as his family was too poor to afford much. Also, Matsuri's parents were sickly and had passed away one after the other. There is something about tennis that drives a permanent boost into him. A video tape of a tennis match in Wimbledon had further escalated those feelings. Matsuri dreams of becoming the World's Number One tennis player.

Naturally, with every aspiration comes a setback or the whole lot of them. For Matsuri, he had been bullied as a kid for his old racket and such by the well-to-do kids who practiced their tennis on a supposed private court. While Matsuri would understand the importance of proper equipment, his situation back then had no place for him to realise those yearnings. Even so, with that old racket Matsuri never gave up the slightest opportunity to play tennis. After his parents' passing, he becomes the foster child of his relatives who are just as loving if not more so as his family. His foster parents would eventually present him with something unexpected which easily triggers yet another fire.

That is pretty much what I have read until so far. The story is adequately balanced and shifts effortlessly to and fro different arcs. Well, it makes a refreshing change though I'm still not tempted to play tennis. Reading manga is a lot easier and less stressful on the nerves. Then again, I'm not even the least athletic to take up a sport. Believe me, I had tried badminton, ping pong, volleyball, basketball and soccer back during my school days. I just want to say that I was very lucky to be alive. Anyway, Accel Star is a wonderful companion on a lazy day. The banter between Matsuri and those stuck-up kids just kills me.

Read more manga. Watch more anime (even though there is nothing on that today). Have more fun.

Eccentrically Yours.

Written by J.Fluffysheep ♪

March: Flying Witch

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 / No Comments
Good day readers, we have long passed the halfway checkpoint of the month. If nobody is keeping track, I'm sorry for having reminded you of that dreadful fact. Hopefully, the days have been bearable. Mine hasn't been great, but at least there is a timely backup for now. As usual, some things are a little or mostly on the slow end. The brain juices struggle much to continue the steady flow in the midst of downtime. I have been alternating between several titles with hopes of speeding up the process for each. That doesn't work all the time though, but it is a sign of catching up. I'm also looking out for newer, interesting stuff to possibly stimulate the stagnant parts of my writing. Seriously, I could accumulate all those odds and ends into a memoir of sorts.

Anybody knows of a flying witch, or used to know one at some point of their lives? Recently, I got acquainted with an apprentice witch from Yokohama named Makoto. With her black cat Chito, she travelled to Aomori as part of her training. Supposedly, Makoto will stay with her relatives until coming-of-age in terms of the training duration. In a rather tranquil town like that, Makoto's identity is surprisingly pretty much exposed since there isn't any lurking danger, though she has let in that it is to be hidden from people outside the family. Actually, I would think that Makoto's way of doing things is likely the cause of any risk of further exposure. Nonetheless, the situation has been well thus far.

While her appearance is that of an ordinary high school girl, Makoto seems to let out a certain aura which is easily noticed by Chinatsu, her younger cousin. Chito also has a peculiar presence that is unlike other cats. The other cousin Kei, who is of the same age as Makoto, has Chinatsu show Makoto around the neighbourhood. Despite the initial worries and such, Chinatsu quickly warms up to Makoto upon discovering the latter's identity. Well, I would find that riding on a broom is just as awesome. That is, if nobody crashes into a tree, building or just about anything while mid-air. Yeah, I believe that Akazukin Chacha is dangerously prone to such accidents. The only difference is that Akazukin Chacha is an apprentice magician. Pardon the slight digression. 

I was pleasantly surprised to know that Flying Witch is having an anime adaptation due to premiere on the 10th of April. I realised that while I was browsing around at Books Kinokuniya. The fourth tankoubon had also made its way to the checkout after a little struggle on my side. You see, I haven't been able to effectively divide my time and attention between so many books and other stuff. Well, in the first place nothing of that sort was ever really possible. I just don't wish to regret anything. Buying the manga for safekeeping will always be a right decision. Just make sure that eventually you unwrap those books and savour appreciatively.

As of now, I'm trying my best to complete the second volume and hopefully the third, before the anime commences next month. The manga has a slice-of-life feel, even though the story is progressive. I have an instant liking to Makoto and Chito. I often wish that I had a cat for a pet, yet for some unknown reason cats don't really like me much. On the other hand, dogs give me quite a bit of attention though not necessarily positive ones. It would be rather exciting to have a cat like Chito. Then again, I don't possess magic though the idea of chanting spells while stirring the cauldron sounds wickedly cool. An apprentice wizard who is also a high school student - not a bad idea eh?

Read more manga. Watch more anime.

Eccentrically Yours.

Written by J.Fluffysheep ♪