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Hare Kon

Thursday, September 22, 2016 / No Comments
Recently, I was invited to a rather peculiar wedding ceremony where three women have exchanged marital vows with the same man. In that particular town, such a phenomenon is not uncommon. Known as Hare Kon, it is where a man is permitted to marry multiple wives in an effort to save the declining birth rate. However, that same man can only take up a maximum of three wives. I can't say that I completely trust that arrangement anytime though it seems like a gradually natural affair in the eyes of the community. Then again, what could be worse?

Yeah, the utter fact that a woman has to share her husband with other women is largely unimaginable yet when she becomes confronted with a situation like such, her mind and heart can't readily agree though it is apparent that there is no other way than to embrace wholeheartedly her circumstances. Of course, she does develop feelings for her man. The idea of reciprocal however hinders that process. With three wives in the house, does that imply that the man's love for each woman is just one-third?

The outburst of varying emotions seeps through this unconventional relationship. Confusion sinks in almost all the time. The woman feels strongly against even the minute things that would have been fine with the other wives. Her 'sisters' are intolerant towards the new wife's complaints and such, as they believe that she is missing the bottom line of the situation. Once a person has entered into a new arrangement, there is no way to look back and whine about anything. 

The fine line between love and sex is easily overturned as well. I suppose that it is only natural for married couples to do the thing even if it could come across as perverse especially when the same man is tending to three different women at different times. The woman finds it nearly impossible to give in to that idea, yet over time it becomes apparent that she no longer struggles that much with exclusivity. Sure, there are more pressing issues around but the moment itself is just as important as it would define the direction of the woman's relationship with her husband and his other wives.

Drama is always present regardless of what is good or bad. So is comic relief. There are a lot of hilarious moments in their relationships with each other. Here is one that just kills without conscience: First Wife and Second Wife are in the middle of a heated debate over what sort of lingerie the Third Wife should buy so as to entice their husband at night. I didn't know that trying on lingerie so openly in the store was remotely possible in the first place. Well, that is part of life too I guess!

Eccentrically Yours.

Written by J.Fluffysheep ♪   

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 ♪