Neo-Shonen and Yaoi Fans

March 25, 2009 at 4|28|pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Many thanks to Daryl Surat for coining the term “neo-shonen.”

Go to any anime convention and you’ll see them.  Buying their Gundam Wing and Prince of Tennis doujinshi, squealing over Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, badgering Naruto’s voice actor to say “Sasuke” JUST so they can fuel their yaoi fantasies.

I’m talking, of course, about shonen fangirls.  Yes, shonen.  You see, the genre is really no longer a boys-only club (in fact, most of the boys have continued on to – shudder – moe.  Horrors!)  Why, the most popular manga magazine for girls in Japan is Weekly Shonen Jump (Bleach, Naruto, et cetera.)


Well, maybe there are some other girls out there who, like me, just want a good action/drama/comedy.  But mostly it’s the yaoi fangirls.  Yaoi doujinshi culture and fujoshi (yaoi fans) are becoming so prevalent over in Japan that even Shonen Jump, which used to be the market for no-girls-allowed manga, is cashing in on the trend by adding… certain undercurrents… to their series.  Long meaningful glances between male characters.  Angst to the highest power.  Useless female characters.  HELLO?  CAN WE PLEASE GET TO THE HOLLOW-BASHING/DEATH AND DESTRUCTION/(INSERT OTHER AWESOME PLOT DEVICE HERE) NOW?  ARGHHH!

I can’t say I don’t appreciate a good romantic undertone in my shonen (see: blog header; excessive Uryu/Orihime fangirlism) but not when it’s pointless, goes nowhere, and is only there to pander to the squeeing yaoi hordes.  (See: That Foot Washing Scene In The Death Note Anime.)  This is even worse when the pairing the fans are slashing makes absolutely no canonical sense whatsoever.  Fullmetal Alchemist – the manga, at least – has hardly any such undertones between a certain EXTREMELY popular yaoi pairing, and much more reasonable canon love interests for both.  (Oh-kay, maybe I’m biased on this point, but…)  Yet they still dominate the DeviantArt fanart section for pairings in the series.

Sometimes, I must admit, such pairings do make sense: almost anything by CLAMP will have a pretty great male/male pairing that is seriously UN-HATEABLE (unless we’re talking Seishirou/Subaru, in which case… well… I admit this started OUT great, but then the whole Sakurazuka plotline took over and we found out about Seishirou and AAAARGH) and completely canonical.  Still, the unfounded pairings outweigh the ones that make sense.

I dunno about you, but I’d prefer it if, even if the fangirls must love their yaoi, they didn’t shove it in non-fujoshi’s faces.  (Particularly with their hatred of female characters.  Particularly their hatred of Orihime Inoue.)


So what was the point of this blog entry?  Nothing in particular; I just wanted to get my point across.  I don’t even know what my point was.  Aaaargh.


Top 10… most annoying teen fiction trends

March 6, 2009 at 7|20|pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Straight from my post at the YALSA blog, I bring you…

Top 10 Most Annoying Teen Fiction Trends!

Continue Reading Top 10… most annoying teen fiction trends…

catching up with FMA – ch. 80-85

February 27, 2009 at 4|51|am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Spoiler warning!

Oh my GOD.  So much stuff’s been happening lately that it isn’t even funny.  First there’s Al and Hoho (er, Hohenheim…) meeting up again, which was a bit weird.  Especially because the brothers have totally different ways of responding to their dad.

Then there’s the Greed 2.0 subplot.  Oh my god I was speechless through this entire thing, except for a whole lot of squeeing when I noticed Martel in one of the flashback panels.  I love that girl. 🙂  And his fight with Bradley was pretty awesome.  KUNG FU TIME!  And of course, Selim’s being his usual sneaky self.

On a more shallow note, Ed looks really good with his hair down.  Actually, Ed always looks good.

And there was no shortage of moments for my favorite pairings, either.  Ed and Winry are adorable and obvious no matter what situation you put them in (and it’s even better if it’s awkward and – well, just read the chapter where Winry comes back home.  It’s awesome) and of course, there were a few nice little moments with Roy and Hawkeye as well.  I’ll just say that Riza always pays attention to the man behind the curtain. 😀  Ed/Winry is pretty much canon by now, but you have to look for hints of Roy/Riza every chance you get.  (Did you notice that when Rebecca was groaning about how all men were jerks, she said that she wanted Riza to set her up with a nice man, not that they should both find nice men?  Hmm.)  Damn it, if these two don’t reveal that they’ve been hooking up all along get together by the end of the series, I know one cow-loving manga-ka who is getting a piece of my mind.

There was a pretty great moment with Roy and Olivier, too.  He brought her a bouquet of hyacinths (with an encoded message, of course) and then told her:

Do you know what the word “hyacinth” means?  Feminine grace and beauty.

To which Olivier replied:


Good times, good times.

This series is… yeah, it’s beyond awesome.  I thought that the plot started sucking around chapter 65 or so, but it’s getting awesomer and awesomer lately.  Maybe I’m biased, considering how emotionally attatched I am to the characters, but this is one of my favorite manga.  Ever.

Also, Selim Bradley is a BADASS.

Cy-believers volume 1

February 16, 2009 at 2|36|am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Cy-Believers, volume 1
Shioko Mizuki
Go! Comi
Rated 16+

No, this isn’t a cool cyberpunk adventure manga.  Damn.  It’s actually a very weird mix of Miki Aihara-type shojo (now with more assholes!) and random humor, with a bit of “are-they-gay-maybe!” posturing.  In the hands of a more competent writer, this could’ve been cool.  Instead, it’s a bit of standard-shojo-fare that tries a little too hard to be edgy and offbeat.

Rui is a teenaged girl who’s just transferred to this school, Domus Somethingorother; I don’t remember the school’s full name, except that it’s Latin and very, very annoying and really pointless.  She’s there to meet her fiance, some guy who’s name starts with N (I forgot it already; that says something about this manga).  She’d thought he’d be a total sweetheart, based on his emails – but he’s actually a semi-rapist-ish, pigheaded jerk who delights in disbanding all other school clubs.

There’s also two guys who may or may not be gay.  One of them may or may not be a robot.  It’s effing weird.

In short: a very weird, forgettable manga with some nice art moments and an all-over-the-place plot that’s too faux-weird for it’s own good.  Try it out yourself and form your own opinion.

Your and My Secret volumes 1-3

January 22, 2009 at 10|36|pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Akira is a rather good-looking sixteen-year-old boy, but girls don’t like him because he has little to no personality whatsoever (he’d fit in well in Hana-Kimi.  Sorry, that was rude).  Momoi is a brash, rude sixteen-year-old girl who’s incredibly pretty until she opens her mouth.  Yet despite her personality, Akira has a crush on her.  Then, due to an accident with one of Momoi’s grandfather’s experiments, the two end up switching bodies; that is to say, Akira’s soul is now in the body of the girl he likes.

This could be just normal shojo (if told from Momoi’s P.O.V.) or a particularly fan-service-filled seinen manga (seriously, think about it), but somehow, this series takes all the cliches, keeps half, and proceeds to screw the othe 50% up so much that it’s just WRONG.  And yet… I loved it.  I’m a cynic at heart, so seeing shojo tropes turned on their head was awesome for me.

An example of the series’ half-offending, half-completely-hysterical humor: after the body switch, Momoi proceeds to lock herself in the bathroom and, um, examine her new body, as I would have expected the male character to do.  This causes un-ending embarassment for Akira, who can’t bear to think of what she must be doing in there – the role a girl would have taken, if this were any normal shojo.

Then there’s Sebongi, Akira’s pre-swap best guy friend, who now has feelings for Akira-in-Momoi’s-body.  Even after the swap is revealed to him, he still keeps trying, knowing that it’s his old best friend, which I found completely hilarious.  Better yet, Sebongi’s ‘hit on everything that moves’ attitude and Momoi’s possible feelings for Akira lead to some very, very weird situations… including one in Volume Three that’s just too funny to spoil here (one word: doujinshi!)

All in all, I’d have to say this is the best antishojo (although it ran in a shojo magazine) I’ve read in 2009.  There’s a bit of Ouran (although more offensive to some), a bit of Hot Gimmick (from what I know of it), and a healthy dose of subverting gender stereotypes.  Not for those who still believe there’s good in everyone, but if you’re sick of cookie-cutter shojo manga, why not give it a try?

Art – 6/10.  It’s really not all that great, but hey, I didn’t read it for the flower backgrounds and hot guys.
Story – 8/10.  FUNNY AS HELL, enough said.
Extras – Had nothing to do with the story.  Actually they were all about creator Ai Moringawa’s cats.  A little boring, really.
Overall – Cynics who believe that the shojo genre is just recycling ideas, come one, come all.  Here’s a slightly screwy shojo that will either make you laugh your brains out, or offend you so much you’ll start a campaign to ban it from your local library.  Myself?  I’ll go with the former.

Nana volume 5

January 6, 2009 at 12|15|am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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…Whew.  I’m kind of exhausted from all that!  I spent last night unable to sleep, reading Nana, and I came to this realization:

Holy mother of cupcakes, I’m Hachi!

Er… right.  Onto the review then.

This series just keeps getting better and better with every volume!  I’m not exaggerating!  I’m just using exclamation points because it is THAT AWESOME!

First of all, maybe it’s just me and my slash-goggles, but is Yazawa-san hinting at some sort of… unrequited Hachi/Nana… thing?!  I mean, it’s kind of obvious with a few of the Hachi monologues at the end of a few chapters.  These are some sixteen-ton-weight size hints she’s giving us here.  (And I’m not even a yuri fangirl.  Sigh.)

The romance plotlines are getting more and more twisted, as well.  Hachi’s hooking up with Takumi, the bassist from Nana O’s rival band; Ren and Nana O reunite after two years; and Nobu is totally pining over Hachi.  Oh, what a tangled web we weave.  Fortunately, all this romantic confusion adds up to some completely amazing scenes, such as when Shin and Nobu (from Nana O’s band Blast) go out drinking after a concert with Ren, Takumi, and Reira from their rival band Trapnest.  This is a day or so after Takumi and Hachi slept together, and Takumi offends poor love-struck Nobu by comparing Hachi to a tail-wagging dog.  (Um, note to Takumi: you probably shouldn’t call the girl you’re screwing a dog.  It’s a bad idea.)

I don’t think I have to mention the art.  If you’ve even read a PANEL of this manga you know that it’s gorgeous.  ‘Nough said.

Art – 10/10
Story – 9/10
Extras – Quite cute, though there isn’t much.  Creator commentary would have rocked my world, but ah well.
Overall – If you’re over the age of 15 and are looking for a manga that will rock your world, this is it.

I love you all~!

January 5, 2009 at 11|55|pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Some Links

January 1, 2009 at 1|38|am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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At Teen Book Review, Jocelyn thoroughly enjoys Love Is Hell, but finds Sister Wife too much of an “issue book” for her taste.  The 3 Evil cousins call The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks “epic,” which is the highest compliment coming from them.  Violeta posts a hysterically funny book meme.  The Manga Life crew talks about their favorites of 2008, Erika Friedman goes all Yuri on our asses and we LIKE IT, and Billy starts off his review of St Dragon Girl with the line: Every good town has to have a teenage demon removal service.  Amen, brother.

Best of 08

December 31, 2008 at 9|29|pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Quite a few “Best of 08’s” are going around right now, including Manga Life’s, David Welsh’s, and Deb Aoki’s.  So I figure I’ll make one of my own – hopefully it’ll be okay, though it’ll probably make theirs look brilliant by comparison.

Best Shounen: Fullmetal Alchemist came out on top, as it does on nearly all my lists.  It’s one of the most fun, best plotted series I’ve read in a while.  AND it’s got totally kick-ass female characters, too!
(Runner-ups: Bleach, Gin Tama, and Tsubasa)

Best Shojo: I’d like to say Fruits Basket, as a devotee of Natsuki Takaya-san, but it’s kind of dragging lately.  So the big prize goes to Nana, for being a modern EPIC of sex (LOTS of sex), drugs (not really), and rock’n’roll.
(Runner-ups: Fruits Basket, Sand Chronicles, and Honey and Clover)

Best Seinen: A manga about otaku beloved by otaku?  It’s got to win.  For this particular demographic, my favorite I’ve read this year has got to be Kio Shimoku’s Genshiken.  Every time I read a chapter, I about die laughing.
(Runner-ups: xxxHolic, Chobits, Higurashi: When They Cry)

Best Hero: Hands down, this goes to Watanuki Kimihiro of xxxHolic.  He’s adorable when he’s overexcited and flaily, and even more adorable with an eyepatch (or top hat.)   What more could you ask for?  No, seriously, what more?

Best Heroine: Haruhi Suzumiya, of her eponymous anime and manga, is FUNNY AS HELL.  She may also be a total tsundere, a total bitch, and totally obsessive.  But sometimes it’s just laughter that counts.

Best Mascot Character: Sumomo/Plum from Chobits.  She’s a computer!  And a pet!  And an excersize machine!

Worst Manga: It’s a tie between Vampire Knight and Negima!.  The former is a cliched, sparkly Twilight piece of bullshit, and the latter was just pedo nonsense (although I do like Nodoka or whatever her name was.)

Punch volume 1

December 27, 2008 at 5|40|pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Title: PUNCH volume 1
Author: Rie Takada
Rating: Older Teen

Elle’s the granddaughter of a Muay Thai boxing champ set to inherit his dojo and marry his best friend’s son.  The problem?  Elle wants nothing to do with fighting.  While the other girls growing up were playing house, she was watching the boys beat eachother up, and she hates it.  All she wants is a normal relationship with a guy who ISN’T her betrothed, Ruo, a long-haired fighting champ trained by all the best coaches.

When Elle meets Kazuki by chance, he catches her eye with his gorgeous face – and then with his rough attitude.  It turns out this guy she thought she might like is a street fighter who’ll mess up anyone in his way.  It only complicates matters when she blurts out his name to Ruo, and it gets worse from there.  What’s a girl to do?

I love Rie Takada’s art style and her chibis are to die for, totally expressive and cute in an offbeat way (I especially liked chibi!Grandpa with his eyepatch.)  The writing’s sharp and definitely shojo-y.  And the heroine isn’t particularly doormat-like either.  I was cracked up by Takada’s Gaba Kawa in Shojo Beat, and Punch doesn’t disappoint.  It’s an above-average shojo manga in a line that’s been rather disappointing lately.  Nice liscensing, SB.

Art – 8/10
Story – 7/10
Extras – None
Overall – A fluffy, fun shojo manga… although what was with the bath scene?

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