Otaku in Paris, Pilgrimage to Versailles

August 22nd, 2016

20160816_161131I am back from the third of my three vacations this summer and once again, I come with pictures and thoughts and things, this time from Paris, France.

You may remember that in 2015, I was in Japan and had the chance to see a Takarazuka show, Hakushaku no Reijou. During the post-show postmortem, we all decided that the show was set in “Paris of the Imagination” rather than a real time or place. I now understand why. ^_^ Paris is a city that has a great deal of historicity, much of which is still functioning as business places and homes. While the 21st century has made it’s mark, it’s been kept at bay, both literally and figuratively, with construction of skyscrapers kept mostly out to the edges of the city. So, when sitting in a cafe, one can be forgiven for allowing one’s self to believe that one is, for a moment, feeling the “true” pulse of Paris. Of course, one is fully delusional at that moment, but it’s forgivable.

20160816_173142To begin with, we ended up staying in the geek central part of Paris, so one afternoon we spent a few hours digging around the various Album and Pulp stores for bande dessinée, (French-language comics. I picked up a few and will review them someday,) manga in French, figurines, artbooks, American comics and the like. Among these was the lovely complete set of Lady Oscar pictured at the top of the post, with character designs, character backstories and commentary. Despite the fact that it was in French I almost bought it. ^_^

fryuriI knew there are any number of Yuri titles available – I was particularly looking for Fleurs Bleues, the French-language edition of Aoi Hana, but did not find it. I imagine it’s too old to be in the shops. But I did see some Yuri on shelves. Saburouta’s Citrus was clearly marked “Yuri.”

froutAnd I managed to snag a free preview booklet of Tagame Gengoroh’s Outoto no Otto, which is getting a release in France. An English release is in the works, as well.

We are also waiting on the official release of Rose of Versailles in English from Udon Press, so my wife and I took one day to visit Versailles. Of course, we brought with us the mythos of Oscar and Marie, Fersen and the rest of the cast of this great epic manga. I tried, as we walked around, to picture them walking these paths and hallways. Not always easy, as the only people in Versailles now are tourists.  I joked about the horror with which Marie would view her Chateau now, crawling with plebs as it is.

Versailles is…big. Not space big, but really big.

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I kept thinking of scenes from Rose of Versailles, in which Oscar rode up to the palace, leapt off her horse and stormed through the halls to whomever’s apartments. That would have been a 40 minute trip and let me tell you, she’d be tired when she got there.

It’s almost impossible to grasp the scale of Versailles from the inside, as all the rooms are relatively small, but so cluttered with multicolored marble and paintings and gilded features that there’s nowhere for one’s eyes to rest. It would be almost impossible to capture the muchness of the place, but I see that the anime did a decent enough job, considering. A background like this:

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actually looks more like this:

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We both thought that the place would do well to have either cosplayers in the distant rooms, or an augmented reality app that would show the place full of people who were actually living and working there, rather than as the dead museum of the past that it is now.

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We didn’t have a chance to see Marie’s Petit Trianon or her little fake village, because it was just too much to do, but I imagine I will come back once again and once more imagine Oscar and Andre and Marie walking these halls.

Let me remind you that if you’re looking for a good excuse to visit Versailles, Paris’ own Yuri and Yaoi event, Y/Con 5 will be held on November 12 & 13!

Au revoir for now, France, but I have no doubt that I’ll be back to once again to enjoy the Paris of my imagination. ^_^



See you at Flamecon 2!

August 20th, 2016

FlameCon_logo-1 I am returned from my pilgrimage, about which I will write tomorrow, but first, Flamecon 2!

Please join me for The Secret History of Yaoi and Yuri, today, Saturday August 20, Room C at 4PM.

I will be bringing random items to give away for good questions, as usual. So bring your best questions!



No Yuri Network News Report This Week

August 13th, 2016

I’m out of the office this week. I’ll be back asap with roundups of Otakon news, Flamecon news and bunch of catching up to do!



Yuri Drama CD – Grand Stage, Volume 5 Akabara-no-Kimi, Suoh Yui ( グラン・ステージ 第5幕「赤薔薇の君 蘇皇唯」)

August 12th, 2016

GS5SMHave I mentioned how much I love this series? I mean, yes, I have, but I really love this series! Every time the opening theme plays, I grin like a fool, because it’s just the greatest, most musically predictable piece ever written…and I love it. ^_^

Here we are at the fifth Grand Stage Drama CDAkabara-no-Kimi, Suoh Yui ( グラン・ステージ 第5幕「赤薔薇の君 蘇皇唯」) who will (also rather predictably) be playing Hikaru Genji in the Tale of Genji, the production for which we are auditioning.

Immediately, Yui pushes our boundaries, asking for our real name as well as our stage name. And this behavior continues throughout the CD. She never goes too far, but there are a few moments when it got dicey. Yui is, she tells us, looking for her new Shirayuri-hime, the partner she formerly had, to her Genji. Will we, a mere Murasaki, ever live up to her princess?

Having decided we seem suitable, Yui takes us out for a drive where we impress her and she, slowly, impresses us. She feeds us delicious baked goods and, finally, in front of a fountain, she kisses us. After which we fall into the water. She takes us home and tells us that we’re more than capable of being her Shirayuri-hime to her Akabara-no-kimi.

Saiga Mitsuki (Chie Hallard from Mai HiME and Mai Otome) is incredibly sexy as Yui. It’s Chie’s Yuri power-up x 100. And also quite versatile, as her deepest voice range is used for her recitation as “Genji,” while as Yui she is still fully otokoyaku-like. One, of course, imagines that her kiss is on the forehead, but still, she gets a kiss, even as she obsesses about the difference between being our lover or our partner. She declares that we’ll make a great partner, (but that doesn’t mean there’s no chance of the other.)

Included with the CD are a character card and a “signed” image and another short story. In the short story, we have a fever, and Yui was able to take of us, insisting that we are a princess as she feeds us. We say we’re well enough to go through with the audition. After the audition, we collapse in Yui’s arms, with a renewed fever, but Yui swears she’ll take care of us. She ends with a suggestive live about us slowly blossoming into becoming her Shirayuri-hime and we are happy about that.

Ratings:

Overall – 9

As always, I’m fascinated by the pure Yuri-ness of this series. The voice actresses are the dead give away. If this was meant to be merely a Takarazuka-esque look at fandom, then any voice actress who voiced male roles would do. Instead, Grand Stage lines up five actresses with unimpeachable Yuri cred, then has them embracing, stroking, snuggling and kissing “us.” Yeah. This series is totally for us. ^_^

Enjoy Yui’s moody image song:



“The Secret History of Yaoi and Yuri” at Flamecon!

August 11th, 2016

FlameCon_logo-1Well yee-ha! I’ll be bringing my guerilla “history of Japanese literature” panel to Flamecon 2,  New York’s queerest comic event, which will be held in Brooklyn, New York on August 20-21.

The Secret History of Yaoi and Yuri 
Saturday August 20, Room C

This’ll give me a chance to talk to an LGBTQ crowd about Japanese queer media, and give folks a chance to see the evolution of Yuri and BL through their literary and artistic roots.

It will also give me a chance to do a lecture suffering from jet lag once again. ^_^; Boy I really time these panels well.

I’m going to have a few books to give away as good question prizes and I hope to see you all there!