LGBTQ Anthology: Absolute Power: Tales of Queer Villainy Pre-Order

December 4th, 2016

apIt’s here, it’s queer and it’s a must-have this holiday season!

Absolute Power: Tales of Queer Villainy, is available for pre-order at a discount and if you are or know someone who will love amazing LGBTQ fiction, grab this book. Heck, buy a baker’s dozen!

It’s especially good for the late teen evil psycho lesbian in your life.  You want to make sure you provide positive, strong role models for them. ^_^

And, let me take this opportunity to thank all of the more than 500 Kickstarter backers who believed in this book. It was very gratifying to see so many friends among the ranks. I am completely confident that you will enjoy this book as much as I did, (even after reading it a half dozen times for editing. ^_^)

Evil. Was it born this way? Maybe these villains knew from the very beginning, maybe not, but by the time you get to meet them, they’ve come through the crucible and learned to accept themselves for who they are.

 

 

 



Yuri Network News – (百合ネットワークニュース) – December 3, 2016

December 3rd, 2016

ynn_lissaAnime News

It’s an all-anime edition of YNN!

We’ve reported before that Card Captor Sakura, which has a new manga series, is getting an anime. The Clear Card arc, in which Sakura, Li and Tomoyo are now in middle school together, will debut on Japanese TV in 2018. Anime Now has a nice write up about it, including the news that the original voice cast will be reprising their roles. I’ll write up something about the manga relatively soon. ^_^

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Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha is getting a new anime as well. Set after A’s, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Reflection, will include both Fate and Hayate, as well as characters from the game, the Florian Sisters. ANN reports that Reflection will be released in the form of two films, and that the original VAs will be reprising their voice roles.

Komatsu-san at Crunchyroll has the news that Toei has officially launched the upcoming Kirakira☆Precure ala Mode

Once again from ANN, Crunchyroll has added Funimation and Nozomi titles, (after Hulu killed most of it’s animation catalog) including Riddle Story of a DevilRiddle is now available for viewing in more countries than previously, with this new deal.

Miles Thomas at Crunchyroll News has some thoughts on messages about queerness in Flip Flappers.

Crunchyroll News has the story that Tokyo MX is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Hidamari Sketch by rebroadcasting the final season of this 4-koma anime. Maybe this is a good time to celebrate with a rewatch ourselves!

Know some cool Yuri News you want people to know about? Become a Yuri Network Correspondent by sending me any Yuri-related news you find. Emails go to anilesbocon01 at hotmail dot com. Not to the comments here, please, or they might be forgotten or missed. There’s a reason for this madness. This way I know you are a real human, not Anonymous (which I do not encourage – stand by your words with your name!) and I can send you a YNN correspondent’s badge.

Thanks to all of you – you make this a great Yuri Network!



Harmony Anime (ハーモニー) (English) Guest Review by Eric P.

November 30th, 2016
harmony
It’s Guest Review Wednesday and today we have a visit from long-time reader and occasional Guest Reviewer Eric P! Please welcome him as always! 
 
 
The ambitious Project Itoh trilogy is a trio of anime film adaptations based on the works of award-winning sci-fi author Satoshi Ito, spawned by Noitamina and animated by three different studios. It first began with The Empire of Corpses, followed closely by the middle story of the anthology, <harmony/>, (ハーモニー) animated by Studio 4*C and co-directed by Michael Arias, who did Tekkonkinkreet.
 
Set in the future, <harmony/> reveals a world where society has achieved a systematic Utopia. Everyone is connected to the collective WatchMe software program, where health and psychological well-being is constantly monitored and regulated, and “necessary” information is constantly provided so everyone knows the “right” things to do for better living, and everyone knows everybody just by looking at them and are likewise always supportive of each other. The vast majority have apparently become accustomed to and content with this way of life, but two high school friends, Tuan and Miach, recognize it as a imposing, oppressive regime robbing people of their free wills. The enigmatic Miach is the leader of the two, who learned of what the world once was through the books she read. She draws Tuan into her beliefs and actions through physical intimacy and affection (more on that later). They agree to rebel against the world through the ultimate act of selfishness, via suicide. Tuan fails in the attempt, while Miach seemingly left the world and her in it.
 
Resigned to live since then, the now-adult Tuan works for the World Health Organization, a kind of medical police force, but continues to find society a stifling birdcage as she tries getting by and retaining some personal control. But then chaos disrupts society’s superficial perfection, as minds are being hijacked, spurring mass suicides, followed by growing collective paranoia. The more Tuan looks into it, the more it mirrors the Miach she remembers, with signs pointing to her as the puppet master. The plot is a slide down a rabbit hole as Tuan uncovers Miach’s past and intentions along with additional puzzles and truths, and in the end, determines the fate of society and the world itself.
 
One of the major criticisms Harmony received was for its animation, with it’s uneven blend of 2D/3D-animation. While some of the CG moments were definitely a little crude and clunky here and there, some other moments I thought were interestingly done. There are some shots of the camera panning around the characters’ heads, which move fast enough to make it look like immersive 2D to me, but the scenes that might look most impressive to other viewers would be the virtual conference calls that Tuan attends. The one sequence that stood out the most to me was a restaurant scene, in which Tuan converses about Miach with a childhood friend from their past, and the camera circles around them within their environment, closing in. Even long before we find out the big reveal later, one already gets a gradual discomforting sense of an evil presence descending upon them before the big shock that takes place, setting the whole story in motion.
 
The story stays true to its discomforting atmosphere all the way to its end, which involves a final confrontation between Tuan and Miach. However you interpreted their past relationship from the flashbacks – whether or not Miach was just twisted and took advantage of Tuan, or what Tuan herself truly thought of their bond in retrospect after all this time –  their true connection ultimately comes to the forefront. Miach makes her final offer, and Tuan responds with making one last free decision, this time out of a personal act of selfishness. The ending is bleak, which that may leave some viewers frustrated. But after watching it twice, I realize the story itself was not a happy one to begin with. And if one were to ask if the characters were likeable, then the answer would be a general “not really.”
 
But after two Project Itoh movies, it is made apparent to me that a happy plot with likeable characters is not necessarily what one looks for when going into an Itoh story. One instead goes in for the hard sci-fi with the kind of world-building that is his distinctive personal style, and for the philosophical ideas and pondering that relate to the story being told, often generally about consciousness and the nature of the soul. With <harmony/> in particular, the characters mainly serve as vehicles for the viewer’s journey in Itoh’s world, and it can be philosophical to the point where the dialogue is almost pure info-dumping. But that is something I had grown used to after watching every iteration of Ghost in the Shell, and rather than putting me off it merely forces me to pay attention.
 
All in all, your mileage may well vary with <harmony/>.
 
Ratings: 
 
I would not call it either great or terrible, but I deem it interesting enough to check out at least once. For that, I give it my usual overall rating of 7.
 
Erica here: Thank you again Eric, for this review, next time I’m in a mood for dystopian futures (which is almost never, to be honest ^_^,) I know where to look. ^_^
 


Yuri Manga: Anoko ni Kiss to Shirayuri wo, Volume 5 (あの娘にキスと白百合を 5)

November 29th, 2016

aksyw5-e1476563876160Canno’s popular series, Anoko ni Kiss to Shirayuri wo, has made it to 5 volumes on the all-Yuri school formula.  It’s basically a Yuri trope du jour series, in a fantasy school, where adults are a vague concept and while boys are not unheard of, they are unseen. 

In Volume 5, we first run into Itou Sawa who is positive that Nishikawa Istuki hates her. HATES. Big glare-y eyes from across the room-type hates. But, of course, that is not at all what is going on. Itsuki is struggling with a memory that Sawa doesn’t share…but should.

The middle of the book turns to look hard at the primary couple of the series. Rumors are flying that the day after exams, both Kurozawa Yurine and Shiramine Ayaka were seen together at the seashore. It’s a school scandal, but we learn the truth that Ayaka, rejected again by her family for not being number one in scores, runs off to have a good cry. Yurine helps her ground herself, and gives Ayaka a focus for her energy. Ultimately, they return to  school and face down the rumors.

Finally, we take the time for Sawa and Itsuki to confront their shared history and potential present. I’m not going to syt it’s a stupid past, but under no circumstances am I to be held to any promise I made before 30, much less 5 years old. 

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 6
Characters – 7
Yuri – 8
Service – 1 on principle

Overall – 7

No, seriously. Any promises made in in kindergarten are no longer valid.



BD: La Rose Ecarlate – Missions Tome 01: Le Spectre de la Bastille 1/2 (French)

November 28th, 2016

51n9kvh14alWhen I visited Paris this past summer, I found myself staying, almost miraculously, in the middle of Geek Central, surrounded by comic and figurine and bande dessinée stores galore. It was not intentional, but it was fortuitous. ^_^ During one afternoon off, my wife and wandered the area and threw some Euro at the French economy. I chose three BD volumes, each one for a specific reason. Today we’re going to look at the first of the three, Volume 1 of La Rose Ecarlate, written by Patricia Lyfoung, illustrated by Jenny. 

I chose La Rose Ecarlate for several obvious reasons. It clearly stars a woman as a masked thief, and also includes a attractive damsel a monster and a conspiracy!  And, most appealingly, the art style and story-telling is very shoujo manga. The story is reasonably predictable – a young man and woman of noble rank, who happen to be lovers, are going out at night as the gentleman and woman theives, Le Renard and Le Rose Ecarlate, the Fox and the Scarlet Rose. 

The first volume includes a small romantic setback, as a childhood friend of Count Guilhem, Le Renard, arrives during a dance and seems much too comfortable with the young count. But, when Adele and Maud, Le Rose Ecarlate, become friends, they bond over Guilhem’s foibles and  become fast friends. 

We then look back at the origin of the Rose and Fox, and, as the volume comes to an end, move into the main narrative about a phantom who steals away young women. They end up saving Adele, and being chased by the gendarmes through a house of ill repute. They kiss, and end the book promising to solve the mystery of “Le Spectre De La Bastilles.” 

There’s no Yuri, although while I don’t put it past the series to have, at some point, an overenthusiastic thanks from a fair maiden, this volume was pretty straight.

Totally adorable in every way. Not a single word that wasn’t completely predictable, but a rollicking good yard, some very pretty full-color shoujo manga-style art and a main couple that didn’t make you roll your eyes in despair. Neither Maud nor Guilhem are damseled, although one  might well have to rescue the other, it could easily go either way. The art was very well done, and I appreciated the touches that said “this is manga style,” like shoujo bubbles in the background. ^_^

The BD format, which is a large, thin, hardbound volume, worked to the strengths of the story and art. Large saturated-color pages were still easy to read. I used the Google Translate app on my phone when I was really unsure of the dialogue, but mostly, I could just guess what was being said, if my French wasn’t up to snuff.

For my first foray in to manga-style bande dessinée, La Rose Ecarlate was a charmer.

Ratings: 

Art – 8
Story – 7
Characters – 7
Overall – 8

I probably won’t be getting later volumes, but if you’re interested in reading this and later volumes on your Kindle, you  can! If you’re a French-language reader and want to let us know how the story progresses, please feel free to write in. ^_^