Yuri Manga: Comic Yuri Hime, March 2015 (コミック百合姫 2015年 03月号)

April 23rd, 2015

downloadIf you’re a regular reader here, you’ll know that I haven’t been really happy with Comic Yuri Hime this year. Too much pandering to the low and uncreatively-minded, too little actual girls in love with each other and almost no creative content.

So you might imagine how surprised I was to be able to say that the March 2015  issue of Comic Yuri Hime, (コミック百合姫 2015年 03月号) was very good. Like…actually really “Good” with a capital “G” good, meaning that, while I personally didn’t like everything, they are stretching the genre a bit again, so that it’s not the same one story over and over.

The magazine did not start off well for me, with a cell phone “comic” of two girls in maid costume and cat ears, so I was not feeling open-minded when I started reading. But, I was intrigued with the opening manga chapter “12bun no Etude” which began as a track club story that segued into a band story, with strong overtones of the few good bits of Sora no wo to. Trumpets, but I’ll be magnanimous and forgive that. ^_^

It was “Shoujo Shikaku” that blew me out of the water. I hated it, but it’s the first horror comic we’ve seen in the pages of Comic Yuri Hime in ages. I hated it precisely for the reasons I’ve discussed; the balance of power is held by someone other than the protagonist and the scales are balanced against them. It was alos full of service-y creepiness, which is not to my taste, but as much as it is not at all for me, I was glad to see horror in the magazine once again. It’s seemed to me that recently manga magazines are finally finding their way back to horror stories after decades of sort of avoiding them.

I was a little disappointed in Ohsawa Yayaoi’s newest which, although it was about two adult women, went over some well-trod material and ended up being a watered down What did You Eat Yesterday? Waste of a good character. I hope we see more/better from this setup.

“Chou Chou Nan Nan” from Takemiya Jin came to a climax that was not unexpected, but still was sweet.

In “Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san” an actual for real Yuri couple finally appears and it’s Ryuuzaki Otome and and Torao Mari. Okay by me.

“Tsuki to Sekai to Etoile” also comes to a kind of climax and for the moment, everyone is playing nice. That was a nice change of pace. ^_^

Aoto Hibiki’s “Yurino-onee-san” (which could also be read “Yuri no Oneesan”) was also a refreshing change of pace. Told from the point of view of a young boy, about the two women who live next door, Yurino and Miyako, we get to see Shintarou recognize what their relationship is, how it works and how much it means to them. He’s  a good kid and his fresh eyes give us a chance to understand that love is love. It was sweet.

Then we come to “Love Desu,” again by Kuzushiro-sensei. In start contrast to the horror story, this ridiculous thing pits two evenly matched, psychotic and violent people in a deadly love/hate relationship. This time one gets stabbed, but she’s the one who gets the kiss, so by the standards of this story, I think she won this round. ^_^ Again referring back to my discussion of violence – they are evenly matched and fully aware of what they are doing. This series is, therefore, perfectly enjoyable to me.

Last, but not least, was “Kanaete! Yuri Yousei” by Minamoto Hisanari-sensei. I think, honestly, he’s hit his pinnacle here. It’s all the moe he could ever want, and an actually amusing story about an old Yuri trope. I actually laughed at out loud at it. And what a perfect way for me to end this issue.

Except that it wasn’t the final chapter in the issue. Instead, we had a chapter of the Yuri Danshi side-story “Ore to Yuri”. Oh well.

As always I’ve left a number of stories out, and I’ll never talk about “To Lie Anguru” which I want to burn with fire, so if you’re not moved by these, trust me, there’s plenty of Yuru Yuri and other moe comics to be found.

Ratings:

Overall – 8

For the first time all year, I can actually say I enjoyed an issue of Comic Yuri Hime. The May 2015 issue has already been released and July is available for pre-order. All of these – and any back issues that still exist  –  are available on the new Yuricon Store in the Japanese Manga Section  – just click C in the alphabet header, or search for it by name!



Ikkitousen Xtreme Xecutor Anime, Disk 1 (English)

April 21st, 2015

IKKIXXI want to talk today about violence in comics. In particular, my love of violence in comics. Over the years, I’ve been really upfront about how I love fighting comics and animation and characters that beat the crap out of each other. Not surprisingly, I’ve received a lot of shit for it and I understand why, so I want to talk about what I mean when I say, “I like violence.”

To me there is a clear and important line between a fight between equals and an abusive situation  – and that line is the balance of power. Horror as a genre has never appealed to me, because there is always a presupposition of a power imbalance. The stalker, murderer, evil thing has the power and the rest of the cast are victims running away from or forced to fight against the character(s) with power. I suppose that a lot of people enjoy horror because at least one victim wins, usually by gruesomely destroying the bad guy. It’s not my cup of tea. Neither are portrayals of abusive situations. These are not entertainment for me.

I prefer a consenting human, who has chosen their situation, to step into a battle with a fairly matched other consenting person. Even if the fighting itself is not “fair”, the presupposition is that both fighters know what they are getting in to. (This is all relevant this week, by the way, I’ll be referring back to this conversation later, so keep it somewhere you’ll remember to find it. ^_^)

In the meantime, today, we’re going to talk about Ikkitousen, one of the honestly crappiest series I’ve ever enjoyed. My review of XX back in 2010 said this, “In Ikkitousen: Xtreme Xecutor, we pretend that Ikitousen:GG never happened and go crawling back to the Romance of the Three Kingdoms with our heads down, asking humbly for it to take us back.”

And that’s pretty much exactly what happens. Where I was wrong was on the lack of service. The TV release may have had less service, but as this is the “home theater” version, we are forced to to do the tits and crotch dance repeatedly, endlessly, pathologically. I will never have anything but utter pity for folks that actually find this stuff titillating as it’s so boring and pedestrian. You have the whole Internet to be pervy on. Go find something interesting.

So, post the Battle of Red Cliffs that was sort of recreated in Ikkitousen: DD, in the Romance of the Three Schools, a tournament of fighters is announced (again). Someone claiming to be Kentei (again) is setting Fighters up (again) this time to get at the leaders of the three schools – all of whom do not attend for separate reasons. Sousou can’t fight or Cao Cao will take over his body again, Ryuubi can’t fight or her Dragon will go out of control and Hakufu misses the boat because she’s an idiot. This leaves their champions to duke it out with the new crazy fake-Kentei and the not-quite-as-crazy sisters from Nanban. Mouyuu is notable (to me) for being voiced by Toyoguchi Megumi (Sei’s voice actress from Maria-sama ga Miteru) and for having an fetching eyepatch. Put her in some decent clothes and she’d be perfect. ^_^

I’m not going to get into the plot particularly, but I very much like that the characters are extremely aware of their histories and that when Bachou Mouki arrives, they are all instantly convinced that a new recreation of an ancient battle is on the table. Kanu and Ryomou seem to be the most tied into historical awareness – another thing that makes the two of them awesome characters.

There’s a lot of talking in this volume as we set up the fights, but I’m gonna give the story its props, the final episode on this disk ends with a fantastic scene as Hakufu and Gakushu save Ryuubi and company’s asses. I really like Gakushu. He gets the second most “aww”s from me after Ryomou. ^_^

In conclusion, Ikkitousen XX is a hideous perversion of the Chinese epic with gross amounts of service and every once in a blue moon, a terrific fight sequence that makes it all worth watching, if you like watching people beat the shit out of one another. Which I do*.

Ratings:

Art – I guess it’s okay, but why bother? 7
Story – Weirdly 9. The story is actually why I watch it.
Characters – Also weirdly 9.
Service – 10 I can’t complain, because it is what it is, but snooze.
Yuri – 2 It’s there, but all pushed to the background.

Overall – Let’s say 8 if you’re me and 2 if you’re sensible.

*After watching fantasy fighting in Ikkitousen last night, I tuned into UFC to watch a really excellent real-life MMA fight between Paige Vanzant and Felice Herrig at the end of which both I and the live audience were on our feet for Vanzant’s efforts. Two equally matched fighters, both of whom go into it knowing what they are doing, makes for an amazing bout.



Yuri Anime: Dear Brother Set 2, Disk 1 (English)

April 20th, 2015

DearBrother2When people referred to the anime based on Riyoko Ikeda’s Dear Brother manga as Yuri, it was primarily this section of the series they were talking about. Disk 1 of the second Dear Brother set is pretty much the pinnacle of Yuri in the series – it’s also a brief moment of life and joy and happiness in what is otherwise an extraordinarily dark series.

In this disk we start to realize that the drama – all of the drama – is centered upon a single person. Ichinomiya Fukiko, known as Miya-sama, is not just a terrible person, she is a pathologically controlling and sadistic person. As Saint Just starts to recover herself, rediscovering a small joy in the physical activity of basketball, Miya-sama reels her back in repeatedly, like a fisherman tiring out his prey.

But even on the darkest days, the sunlight can sometimes shine through the clouds and Saint Just finds enough of herself left to enjoy – fully and totally – basketball again. Mariko, Nanako and Tomoko are friends and can laugh and joke together without the jealousy we saw in the first set. Through Nanoko’s eyes, we discover that Mariko has fallen in love with Kaoru no Kimi. Not content to be a fan or admirer, Mariko has taken a kind of small possession of Kaoru’s well-being and not been rebuffed. This triggers thoughts in Nanako’s mind that she’s never had before and she considers the idea that she is in love with Saint-Just. Saint-Just does her best to prove to Nanako that she is not lovable at all.

But it’s when Miya-sama “teases” Nanako with veiled threats and unfunny jokes that we realize there is something much, much larger than the obvious going on. In the end, it his Ichinomiya Takashi, Miya-sama’s older brother who gives us the first clue to what it might be. We are left wondering why, when she has Saint Just on such a short leash, Miya-sama cares so much about Nanako?

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 9
Characters – 9
Yuri – 5
Service – 1

Overall – 9

Enjoy the laughter and the respite from the dark…in Disk 2 the clouds will thicken again.



Western Comix: Underwire Comic (English)

April 19th, 2015

download (1)We are many things here at Okazu. We focus on lesbian-themed works, but are queer, female and minority creator – friendly. There are a lot of good works that we look at that don’t fit snugly into the “lesbian” category. However, that doesn’t mean that I am without bias. I’m human…of course I have some bias. ^_^ There is one critical and important facet of female existence that I basically ignore completely – motherhood. There is no good reason for this lacuna, except my complete, total and utter disinterest in stories of motherhood.

Today, we’re going to work outside my comfort zone and talk about a unremittingly middle-aged comic by a white, straight, American mother. Jennifer Hayden‘s Underwire is published by Top Shelf, and is a collection of her comix about life. Her straight woman’s perspective is, to me, as nearly alien as anything wholly fictional, so when  I say to you with all honestly that I loved this book, trust me, it’s as big a surprise to me as it might be to you. ^_^

To clarify, I know Jennifer and like her loads, and love talking with her, but still, our life experiences are vastly different. I knew I’d like her comics, as I’ve been reading her comic blog, Rushes, since we met several years ago. But, this book was so deeply rooted in her life as a mother, the wonder with which she watched her children becoming people and the connections she was making between her past and their future – things I know I will never experience – that it held an almost fantasy-element for me. “OH, so that’s what it’s like when you suddenly look at your baby and see the adult they will become.”

The art is as unlike manga at as possible. Everything – backgrounds, textures, shading, is all done with pen, by the author. There’s no team of assistants here, no house style. I found it to be very American and very comix. ^_^

My summation of Underwire is this: After reading a number of for-adults-but-rather-infantile comics (I’m looking at you, Rokujo Hitoma no Nekogami-sama,) Jennifer Hayden’s Underwire is almost breath-robbingly adult. Women who read comics, you should read this one. It’s for grown ups.

Ratings:

Art – 9 Skilled comix will always have a place on my shelves
Story – 8 Extremely personal, but more random thoughts than memoir
Characters – Real people that I’m glad to lunch with

Overall – 9



Yuri Network News – (百合ネットワークニュース) – April 18, 2015

April 18th, 2015

YNN_Lissa

Event News

I will be presenting at Kean University’s Towercon on Sunday, April 19th at 3:25. Admission is free and the event is presented by the very nice folks of the Kean Otaku Anime Society. Drop by and say hi!

 

Tokyo’s Rainbow Pride Parade and events are next weekend. If you’re there, take some pictures and let us know how it is!

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Sailor Moon

There is a major correction to a news report from last week on the new Sailor Moon anime. As of now, no new series has been greenlit. The announcement about the second season was made by Toei Europe, referring to the currently running second season. We don’t yet know whether we’ll actually see the Death Busters arc or not. Yet.

Instead, let’s console ourselves with some amazing Sailor Moon fan art, bizarre Sailor Moon merchandise that probably no one really wants, and the cover art and song titles from the new Sailor Moon character image song collection (美少女戦士セーラームーンCrystal キャラクター音楽集)! (Hat tips to ANN and Dorkly for those.)

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Yuri Manga

YNN Correspondent Amanda B has written in with very exciting news of a “Thai adult life manga called Lily Love by Ratana Satis that’s being translated. The mangaka granted permission for groups to translate into English and Spanish, and uses the same English group for assistance in contacting and connecting with international fans. She also made a mention recently that she’s currently selling the first collected volume in Thailand at the moment, which is available for purchase. Apparently, enough international fans wanted it, so there is a window until April 19th for fans to write her Facebook inbox of where they would like the volume to be shipped to order a copy.”Well that’s all kind of awesome, for Ms. Satis and us! I’ve already written her to get a copy, it’ll cost approximately $16USD with shipping. ^_^

Futaribeya (ふたりべや) by Yukiko could be good, but I’m not holding my breath. YMMV.

Kono Hana Teikitan (このはな綺譚) was a manga published some years ago when it ran in Comic Yuri Hime S. Amano Sakuya’s comic featured moe fox girls so, not surprisingly I never got it or reviewed it. Gentosha comics is resurrecting the series as a Birz series, with new kanji in the title. Another toe in the Yuri world for Birz, which seems to be really going great guns into the genre.

One more Yuri comic essay is hitting shelves, Manga de Tsutsuru Yurina Hibi (まんがで綴る百合な日々 ) by Negitane, a comic essay about Yuri daily life.

I can hardly think this far ahead but the July Issue of Comic Yuri Hime (コミック百合姫 2015年 07月号) is available for pre-order.

Whoa, this is interesting – Yoshitomo Akihito’s series Futari to Futari (ふたりとふたり) from Tsubomi magazine is being resurrected as a JP Kindle comic by Yuri Hime. Again, very moe, all about two friends, who have feelings for each other’s younger sisters. Also being brought back to life as a Kindle publication is Yoshitomi’s Comic Yuri Hime S volume Nettai Shoujo (熱帯少女).Not series I resonated with, all way too lolicon for me, but how interesting all these old series are being dug up and revived.

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Support Yuri News and Reviews –  Subscribe to Okazu withSubcribe with Patreon

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Yuri Game

Starlight Vega is a game in development with multiple GL romances, a free demo and DRM free downloads. Give it a try and let us know how it is!

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Other News

io9 has a fantistic article Like These TV Shows? Here Are The Webcomics You Should Read. I’ve bookmarked  a number of these for future reading.

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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!