Gakuen Polizi Manga, Volume 1 (English)

September 18th, 2014

GP1In April 2013, I was pleased as punch to be able to review Morinaga Milk-sensei’s most recent series, Gakuen Polizi. At the time, I pronounced it “good” and commented that I chose “Polizi” as a transliteration for ポリーチェ because it looked stylish. I’ll take it as a compliment that Seven Seas went with my transliteration. ^_^

Gakuen Polizi, Volume 1 (Amazon/RightStuf) is, as Morinaga-sensei mentions in the author’s note, a conflation of her two favorite things – high school girls and TV cop series. I’m down with that. The first few chapters are a little unsteady as we meet over-enthusiastic new undercover school cop, aka “Polizi”, Sasami Aoba and, eventually her truculent, cynical partner, Sakuraba Midori. They flail around the school a bit, which provides plenty of space for exposition and the setup for Midori’s backstory. Here’s hoping it will be heart-wrenching.

The story really begins to take off in the second half of the book, as Aoba deals with rather serious issues high school girls face. Here in Volume 1, Aoba’s determined to solve a series of gropings on the train and the final, rather poignant, arc deals with a stalker.

I originally described this volume as Morinaga-sensei using her powers for good, and reading this translation, I’m convinced that I was right. Yes, Aoba and Midori could have solved missing cat crimes (and may still) but what we spend time on was a girl traumatized by an ex-boyfriend stalker, a very real, very serious problem. While the end is a touch convenient, if she had taken the darker route, this would have been an entirely different series. Cops shows and high school girls, there’s definitely potential here.

***

Subcribe with Patreon Enjoy today’s post? Subscribe to Okazu with Patreon!

***

If there is one thing you can absolutely count on from Seven Seas, it’s good technical work. The translation is solid; it starts to get a bit harsh in the middle then is reined in, so there is a consistent feel of “yeah, it’s a girl’s school” and the reproduction looks good.

Volume 2 is up for pre-order on Amazon in English, and is available in Japanese. It’s definitely on my to-read list and I’m looking forward to seeing the story develop.

Ratings:

Art – 9 Morinaga’s style is fully developed and her lines are more confident now than they have ever been
Story – I’m giving it a solid 9. 8 for being a good story, +1 for not being a straightup romance
Characters – 7, but we’ve barely begun to get to know them
Service – 2 -Psychological only, with talk of gropers and stalkers
Yuri – 1 A teeny weeny bit of fakey-service, but possible implication of more to come

Overall – 8

It’s a solid beginning to something completely different from Morinaga Milk-sensei and I’m really interested to see where she goes with it!

This book came in as a sponsorship from some lovely, generous Okazu Hero, but with no name. Please email me at yuricon at gmail so I can thank you properly!





Yuri Manga: Hoshi wo Futari de (星をふたりで)

September 17th, 2014

hwfdKazama Ayami’s Hoshi wo Futari de (星をふたりで) is her first collection of Comic Yuri Hime shorts, although her work has appeared in Volume 9 of Pure Yuri Anthology Hirari, as well.

To be very honest, I almost stopped reading with the first story, an excruciating tale of a girl who finds it hard to say three words strung together and the girl who gives her a voice, but I’m actually rather glad I kept going. Ria is a transfer student, she and Natsumi bond over the book The Little Prince. Although Natsumi’s reticence is not presented as a condition, I chose to approach her speaking difficulties as if it were a stutter or other speech pathology.  But quickly, my handwave became meaningless, as Natsumi finds her voice, her confdence and her strength – not in Ria, but because of her.

The second story also had roots in a literary reference, as free-spirited Mimori and Sena bond over Miyazawa Kenji’s Night on the Galactic Railroad.

Despite Satsuki’s personality, Airi and she have been friends since childhood. But recently Satsuki’s been even more prickly than usual. Satsuki faces rejection and confesses her feelings, only to find them returned after all.

A popular fashionable girl shakes Chihana’s world, when they end up missing their physicals and having to change together, but it turn out that Hosaka thinks Chihana is cute, too.

Riho is happy for her dear friend Nako, now that she has a boyfriend and is trying really hard to be willing to include him in their together time. Nako finds it all uncomfortable and finally admits that she wants their together time to be for them alone.

The final story returns us to Ria and Natsumi as they spend a lovely day together celebrating Natsumi’s birthday.

The art in this collection is moe, and yet, completely tolerable, once I got used to it. The Yuri is firmly Story A territory, a few embraces, a few kisses, one shirtless scene, but no more, which was a good thing. In fact, in the one shirtless scene, the art style is radically different, so Hosoka looks her age, a touch that worked both for the story and for my mental well-being.

Ratings:

Art – YMMV, but I’ll go so far as to give it a 7
Characters – 7 Better than I imagined
Story -Variable, oh let’s say 7 for these as well
Yuri – 5
Service – 7 for the one scene, 1 for the rest

Overall – 7

While this book won’t make a Top Ten List for me, as a series of shorts, it was pretty enjoyable.





Yuri Anime: Card Captor Sakura (English)

September 16th, 2014

ccsSo, the last month or so I have been mainlining all 70 episodes of Cardcaptor Sakura on Crunchyroll.  And y’know…I like it all over again. ^_^

You have to remember, we were coming off a Sailor Moon high the first time. All those amazing voice actresses, and there they were scooped up the immensely talented all-woman studio, CLAMP, no less. It was a perfect set up for Yuri fans.

And then…it started going all bent and alt-sexuality right away. The BL fans went gaga (rightfully so) over Touya and Yukito, fans of intergenerational relationships had Terada-sensei and Rika, and Kaho and Touya, and Fujitaka and Nadesico. Yuri fans had Sonomi’s feelings for her cousin Nadesico, mirrored by Tomoyo’s feelings for Sakura. So, basically everyone had something to be weird about. Boy with wings and long silver hair? Here’s Yue. Androgynous cute being? Have Ruby Moon. There was something for everyone, wrapped in a pretty CLAMP animation with ribbon and cake.

NIS did a really decent job with the translation, until they didn’t. And when they didn’t, it  became one of those moments that you just suck it up and do the best you can and hopefully realize that you can’t just ignore the honorifics and hope they go away. (Only companies keep making the same mistake over and over. How about we learn to translate names as they are presented, already and stop fighting it, huh?) So instead of Li-kun becoming Xialoang (a transliteration I 100% approve of, btw. It is correct), they struggle with Xiolang to…um, “bestie.” Yeah, no.

The film quality is great, and when/if I get this, I think getting Blu-Ray will be worth it. NIS has a Hybrid Blu-Ray (Amazon/ RightStuf) version available.

It actually felt more Yuri to me this time around – Tomoyo is well and truly besotted, much more so than her mother. (Bonus for us seiyuu otaku, Sonomi is is played by Itou Miki, who played Sachiko in Marimite.)

***

Subcribe with Patreon Enjoy today’s post? Subscribe to Okazu with Patreon!

***

Ratings:

Art – 8 One of CLAMP’s most colorful and swoopy
Story – 8 Weird, but fun
Characters – 10 Enduring in a lot of ways. There never would have been a Tamao in Strawberry Panic, if there hadn’t been a Tomoyo in CCS.
Yuri – A steady, underlaid 3
Service- 6 Not physical, but psychological hoo-whee!

Overall – 9

It’s been a long time since I watched this series and I think I enjoyed it more this time around. ^_^





Yuri Network News – (百合ネットワークニュース) – September 13, 2014

September 13th, 2014

YNN_MariKYuri Manga

Top News (for me) this week: Hayate x Blade 2, Volume 1 (はやて×ブレード2), by Hayashiya Shizuru-sensei is a thing that exists right now in the universe! Whee! Hijinks and idiots at the new Tenchi Academy.

Sweet Blue Flowers (Aoi Hana) by Shimura Takako is available from DMP in Kindle format! Grab a copy while you can!

Hopefully by now, you’ve all had a chance to read Morinaga Milk’s Gakuen Polizi, Volume 1 in English (Amazon/ RightStuf), out from Seven Seas. Volume 2 is now available in Japanese, and for pre-order in English on Amazon.

Ikeda Takashi’s Yuri dramedy Whispered Words Volume 2 (Amazon/RightStuf) and Volume 3 (Amazon) are both available for pre-order!)

This coming week brings us a pile of Yuri Hime Comics: Kimi-iro Shoujo (キミイロ少女),  Pastel Days (ぱすてるディズ), Himitsu no Kakera (秘密のカケラ), and Hakkou Snowflake (薄光スノウフレーク).

Not Yuri, but of interest, ANN has the news that Dark Horse has licensed the Fate/Zero manga. I’ve read the first three volumes and its pretty much exactly like the anime, so we’ll get Fate being all cool and courtly to Irisviel at the very least. ^_^

***

Yuri Anime

ANN writes that there’s a new Ikkitousen series in the making. Ikkitousen: Extravaganza Epoch will be an OVA, going direct to Blu-Ray sometime soon presumably, as the official site says 2014.

***

Sailor Moon

Premium Bandai knows you’re sitting around wishing you had a cute little cosplay set of your fave Senshi…so thye went ahead and made you one of each. Sets include neckband, collar, pantiy and skirt. You’re on your own for a white leotard.

Footage from the second Sailor Moon MusicalPetite Étrangère is aavailableon the official Sailor Moon You Tube channel. ANN has the write-up!

***

LGBTQ News

The Smithsonian Museum has added a LGBTQ History collection to their Museum of American History which includes media of all kinds, from campaign buttons to protest posters to episodes of Will and Grace. (Don’t laugh, if you think about it, that sitcom, Ellen and other TV show were some people’s firsts exposure to LGBTQ people!)

The new DC TV show Gotham is slated to have Renee Montoya as the Latina lesbian detective we all know and love. Victoria Cartagena will play Renee and the actress is totally aware of what a positive representation means to viewers.

CBR put together a terrific look at LGBTQ comics for young readers that were present at SDCC.

***

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 cool YNN correspondent’s badge. Thanks to all of you – you make this a great Yuri Network!





LGBTQ Manga: What Did You Eat Yesterday?, Volume 2 (English)

September 11th, 2014

eat2When I reviewed Volume 1 of What Did You Eat Yesterday, I found myself mildly disappointed. I like Yoshinaga Fumi-sensei’s obsession with food, and the idea that she had done a realistic story of a gay couple who was together and then the story happened, thrilled me no end.  But as I read Volume 1, I found myself feeling intense dislike for the lead character, Kakei Shiro, who came off as vain, self-absorbed and pretty sour. When I commented to other people that he and his boyfriend never just talk, they show no affection for one another and might as well be roommates, they’d all stare at me like they’ve read some completely other book. It was, to say the least, disconcerting.

Thankfully, many of these issues go away in Volume 2. (I like to fantasize that a bunch of gay readers wrote in and complained that Shiro was kind of a jerk. ^_^)

In Volume 1, Kenji and Shiro are a couple because we’re told they are. In Volume 2, we get a look at how he and Kenji met and moved in together, although nothing about their actual relationship. Watching the two of them is like being a teen over a friend’s house. You know their parents are “married” but they don’t seem like anything other than Mr. and Mrs. Smith, if you know what I mean. ^_^;

More importantly, this time we get author asides assuring us that, although he’s stone-faced or sour-looking, Shiro has hidden emotions of joy, triumph and satisfaction and his parsimony is not a lack of funds or him being cheap, but a genuine enjoyment of the challenge of buying and using cheap, good ingredients to make economical, delicious food. Okay, I can buy that.

The final part of the volume is rather serious, as Shiro learns that his father has cancer. This chapter hit me hard for the conversation about his reaction to the news. That struck me strongly.

The bulk of the “story” is still the making of menus, cooking and eating of meals and enjoying the heck out of them. Anything plot-like is secondary. But with these little almost side-stories, we’re learning about the people who populate Shiro and Kenji’s world…a thing that still lacks in many of the schooliest of Yuri. Characters in those stories are rarely allowed the luxury of classmates or family. Shiro and Kenji have friends, not always mutual, separates casts of coworkers, customers and people they speak to.

I love Yoshinaga-sensei’s clean art style and the detail with which the food is presented. So detailed that I was able to recognize slices of bitter melon. That‘s detail.

At first, I wondered if the translator was not a cook, but then I decided they were, they just had an ever so slightly prissy style – and to give them credit, they have to balance the idea that not everyone has a market where they can buy miso or dashi, with the idea of making a readable book. It’s a tough balance to strike and they did it pretty well.

I’m much more kindly disposed to Volume 2 than I was Volume 1. We may even try some of the recipes.

***

Subcribe with Patreon Enjoy today’s post? Subscribe to Okazu with Patreon!

***

Ratings:

Art – 9
Story – 8 Shiro’s fleshed out and I found myself liking him a lot more
Characters – 6 Everyone was less wound up this volume
LGBTQ – 7 Kenji and Shiro act in ways that indicate they care for each other.
Service –9  Food, food, food

Overall – 8

I’d still like to see Shiro smile a bit more. But even without, it’s a readable series, and has some nice touches.  Volume 2 warmed my cool feelings for this series like a bowl of Shiro’s simple soup. (Terrible line, I know, I had to do it. ^_^)