Sailor Moon Anime, Season 2 Part 1 Disk 2 (English)

November 27th, 2015

In SMR21Disk 2 of Sailor Moon Season 2 (known as Sailor Moon R), the interminable intro arc with Ail and Ann wraps up and a new, more critical, interminable arc begins.

Before I get into that arc and just what it means, I need to point an unfortunate bit of quality control failure. So far, Viz’s Sailor Moon release has been pretty top notch, especially given the age and quality of the original. The single episode that defines the second season is episode 54, during which Usagi and Mamoru are kissing romantically and a small child falls out of the sky onto their heads. For whatever reason(s) episode 54’s subtitles are riddled with errors including, but not limited to, spelling Tokyo as Tokio. If this kind of thing had happened in just about any previous episode, it wouldn’t have been as a big a deal, but in the single most iconic episode of the series? I spent the rest of the disk scanning the subtitles obsessively for errors, instead of just watching the story. Not really good, considering the story was finally actually happening.

At last Chibi-Usa has arrived and we can’t stand her. Of course, we are not meant to. She is violent, she lies, she is manipulative, and worst of all, she’s mean to Usagi. And yet, we might forgive her some of this but she becomes intolerable not because of her own behavior but because Mamoru plays along with her. Could he be an bigger asshole to Usagi than he is in “R”? I do not think so. While I’ve never liked him all that much, he basically spends all of R being a jerk after that one romantic moment.

As I’ve said several times, Sailor Moon Crystal was kind to Chibi-Usa, removing almost all of the endless monsters of the day that will wear us down to our last nerve, and emphasizing her emotional trauma, her fear and hopelessness. Here, we’re just going to have to buckle down and wait it all out while she and Usagi become increasingly strident and Mamoru is an asshat. Whee.

So, that having been said, the first thing we do, in the time-honored tradition of new arcs, is run through a series of “Senshi go through a crisis, then power up” episodes! First up, Ami, in she which gets one of her two best attacks, Shine Aqua Illusion.


Art – 8
Story – 5
Characters – 8
Yuri – 0
Service – 1 on principle

Overall – 6

Disk 2 is infuriating in a dozen different ways, both in regards to content and technical quality, but we’ve still got many disks to go before we see the end. Onward!

Thanks to All of You!

November 25th, 2015

It’s pretty traditional around here to write a meaningful and probably a little weepy Thanksgiving wish, but since Okazu was down and right now I’m mostly thankful that it’s back up ^_^; I’ll keep this short.

I want to thank you all for your support and comments and friendship. Thank you if you are one of my Patrons and thank you if you just drop by to read reviews from time to time. It’s always fun to converse with you here, on Twitter, on Facebook, in the hallways of conventions and here and there about the planet.

To all of you from the bottom of my heart, thank you. ^_^ Have a terrific day.

Yuri Manga: Comic Yuri Hime November 2015 (コミック百合姫 2015年 11 月号)

November 24th, 2015

CYH1115-275x389The November 2015 issue of Comic Yuri Hime (コミック百合姫 2015年 11 月号) is one of those issues where I basically began paying attention about halfway through, as the first half has stories designed to entertain people who are not me.

Kurata Uso’s “Yuri Joshi” now follows the adventures of Yuri fangirls, but I find it as remote a characterization as I did the fanboys in Yuri Danshi. It is of course possible that there are girls who are fans of Yuri speaking to near-magical onee-sama in abstract terms, but it’s still feels like an unreal fandom and not at all like the actual women I encounter who enjoy Yuri. James Welker wrote of Yuri Danshi as a meta-look at Yuri fandom, but I can’t see anything resembling actual Yuri fandom in this series.  Oh well, at least it’s about girls, and not crazy hyperactive fanboys. ^_^;

Ohzawa Yayoi’s “2DK, G Pen, Mezamashitokei” took an interesting turn, away from mangaka Kaede towards hypercompetent, but lonely, Nanami, and her burgeoning friendship/mentorship with coworker Yuuko. Will this force Nanami to admit she likes Kaede or will she find her interest turning to Yuuko? Now I’m intrigued.

Takemiya Jin’s story made me really happy in a melancholy way. “Hatsunatsu Souhi” follows Misaki, who has returned for Obon to the town where her first love lived before she died. Misaki’s an adult now and when she sees a young woman who looks like Yuuko did back then, she’s taken aback. When the girl, Sa-chan, befriends her, Misaki doesn’t have the emotional strength to walk away. They visit the local festival together and, as they watch fireworks, Yuuko’s ghost takes over the girl’s body. “It’s Obon,” she reminds Misaki, the time of year when the dead return to our world for a week. Misaki is able to say good bye to her old love and move on. Sa-chan says she wants to see Misaki again and, as Misaki returns home,  confesses that she’s fallen for her.

“Kanaete! Yuri Yousei” by Minamoto Hisanari continues to be incredibly silly. This chapter the two women already had feelings for each other, and both the Yuri Yousei and the Shirayuri Yousei get hanko stamps on their cards. It’s win-win all around.

“12-pun no Etude’ by Nakahara Tsubaki finally becomes a little Yuri and not where I thought it would. Wakana is finally improving and is allowed to play with the band again. Hatsumi’s famous sister Ai arrives to cheer them all on with her friend Kotone. Hatsumi is unspurprisingly cold to her talented sister who, it turns out, is really hurt by this. Ai and Kotone talk about it later and it turns out that Kotone is not Ai’s friend, but her lover. Okay, I like this way better than Wakana crushing on Hatsumi.


The stuff I enjoy – 8
The stuff I didn’t enjoy – 4 (I’m being kind, some of it got really nasty, in particularly “Prince Princess,” which had been a little service-y, went totally gross.)

Overall – 6

As always, there are many other stories, some of which you will like even if I didn’t care for them. I’m not ecstatic at the higher level of fanservice in this volume. A few stories actually made me feel quite nauseated, even paging past them. But the mix means more people will find something for them to enjoy.

Light Novel: St. Cross Gakuin Stories, Volume 1 – Welcome to the Mysteries Club! (聖クロス女学院物語 ようこそ、神秘倶楽部へ!)

November 23rd, 2015

321307000253St. Cross Gakuen Stories, Volume 1 – Welcome to the Mysteries Club! (聖クロス女学院物語 ようこそ、神秘倶楽部へ!) ends up a little like Maria-sama ga Miteru meets Scooby-Doo. But the path it takes to get there is a rambling one.

Back in the 1930s, the beginnings of girls’s culture was born and bred in the hothouse environment of girls magazines. These spread the idea that girls’ schools were a place where older girls chose and mentored younger girls, all in the name of becoming fine upstanding young women. This ideal was rewritten, redrawn, rethought, twisted, knotted and unraveled for the next 100 years as creators took “girls culture” and reimagined it for themselves and their audience.

In the early 2000s, this ideal was once again established for popular culture with the Maria-sama ga Miteru light novel series. And, once again, the same ideal was remolded into a hundred new copies, each with their own specific focus. And somehow the ideal has remained intact, mostly. Sort of. ^_^

Here at St. Cross Gakuin, a Catholic school, Hana and her best friend Nana are planning on joining the Fine Art Club. They have been together since they were children and have exchanged Mary medals as a symbol of their eternal friendship. When Hana loses her medal, she is extremely upset. Thinking she lost it in the art museum, she runs back, but starts to cry when she can’t find it. The beautiful and kind Student Council President, Shiori-sama, offers her comfort and Hana hopes that Shiori-sama is her onee-sama.

At St. Cross, we learn at the beginning of the book, underclassmen are taken under the wing of a secret onee-sama, who can only be communicated with by letter that must be posted to the secret post box on campus. It moves every year and must be found first. With diligence, one of Hana’s classmates, the eyepatch-wearing Kanon finds it up a tree.

So, we have the secret onee-sama, the lost medal, Shiori-sama, and plenty of stuff for a plot, so instead of any of that, the story digresses into the creation of a new club. The Mysteries Club, run by Kanon, will investigate the paranormal. Hana is strong armed into becoming a member and wackiness ensues. I don’t want to spoil the end, but you’ll have to trust me that everything works out and it’s really quite adorable.

There were some very interesting things to note about this book. Firstly, while the concept of Catholicism in books like this contains some of the more obscure ritual trappings of Catholicism, the one nun who has even the remotest grasp of doctrine is the antagonist. ^_^

The girls sometimes talk like actual girls their age might actually do, which is surprising and refreshing. I found it amusing that the concept that private school girls say “Gokigenyou” as a greeting is mentioned, only to be dismissed as an urban legend or “Sometimes we say it, as a joke.”

Hana and Nana’s “eternal friendship” is never mocked, nor presumed to be fantasy. This book is from 2014, we don’t marry girls off after school anymore, otaku fantasy notwithstanding. They can be friends forever.

There was a teeny bit of Yuri service when Student Council VP Mitsuki-sama is embraced by Shiroi-sama in a shockingly intimate way. (They hugged!)

This book is an easy read, an interesting many-times-filtered Catholic Girls’ School adventure;  it’s cute and a little goofy. The series is on Bookwalker Global, so you can enjoy it for about $5/book. I also found a page of reviews on Kadokawa’s Tsubasa Bunko site, which warmed my heart, as the average age of readers appears to be 11-12 year old girls. And me. ^_^  After all, who doesn’t want to read a paranormal mystery series at a Japanese Catholic Girls’ School, with a club run by an eyepatch-wearing 12 year old who had had a near-death experience? ^_^


Art – 8 Cute and fun
Story – 8 Random, unfocused and fun
Characters – 8 Fun and odd
Yuri – 3 Teeniest little bit of service for fun
Service – Nope

Overall – 8 Fun enough that I’ll read the next one. Me and all the 12 year olds. ^_^

Oh, before I forget, my favorite utterly random line describes Kanon as having “a smile like a marshmallow.” What?

Yuri Network News – (百合ネットワークニュース) – November 21, 2015

November 21st, 2015

YNN_LissaI am working on two so-far secret projects that I can’t tell you about just yet, but I promise that they will both be of interest to the folks reading Okazu.  And now a third project has popped up that I do want to tell you about. I’ve been invited to be part of Rainbow Week events in Japan. Rainbow Week is the week of events surrounding the Tokyo Rainbow Pride Parade. The idea of speaking about Yuri with a roomful of Japanese lesbians thrills me no end and there is high likelihood of wonderful things coming your way from it. Of course I will be reporting on the events, the parade and will give you details so you can join me. ^_^

If you have ever thought about contributing to the Okazu Patreon, this is exactly the kind of thing you’d be supporting. Lesbians talking about Yuri, bridging cultures, bringing us all together. Last time I had a chance to do something like this was at Yuricon 2005, right before Yuri Hime magazine launched. Maybe this event will be the beginning of something new, too. ^_^

So, if you are a regular here, enjoy our news and reviews and insights and events reports and can afford even $1/month, I’m asking that you please consider subscribing to Okazu. Click this link and receive my sincere gratitude, a Hero’s Badge and the knowledge that you are helping make LGBTQ Yuri history.


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

Yuri Anime

If you’re in Japan this week, check out this all-night Sakura Trick marathon at a theater with, of course, special goods for sale.

ANN reports that Crunchyroll has added Princess Knight, the ur-Girl Prince anime series. ^_^

Yuri Manga

Right now is a good time to try Kadokawa’s Bookwalker Global if you’re interested in getting digital access to Yuri manga from Japan. Bookwalker now has access to the considerable backlist of Yuri Hime comics’ Yuri manga selection, including many books that are no longer in print and also the defunct in print, but trying to stay alive in digital, Pure Yuri Anthology Hirari‘s ebook selection as well. If you have any digital device, phone, tablet, computer, for very reasonable prices you can have literally dozens of great Yuri manga at your fingertips!

ANN reports that Kuzushiro is launching a new manga “Ani no Yome to Kurashiteimasu” (I’m Living With My Brother’s Bride) in Young Gangan magazine in the 24th issue of this year, with a December release date.

Comic Natalie has an amazing interview/conversation between Yuri Kuma Arashi‘s (ユリ熊嵐) Morishima Akiko and Shoujo Kessen Origas (少女決戦オルギア) Ejima Eri.


Yuri Light Novel

I know you’re always looking for high-quality Yuri to read.  Yuri Mau Oasis Ruru to Miki to Houseki to Majyo (百合舞うオアシス ルルと美姫と宝石の魔女) is probably not it. But if you’re looking for low quality Yuri LNs, you might want to give it a try. ^_^;



Some terrific book news from good friends!

Jude McLaughlin has collected her popular Wonder City Stories into a published volume. Jude’s a terrific writer and I’ve been pushing her work for years. It’s great to see it make a print debut. If you like superheroes and people and their problems and diversity and female characters with depth…check out Jude’s new book!

Another writing pal, J.D. Glass, has reissued her work Red Light (which I reviewed back in 2007) with a new publisher, on print and Kindle. And, in fact, it’s cracked the Amazon Top 100 in 3 categories already, congrats J.D.!

While I’m at it and since it’s that time of year, Bold Strokes Books is running a sale on ebooks of their lesbian romances starring princesses and other creatures. Perfect for a gift for a close friend or yourself when you get tired of sweaters. ^_^


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!