I don’t know much about Sonoda Kenichi’s collection, Shokitan. I don’t know whether these are old stories that have just been collected, or new stories that have just been collected or both. I don’t know of much of anything about his work except Gunsmith Cats and Bugglegum Crisis/Crash. And I know absolutely nothing at *all* about Gall Force other than the title.
I saw Shokitan on the Japanese Yuri lists, thought, “yeah, I like his stuff” and bought it without reading a single word of any description of the thing.
The collection begins with some fetchingly 80s-haired color prints of the casts of Gall Force and BGC and some posters for stuff he’s done. The book ends with black and white illustrations for stuff he’s done. And in between are some stories that are side stories to stuff he’s done. Including Gall Force: Chapter of the Space, Gall Force: Chapter of the Earth and Bubble Gum [sic] Crisis.
The first story hits the ground running as Lufi vists her lover Mari in the hospital, only to be told that Mari is quitting the Attackers. Just to rub salt in this wound, the Attackers gets a new commanding officer, a very attractive, competent and highly decorated woman, who all the other women fall for right away. Lufi proceeeds to get very drunk and pick a fight with the new commander, who lays her flat without much effort. They share that they’ve researched one another, afford each other more than grudging respect and Mari returns to the group after all, so everyone lives happily ever after.
Meanwhile, in the next story, Cati is mortified to have nude pictures of her seen by anyone, even though they are clearly being used to build a zillion android copies of her. Rika shows interest in her, in a rather agressive manner and is turned away. But in the end, Cati realizes that Rika is a good, if rough-mannered, person and she approaches Rika to imply that a date is not out of the question.
No one will be surprised to learn that the BGC stories follow Nene as she does too much for too many people.
This was followed by two stories called “Moonbase 2099” which strongly, and I’m sure intentionally, reminded me of the TV show, “Space:1999.”
The next set of stories, “Kaanibaru Girls” was a fun short about three special-forces-like fighters, mostly shooting people during car chases. And robots.
“Mahou-maru no Hi” was an interesting little story about a dorky guy who, through the practice of black magic, suddenly finds himself buff, strong and about 30 years old. A hectic, terrible day ends with his arrest for a crime he didn’t commit. After he’s rescued by a friend, he endures a lot to reverse the spell.
The final short, “Wrestloid Baby” combined dolls, wrestling, artificial intelligence and WTF for a nice piece of entertainment.
Overall, a pretty decent collection – if you like Sonoda and are cool with his fetishes. If you’re not a fan, no need to bother. But if you are, or want to see Lufi kiss her “friend” Mari, well then, it’s a pretty decent collection!
Art – 7
Story – 7 For shorts, not too bad, really.
Characters – 7
Yuri – variable, from 0-6, depending
Service – 4
Overall – 7
For reasons that will remain obscure, I consider Sonoda, along with Go Nagai, an “slightly odd uncle” to Yuricon. So it’s always a pleasure to add him to Okazu. ^_^