Archive for the CLAMP Category


Yuri Network News – December 30, 2012

December 30th, 2012

I pushed the news report off a day this week, to make time for all of you to read and disagree with my first two Top Ten lists of 2012! ^_^

Top Ten Yuri Anime of 2012

Top Ten Yuri Manga of 2012

My final list will post tomorrow – please look forward to it!

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Yuri Manga

Just a reminder that Seven Seas has licensed Morinaga Milk’s Kisses, Sighs and Cherry Blossoms Pink, so you can finally find out what happens to Nana and Hitomi. ^_^ The complete volume will be out in June, 2013. I’ve reviewed the Japanese-language volumes here on Okazu (Volume 1 | Volume 2)

I don’t want to forget to mention this, because no one else in the world will. Dark Horse, as you might know, is putting out The CLAMP catalog. They’ve already finished Card Captor Sakura (my reviews: Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3 | Volume 4) and are now releasing Angelic Layer, a series that had a very brief shelf life back in the 90s, mostly for the anime. There is one actual Yuri couple buried way down in the narrative. Volume 1 of the manga is out now, Volume 2 will be released next spring.

JManga is keeping up the Yuri onslaught with Morishima Akiko’s excellent Yuri primer series Hanjuku Joshi, Volume 1, and namori’s Yuru Yuri Volume 2 (which for all that nothing happens, you should be very thankful for Elina’s translation, as they do nothing but make incredibly stupid old-man puns). JManga’s also released Morita-san ha Muguchi Volume 5, while technically not Yuri, is whenever Yamamoto is on the page. And she’s on the cover this time, so…. (This’ll be the first volume of this series you might have a chance to read before I do! I didn’t get it in Japanese yet, and my JManga points don’t refresh until next week. ^_^)

Later this week, I have a big release announcement for JManga this month, so tune back in. ^_^

Ichijinsha’s Comic Rex Magazine has what Japanese Yuri lists are claiming to be Yuri, SAYURI & LILY (サユリリ 01). The name is certainly loaded for bear, but the art indicates that it is not for me. If you pick it up, let me know how it is!

This item is for Sean – Oshima Towa has created a self-parody of already parodic Jyoshi Kousei manga called Zettai no Waratte ha Ikenai Sagume (絶対に笑ってはいけない咲女).

And don’t forget that Hayate x Blade 17 (はやて×ブレード) is now available!

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Other News

Manga at border crossings causing arrests might seem dystopian enough, but now a teen has been arrested for “doodles” in his school notebook. Authorities claimed the drawings were of weapons, but that absolutely does not matter. It’s a drawing. Not a real weapon, not even a real threat. I used to draw swords and knives in my school notebooks, and even had them dripping with blood, because it was pretty much all I could draw. Swords and shields. And I have yet to stab anyone. So let’s support the CBLDF in their fight against this kind of censorship (and perhaps write the Galloway, NJ school system asking them to step back and look at the situation with perspective.)

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That’s a wrap for this week!

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

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Cardcaptor Sakura Omnibus Manga, Volume 4 (English)

November 1st, 2012

Sakura has faced many trials in the course of Card Captor Sakura and here in Volume 4, she is going to face even more difficult trials, we are told…repeatedly. It’s true that Sakura will face down the original master of the cards, and have to transmute all the cards into “Sakura Cards” but the true trial seem to be deciding who she’s going to be in love with.

Yukito’s out – as we’re told several times, by several people, that Yuki and Toya are an item – for the few innocents who didn’t pick that up. More importantly, everyone else is paired up neatly in officially sanctioned inter-generational relationships and Sakura manages to figure out that she’s in love with one of the two people who have confessed their love to her. ^_^;;

Poor Tomoyo. Remember, y’all wouldn’t have had Tamayo in Strawberry Panic, without Tomoyo’s cheerful smile that hides a broken heart, as she drinks herself into oblivion in an all-white apartment in which her movies of Sakura play endlessly. (That’s how I’ve always imagined it, anyway. But I’m a jaded cynic. ^_^)

Aside from Eriol’s dire warnings of terrible trials, the actual trials Sakura faces are pretty gentle as befits this incredibly pretty, soft, fluffy magical girl manga in which everyone is destined to live happily ever after…

…except Tomoyo.

Ratings:

Art – 9
Characters – 9
Yuri – 2
Story – A little messy, especially around the Clow Reed bits – 7
Service – 5 for all the inter-generational relationships and  for Yuki and Toya and all the squealing

Overall – 9

I really love this series. It has loads of likable characters, pretty art and leaves me feeling good. Win all around.

…except for Tomoyo. ^_^;;

Many,  many thanks to Okazu Superhero Andreass L. for sponsoring today’s review and leaving me feeling good!

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Magic Knight Rayearth Manga, Volume 2 (English)

June 18th, 2012

Unlike the second season of the anime, Volume 2 of the Magic Knight Rayearth manga does not have a Yuri subplot. For which I am eminently thankful. In fact, the lack of Nova and her annoying mother went a considerable distance to cleaning up the exceedingly messy plot. What’s left, then, is a far more straightforward, much less morality-play like story.

Umi, Fuu and Hikaru, having returned to Earth after fighting Zagato, are…unhappy. They want to go back to Cefiro. Fuu particularly, has reason to go, as Ferio is there. And one day, when they meet up at Tokyo Tower, they find themselves transported back, but not to any place they recognize as Cefiro!

It turns out that now that Emeraude is gone, Cefiro is collapsing. Clef and the others are gathered in a castle floating above the planet surface. The Magic Knights return to find what’s left of Cefiro under attack from three nearby planets – Autozam, Fahren and Cezita.

Joined by old allies, the Magic Knights have to find a way to protect Cefiro. This is complicated by the fact that their enemies all turn out to be decent people who are just trying to help their own worlds – and the knowledge that the Pillar system of Cefiro is innately, dangerously flawed.

The story is mostly taken up with relationship building, rather than fighting, and the conclusion, while predictable, was far more satisfactory than the scattered, messy ending of the anime.

A great deal of the story follows our enemies and, instead of giving us reason to hate them, we learn to like them. Eagle and Lantis are presented very much as a couple, but when Hikaru comes en scene, she could reasonably be paired with either of them – or both – in a way that makes sense. Moreover, their dynamic is subtle enough that a child could read this without any concern.  Growing Ascot up into a tall, handsome young man for Umi was a nice touch and even Ferio gets a power up. All in all, a satisfying ending.

Which is odd, when you consider that the end is a modified form of colonialism. Having destroyed the Pillar system, the Magic Knights replace it with a completely alien system. This would all be very uncomfortable if the worthies of Cefiro were not already ready to see the back end of the Pillar system. So, its okay then, phew.

Ratings:

Art – Less wonderful than Card Captor Sakura, but still very CLAMP-ian
Story – Less messy than the anime
Characters – Less annoying than most, until Mokona’s true identity is revealed
Yuri – Less than none
Service – Less than usual

Overall – I’m less enthusiastic about this series than CCS, but more than I expected.

Many, many thanks to Okazu Superhero Amanda M. for sponsoring today’s review!

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Magic Knight Rayearth Anime Second Season, Disk 4 (English)

April 14th, 2012

I pride myself in watching anime without expectation and my ability to clearly, concisely separate my delusions and desires from what is actually happening on the screen. We all choose to interpret what we see differently, but sometimes the information we’re give is clearer than others. Sometimes the holes are so huge, it’s impossible for me to ignore them, regardless of what I want to be happening.

Which brings us, in an oblique way, to Magic Knight Rayearth, Volume 4 of the Second Season Complete Box Set.

In this volume Nova put a full-on passive-aggressive seduction of Hikaru because, as she says, she loves Hikaru. Well, okay, but a second earlier she told Hikaru that the reason she hated her was because Hikaru hates herself. So, having been given that piece of information, we have to conclude then that Hikaru also wants herself in a sexual way. Or, we can presume that Nova is making it up (and being inconsistent about it) or – and this is my best guess – no one told CLAMP that that made no sense.

In any case, Hiakru remembers for the 17,000th time all the people who are counting on her and manages to get her sword back and call Rayearth for the first time in a few volumes.

More interestingly Fuu defeats Princess Asuka by being calm and cool and smart and unflappable. Standing her ground when Asuka attempts to renege on a deal was a beautiful moment – as was the emotional reunion with Ferio.

Umi’s relegated to a back seat for this volume.

We do get a few moment’s with Eagle, but it looks Lantis is out of the question for him, now that we’ve been told so many times that Hikaru and Lantis are an item. Snoooze. And Debonair-sama laughs evilly for a bit.

Now that we’ve had the Nova gay moment, I doubt that I’ll review the last two volumes individually, but I’ll probably do a single wrap-up for the series as a whole. I really don’t dislike it, but it was dragging there a bit. If we can get back to the plot, I’ll be happier.

Ratings:

Art – 6
Story – 4
Characters – 6
Yuri – 5, but bleah
LoserFanBoy – 3

Overall – 7

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Cardcaptor Sakura Manga Omnibus, Volume 1 (English)

February 28th, 2011

513FFeTeOrLIt was no real surprise to me that I have never before reviewed Cardcaptor Sakura here. By the time I was writing regular reviews, the English edition of the anime was out of print and so was Tokyopop’s manga edition. I’m sort of sorry for that, since this was a Gateway Yuri story for a lot of people in that post-Sailor Moon phase of Yuri audience development. Because I am revisiting this series, but some of you may not be, let me tell the story from the beginning.

Cardcaptor Sakura was one of the earliest CLAMP mega-hits. (Not *the* earliest, but right in the zone.) As a manga it ran from 1996 – 2000 in Nakayoshi magazine, which meant it was riding on the magical girl coattails of the massive popularity of Sailor Moon. It had…one of everything. There was Yuri, BL, it was chockful of intergenerational relationships (my first thought was that there was *some,* but then I started to think about it and the list got longer and longer….) It had cute girls and beautiful women and cute boys and beautiful boys and even some handsome men. It had arguably some of the best magical creatures ever to grace a magical girl series. (Admit it, ladies, how many of you swooned over Yue?) And, not coincidentally, the voice cast of the anime was stellar – also major crossover from Sailor Moon. I have not loved everything CLAMP has produced, but no one can tell me that they are not geniuses at their business. Cardcaptor Sakura was a milestone.

The story contained in this CCS Omnibus Volume 1 is a simple one – cute, athletic, cheerful Sakura finds a book which, when she opens the cover, proves to be a book full of cards. The cards immediately scatter to the four corners and the creature depicted on the cover of the book comes to life. His name is Cereberus (nicknamed Kero-chan); he is the Guardian of the Cards. Because she could open the book at all, he tells Sakura, she must have magical ability. It is her task to gather the cards once more because blah, blah, blah.

Sakura is not the only one in the family with magical ability. Her deeply odd older brother, the bishounen Touya (Toya in the English edition) also can “see” things. Toya’s best friend is the real reason we all watched/read the series – Yukito, who has a secret within him that makes him even *more* the reason we all read/watched this thing. Unashamedly, I hung on Yuki’s every word, as he was voiced by Ogata Megumi, whose voice still sends chills up my spine. Sakura’s father is perfect, her mother is deceased, and their story becomes increasingly relevant to the overall plot of this omnibus volume as it progresses.

Sakura’s exploits as the “Card Captor” are filmed and enabled by her filthy rich and extremely besotted best friend Tomoyo. For those of you who came to Yuri in later years, Tamao from Strawberry Panic! was specifically meant to be a Tomoyo clone.  Tomoyo is practically the *definition* of the best-friend in one-sided love – in the manga this is made quite plain…and given historical precedent.

Ultimately, Sakura develops a rival in the form of Li Syaoran, which added shota and, eventually, heterosexual romance into what is a really entertainingly bent series. (^_^);  And let’s not forget Kaho-sensei. No…we must not forget her. She is, in any case, unforgettable.

So many of the things that made Cardcaptor Sakura work were an effect of timing, CLAMP’s unerring ability to squeeze a genre until it bleeds money and their raw talent for telling character-driven, beautifully drawn series. Cardcaptor Sakura is beautifully drawn, the characters are likable and the story, which has become a cliche of itself, still works. How can I say this? Because I have read the original in Japanese several times and in English several times, I have watched the anime several times and, when I hit the last page of this Omnibus, I thought, “I want to see what happens next!” Seriously, I did. I KNOW what happens next, but I can’t wait to read it again.

Technically speaking, Dark Horse did a fine job. I don’t recall being irked by the translation, the S/Fx are translated inline most of the time, except in a few spots where they were easily replaceable. The addition of color pages was a delightful bonus, I’m very glad that they thought to add those. If I were *forced* to come up with an objection to this omnibus I would say that this nearly 600-page volume is not, perhaps, little kid friendly. But in this world where Harry Potter novels were devoured by tweens, perhaps even that is not an obstacle. If you know a tween who likes fantasy, or just needs the smallest push to becoming an otaku, consider buying this series for them.

For me, though, the true pleasure of this Omnibus was spending time with old friends. Seeing Yamazaki lie so cheerfully, Tomoyo kvelling over Sakura, Kero-chan obsessing about sweets and Yuki eating gigantic lunches…was just, so…nice.

If you have never before read this series, I really hope you will. It’s got significant Yuri cred; it was, in its time, a gateway series for a lot of GL and BL fans. It’s CLAMP doing a series that is unshockingly an excellent example of the genre and, if you like XXXHolic or, especially, Tsubasa Chronicles, *this* is where major players came from. It’s good to know your roots.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Characters –  9
Story – 8
Yuri – 4
Service – 4

Overall – 9

As I have said repeatedly, I am not a nostalgic person. Reading this volume, I came as close as I’ll ever get to it. Many, many thanks to Okazu Hero Eric P. for letting me wallow, just a bit, in pleasant nostalgia. ^_^

Dear Nozomi/Right Stuf, if you’re looking for another anime series to resuscitate, Cardcaptor Sakura would not be a bad choice. Hint hint

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