Archive for the Kuzushiro Category


Yuri Manga: Ryuuzaki-san to Torao-san ~ Yuri Hime Short Story Collection (龍崎さんと虎生さん ~百合姫短編集~)

September 1st, 2015

RyuutoTora-275x388Well now, Kuzushiro’s Yuri Manga: Ryuuzaki-san to Torao-san ~ Yuri Hime Short Story Collection (龍崎さんと虎生さん ~百合姫短編集~) was a bit of a surprise.

It begins with a spin-off from Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san, following the alpha predators of the zodiac and the Student Council, Ryuuzaki Inori and Torao Mari. You may remember that Mari is a foul-mouthed broad and, to be fair, Ryuuzaki isn’t much better. Almost unbelievably, they bond over their love of baseball and eventually fall in lust…and love. In the Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san series they are the most incontrovertibly couple-y couple there is.

Almost all of the stories that follow pair mismatched girls, one of whom is manipulative, the other manipulable. In some cases the manipulable one turns out to be not what she seems at all, sometime the manipulator becomes the manipulated. There is a some not-fully-consensual sex, and a lot of not-nice characters, which in some way is a pleasant departure from Kuzushiro-sensei’s stock of “earnest but crazy” comedy. But for all that this is a decidedly darker book (darker even than Love Desu, with all it’s violence) it was still a good read.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – Variable, let’s say 7
Character – 7, but often quite dark and/or unpleasant
Service – 8
Yuri – 8

Overall – 8

I would be glad to spend more time with Ryuuzaki-san and Torao-san. Their burning passion and blazing anger is far more appealing to me than the cute, fuzzy, yet ephermeral crushy gags of Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san.

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Yuri Manga: Love Desu. ~Short Story Collection~ (ラブデス ラブデス。~短期集中連載集~)

July 27th, 2015

lovedesuAt last, a Yuri manga that was written for me! I do not care if nobody else on the whole planet enjoyed this book, because I loved it.

Love Desu. ~Short Story Collection ~ (ラブデス ラブデス。~短期集中連載集~) by Kuzushiro follows the bad kids in school. Bad girls, who are passionately in love with each other and beat the crap out of each other to prove it. This is not a manga about abusive relationships; in this manga, the violence is a form of affection.

We’ve talked about this before, but I’ll remind readers that I am not opposed to violence between equals. And, in “Love Desu,” – which I would translate it as “It’s Love (Death).” –  Shouko and A-ki are equals, alright. Each with murderous intent and a fondness for violence, they hash out the details of their relationship through such heart-warming tactics as a needle in the eye, or a knife through a hand. But it’s only because they both want to be the neko in bed. ^_^

In “Nikochuu,” Mai-sempai smokes and Aika has picked up her bad habit. Ultimately, what she really wants is to capture what Mai tastes like when they kiss. Yanki girls smoking on school property and being rude to the classmates around them, but  ridiculously cute in private is utter squee for me. I adore nasty women.

So, yeah, I know that this book isn’t going to appeal to everyone (maybe, anyone). But I love this manga with all my love.

Thank you, thank you Kuzushiro-sensei for this manga! It’s just about perfect. ^_^

Ratings:

Art – 9
Story – 10
Characters – 10
Yuri – 8
Service – For me, 10. YMMV

Overall – 10

Yuri needs more yankis.

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Yuri Manga: Kyou mo Futari ha Nakayoshi Desu. ~Kuzushiro Short Story Collection (今日も2人は仲良しです。)

April 17th, 2015

FutarihaNakayoshiKyou mo Futari ha Nakayoshi Desu.~Kuzushiro Short Story Collection (今日も2人は仲良しです。) is a collection published not by Yuri Hime Comics, but by Rex Comics, also an Ichijinsha imprint. I found that interesting, although without any particular context.

The short stories are right in Kuzushiro-sensei’s ballpark – two people who are lovers/rivals and both slightly nuts, so that the situations, while they may start off normal, are guaranteed to descend immediately into wackiness. The majority of the stories are or could be considered to be Yuri, but there are a few male x female pairings which work just as well.

The first few chapters follow various couples in a idol group. Each couple is equally amusingly dysfunctional, but anyone familiar with Nekoyama-san to Inugami-san, would instantly recognize the formula. And speaking of Nekoyama-san to Inugami-san, this collection includes an early story idea for that series.

My favorite stories follow a seriously creepy eye-patch wearing girl and the girl she targets in school…and yes, I know that’s utterly predictable of me, but it’s not the eyepatch that worked for me this time, it was the utterly fucked up eye she had under it. ^_^

The art was clean, much cleaner than I’m used to from Kuzushiro-sensei, but the comedic gags weren’t quite as sharp, as befits earlier work.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – Variable, we’ll say 7
Characters – 7
Yuri – 8
Service – 2

Overall – 8

A great way to enjoy more from a creator whose work makes me happy.

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Yuri Manga: Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san, Volume 3 (犬神さんと猫山さん)

December 19th, 2014

istns3Here we are at Volume 3 of Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san (犬神さんと猫山さん) and…I’m not tired of it yet. Why? I don’t know, but I’m not! There’s something about Kuzushiro’s characters that make them completely not-boring to me. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a gag comic this much since…well, ever really.

So here we are and Nekoyama is fully invested in being too interested in Inugami, with no real way to express herself, while Inugami wears her heart on her sleeve.  We follow Aki for a good portion of the book and get a new seasonal addition with her Kendo sempai Touko (whose name is written with the character for “winter.”) Most of the other animals take a back seat to  to Ryuuzaki and Torao. And we see that indeed, they are the couple they appear to be. In addition to Otome and Mari, we get to see Nekoyama’s older sister, Tamaki with her girlfriend. So the Yuri level is significantly higher than previous volumes.

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For the rest, it’s basically a balanced mix of genuine emotion and excruciating jokes that I nonetheless laugh out loud at.

What is it about this comic that I like so much? It’s taken me a while to nail it down, but I think I’ve figured it out. Kuzushiro-sensei likes these character and as a result, so do I. ^_^  Despite the animal puns, there’s a sense of depth to all the characters (except Torikai). While we’re mostly seeing the silly side, every once in a while we see that depth – just a glimpse – and it convinces us that time spent in this boisterous crowd is time well spent.

Ratings:

Art – 7
Story – 7
Character – 7
FanService – 6
Yuri – 8

Overall – 7

Apparently the key to a good gag comic is not one loud joke-cracking annoying character, but about half a dozen of them all at once. ^_^

This volume is also available on Kindle for folks with Japanese IP addresses.

 

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Yuri Manga: Kimi no Tame Nara Shineru, Volume 4 (姫のためなら死ねる)

August 19th, 2014

You know those moments when someone mentions a series that you no longer follow, for whatever reason, and you think, “Is that still running?”

I’m pretty sure you all think that when I mention this series, because JManga is ancient history now and no matter how amazing a job Erin S. did on the translation, you probably forgot all about it, and ran right back to scans, or forgot the series existed at all. ^_^; Well, it still exists and it’s still a bizarre mashup of high culture and low. If you’re new, here’s my reviews of  Volume 1 and  Volume 3.  Volume 2 was never reviewed because it went straight to translation at the time.

Volume 4 of Kimi no Tame Nara Shineru, (姫のためなら死ねる) introduces us to two new characters. One, Sei Shonagon’s brother, is rather more a distressing than a positive influence in her life and I was glad when he sort of slid back out of the narrative once more.

The second is a new court lady, Sugawara no Takaesu no Musume, whs is a straight-up otaku obsessive about Murasaki Shikibu’s writing. This leads to a startling confession by Murasaki that she has never known the kind of passionate love she writes about, it’s all…duh…fantasy. (Which means if Sei Shonagon is a blogger and tweeter in our vernacular, Murasaki is a doujinshi writer.)

There’s a bizarre little interlude when Kuzushiro-sensei flails for plot ideas Murasaki and Shonagon switch bodies, which leads to many, many breast jokes. (Murasaki’s are large. Hahahahah.) And we are then introduced to a third new character and we can see that Kuzushiro-sensei has just about given up on historicity with her. The new character is the Onmyouji, Abe no…wait for it…Hito (Which would roughly translate as “that Abe person”), whose face is always obscured by material, which reflects ASCII art of her emotions.

Were my expression at her appearance to be rendered into text it would read “…”. And so it is with the rest of the cast, who kind of wonder why she’s there, too.

This volume was a bit more otaku humor, a bit less Yuri. We do get a bit of lovely Takako-sama (Teishi’s mother) and Benkan service, which I quite enjoyed.

I hope that Volume 5 (yes the series is still ongoing, remember?)  returns to the formula of Shonagon being besotted over Teishi.

Ratings:

Art – 6
Story – 7
Characters – 8
Yuri – 3
Service – 5

Abe no Hito? Really?

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