Archive for the Takemiya Jin Category


Yuri Manga: Mabushisa no Mukou Soku (まぶしさの向こう側)

August 31st, 2017

Living on a lighted stage
Approaches the unreal
For those who think and feel
In touch with some reality
Beyond the gilded cage

– Rush, Limelight from Moving Pictures, 1981. Lyrics by Neil Peart, Music by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson.

Takemiya Jin-sensei has really gotten into pop idols recently. Or, at least her work has.  In Mabushisa no Mukou Soku (まぶしさの向こう側), “To The Other Side of the Glare,”  she takes a look at life from the lighted side of the stage, following the girls of pop idol group “AKH49” with a decidedly Yuri focus. 

In “First Kiss no Tsukaikata” an idol is about to take on a role in which she will have to kiss an actor. Her manager has been watching over her for a long time and is very in love with her…not surprisingly, she’s feeling conflicted. The conflict does not dissipate when her idol asks her to be her first kiss.

The stories are nice and no one is the mean girl, which is very refreshing. A new girl joins the idol group to which her beloved friend (who is adored by many) belongs and they get to spend time together. Two of the idols are asked to partner in a “Yuri coupling” and find that they actually quite like one another. A fan and an idol both are hiding something important from one another…well, several things, because each is secretly in love with the other. An idol fan and an anime fan reach past the differences of their interests to find interest in each other.

The final chapter follows all of the characters on their day off with many embraces, kisses and smiles.

Ratings: 

Art – 8
Story – 7
Characters – 8
Yuri – 7
Service – 3 Some service in the Yuri coupling story

Overall – 8

This was perfect bedtime reading. Nothing negative, conflicts were small and ephemeral. No one’s unlikable, nothing terrible happens to anyone. The artist is clearly having fun and all the girls get the girls. ^_^

Limelight is a great song. You should listen to it.

Send to Kindle




Yuri Manga: Galette, Issue 1 ( ガレット創刊号)

June 15th, 2017

It doesn’t take a lot of industry insider knowledge to note that collaboration and crowdfunding are driving the independent comics industry these days. The number of comics anthologies coming out in the west is staggering. These are all the books that the mainstream publisher don’t have room in the budget to back, but which clearly have a space ready and waiting for them on reader’s shelves. The crowdfunding/collaboration bug hasn’t quite caught on in Japan as much, perhaps because mainstream manga publishing has a lot more room for what we consider “indie” comics and because the comic markets have created an economy that makes it relatively simple for people to self-publish, something we haven’t had in the USA until very recently.

There are some notable changes in the Japanese manga landscape. Digital publishing has taken off through Kindle, Kobo, Renta! and other sites, and online distribution has picked up on Pixiv and Note.mu. So manga artists who were formerly required to dance to the tune of a monolithic publisher’s editorial staff can now just opt out and carve out space on their own. Or fill in the gaps between work with established magazines by keeping the content coming online.

Which brings me to today’s review.  The inaugural issue of Galette is a fascinating combination of all of these factors. Folks who work together on magazines, who sell near each other at comic markets got together to create a collaborative “mook.” They crowdfunded it online, and are publishing and selling it online and at shows. 

The names associated with Galette are (at least to readers of this blog) legendary. Amano Shuninta, Takemiya Jin, Momono Moto, Hakamada Mera, Yotsuhara Furiko, Otomo Megane, Otsu Hiyori. If these names seem familiar to you, you might remember that they were among the line-up of Tsubomi magazine. And if there is a single criticism I have of Galette it is that it reads like an issue of Tsubomi magazine. Not that Tsubomi was bad. I just hoped that, away from the constricted ideal of “Yuri,” Tsubomi presented, these authors would fly. Some of them do run pretty well, but no one gets lift-off velocity. The issue also includes a number of names I’m not familiar with, urisugata, Yatosaki Haru, Yorita Miyuki, Asube Yui, and Haman Ringo, all of whom present well-constructed and well-drawn shorts. I’m going to take a stab that some of these folks are assistants of better-known artists, just from their familiar, but not identical, styles.

Most of the stories are firmly in the well-worn, comfortable groove of schoolgirl narrative. Not all, but most. And even some of these were a bit unusual and some outright challenging, so the creators must get credit for that.

Momono Moto’s opening salvo gave me some real hope, with a charmingly unrealistic encounter and a great ending that could lead to more…either on or off screen, depending if she continues it or not. Takemiya Jin’s story hit me in my soft spot for yanki girls, and almost all of the other stories were good to very good. A number of the stories really delve into the mindsets of the characters in the way that one doesn’t see too often.

What I’m hoping to see, honestly is, what happens when these excellent artists find themselves unfettered. Will any of them hit heights they only dreamed of, or is tales of young women in love what they really wanted to tell all along? I guess we’ll find out. ^_^

Thanks to Paul on the FB group, we know know that Galette, Volume 1 is available on US Kindle as well! It’s still in Japanese, but you can get the digital version on non-JP Kindle. That’s all kind of awesome.

Ratings:

Art – 9 This is some of the best work I’ve seen from everyone in this book
Story- 8 Variable, but good.
Characters – 7 Variable, some of whom are really weird. ^_^
Service – 2 Surprisingly little, now that I think about it.
Yuri – 10

Overall – 8

Volume 2 is already available and sitting on my to-read pile. I hope this mook series is industry-changing. I really do.

Last year at MoCCA, creators who contributed to Power & Magic put together a map of where they’d all be at the event, so you could get as many signatures as possible. At TCAF, there was a secret  – I have no idea why it was secret, and how secret could it have been, really? – map of people selling Yuri on Ice! doujinshi. I think it would be really cool for the folks who contributed to Galette to post a map of their locations at Comitia or Comiket so you could stamp rally the signatures.

Today’s review is for Jin, who has been patiently waiting for me to get around to it. ^_^ 

Send to Kindle




Yuri Manga: Fujyourina Atashi-tachi ( 不条理なあたし達)

May 24th, 2017

One of the qualities of a maturing genre is inclusion of non-trope material.For Yuri that means relationships involving adult women, especially women not in a school/college situation, and relationships that aren’t all rosy cheeks and “We’ll be together forever.”

In Fujyourina Atashi-tachi ( 不条理なあたし達) by Takemiya Jin, we get both these things at the same time. In the first short story, a woman has terrible taste in men and complains to her kouhai constantly until they kind of realize they might want to be together. In the second stoy, a woman is necessarily cruel to a coworker who likes her, because she likes her, which gives her a measure of power over the other woman.

The bulk of the book is a convoluted and, in many ways, dysfunctional relationship between Yamanaka and Taneda, colleagues in an office. Yamanaka is a selfish person, uninterested in other people. When she starts feeling a little attracted to Taneda, on the assumption that Taneda’s straight, she basically is barely civil. When Taneda invites her out to a local lesbian bar, their relationship becomes more  a lot more mean-spirited and fascinatingly (rather than destructively) manipulative. Yamanak starts of thinking she’s manipulating Tanedabut she’s not right. Where Taneda appears at first to be the baby seal waiting to be clubbed, in the end she’s the one who manges to train Yamanaka into being a human.

It’s a story about two crappy people who end up with a happy ending that they actually deserve. It was such a decent story, I read it twice through.

Ratings:

Art – 8 Her ability to capture complex expressions is still her strong point
Characters – 8 Not one of these people who be invited over for lunch. They are all kind of assholes. ^_^
Story – 8 Complex, adult, bitter and deep
Lesbian – 10

Overall – 8

This is Takemiya-sensei at her best, drawing short, pithy stories of lesbian life. Even when you don’t like the characters, she pulls a good story out of them. And this, while no “happily-ever-after,” is a good story.

Send to Kindle




Yuri Manga: My First Lady (マイ・ファーストレディ)

March 9th, 2017

My First Lady (マイ・ファーストレディ) is a short story collection by Takemiya Jin of stories that ran in Comic Yuri Hime magazine. The single unifying factor is that, in each story, under unique circumstances, a girl realizes that she has feelings for another girl.

The stories themselves differ mostly by outcome. In the cover story, the girl gets the girl. In another, the girls gets the girls, but we can see that the relationship will be manipulative and creepy. In another, the girl does not get the girl. In the last, she may have been pining away for the wrong girl.

The collection is a bit like a “roll the dice” game version of Yuri story-telling, but while nothing is spectacular, it’s still enjoyable.

The one thing that remains tight throughout is Takemiya-sensei’s ability to capture enignmtaic and complex emotions in character’s expressions. Sometimes, I’ll spend more time on wondering what a character is thinking than worrying about the overt text, especially in shorts like these. 

So, while this isn’t a standout collection, it’s a good solid look at first love with a variety of outcomes.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 7
Character – 7
Yuri – 7
Service – 0

Overall – 7

I’m always happy to have another collection from Takemiya-sensei. ^_^

Send to Kindle




Yuri Manga: Renai Log (恋愛ログ)

February 16th, 2017

Are you the kind of person who saves the best for last or who goes for the good stuff first? ^_^ When there’s a new shipment of manga in from Japan, I waffle back and forth. Half of me wants to binge read all the best manga right away and half wants to hold it to the very end. The first half usually wins. ^_^ Especially, as the second half of Hana Monogatari has had a surprising number of deaths and I keep finding myself really weepy and needing something happy to read before bed. (T_T)

Of course, one of the books on the “good pile” is Takemiya Jin-sensei’s newest collection, Renai Log (恋愛ログ). This collection, although a Yuri Hime Comics publication, wholly consists of doujinshi by Takemiya-sensei. 

Of the storie,s the opening two-parter was my favorite. In “Otonari-san” a young woman becomes aware that her neighbor is a lesbian and, after the neighbor has been left by her lover, starts to have feelings of her own for her. I really enjoyed this story, as it took a fairly long time to develop. The ending was deeply satisfying, as well.

The middle stories were a selection of bittersweet “wth is happening” and “goodbye” stories that hit me in already tender emotional spots. 

But the final story, “Chocolat Orange 2” was absolutely lovely. Just the treat I needed, along with “Otonari-san,” to wipe away the melancholia left by people dying in my evening literature. 

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – Variable, average 8
Characters – 8 A lot of sympathetic characters
Yuri – 8
Service – 0 Really. There just wasn’t any

Overall – 8

I had waited as long as I could before reading this and, as usual, was really glad I got to it. ^_^

Send to Kindle