Archive for the Magazines Category


Yuri Manga: Comic Yuri Hime July 2017 (コミック百合姫2017年7月号)

July 6th, 2017

We hit that moment – I am officially behind with reading Comic Yuri Hime. ^_^ I knew monthly was going to get me one day – I’m just kind of glad it took 7 months. ^_^

The cover story – as pink and gauzy and moe as it is, is actually pretty lesbian, “I fell for you at first sight, let’s be together forever.” Uh-huh. Might as well have had a U-haul catalog on the bed with them.

But, more importantly, Comic Yuri Hime July 2017 (コミック百合姫2017年7月号) issue was good! 

It starts off with an absolutely slappable plot complication for “Watashi no Yuri  ha Oshigoto desu!” to which I say, learn how to write a fucking story. No, you did not meet each other in school and then one of you *completely* forgot the other one. It was like 3 years ago, not 30. Look, people are not complete idiots. I was standing at the airport having trouble with a Global Entry machine and a DHS guy walked up and said, “Hey you taught Tai chi!” and I looked at this guy with a beard and said, “Oh my god, Marc?” We hadn’t seen each other in more than a decade, and he hadn’t had a beard and I had long hair and we were out of context and I’m terrible with faces and names…and we still remembered each other. If I can remember a guy I saw weekly for a few years, after 15 years, this character can reasonably be expected to remember a friend she saw every day and hurt really badly a few years later. /rant

“2DK, GPen, Mezmashitokei” went there. At last! I’m so happy it took so long and hope to all the gods they don’t just wrap it up, the end. Please oh please give us a few more volumes.

I still can’t get a bead on “Shuumatsu nani shi ni kou.” but I enjoyed (almost despite myself) Fujimatsu Mei’s “Aisareu Watashi no Monogatari” in which a lonely woman hires her favorite novelist -who has writer’s block- to write her a love and a family…and, in the process, they become both to each other. It was a really nice meta-fanfic.

“Kai to Alterna-rock” (オルタナロック is short for ‘alternative rock’, but if it is anything else, I don’t know what it is. Suggestions welcome) made me laugh out loud. I have read this “mean boss” and employee  who fall for one another story about a hundred times, but I still like it anyway.  ^_^

Takemiya Jin offers up another fan and idol story, so far, the best of the bunch in “Musou Artifact.” No surprised as it’s about my specific kind of geekdom, so yeah, of course I like it. Duh. ^_^

Ratings:

Overall – 8

As always, there are any number of other stories and some you will like and I will not. But this issue was pretty strong for me so I’m extra glad I finally had time to read it!

 

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Yuri Manga: Comic Yuri Hime June 2017 /コミック百合姫2017年6月号

June 5th, 2017

The June issue of Comic Yuri Hime (コミック百合姫2017年6月号) begins with a crisis on the cover. It might looks like two girls walking happily under an umbrella, but if one reads both the large green text and the 6-point type hidden at the bottom it’s apparent that the girl in the glasses really has to come clean soon or she’s a total jerk.

Thankfully, “2DK, GPen, Mezamashitokei”starts with Mahiro being really creepy AND jerky, and Nanami telling her politely, but firmly, to GTFA. Thank you Ohsawa-sensei. Thank you so much.

Nakamura Yukichi gives us what was a nice “Story A” in “Azuma-san to Itakura-sempai ha Koi o Suru.”

Hitoto’s “Shuumatsu Nanishi ni Ikou?” has hit a plot complication…but I’m not sure what the actual plot is, so the complication seems a little out of left filed.

A plot complication has also slapped Hime in the face in “Watashi no Yuri ha Oshigoto desu!” by Miman. As this was a series I never expected to have an actual plot, I’m both pleased and surprised. Hime comes face to face with how much of a jerk she’s been.

“Demi-Life” and “Roku + Ichi Sodarashi” continue to be fun, superficial reads, while “Itsuka Minoreba” insists on continuing, so I’m kind of wondering where it’s going to go, eventually. Is it *really* going to be about her training to play arcade games? Really?

Katakura Ako returns with another messy, smexy story, this time about adults in an office, so I’m happy. ^_^

As usual, there are many other stories in the magazine, all of whicha re good, bad and indifferent, according to your tastes ^_^

Ratings:

Overall  7

It is all I can do to read, much less review these monthly! What an excess of riches we have. I have a substantial pile here of things waiting to be reviewed and more  in my to-read pile. It’s pretty darn cool to have so much Yuri these days.

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Yuri Manga: Comic Yuri Hime May 2017 (コミック百合姫2017年5月号)

April 20th, 2017

Are you at all fond of two-timing as a plot driver in a romance? I have to assume that someone high up on the Comic Yuri Hime staff is, because even aside from the couple of stories in the body of the magazine, the cover story is, as well.

(And let me just note, in a somewhat petty fashion that, if I consider incest to be lazy writing, I consider it exceptionally lazy editing when I can tell what the editorial staff’s fetishes are. There are people other than you reading, folks. Try picking a new plot once in a while.)

Aside from that, the stories in Comic Yuri Hime, May 2017 (コミック百合姫2017年5月号) that are already strong, are still good. I was actually kind of pleased to note that the newest plot complication in Ohsawa Yayoi’s “2DK, G Pen, Mezamashitaokei” is kind of…typical for a romance manga. It’s like, having spent so much time on building up really firm foundations of a potential relationship, it can finally just be a little soapy. And I enjoyed it.

“Now Loading…” is taking the opposite tack, by starting off superficially and sort of backing into a real relationship. I’d like to see it become a real story when it grows up.

And “Watashi no Yuri ha Oshigoto desu!” is slipping sideways into a story, away from the tropes it’s inhabiting, which really kind of makes me happy. Hime is suddenly forced to confront the idea that her natural charm my not be enough…and that, maybe, she’s focusing her attention in the wrong direction. 

Ratings:

Overall – 7

As always, there are both good and bad and other stories I’m reading but not mentioning. I quite like the variety, even if it’s weirdly skewed to two-timing and affairs and cuckolding right now. (I mean really, Editor-san, grow the fuck up.)

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Kase-san Manga on LINE Comics, Guest Review by Verso S

April 5th, 2017
Welcome to Guest Review Wednesday here at Okazu! We’ve had more guest reviews than ever this year and they are all so fantastic If you’re enjoying the Guest Reviews, I hope you’ll consider subscribing to Okazu, so we can pay our Guest Reviewers!  
 
We reported on YNN that the Kase-san manga series was being continued on Japanese phone platform LINEManga (LINE マンガ – ).  Today Verso S. is writing to us from Hiroshima to let us know how it’s working! 
 
For those of you unfamiliar with LINE, it’s a phone app that began as a communication platform, based in SMS, like the popular BBSs were, but expanded out past person- or group-based communication as a publishing platform. Of course there are also companies with promotions, that almost gos without saying. There is a LINE that can be downloaded in th US, but it is not as fully featured as the JP version. However, even US LINE can be used for SMS communications in Japan, which has been useful to me in the past. 
 
Please welcome Verso who will give us a walkthrough of the Kase-san manga on LINE!
 
 
The Kase-san series started over free of charge from “chapter 1, Asagao to…” on LINEManga, while the “Shinshokan viewer” gives free access to the latest chapter.
 
LINEmanga: Weekly serialisation. The second chapter, “Jitensha to” was simultaneously hosted and became immediately available to those who share it (LINE, Facebook, Twitter). Without sharing that second chapter becomes accessible after one week, on next Tuesday, when “chapter three, Love song to” will be added on the same conditions. etc. 
 
Chapters released appear to remain free. Operation is smooth and glorious, on computer and mobile app.  No frills. Flip pages or use of clickable arrows and a zoom function.
 
The series is tagged: Love story. There is no Yuri tag on the platform. The brief description on the series’ own page does include a tiny Yuri reference since it is mentioned, and also tagged Hirari in addition to tags for the names of the mangaka and the publishing company – so it appears in the lists for those respective categories in the LINEmanga catalogue. eBooks of the first tankoubon will be available for a charge, ¥864, on LINEmanga as well.
 
“Shinshokan viewer”:  No registration required. Gives free access to the latest chapter for a limited time (Month). As standalone or as part of the web magazine Wings. In addition, however, the publisher’s page for the series also gives free access to previews from the existing three tankoubon as ebooks. With the option to purchase them as full ebooks. They also sell their print editions. Ebook operation is as smooth and glorious, on computer, as reading the chapters. No frills. Flip pages, arrows and zoom. 
 
Is there a regional block on access to LINEmanga? Have you tried login in to the messaging app via either a LINEme account or with a Facebook ID to set up a LINE account? Provided there is no geo-restriction, that ID will then work with the LINEmanga readers too. The set-up is done by registering a new account within the messaging app on a mobile device. Requiring either Email or sms code verification.Once authenticated the general LINEme ID and Password will then give access to the LINEmanga readers as well.  The same geo restrictions may apply for the Shinshokan reader as well… 

LINEmanga: Kase-san stayed on schedule. “Story 3, Love Song” was posted at midnight, Tuesday. Immediately available for those sharing it or available next week for those who don’t. 

The next installment will be interesting. If the pattern from other series is followed, these first three chapters will remain free, as preview chapters. The fourth chapter and subsequent releases will eventually slip behind an individual chapter paywall, usually after one month. For that one month period the later chapters can be read free of charge, but after that first month a small fee, ¥30~50 will be charged per chapter to gain access.

This is turning into running LINEmanga software commentary rather than a readers first impression of the Kase-san series on that platform. Which has been positive for us in every regard.

The series are all well behind the actual release schedules in the official magazines, print or web, for ongoing series but for titles re-serialised on LINEmanga the last four installments will thus be free at any given time throughout the re-release period on that platform.

Each tankoubon will be made available on that platform’s schedule as well. Usually the first chapter of each volume will be offered free within that tankoboun, as a preview. For other titles the entire first volume may remain free, as a preview. Kodansha’s Chihayafuru is such a title. Currently the first three volumes are listed ¥0 and they can be downloaded or added to a cloud-like bookshelf in their entirety. Though ongoing that series is not serialised on LINEmanga, however. Just the books are offered.

A lot of different publishers are present on LINEmanga and their titles are all offered on the same software without the necessity to hunt down each publisher’s own site. Without the necessity to switch apps when you want to continue reading the “next” chapter of a different series from a different magazine or publishing company, though it won’t be the “very latest” chapter. Each company comes with their own pricing arrangement and slight variations in their conditions for access. Minor variations like any other one-stop book store before eTexts.

Kase-san and all the other series do look very good, picture wise, on our systems, crisp images, nice and easily readable text, and they all function to our satisfaction but there are slightly different experiences with the operation that I should be careful not to conflate. Some titles which are accessible on our iPad but can’t be opened on our Mac, for example, though they’re accessed from the same LINE account. As noted before, someone with a Phone Number based LINE account seems to have the smoothest experience with its operation. Which seems to have more to do with the Phone Number based set up than with the OS, based on the “error” messages … though that’s out of my league to assess more broadly.

The same is true for Kuzu no Honkai, a currently ongoing manga series with a currently airing anime and Live Action drama adaptations.

All six volumes of Octave are also available as tankoubon on LINEManga for  ¥540 per volume. One other Akiyama title is also offered.

Fx’s Aoi Hana is here too, while Shimura’s Koiiji is being re-serialzied from Kiss magazine.

A lot of Hirari titles are here as well. So are some of the Tsubomi titles, though not tagged as such. Mizutani Fuuka’s series for example. Tagged with the mangaka’s name, with Hakusensha and with TL. And so is  Takemiya Jin, represented with 12 titles, with the same tagging system, but with different pricing. Some of her tankoubon are tagged Comic Yuri Hime, publisher and TL.Steps is priced ¥648 p/volume, Omoi no Kakera ¥802, Seasons ¥864.

There is a TL tag and a BL tag but there are no Yuri or GL tags on LINEmanga, for the moment.

It seems petty to complain when confronted with such luxury but there are also the Geo-location barriers. Which place me on the other side of the wall compared to you. I can get access to previews of Kodansha USA’s recent Chihayafuru eBook release in English, for example, but I can’t buy that book nor their other English titles because of my location. I can stroll into a bookstore, brick and virtual, minutes after the latest Japanese edition in that series becomes available.

Erica here: Well, wow. That was an amazingly comprehensive review. Based on all of this, I still think Kadokawa’s Bookwlaker might have an advantage, since there appear to be no geographic restrictions, but LINEManga has made pretty fast progress in that area!

Thank you again Verso for this  detailed review of the LINEManga system!

 
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Yuri Manga: Comic Yuri Hime April 2017 (コミック百合姫2017年4月号)

March 27th, 2017

Yep…monthly is really pushing my limits. ^_^  But let me tell you, what a problem to have! Ten years ago, I trawled the shelves of used manga stores obsessively, looking for hints of Yuri in this series or that, or an homage anthology that paired up characters in a not-gross way. (Still am appalled at all the Sakaki-san and the creepy cat from Azumanga Daioh doujinshi back in 2003.) Just to find something to blog about. And here I am, with an excess of Yuri. I am not complaining, I assure you. ^_^

So here we are looking a Comic Yuri Hime, April 2017 (コミック百合姫2017年4月号) and I find we have another problem, slight though it might be. We’re 4 issues in and a number of the newer series are starting to fall apart already. No surprise, as they weren’t stories, they were story ideas. Gag concepts only carry you so far. Of these “Holmes-san ga Suiri dekinai” by Nemachi Dorumaru has suffered the largest collapse. It hasn’t really been Yuri, and now that it is, it’s actually become less interesting.

However, there were still a goodly number of fair-to middling series. Of the ones that work best, “Now Loading”, “Watashi no Yuri ha Oshigoto desu!” and 2DK, G Pen, Mezamashitokei” are still my standout three. That they all seem to be about women working is just coincidence, I am absolutely sure.  ^_^ “Watashi no Yuri ha Oshigoto desu!” deserves a special mention, for having added female customers to the Yuri cafe, which I had previously noticed were absent. 

I also liked the go-nowhere “Hakushi no Kanata” by Hamuro Kei. This is pure one-shot stuff, but it was a nice bittersweet “what might have been, if only” tale that could change a life which was quite nice. And “Demi-Lfe” and “Roku + Ichi Sodarashi” are still forced and a little fun, even though they don’t have much substance. 

Ratings:

Overall – 7

So, points off for the complete dissolution of “Holmes-san” but holding steady else wise.  Let’s see how long this can be sustained. I pick up the May issue tonight. ^_^

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