Archive for the Miscellaneous Category


Watashi to Kanojo no Otomari Eiga Manga (私と彼女のお泊まり映画)

March 22nd, 2017

Koharu and Mayumi have been friends since high school. They have a standing “date” on Friday nights. Koharu picks a movie and they watch it. And then they talk about it.

Mostly Koharu teases Mayumi for having very little reaction and Mayumi teases Koharu for having a very big reactions. Koharu likes romances and dramas, Mayumi prefers action and horror. 

At the end of every chapter we get a movie review. And that’s basically the entirety of Yasuda Kosuke’s Watashi to Kanojo no Otomari Eiga (私と彼女のお泊まり映画). 

In between movie reviews we do learn a little bit about the two women, and, in the final pages, they have a rather touching moment where they acknowledge that friendship with each other has changed them both for the better.

If you really want to read two manga characters discussing how Mad Max Fury Road, or Inside Out made them feel, then this is the book for you. ^_^

Ratings:

Art – 6 It has moments of not so good
Character – 7 Nice kids, I’d have them over for lunch
Story – 5 We’re literally listening to them talk about movies they just watched.
Yuri – 0 They are friends. They hug. Koharu even sleeps over in what had to be the most refreshingly unsexual sleepover scene I’ve read in ages
Service – 4 You wouldn’t think there could be, but sometimes Mayumi’s breasts are centered for reasons

Overall – 6

You know…I’d probably read another volume. Nothing happened in a refreshingly normal way and it was kind of nice.

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On Strike

March 8th, 2017

Every day on Okazu, I read, watch, write, edit, plan, publish, buy, sell and create. Not today. Today, I celebrate the achievements of women. International Women’s Day General Strike. A Day Without A Woman.

International Women's Day General Strike. A Day Without A Woman

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What Are We Watching, Western Cartoon Edition

March 5th, 2017

Several times in recent weeks, I have had occasion to comment that I am currently watching as many or more western cartoons than anime at the moment. In no way is this meant as a slam to anime. I still like it. I’m way behind on my watching, but that’s no one’s fault but my own. ^_^ 

I’ve written about Steve Universe several times already. It is, in my opinion, one of the finest cartoons I’ve ever watched, with moments of genuinely brilliant, Emmy-worthy writing.

Today I wanted to mention two cartoons that could not be more different if they tried.

First, if you are a fan of magical girl anime, you really must be watching Star vs the Forces of Evil. Star is a magical girl princess who has come from another dimension (As the OP says, “I ain’t from ’round here”) to live on Earth and the adventures she and her best bud Marco get into. It’s…well, it’s fantastic. ^_^ 

The story is smart, riffing on plenty of magical girl themes, but also just taking an intelligent tack on funny quirks of the genre, adding a dash of wacky and keeping the writing real for characters that are meant to be teens.

Star and Marco are often accompanied by a floating, glittery unicorn head and, of course, face evil bad guys, but the best episodes are often in the way every-day issues are blown out of proportion with magic. Shopping in “Quest Buy” with a gift card that if Marco doesn’t use, when it expires, will take them with it, for instance. A recent episode worth watching goes into the details of how Star’s magic wand has become corrupted and must be fixed.  (Click this link and watch it, at least for the OP, but the episode is a decent one, as well.)

The pacing is generally fast, the episodes are “wackiness ensues” with lots of screaming. 

The characters are likable. Marco and Star’s friendship is a friendship….and a good one. They have both had feelings for each other, but asymmetrically (which is the subject of a recent arc, in fact. This is the same arc which included same-sex kisses in a scene, a first for a Disney cartoon.) They make a great team, but are not perfect or one-dimensional. The bad guys do tend to be more for humor factor than any real threat. As handwaves go, it’s perfectly acceptable. It’s not that there isn’t a progression to the series, but most episodes can be viewed with no more information than that provided in the opening animation, but if you watch it regularly, you can see that there’s a definite change in Star and Marco’s relationship with each other and with their other friends (who do get caught up in their adventures, so yeah, they know Star’s a magic princess.) The writing assumes the audience is not a bunch of duds, which is refreshing. Things we’re thinking are things the characters say.

Ultimately, if magical girls without creepy service is a thing you’d enjoy, you’re probably going to enjoy Star vs the Forces of Evil. I certainly do.

Secondly, as far from the enjoyable teen antics of Star as possible, the other cartoon I’m consuming obsessively is:

Archer. No one who knows me well will be even remotely surprised that I like this cartoon. It’s vulgar and violent, but written for “mature audiences” as they warn you. This is not the immature tee-hee of fanservice. This is the hearty guffaw of “eat a bag of dicks” and nudity. 

A fairly brilliant parody of the super-spy narrative idealized by James Bond, Archer is really, really offensive. Remember, as Miss Meteyard said, ““Some people can be funny without being vulgar, and some can be both funny and vulgar. I should recommend you to be either the one or the other.” Archer is funny and vulgar. It also must be the most fun job to voice act in the world. Aisha Tyler as Lana Kane is the absolute epitome of voice-acting in America right now, but it is the bitter, rich, intolerant, alcoholic Mallory Archer who speaks deeply to my soul. I aspire to her glorious level of incendiary, incandescent loathing. ^_^ 

A good example of why I like the series is this line, in which Archer complains about an overcomplicated CIA plan, “all it needed was a sign that said, ‘free bird seed.’” Laughed for a good ten minutes at that.

There’s a lot of implied sex in the series. Lana is primarily straight, but Pam has had sex with all the other woman in the office and some of the men. Cheryl/Carol is…who the fuck knows what she is, and while Mallory is always looking for a sugar husband, we are led to believe that she has also had sex with Pam at least once.  One of the agents, Ray, is gay (and sometimes lacking the use of his legs or an arm) but he’s never gotten anything for it but a bunch of really insensitive jokes.

So, that’s what I’m watching right now. What are you watching these days? It’s an open thread in the comments! Let’s have those cartoon recommendations!

 

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Benten Botan Manga, Volume 1 (弁天ぼたん)

February 20th, 2017

Q: How do you know a manga is considered really good around here? A: When I wake up and send a ridiculous tweet the the manga artist in bad gang patois saying that it’s awesome!

Benten Botan,  Volume 1 (弁天ぼたん) by Saida Nika is awesome.

It’s been a while since I had a chance to read something by Saida-sensei, creator of Cirque Arachne (which fixed the biggest problem of Kaleido Star). When I saw that Saida-sensei had a new manga about a gang-girl, I knew I needed to read it.  ^_^

Bentenshima Botan has all her life been told about the awesomeness of the gang girls of Japan, by her late mother. When her father decides to leave their home in the Himalayas and return to Japan, Botan could not be more excited. She arrives at her her new all-girls school and announces that she’s willing to take on all comers. Instead of a challenge, all the girls go gaga over the tall, attractive newcomer. When she turns out to be good at sports and smart, too, she has an instant fanclub. 

She asks one of the girls where the local banchou is, but cute classmate Sumire informs Botan that that’s ancient history. Bummed, Botan heads off home. On the way she spots an obvious sukeban-type and she and Midori butt heads – literally – for the first time.

The school principal confronts Botan and challenges the young girl to bring it on, but Botan is nowhere near as strong as the principal, who is clearly one of the old-school sukeban her mother admired and, it becomes plain, who admired her.

Sumire confides to Botan that while she has a boy’s body, it was always her dream to go to a girls’ school. Botan promises to protect Sumire and her secret and almost immediately has a chance to insist that Sumire-chan be treasured as is. Midori recognizes that Botan and she share more than just love for the sukeban life and she softens a bit

Sumire, Midori and Botan become friends, which amazes and confuses Midori as, up until now, as the only girl in her household and engineering school, she’s never really has had girl friends, except Sumire. But she learns to like it pretty quickly and Botan’s disarming naivete’ even makes her laugh out loud.

At her grandmother’s bathhouse, Botan encounters a former boy gang member who takes her out for a ride on his bike, and kisses her. She loves the bike, find the kiss interesting and thinks he might be a good guy, until one of Midori’s brothers let her know that he really isn’t. And, as the book comes to a close, we can see Take-chan has some not-good designs on our heroine. What they are we don’t yet know.

In a final chapter we see that along with her fan club at school, Botan has the complete attention of her teacher who has developed a crush on her. But Botan breaks her heart when speaking to her classmates she says she likes Mizuki-sensei – she reminds Botan of her mother. Mizuki works on making that okay in her head while the principal sulks that Mizuki’s nothing like Botan’s mother.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 8 
Characters – 9 There’s no one unlikable
Yuri – 1, LGBTQ – 4
Service – 2 A little, but more artful than gross

Overall – 8

This manga was just a ton of fun in every direction! It runs in Hibana magazine along with After Hours and My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness both of which have been licensed by Viz and Seven Seas, respectively and Shimanami Tasogare, so clearly I am going to have to get this magazine now. You can read a sample chapter of Benten Botan on the Hibana website. I hope you find it as entertaining as I did.

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Torikaebaya Manga, Volume 10 (とりかえ・ばや)

February 9th, 2017

AUUUUGGGHH.

Sorry, but I got almost all the way through Volume 10 of Saitou Chiho-sensei’s Torikaebaya (とりかえ・ばや) without screaming and then I hit the final bit and AUUUUGGGHH!

Okay, so. The Mikado is being pressured to replace Toguu-sama as heir and Ginkaku, an evil priest with really evil eyebrows and Shikibu-no-miya (who you always knew had to be evil because of his eyebrows) pick a really cute kid called Yuzuru. Sarasojuu (as Suiren) is helping out with him and ends up playing the flute and almost, almost the Mikado clues in, but nope he misses it. AUUUUGGGHH I really wanted him to figure it out.

Suiren, as Sarasojuu, is away from the capital and, for the first time we see him as a man. He’s willowly and pretty, as one might expect, but is taking to his new role. 

To suss Ginkaku out, Sara as Suiren has her lady in waiting share a rumor that she’s pregnant. The Mikado is furious at her, but she explains why and, eventually receives a gift of poison from the evil-eyebrowed one. On her way to inform the Emperor, she’s pushed off a walkway and suffers a concussion. The Mikado tends to her himself and she finally has a chance to explain the whole deal.

Ginakaku visits her…and here’s the moment when I screamed. I want the Emperor to figure it all out! Really. I want him to “get” what the deal with Sara and Suiren is, but the person who figures it all out is none other than the evil-eyebrowed priest Ginkaku. AUUUUGGGHH. Sara, as Suiren, puts him off but knows this is not good. Not good at all.

MEANWHILE Suiren, as Sarasojuu, is off to Ginkaku’s temple to find evidence of his perfidy. They find an elaborate curse against the Emperor in place. It becomes instantly apparent what the plan is. Now that Toguu-sama has been neutralized, if they kill the Mikado, they will becomes Prince Yuzuru’s regents. As Suiren turns to leave, they are attacked. AUUUUGGGHH

Oh my god this story is killing me.

It’s pretty obvious that, if any of the romances are going to have a positive resolution, both Suiren and Sarasojuu will have to pass through life as their birth gender, which annoys me to no end. In my imaginary ending now, Suiren is able to live with Toguu-sama away from court as herself and Sarasojuu is able to live as a young man whom the Mikado takes to bed sometimes. ^_^ Wishful thinking, I know.

Ratings:

Art – 9
Story – 8
Characters – 9
Service – 1

Overall – 9

I’m really disappointed in the Emperor. He was *so* close there for a second. I thought he was good-looking and smart, but nope. Ah well.

Volume 11 doesn’t land until March, so I have a few weeks to recover.

 

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