Archive for the Miscellaneous Category


Oshi ga Budokan Ittekuretara Shinu Manga, Volume 3 ( 推しが武道館いってくれたら死ぬ )

September 29th, 2017

I’m starting to think that Hirao Auri-sensei has a bad case of manga interruptus. Is the creator a  master of tense, unresolved (unresolvable sexual tension) or is it a case of “string ’em along, the suckers’ll get what they deserve.”? I’m honestly not sure.

But apparently, I, like Eripyo, deserve to keep being disappointed by her inability to bridge the gap between her and the subject of her hopeless obsession, pop idol Maina. Surrounded by shifts in and around the group, Maina is “gambare”ing as hard as she can and Eri is exhausting herself at any number of part-time jobs in order to support her.

In Oshi ga Budokan Ittekuretara Shinu, Volume 3 ( 推しが武道館いってくれたら死ぬ ) of But things are starting to stretch to untenable stress. Eri’s Mom is wondering when she’s going to stop working like a child and get a real career. 

Kumasa is having the best luck at connecting with his favorite idol and even Motoi has a moment or two, but Eri is exhausted, constantly broke, and eternally frustrated as all she wants is to be there for Maina.

Maina is working as hard as she can and wants desperately to thank her number one fan, but all they can do is stare at one another, awkwardly, unable to think of the right thing to say, holding sweaty hands at the handshake events.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 8, dammit
Character – 8
Service – 1
Yuri – 4 I’m running out digits to cross, with the need to strangle the author.

Overall – 8

Argh and argh. But I guess I get what I deserve, since I keep coming back.  If this series goes 8 volumes and we get is a reset, I better hope the judge understands, because I’m gonna lose my mind. ^_^

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Yuri Network News – (百合ネットワークニュース) – August 26, 2017

August 26th, 2017

Light data dump today, catching up on random things from around the Yuri Network!

Starting off, YNN Corespondent Verso S writes in to tell us about “Haikara-san ga Touru, a manga set in Taisho Period about a tomboy, Benio, who has shockingly modern ideas about women’s worth and clothing and abilities, has been adapted and will be performed by the Takarazuka Revue in October.” Verso goes on to tell us that the series will also be getting “two new animated films, scheduled for release on November 11, 2017 and sometime in 2018.” 

Dousei Seikatsu ~Kaishanin Yuri-ben! (同棲生活~社会人百合編~) is a digital Yuri manga about two adult office workers who live together, which is being serialized through Kadokawa’s Comic Walker Platform.  Click the link for a free sample on the ComicWalker reader.

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ANN Reports that Nozomi RightStuf’s Aria the Animation kickstarter blew through it’s initial and first stretch goal for a dub version, guaranteeing the first 13 episodes of Aria the Natural be part of the collection. A second stretch goal will meant that we’ll get Aria the Natural in full! With 16 days to go and only just over $20K to hit the goal, I’m betting we’ll see that happen.

Here’s an important thing I did not know! Joah Hilty, who I met through the Queer Comics world, was the editor for Legend of Korra comics through Nickelodeon.   Joan is going to be a Special Guest at Lanka Comic-Con this weekend in Sri Lanka!

I want to thank Boolkwalker Global for choosing me as one of their Gift Certificate giveaway winners! I’m loading up my Bookwalker account with stuff I know I’m going to want to read eventually. ^_^ I’m only mentioning it here to remind you all that when you get those mail surveys fill them out! I have 10000¥ to spend on manga now because I did!

Know some cool Yuri News you want people to know about? Become a Yuri Network Correspondent by sending me any Yuri-related news you find.Emails go to anilesbocon01 at hotmail dot com. Not to the comments here, please, or they might be forgotten or missed. There’s a reason for this madness. This way I know you are a real human, not Anonymous (which I do not encourage – stand by your words with your name!) and I can send you a YNN correspondent’s badge.

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

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Tales of Zestiria the X Anime Guest Review by Eric P.

August 2nd, 2017
I’m winging my way to celebrate Okazu’s 15th anniversary at Yurithon in Montreal. I really hope I’ll see many of you there. If you are a reader, please come up to say hello if you see me. I would love to meet you! I know I would, because so many of our friends here came up to me at conventions. Including today’s Guest Reviewer and Okazu Superhero, Eric P.! Eric’s been a long-time friend who came up to me at an event and a tremendous supporter of Yuri and Okau over the years. So please welcome back Eric with a new review!
 
Based on a RPG seriesTales of Zestiria the X starts off with a prologue episode—which  stands terrifically on its own for its tone, atmosphere and breathtaking climactic visuals—in which a princess knight named Alisha investigates a strange weather phenomenon. It is later identified as the rise of Malevolence, an evil sickness plaguing not just her kingdom of Hyland but the rest of the world, feeding on the negative emotions of human beings and turning many into dark creatures called Hellions. Starting in the show’s “first” episode, she finds a good-hearted young man named Sorey, along with his best friend, Mikleo. Mikleo is one of the Seraphim, a celestial race of beings that once represented the harmony between humanity and earth, but had long isolated themselves when that connection was lost. The three of them know the legend of the Shepherd, the savior who could restore the harmony of the world and rid it of the Malevolence. Upon having met Alisha, an intrigued Sorey travels with Mikleo away from the Seraphim’s village to Hyland, where after one circumstance leading to another he dons the title of the Shepherd. From there he goes on a quest in finding the way to save the world, while also gaining an expanding fellowship of distinctive companions comprised of both humans and Seraphim.
 
On the surface, laying out the basic story elements can make Zestiria the X sound like a routine video game story, or like the usual formula of an epic fantasy saga of good vs. evil one would expect. But what manages to help Zestiria stand out from most similar series is due to ufotable’s production. As the studio responsible for the theatrical-level animation of Fate/Zero and Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works, their quality is equally shown in this series while elevated to impressive new levels. The visuals with the cloud and water effects are beautifully stunning, the action scenes are fun as always, and the character animation has life to it… or at least matches well enough with the surrounding picture. Like their previous series I found myself drawn into and immersed within the story’s world, and charmed by the characters as I meet them one by one. Under any other Anime studio, Sorey could have been another bland do-gooder, but with ufotable’s execution he really does come across as a hero who is more likable and easy to root for than not.
 
Alisha undertakes her own mission to quell the Malevolence by stopping the war against the enemy kingdom of Rolance, including refusing to take up arms no matter what movement is taken by the opposite side. One of the other major supporting protagonists is Rose, a lively merchant by day but an assassin by night. Early on she takes the job against Alisha, because her ideals would bring greater harm or even death to good soldiers and the common people caught up in the struggle. But Rose soon learns Alisha is not the dangerously naïve princess she was lead to believe, and upon Alisha’s solemn vow that she would give her own life before losing anyone else’s to achieve her goals, Rose has a change of heart and stands by Alisha’s side.
 
Alisha and Rose fight hard and grow stronger, coming a long way on their own as well as a team duo. Then in the very final episode, Zestiria pulls a surprise(?) korrasami-type moment with their final scenes together, in which their friendship seems to start budding into something more. Nothing quite as explicit as a handhold, but there is no doubt suggestiveness in their playful exchange of dialogue, as well as the quick edits/close-ups of their affections during this exchange. The topic of marriage (to men, apparently) gets brought up by others, to which they brush off their own ways, with Alisha awkwardly looking away while Rose rolls her eyes and shrugs. One could easily see their journeys in a whole new light should one re-watch the series.
 
I like how the story stayed true to remaining morally gray while illustrating there are never any easy answers in what is always or just sometimes right and wrong. There is still a single villain in the climax that must be defeated, but even then things are not as clear-cut as expected. Aside from Alisha and Rose, it should also be mentioned this series has its share of genuine strong women characters, including Alisha’s mentor Maltran, and Alisha’s two loyal female knights, both of whom remain practically-uniformed the whole way through. The story itself may not be groundbreaking, but there is still enough of that ufotable charm to give it a soul and keep it refreshing on its own. I for one was just as entertained the second time through before writing this review, and am anticipating Funimation’s future blu-ray release.
 
Overall—8.5
 
Erica here: Thank you so much Eric! I appreciate you sharing this with everyone. And thanks to you and all the folks who help make Okazu so much fun!
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Marine Corps Yumi Manga, Volume 6 (まりんこゆみ)

July 21st, 2017

In Volume 6  of Marine Corps Yumi Manga,  (まりんこゆみ) jokes are made, and no one is made to look even a little worse for it. ^_^

Yumi has a successful time at a training exercise that includes the Marines and the Japanese Self-Defense Force. The JDSF guys are blown away at Yumi being 1) a woman and 2) a Marine and 3) fluent in Japanese. So impressed are they, they ask for her to being assigned to the JSDF as part of an exchange. So while her friends are elsewhere, Yumi  heads up to Hokkaido, in order to spend time with the JSDF. 

Jokes are gentle, and mostly designed to highlight the supreme awesomeness of the U.S. Marines. Yumi is so much less a doofus now, one finds themselves actually rooting for her to be President one day. ^_^

Both Rita and Linda are now dating seriously – Rita’s still with the JSDF’s  Satoru and Linda with…Rita’s brother. Jose is a hoot and, in a page designed to explain that American’s don’t do that whole “confession of like” thing that whole manga series center on, we just sort of hang out and it develops from there, Jose gives Linda a token of his affection, a bloodstained knife he’s used in battle. She’s thrilled. It’s clearly a match made in heaven. ^_^ Although her brother and father are less enthused. Speaking of father’s Rita’s dad’s reaction to hearing that she’s seeing someone is…to hop in a Zodiac, ride up to the coast to where Rita’s unit is, and visit her wearing a carnival head. Okay then.

When Yumi gets back to Tokyo at last, she and Sawa and the gang take in another Takarazuka show. Linda nudges Yumi to point out that both Rita and Donna are laughing at the spectacle. I had to grin at that. When we went to Takarazuka together, she and Nogami-sensei had plenty of chance to watch me suppress giggles. ^_^

The book ends with Yumi’s renewed dedication to her dream.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 9 
Characters – 9
Yuri – 1 As Erica realizes she’ll never have a chance with Linda. 
Service – 3 

Overall – 9

This week marked the second anniversary of Anastasia Moreno’s death. It was a complete coincidence that I was reading this book this week. It was not coincidence, however, the seventh and final volume of the series was released on July 14th, that very day. One more volume to go, but I’ll still be thinking of Ana all the time.

I also want to thank Nogami-sensei very much once again for keeping this series going and finishing it up. It was really important to Ana. Also, thank you Satoru-san for your kind friendship for these years. 

 

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So Pretty / Very Rotten: Comics and Essays on Lolita Fashion and Cute Culture

June 11th, 2017

Koyama Press is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary this year and, at TCAF, they had a special event as part of their celebration. In conjunction with the Japan Foundation in Toronto, they held a book premier event for So Pretty/ Very Rotten: Comics and Essays on Lolita Fashion and Cute Culture by An Nguyen and Jane Mai.

The event was fascinating. Items of Lolita dress and culture were displayed as if they were exhibits in a museum or art gallery.

This was a really unique perspective, that allowed us to see the craftsmanship of the items, as opposed to seeing them as part of an ensemble,in which they are one piece of a larger statement.

 

 

The food itself focused on cute. Pocky, cupcakes and cookies adorned with cute girls from the comics in the book accompanied by fruit and cheese platters gave the whole thing a festival air.

 

 

The cookies were fantastic, decorated with characters and items that were illustrated in the book. You were literally able to eat a piece of the book!

 

 

After thanks and intros and the usual preliminaries, An and Jane took the stage to explain their experience  and fascination with Lolita dress and culture.  Here they explain the different sub-types of Lolita dress.

 

 

I have now had a chance to read the book and I recommend it to anyone who wants to see Lolita culture not from an anthropological, outsider (haha, “objective”) perspective, but from people deeply embedded  in a culture, the history of which is surprisingly hard to trace.

The book includes personal essays by An and Jane, as well as comics by both of them, and an essay and interview with Takemoto Novala, creator of Shimotsuma Monogatari, which was released here in the west as a book and movie titled Kamikaze Girls – both of which are well worth your time. The manga by the same name is less fabulous, but still a pleasant read. None of these essays really get deeply into historical roots of Lolita, but they do discuss why that is more complicated than it may initially seem. The essays touch on things like the assumption that Lolita is related to “Lolita complex” and why it is not, but mostly they are personal looks at the elements of Lolita culture that fascinate, consume and obsess those people inside the culture.

An’s comics are often about camaraderie and community of Lolita culture, where Jane’s often touch on the endless cycle of consumerism and self-abnegation – even self-erasure – that feeds the Gothic Lolita life.

In the end, the title is a brilliant summation of the sense of self we see in Lolita, that the outside is more and more beautiful, but the inside may be rotten, or even empty.

That said, the book, which starts on an extremely macabre note, ends with a poignant and touching story of friendship that expands past the initial boundaries of the community. Whether you find this book positive or negative will most likely depend on your relationship with your own obsessions. ^_^

Ratings:

Overall – 8

I found this book to be an extremely intimate portrait of Lolita, deep without being substantive; a fascinating reflection of the authors’ relationship with Lolita culture. It’s a good read and a valuable piece of research in English into a enduring Japanese subculture. From one subculture enthusiast to another, I raise a stick of Pocky to An and Jane and wish them success!

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