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. ^_^

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Upcoming LGBTQ Lectures and Events

February 15th, 2017

Get out those calendars! It’s time to plan our next few months of LGBTQ Comics and Manga events and lectures.

February

This weekend, on February 19, 2017 our friends at Yaycon, this year in Amersfoort, Netherlands, will be celebrating Yaoi and Yuri and love! I had a lovely time at Yaycon a few years ago and hope to one day return. 

 

March

I am pleased as punch to be part of Rainbow Manga along with Gay Manga’s Anne Ishii at Hunter College in NYC on March 10, 2017. The lecture should be open to the public and as soon as I have a link or address for you, I will be sure to let you know. Hunter College is 695 Park Ave. in New York City. Anne and I will be speaking about LGBTQ manga in Japan and here in the US!

April

For San Francisco-area friends, I expect you will not want to miss this year’s Queers & Comics Conference. Keynote Speakers are Tagame Gengoroh and Mariko Tamaki (and, I have all my digits crossed that maybe, maybe we’ll have Nakamura Kiyo as well. Pray for this. Pray hard.) I’ve made all my reservations, so I will absolutely be there. I’ll be participating on a Queer Manga history panel and moderating a Craft of Queer Manga panel and bouncing around like a child the rest of the time, surrounded by such awesome talent and energy. Please join me! The 2015 event was magical.

In addition to praying, the Queers & Comics Travel Fund has been created to help Q&C bring in queer creators from around the country (and world) and give them a place to stay, food, etc.  You know that queer comics don’t often have the kind of mainstream distribution that the superhero stuff gets, and queer creators are often living on the edge. If you can even offer a cup of coffee’s worth of support, you can get some great digital rewards, including ABSOLUTE POWER: Tales of Queer Villainy!  and more from Gay Manga and Northwest Press. (I also wrote to Seven Seas to see if we can get some Yuri manga on that rewards list. We’ll see if they are interested.)

May

Toronto Comics Arts Festival is around the corner and on my radar once again. After a few years away – and missing it badly – I’m going to do my very best to be part of the 2017 event. (I cannot wait to experience the new de-improved DHS processes at the airport. Ugh.) TCAF is held for free at the Toronto Reference Library and external venues in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, May 13-14. Traditionally, it has always been very LGBTQ-friendly and inclusive and manga friendly and inclusive, unlike some other comics events, for which manga is just a thing some people sell there. There’s usually a Queer Mixer before the event, as well. Guests include Tagame Gengoroh, Jillian Tamaki and Sandrine Revel, all of whom have worked on LGBTQ content. Also, our friends at Sparkler Monthly are usually there and this year they have even more Yuri than ever before. It’s a don’t-miss event for folks who can make it.

My schedule fills up pretty fast these days, so if you want me at your event, as a moderator or to present, do please contact me. Here’s to a year of amazing queer manga events!

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Yuri Manga: Comic Yuri Hime March 2017 (コミック百合姫2017年3月号)

February 13th, 2017

Comic Yuri Hime March 2017 (コミック百合姫2017年3月号) continues with the same variety of Yuri that we’ve come to expect from magazine this year. That said, there’s a definite slant towards the moe….understandably, as it’s easier to drawn simplified faces than it is to draw detailed art.

Which is why I genuinely treasure Ohsawa Yayoi’s “2DK, G Pen, Mezamashitokei”. About to go into a 4th volume (yay!) this series continues to be very much about adults and, in this chapter does something completely unexpected. Well, at least I certainly didn’t expect it. ^_^ As an aside, I wonder if Nanami is at all aware that pretty much every other woman she has ever met has fallen for her.

In “Watashi no Yuri ha Oshigoto desu!” The one stereotype the Yuri cafe doesn’t cover – the best friend with a crush – rears it’s head and the cafe ends up with a new employee. I have no idea if this story will develop into anything particularly, but I’m willing to ride along for however long it stays silly.

Hitoto’s “Shuumatsu nanishini ikou?” sticks with giving us more detail about keeping fish than I, uh, expected it to. Fish it is. Okay then.

“Holmes-san ga Suiri dekinai” by Nemachi Dorumaru continues to be a parody of every mystery series ever and Ohi Pikachi’s “Demi Life” is already getting self-referential. I hope they will both break out of their niches and become real stories soon.

“Roku + Ichi Sodarashi” is still pretty much Hidamari Sketch, by a different artist, with Yuri. That part’s refreshing.

I still love Mikanuji’s “Now Loading” for it’s how-to tutorial on game development and honest look at the hours one pulls working in a small gamedev company. That this story feels “real” to me is the best part about it. That it also is Yuri is just icing on the cake. ^_^

Comic Yuri Hime is advertising pretty hard for editorial assistants right now, so if you’re still young and want to work in the manga world, are located in Japan and looking to get a position with a company that has never been positioned better to grow, take a look at the Comic Yuri Hime‘s advert for people wanting “Yuri Work.”

Ratings:

Overall – 8

This March issue appears to be sold out in print on Amazon JP at the moment, but folks with Japanese IP addresses will be able to get it through Kindle and you can get it digitally outside Japan on Bookwalker Global as a single issue or as a subsciption.

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Yuri Manga: Bloom Into You, Volume 1 (English)

February 12th, 2017

Nakatani Nio’s blockbuster manga has debuted in English as Bloom Into You, Volume 1 from Seven Seas.

When I originally reviewed Volume 1 of Yagate Kimi ni Naru, I said that it was “a sweet little Yuri romance that I both enjoyed a lot and also have several real problems with.” My opinion has not changed for the better as the issues with it have not abated, but intensified. (And for those of you new here, I’ve also reviewed Volume 2 and Volume 3 in Japanese. No need to try to “explain” the series to me. Thanks. You’re welcome to disagree, but you won’t change my opinion. ^_^)

On the ANNCast Friday, Jacob Chapman delved into the stereotype of the predatory gay man as a thing that really put him off. I briefly spoke about the line where it becomes victimization that really bothers me. But I wasn’t able to address the other part of that…something that bothers me in all manga, not just LGBTQ characters – coercion. I dislike it immensely when a character uses their perceived or real power to coerce another character into a situation they don’t want to be in. This is as true for Strawberry Panic! as it is for Shitsurakuen. And it seems obvious to me that the entirety of Bloom Into You can be summed up in this single panel (read-right-to-left): “Why not just tell her no?”  “I tried, but Nanami-sempai won’t give up on the idea!”

That’s just a deal killer for me. “No means no” whether someone says it about being a campaign manager or a girlfriend and whether the person asking is male or female. It wouldn’t be cute if it was a guy insisting and it’s not cute that it’s a girl.

Moreover, it’s even more obvious to me this time that Sayaka was just dissed right to her face. It’s really hard for me to like Touko ever again.

Part of the problem here is that this is a manga, although rated Teen by Seven Seas, was written for a magazine for adult men, and it adheres to the standard male romantic lead plot – stalk her, bug her, insist your feelings are sincere and magically she’ll realize she loves you. This is horrible in Hollywood movies and it’s no less toxic here. No, this is not how one convinces a girl to like one. Nor is Akari’s plan to wait until the reason the guy she likes uses to not go out with her runs out, a sensible one. These are stupid lessons and stuff that sets my teeth on edge about any “romance.” If feelings aren’t returned, it’s okay to feel shitty about being rejected, but not okay to just keep insisting they’ll come around.

The delusion so many of the characters live under make me sympathetic only to Sayaka who seems to see the whole thing most clearly, right down to her own unfulfilled desire. She’s basically the only reason I’m still reading this series.

Very unusually for Seven Seas, this volume also contains several name translation mistakes. Nanami Touko is  at least once referred to as “Nanako” (a mistake I noticed on the Amazon description, and had meant to, but completely forget to, email Seven Seas about, woops, sorry) and Saeki Sayaka is sometimes referred to referred to as Sanae Sayaka. The page reproduction is the usual high quality we’ve come to expect, however.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 7
Characters – 7
Yuri – 5
Service – 1

Overall – 6 My reservations remain and have increased over time. The transition into English has not helped and the translation inconsistency (while quite probably because they had two proofreaders but no managing editor,) just sort of felt like an extra stone in my shoe.

“Sometimes love just takes time for the other person to get in to, right?”

Argh.

I really wish I liked this series, but I still have a lot of trouble with the premise. So, if you really like it a lot, I invite you to write in a short review for this volume in the comments and if you’d like to write about Volume 2 when it comes out in English, do let me know!

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Yuri Network News – (百合ネットワークニュース) – February 10, 2017

February 11th, 2017

Wow, it’s Saturday already! What a week. What a month! Geez, it’s going to be a crazy year. ^_^ Tons of news this week as I catch up on a backlog!

 

Yuri Manga

Saborouta’s Citrus has made it to Volume 5 in English and Volume 6 in Japanese.

Volume 4 of 2DK, GPen, Mezamashitokei (2DK、Gペン、目覚まし時計。) is going to hit shelves next week and it’s going to raise some eyebrows! Ohsawa Yayoi’s adult life series has just taken a very interesting turn. ^_^

 

LGBTQ Comics

YNN Correspondent Brendan B has written in to share some exciting news. “The series Superwoman from DC has a pair of supporting characters named Natasha Irons and Traci 13 (some teen superheroes from the 90’s) who have now been reimagined as a couple. It made me really happy to see and I just thought some people might be interested to know. (Also sidenote a rare example of a black/Asian interracial couple since I rarely see that in fiction either.)” I’d like to also note that Superwoman is being written right now by Phil Jimenez, who also contributed to LGBT Comic anthology Love is Love (which is available in print and also digitally on Comixology and Kindle).

And while we’re talking DC, I want to mention that Mariko Tamaki (Skim, This One Summer) is working on Supergirl with Joëlle Jones right now!

If you liked Jem and the Holograms (or liked the idea of Jem and the Holograms, but not the actual thing itself) Kim & Kim, Volume 1: This Glamorous, High-Flying Rock Star Life looks like it’ll be for you!

For our Japanese friends, you can get Nakamura Kiyo’s Rezu to Shichinin no Kanojo-tachi (レズと七人の彼女たち) on Kindle or read it online for a per-chapter fee on Note.mu.

 

Yuri Articles

YNN Correspondent Mudakun of Hearts of Furious Fancies, reports on “A fan translation of a discussion by three shonen-ish magazine types about Yuri-ish titles.”  You can find the original on Akiba Blog.  He has this to say about it, “At least One editor-san seems to be worried that Yuri was too “removed” from their readership’s understanding or experience for the reader to have much sympathy (I’m abstracting here), where I’ve been under the impression that the distance is what makes these tales attractive to jaded male-gaze types (like me).”

In my experience of Yuri fandom fans are very invested in the couple, but it’s not surprising that the editor would “other” it to make it make sense to him. ^_^

Via Jennifer Robertson, The Japan Times has reported on a symposium at the California Institute of the Arts:  Female animators breaking down male-dominated cartoon-women stereotypes. It’s a refreshing look by western female animators at some of the tired tropes of women in animation.

 

LGBTQ Podcast

In case you missed it, this week’s ANNCast was a lively discussion about LGBTQ representation in anime and manga. Hope you’ll take a listen.

 

LGBTQ Webcomics

YNN Correspondent Michaelangelo H wants you all to know about Flipside, by Brion Foulke, about a lesbian couple, Maytag and Bernadette. 

Chii on Twitter, posted a little 4-panel strip about the differences between Yuri and Lesbian and BL and Gay. ^_^ The accompanying blog post also discusses the differences in LGBTQ culture and BL and Yuri fandoms. (In Japanese.) 

 

Yuri Games

Michaelangelo also wants you to know that game company Winter Wolves has two Yuri projects in the works.  One of them is a Yuri dating sim called Summer in Trigue.  The other is a Yuri version of an already-released otome game called Nicole

 

Live-Action News

I’d completely forgotten, but March will see an actual Silent Mobius Stage adaptation! All I care about is whether Rally Cheyenne looks suitable. She does. ^_^ If you’re in Tokyo and can see it, do let us know how it goes!

 

Yuri Goods

You need this FiguartsZERO Sailor Moon Crystal figurine of Sailor Uranus. I know you do. Heck, I know *I* do.

 

Resistance News

I start my week now with a call to my spineless and disinterested Representative. How about you? Check out 5Calls.org to help you communicate with all 5 of the offices your Senators or Representatives maintain.

Also, let me be plain about this – resistance is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. Be kind to yourself. Stop reading news when it becomes too much for you. Get as many hugs and cookies as you can. Walk away from non-entertainment media when you have to, do not feel guilty about that.  You’re allowed to take a break and have some fun.

I attended a protest this week calling for a local town to be the Sanctuary city it is (the Mayor is on board, but ICE agents have been harassing people. This has been true since I was in college.) We protested in front of City Hall, then marched down the main street. While this was going on, the city police force were holding traffic for us and being very supportive. It wasn’t a big deal, but it gave me a ray of hope, especially since most of the protesters were PoC. It always makes me happy when the police refuse to participate in displays of white supremacy. In my own town, the police told George W. Bush and the Mayor at the time to pleasure himself when they wanted to deputize the police as ICE agents. ^_^

Celebrate every single victory, no matter how small or ephemeral. If you have any positive news from your corner of the globe, please feel free to share. Good news helps us be not overwhelmed by despair. ^_^

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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