LGBTQ Representation in Anime and Manga on ANNCast

February 10th, 2017

I’ve been writing and talking about LGBTQ themes anime and manga for almost 20 years now and you know what? I never get tired of it. ^_^

Today’s ANNCast, El Gee Bee, you can hear a fabulous, and much too short, conversation about that very thing.

Thanks very much to Zac Bertschy, Jacob Chapman, Valerie Complex, and Jason Thompson for a fantastic and fascinating conversation. I’ll never watch Pokemon the same, thanks Jacob,  (and honestly, I liked La Blue Girl for what it was, but I was admittedly an adult. I liked the live-action even more because it was hilarious.) I was delighted to be able to mention Claudine, Murcielago (coming out this year in English from Yen Press) and Otouto no Otto, coming out this year from Pantheon Books. (I said it was IDW during the recording. My apologies.)


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I’m so honored to be back on the show and I really enjoyed the heck out of this conversation. I hope you all have as much fun with it as I did. Thanks, everyone!

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

February 9th, 2017


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.


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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Code Name ha Sailor V Perfect Edition Manga, Volume 2 (コードネームはセーラーV 新装版)

February 6th, 2017

It’s well known that Sailor Venus was the first of the Senshi to appear, as I mention in my review of Volume 1. But it becomes extremely plain as one reads the second volume of Code Name ha Sailor V Perfect Edition, (コードネームはセーラーv-新装版) that, as Takeuchi Naoko finally had time to end the series, she intentionally sewed it neatly into the larger narrative of the Moon Kingdom and the rebirth of the Princess and her guardians.

But first Minako’s secret identity is discovered by the police chief who likes Minako, but secretly fangirls on Sailor V, as both Venus and the police continue to fight against the Dark Energy group.

One of the most intriguing chapters contains what I think of as the “mangaka meltdown”, in which the artist draws about how soul-crushing working as a manga artist is. In this chapter, not only does she have Minako grind as a manga artist’s assistant, she gets to reimagine the Senshi as sisters who run a wedding boutique in “Wedding Aurora,” a manga title which I hope was a nod to Wedding Peach. The image of Aurora and her 8 sisters look mightly familiar. ^_^

Also familiar are the cameo appearances of the Inner Senshi, casually passed by, on street or train. Even as Minako’s memories awaken, she’s not yet able to see past the glamour of magic around them, leaving that part of the story for another series entirely. These moments are absolutely the best part of this volume. I’m such a softie for the Senshi. ^_^


Art – 7
Story – 5
Characters – 7
Yuri – 0
Service – 1 on principle

Overall – 7

So, while I would not call this a compelling series, if you’re a Sailor Moon completist, it’s worth taking a look at the shiny new Perfect Edition of Code Name ha Sailor V.

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Yuri Manga: Gakuen Polizi, Volume 2 (English)

February 5th, 2017

Time is a funny thing. I first reviewed Gakuen Polizi, Volume 2 when it came out in Japanese. And, since then, I’ve found myself increasingly dissatisfied with the narrative. So much so, that I reviewed Gakuen Polizi, Volume 1 in English in 2014(!) and have been stalling on Volume 2 since.  Today, at last, I’m sitting down to talk with you about Gakuen Polizi, Volume 2 in English from Seven Seas.

Why? You don’t have to ask, because obviously I am going to tell you. ^_^

You know the phrase Women in Refrigerators? It was coined by comic writer and amazing human, Gail Simone. I’m going to be lazy and quote Wiki here:

It refers to an incident in Green Lantern #54 (1994), written by Ron Marz, in which Kyle Rayner, the title hero, comes home to his apartment to find that his girlfriend, Alexandra DeWitt, had been killed by the villain Major Force and stuffed into a refrigerator. Simone and her colleagues then developed a list of fictional female characters who had been “killed, maimed or depowered”, in particular in ways that treated the female character as merely a device to move a male character’s story arc forward, rather than as a fully developed character in her own right.

In subsequent years, we’ve had many discussions in comics and other popular media about “fridging” and Kelly Sue DeConnick’s “sexy lamp test” about which she said

“If you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.”

In a nutshell, these issues are part of the disenfranchising of female characters. And, to some extent, they are also part of the de-nuancing of the villains. In the weekend after watching Steven Universe “That Will Be All” in which we were gifted with fabulously nuanced and evocative performances from the villains of the story, it’s kind of brute-force narrative to have to turn to a manga in which a female character is almost gang raped on film just to show you how bad the nameless baddies are. UGH.

So, yeah, that’s why. ^_^

There are some other problematic things about the story. The relationship between a student and a teacher might be sincere, but will always be fraught. It was presented with some, but not enough context, just enough to make both characters sympathetic and the story less ham-handed, but the situation was still creepy.

Sometimes, when I write a story, I find it taking off into a dark place. I’ve cut out tens of thousands of words in stories when the idea needed to be treated with a light hand and kept crawling into a dark corner. This story needed that. It worked best when it was dealing with moments of human frailty and not big crime rings. 

The ending makes sense best if you recognize the characters from a doujinshi Morinaga-sensei drew decades ago. To be honest, I assumed from the beginning that that story was the kernel for this manga. 


Art – 7
Story – 7
Characters – 7
Yuri – 6
Service – 8 Way more service than the first volume

Overall – 7

I would not rate this series among Morinaga-sensei’s best. I’m glad it’s in the past and that she’s moved on to Hana to Hina ha Houkago, which will be coming out in English as Hana and Hina Aterschool this spring. 

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Yuri Network News – (百合ネットワークニュース) – February 3, 2017

February 4th, 2017

Yuri Manga

Very exciting news out of Brazil! YNN Correspondent Pâmela P. wants everyone to know that Newpop publisher has announced that Philosophia by Amano Shuninta and Sunset Orange Lips by Rokuroichi will be released in Brazil (link in Portugese).  She says, “I am very happy because its the first time Yuri-centred manga will come to Brazil” and I have to say, I’m thrilled, as well!  How exciting for Portugese-reading Yuri fans!

Mildred Louis’s delightful magical girl warrior webcomic Agents of the Realm has achieved a first print volume!  If you’re not reading it, you definitely should take a look. Manga-influenced, but not a ripoff at all and a full roster of diverse characters.

Kurata Uso’s online Yuri collection Linkage (リンケージ 完全版) is getting the Perfect Volume treatment from Ichijinsha.

Comic Natalie tells us that Shounen Gahosha’s Ours GH has a new series called  KuroYuri Gakuen Oooku Gakka (クロユリ学園大奥学科) that looks like a wacky Yuri harem comedy set at a exclusive school for girls.

Comic Natalie also has news of a collected doujinshi volume for Tsukiko’s Futari no Beya, series, called Onedarishitemite (おねだりしてみて).


Yuri Anime

If you haven’t been watching, YNN Correspondent Michaelangelo H wants to let you know that Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, which is streaming on Crunchyroll, is indeed quite Yuri. The manga is available in English from Seven Seas. And Funimation just announced the dub cast, according to ANN.

Komatsu-san at Crunchyroll highlights the baton passing video from the Mahou Tsukai Precure‘s  Cure Miracle to Kira Kira PreCure ala Mode‘s Cure Whip.


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Yuri Events

The full video from my University of Michigan lecture is up on Youtube. I’m not actually in much of it, as I was walking in front of the room and not at the lectern. ^_^


Yuri Drama CD

Innocent Grey, creator of the Flowers Le Sur Printemps VN, has a new Drama CD, Uru no Shoujo Original Drama CD, “Uru no Shoujo” Ten ni  Musubu Yume-“ (「虚ノ少女」オリジナルドラマCD 「虚ノ少女-天に結ぶ夢-」).


Kickstarter Watch

UNDERCITIES is a short story anthology that focuses on queer narratives in an urban fantasy setting, featuring queer and POC creators.


Other News

The Prism Queer Comics Grant is accepting submissions until March 1, 2017. Get those submissions in!

Teen Vogue has been a leading voice in the Resistance (and you can support them for an unprecedented $5 subscription) and among their voices is the brilliant Lauren Duca. Today I want to share her message to her internet trolls. It’s substantially the same position I have taken for the 15 years I’ve been writing here. Duca’s article is worth reading if you’re a woman with an opinion online or know one. ^_^

YNN Correspondent Jenna M. suggests we all take a look at the Indivisible Guide to  help us resist, as well. I’ve had this downloaded for some time and it’s excellent, if depressing that we need it.

Kara Dennison at Crunchyroll News has the scoop on the new Rose of Versailles Valentine’s Day collaboration at Takashimaya’s Shinjuku store.

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this site before, but Manifesto on Moral Mansex is a NSFW Tumblr on BL manga that makes me laugh (along with Terrible Real Estate Agent Photos and McMansion Hell) and I wanted to share it with you.  We could all use a laugh. Enjoy!

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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