esmenet: A grinning cartoon face with a top hat, monacle, and hanging charm. Text reads "This icon has been stolen. --1412" (this icon has been stolen)
After all these years, I finally finished reading 07-Ghost! ...I don't know how I feel about it, to be honest.
esmenet: a girl wearing a wide-brimmed hat surrounded by pink fish (pretty in pink fish)
I'm re-reading 07 Ghost! Finally got to the interesting part, right now I'm at ch. 48.

DID NOT REMEMBER that Teito met Ouka before Hakuren went to be her tutor! Oh my gosh, she is so cute. I would not have re-read this manga if I hadn't vaguely remembered her, since 07-Ghost has a serious dearth of ladies overall. But Ouka is SO GREAT, I did this re-read just for her!

I can get why everybody ships Mikage/Teito (best friends who get a tragic 'I love you' scene!) and Frau/Teito ('the one and only light in the unending darkness of my existence' is pretty good fuel) but the ship I really want is Hakuren/Ouka/Teito! THEY'RE GONNA FIX THE GOVERNMENT AND SAVE THE WORLD AND STUFF. IT'S PERFECT.

On another note, I really love how happy Teito is that he found someone else from Raggs. Because it's not like Ishval in FMA, where people did get out; Raggs was basically blown up with everyone in it. And I'm really glad the man.gaka didn't just let that drop in favor of Teito's memories and the religion stuff and all the plot whatevers, that they remembered how much something like hearing their native language would affect a person who's been through that.

I really liked the thing with the fyulong mother, too, because I was a little worried Teito and Mikage were going to do that thing, you know the one. "I'll die so you can be safe and happy!" "No, I'm gonna die so you'll be safe and happy!" ---> endless cycle of self-sacrificing angst. But this manga is turning out to actually be pretty good about the message that everybody makes their own decisions. I like that.
esmenet: Pinkie Pie with stars in her eyes (*stars of glee in eyes*)
Is xxxHOLiC Rei just a retcon of everything I hated about the xxxHOLiC ending?

...IT MIGHT BE. Stay tuned!







YUUKO-SAN. ♥
esmenet: Little!Anthy with swords (Default)
I remember someone ([personal profile] terajk?) wanting to know about stories where siblings were the primary members of the family, and their parents present but not doing as much of the emotional/financial lifting. And I remembered reading some things like that, mostly older sister/younger brother pairs in which the brother is a main character and the sister is kind of flighty. One of these pairs is in Yoshinaga Fumi's manga Flower of Life, and their interactions are so much fun! Even though a lot of the focus is on the brother and his classmates, the sister is a great character and you get the feeling that, while they are on good terms with their father, they are definitely the ones with the most solid relationship in their family. The manga also focuses on a lot of characters with different body types and very different personalities, so I highly recommend it. It's three volumes long, and the translation I have is by DMP.

I'm leaving tomorrow morning for Shanghai (well, for Toronto and then Shanghai). It still doesn't seem like something that's really going to happen.


I hate hotel rooms. No kitchen, sometimes no internet, nothing but a bland room for sleeping in. Actually, I hate hotels for the same reason I love universities and cities -- I like things that show their history.
esmenet: Pinkie Pie crossing her eyes and grinning (XD)
So The Middleman is a really, really great show, and I may or may not be giving up on all my present life's ambitions in favor of trying to become Wendy Watson.

Or the Middleman. Either is fine.


Also, I am really enjoying Ao no Exorcist! I especially like cut for spoilers though ch 17 ) and that kind of puts a damper on your casual friendships.

In addition to that, I'm really liking the way this manga treats friendship in general. Rin's classmates are not actually his close friends. He doesn't have any lifelong BFFs, he's only known these people for a few months if that, and while they like each other fine there's no deep soul connections going on here. It feels very natural, even if it sucks that Rin doesn't really have people to rely on at a time like this.

The fight scenes are also nice, by which I mean not incredibly long. I think I am going to continue enjoying this series, even if the mangaka doesn't really seem to understand how breasts work. (Hint: bikinis and bras are not there just to cover your nipples. They are actually used to support your breasts, and prevent uncomfortable bouncing. I know this may sound weird, but trust me here.)
esmenet: Pinkie Pie with an expression of measuring something (measuring face)
So, Bakuman! It is a manga about people drawing/writing manga, and I fell a little bit in love with it a ways back just because of that. Unfortunately, it was also pretty damn sexist ("Boys have dreams that girls will never understand," what the fuck is that) so when I dropped it a hundred or so chapters ago I didn't look back.

But. See, the thing is, one of our main characters has a girlfriend, Azuki Miho. And just like they want to be big-time mangaka, she wants to be a big-time voice actress. She's quiet and polite and sweet and doesn't appear very often, stereotypical shounen love interest kind of thing.

And someone posted a notice in the LJ comm (which isn't very busy, so I'm still following it) of the latest few chapters, with a note that Azuki did something really cool. And so I read them just in case this was true. It was! Like, she made a speech about romance, okay, but it was pretty cool. And she told all her fans that she wanted to hear their true feelings, hateful or not.

So I am conflicted. Do I go back and pick up where I left off, in the hope of more great moments with the female characters? Do I keep checking back occasionally to see if they've done anything more with Azuki? Or do I take this as the one-off it probably was?
esmenet: Aki Natsuko from Re: Cutie Honey, looking stern (*glasses check*)
I think I may have discovered a mangaka who treats not only same-gender relationships with respect but trans* people and their relationships as well! Like, this person did a manga featuring a host club owned & managed by a trans lady, and there is a gorgeous person who may or may not be genderqueer (signs point to hell yes), and all the actual drama was about people's relationships with their parents and friends AND NOTHING WAS CREEPY OR FETISHIZING AT ALL. ♥

It was super great! The second sentence our 'main' character (it's actually a very ensemble piece, but he's the first one we meet) says to the trans lady is "[I wasn't just trying to make you buy this thing I'm selling,] I think it's rude to call people men when they're presenting female."


So, despite the rather nonsensical title, I am recommending Gold Rush 21 and (so far) its author Fujiwara Kiyo with no real caveats.
esmenet: pink-haired art-deco-y girl over art deco background, bright pink/blue/teal/red (art deco girl)
So I just finished reading Oresama Teacher, a manga you would probably enjoy reading if you have not already, and have come away with a deep craving for fic about Shibuya and Natsuo trying to pick up girls together. I mean, it's perfect! Mafuyu's close relationships at the moment are all with dudes, but one of the things I like about her is that she really, really, really loves girls. She thinks girls are pretty! She wants to go out for ice cream with them!

And Shibuya's real problem in life is that he is just so much better at doing boyfriend things than anyone's actual boyfriend. (He is pretty and a flirt and a tease and sweet underneath, which is apparently one of my favorite character types. Also, earrings.) We've already seen them drooling over girls together. People will be lured by the dozens with Natsuo's cool and Shibuya's flirtiness. Clearly, this could be a team for the ages!

I mean, I get shippy vibes off of Mafuyu/basically anyone except Saeki Takaomi (I love the relationship they currently have, okay), but my favorite ship is always going to be Mafuyu/girls. SHE JUST REALLY LIKES GIRLS, OKAY.
esmenet: Anthy, with swords (pink!Anthy w/swords)
"Those are horrendous business practices and the Japanese Tax Office will not stand for it!"

hi everyone, meet Minako, she is amazing.
esmenet: Fuu, Mugen, and Jin, all doing that ridiculous peace-sign-over-eyes pose (*dorky pose*)
And now Mamoru is back in his tuxedo and sunglasses, only this time he is wearing DIFFERENT SUNGLASSES. WITH HIS TUXEDO.

Sorry, man. This habit of yours will never stop being hilarious to me.


Also I love how he is TELEPATHIC. But, apparently, only to warn Usagi when she needs to attack. This is a boyfriend superpower I am okay with!

And his hat fell off. Awww.


Ami is super cute! I love how Usagi isn't envious of her at all, she just thinks Ami is amazing for studying so hard and being so brilliant. And she's just so happy that Ami is a guardian too! In that end-of-chapter panel, she is clearly thinking of fistbumps and post-fight friendly ice-cream dates.


Beryl's generals clearly have no idea what the hell this Ginzuisho they're supposed to be looking for is. And that little pause after Nephrite asks her is totally her going "Oh, yeah, I kinda forgot to tell you. Oops."
esmenet: a rainbow rose (rainbow rose)
"That hurt, you know!"

Yes, Mamoru, because getting crumpled-up paper thrown at your sunglasses is SUPER PAINFUL. *eyeroll*

No, Usagi, it's not the tuxedo at all! It's the tuxedo plus the sunglasses. Even if I should for some reason be wearing sunglasses with my tuxedo, those would not be the ones I would pick!

She's right, though, he does totally look like a pretentious jerk. XD

Also aaaaa I love her little mask-glasses-thing. It's beautiful. That is, like, Magic-Kaito-levels of not!disguise right there. And they can hone in on supernatural trouble! Super cool.

(And oh Mamoru. Lurking behind that corner with his giant top hat.)

I love how Usagi's speech is clearly just her letting her mouth run to stall for time until she can think up a name. USAGI ILU.

Those empty-eyed grinning brainwashed people are actually super adorable.

Tuxedo Mask: I MIGHT HAVE TO DO SOMETHING oh wait no she totally has it handled, I can just look all impressive at her and leave. Okay!


So far: EXCELLENCE.
esmenet: Pinkie Pie with stars in her eyes (*stars of glee in eyes*)
Have just bought first volumes of Sailor Moon and Sailor V manga. EXCUSE ME, TIME FOR AWESOME.


First pages in full colour, aaaaaaa! UPDATES TO FOLLOW.
esmenet: Yankumi with an arrow pointing towards her saying 'Hero', Shin with an arrow saying 'Damsel' (damsel/hero otp)
The most romantic thing you can do for your boyfriend is rebuilding his totally trashed city while he's gone.

The most romantic thing you can do for your girlfriend is helping her reform your country into a democratic paradise.

EVERYBODY WINS.


Eight more volumes to go!
esmenet: Red flowers with long stiff angled petals (red flowers)
You know what I have done with my day? I have spent it reading thirteen volumes of Basara.

Totally worth it.

I love how there is a whole subplot dedicated to getting across the fact that it's not enough for the privileged oppressors to be kind, that it doesn't matter how nice they are if they can't see you as an equal.

I also love the STAR-CROSSED ROMANCE of ridiculous proportions. He's the Red King, dedicated to taking over Japan by force and remaking it anew! She's the Child of Destiny, dedicated to deposing the ruling monarchy and . . . remaking Japan, and also to killing the Red King who had her family slaughtered! Neither of them know who the other is. Together, HIJINKS!

The best thing about them is, however, all the times Sarasa goes "Sorry, Shuri! I have more important things to do right now than hook up with you. Later!" It happens ALL THE TIME, and it is beautiful.

One of my favorite things about this manga, though, is the way all the characters are growing up. A lot of them are teenagers, and a lot of them are either (or both) naive and horrible people, and there is a definite point being made here about . . . argh, there is a specific word here that I'm not remembering. Let's say upbringing, instead, and privilege. The Red King grew up like Zuko, basically, only without any kooky uncles or kindly mothers. Asagi probably grew up manipulating people to survive, or as the only way to gain the power he felt he should have had. And neither of them, or any of Basara's other privileged children, have really been around normal people who will give them hugs or smack them for doing stupid things. And it shows, not just in the way they interact with people but in the way interacting with people changes them. Even the characters I don't like will probably grow up to be okay people. I'm looking forward to seeing them by the end.

. . . At the point where I am reading, Shuri just said "How am I supposed to know if you just smile like an idiot! Say things straight out! I don't . . . notice these kinds of things, because I'm not that bright!" My point, it has been proven. CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT.

There is also a character in the Red Kingdom, Sakaki, who is basically Japan's Reeve Tuesti. He's pretty awesome. And there is a pacifist artist in Suou, who just wants to paint pretty things and have people not fight. And there is Chacha, the badass pirate queen. Ageha, the former slave who really does have connections everywhere. Yuuna, the hard-hitting doctor-in-training. SO MANY GREAT CHARACTERS.

I also like the way Basara treats nudity. People just happen to not wear clothes sometimes, or they lose their undershirt or something, and nobody freaks out over it. They bathe together, hug bare-chested in cold weather while sensibly wrapping their coats around the outside for warmth, change clothes in front of other people, whatever. It's no big deal. I don't think I realized previously how often it is treated like a big deal, not just in manga but in all media. It's usually eroticized or treated as a terrible thing (someone seeing me without clothes on? oh no!) and clothes frequently show up when it would have seemed more natural to not have any. Starving for weeks at a time = a-okay to portray realistically. A girl taking off her shirt to use it for non-clothing purposes = NEVER. But in Basara, people take their clothes off all the time and nobody cares. It makes me happy.

There are other things that make me super happy, but they are big spoilers so I'll stay quiet for now.
esmenet: Fuu smiling with her eyes closed, holding a small cup in both hands. Text reads "hehe" (hehe)
I continue to find Yeong-ha's eyelashes inappropriately hilarious, because he seems to be the only character who actually has any.

*checks* Oh, no, wait. Hikaru has like two really short eyelashes, as shown in a close-up near the end of volume 22. And some of the female characters have small ones. Yeong-ha's eyelashes, mind you, are deemed big enough to be visibly drawn no matter how tiny his face is.
esmenet: Fuu, Mugen, and Jin, all doing that ridiculous peace-sign-over-eyes pose (*dorky pose*)
My library got two new volumes of Hikaru no Go in! It is a nice antidote to The Magicians, being all about people with a deep abiding love for a board game.* But I can't stop bursting into laughter every time I see Ko Yeong-ha's face, because I keep thinking about him being a model or boyband member in his spare time. He has the pretty-boy face—I mean, there are an awful lot of good-looking people in Hikaru no Go, but Ko Yeong-ha is gorgeous. If this were shoujo, he'd be the rival love interest with all the smooth moves and the pretty eyelashes.

He even poses like a model. Brb, laughing even harder.

But even apart from all that, it's lots of fun watching all my favorite characters talking and playing midnight speed-go and going I MUST DEFEAT HIM. Oh, Hikaru no Go, you will always have space in my heart. <3


*Someday I will stop griping about that book, perhaps sometime next week. But it is full of people who have no *~deep feelings~* about anything, which annoys me, especially in the context of all the manga I am reading. It's just not a real story unless someone's being a giant dork about things they love, okay? *disapproving frown*
esmenet: Ty Lee holding Azula's hands in front of a circus tent (tyleezula4ever)
I'm catching up on the Loveless manga, and oh Ritsuka. ♥ He's just all DEALING WITH THINGS and HELPING PEOPLE. His to-do list is probably 1) Help Soubi. 2) Stop Zero dudes from ruining everyone's lives. 3) Take care of [spoiler], somehow or other. 4) FIX. EVERYTHING.

I don't mean that in, like, a hot-blooded shounen way. I just mean . . . he's a very practical kid. I kind of adore practical characters, okay.

And we have one of those little character data sheets! I personally think that Ritsuka's wish for a reflex camera is an excellent one. I don't like sharing my things-to-do-on-days-off with Seimei, though. :[ But oh, Soubi: "I totally do not want to have children." Translators, I do not care if that is an accurate translation, because it is clearly the best one. :D

The extra chapter all about them being huge fans of Gundam 00 was pretty great, too. Always a fun thing, watching characters being fannish with each other.
esmenet: Kanae standing at a window (kanae)
This is my impression of Loveless, written months after having read it. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'm giving the mangaka too much credit, maybe it's been too long since the read and I'm imagining depth that's not there. But to all of you who see this post, who have always thought Loveless was just that pervert manga with the twelve-year-old boy in cat ears, here is the heart of what I think it really is, the most basic statement I can make. I have so much more to say about this manga and its anime, but these are the words that really matter.


Loveless is, really, a Dealing With Characters' Issues story.

And that's why I like it, because these issues are complicated, not to be resolved with a quick "It was all a misunderstanding!" or the complete reversal of someone's personal ideology. There is no fast solution. They are all bound up with love and pain and perceived duty, family and upbringing and the wish for an easy way out, the desire not to make anyone overly concerned.

Wanting things you can't have. Like happiness.

Small cruelties and large ones. Being cruel because it's easy, because it's fun, because you feel you have no other choice. Being cruel to the people you love, because they need it (you're sure they do).

Lying about little things and big things, because it's the only way to get love or trust or left in peace. Not-quite-lying, playing up the good things because you don't want to think too hard about the bad ones.

Anger, because you're finally comfortable enough to let yourself be angry.

Honesty, because they've earned it.
esmenet: bottom view of Azula's, Zuko's, Ty Lee's, and Mai's faces (team fire nation awesome)
Comment with "me me me" and:
- I'll respond by asking you five questions so I can get to know you better.
- Update your journal with the answers to the questions.
- Include this explanation in the post and offer to ask other people questions.

1. Who is your favorite pony in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic? Read more... )

2. Do you have a favorite ATLA episode? spoilers )

3. What place on earth would you most like to visit? Read more... )

4. What kind(s) of music do you like? Read more... )

5. What fictional character would you most like to meet? Read more... )
esmenet: Powerpuff-style Draco Malfoy and Blaise Zabini, with the top text "Blaise Zabini" and the bottom text "is better than yo (blaise zabini is ALWAYS better than you)
I go through these bouts of finding fairly good Star Wars longfic and wanting to keep on reading, maybe even take part in the fandom. And I just can't. The fic I've started reading may be interesting, but Star Wars is such a white boys' story that that one aspect of it overshadows everything. Unless the author is specifically dealing with that, but unlike (say) Harry Potter there don't seem to be a whole lot of Dealing With Canon Issues fics. And also unlike Harry Potter, it doesn't even make a token effort to not be a white boys' world. (Harry Potter: dudes still get to have all the fun and heroics, but women exist and get to actually do plot stuff sometimes. People of colour, there is more than one of them! Star Wars: not so much.)

I've posted about it before, but ugh. Star Wars, why you gotta be like this. Even the other boys-fandoms I complain about are way less sexist. Ai is a brilliant scientist who kicks off the whole plot! Sakura gets to punch giant holes in the ground! Lenalee gets to save everyone! Yuuko has all the fun! Even Bleach, for all its flaws, at least has more than two girls.


Going to go read some shoujo manga and write some Bechdel-test-passing fic now. I need a good healthy dose of POC and women.

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