Monday, February 20, 2017

Review: MAN'S BEST FRIEND

Of course, I can't let this month pass without covering some strange example of BL manga, and this year I found a doozy.  Tokyopop's BL imprint was actually fairly sedate compared to some of its competitors, but they still managed to slip some real oddballs out there like this little anthology.

MAN'S BEST FRIEND: INU MO ARUKEBA, by Kazusa Takashima.  First published in 2004 and first published in North America in 2006.



PLOT:

Ukyo happens to find a stray dog on his way home from school one day.  He just presumes that the dog, whom he names Kuro, is just a friendly canine.  He could have never suspected that Kuro was in love with him, nor that when he gets excited that Kuro can turn into a man and start humping more than just his leg.  There's also the story of two childhood friends who reunite as young men who must come to terms with their shared past, as well as the story of a man who wins a goldfish at a festival only to find that it too can turn into a beautiful young man.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Review: CITRUS

As before, Bad Romance Month is not limited to straight romances alone.  That being said, normally yuri was a genre where one could be safe from such things.  As much as I might complain about it being nothing but shy schoolgirls in love, that at least is less stressful and uncomfortable than the excesses of BL and old-school shoujo.

Sadly, it seems that those same excesses are starting to bleed in, and on this side of the Pacific this was the work leading the charge.

CITRUS (Shitorasu), by Saburouta.  First published in 2012 and first published in North America in 2014.



PLOT:

Yuzu Aihara is dealing with a lot of change lately.  Her mother recently remarried, forcing them to move and Yuzu to be transferred to a stuffy all-girls' high school.  Her outspokenness and gyaru style put her at odds with her new classmates, especially the cold and severe student council president Mei.  Then Yuzu discovers that Mei is her new stepsister and that Mei's life is far more tragic than Yuzu realized.  Yuzu wants to help Mei and make her smile, but is she doing so out of sisterly compassion or because she's in love with Mei?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Review: SAIKANO

With the return of February comes the return of Bad Romance Month, where we explore just a few of the many, many, MANY messed-up romances found within the pages of manga.  Today's review is a bit of an exception.  It's not so much of an example of a troubled, abusive romance as it an example of a troubled and tragic one.

SAIKANO: THE LAST LOVE SONG ON THIS LITTLE PLANET (Saishu Heiki Kanojo), by Shin Takahashi.  First published in 2000, and first published in North America in 2004.



PLOT:

In a no-name town on Hokkaido, Shuji and Chise are trying to start a relationship.  It doesn't go very well at first, as Shuji is taciturn and cross while Chise is apologetic and shy.  Then Shuji discovers Chise's secret: she was chosen by the SDF to become The Ultimate Weapon.  Progressively, more and more of her body is transformed into a terrible alien machine, used to fight against an unknown enemy.  As this is happening, Shuji and Chise struggle to find a way to preserve their fledging love against forces far greater than their own.

The Manga Test Drive Patreon is live!



BIG NEWS FOLKS!  I've been debating this for a while now, but after a lot of thought and considering, I finally decided to go forward and create a Patreon to support my work here at The Manga Test Drive along with my other writings.


In case you are unaware, Patreon is a site where you can directly support the creators you love through regular monthly payments.  For as little as $1 a month, you can get convenient access to all of my writings along the potential for even more content if I can meet some of my goals!  I'm really excited about this, so if you've ever enjoyed my reviews and articles please consider donating today.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Review: X/1999

With the start of a disastrous, fatalistic new presidency, I think it's finally time to take a look at the CLAMP work that best sums up the feelings this new era embodies.

At least this version of the apocalypse has a lot more bishies and far fewer fascists than our own.

X/1999 (Ekkusu), by CLAMP.  First published in 1992 and first published in North America in 2003.



PLOT:

The year is 1999, and the apocalypse is nigh.  The fate of Tokyo and the world rests on the shoulders of a mysterious young man named Kamui.  As other, strange folks find themselves drawn to the city, Kamui finds himself among his childhood friends Fuuma and Kotori.  They don't know it yet, but all of their lives are about to change.