Sunday, December 15, 2019

Holiday Review: MONSTER AND THE BEAST

BL continued to expand across all the major publishers this year (as well as a number of digital ones), and I guess it was inevitable that we would find the intersection between BL and the monster-based romances of late.

MONSTER AND THE BEAST (Bakemono to Kedamono), by Renji.  First published in 2017 and first published in North America in 2019.




PLOT:

Deep in the woods, a man once met a monster.  Cavo was a demon with a pure heart, who only longed for a little kindness.  Liam was a middle-aged cad who wasn't particular about who his partners may be, so long as he can enjoy his freedom.  The two become travelling companions, and as Cavo spends more time with Liam he discovers feelings he never thought he could feel for another.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Holiday Review: EVE AND EVE

Meanwhile, Seven Seas's domination of the American yuri market continued mostly unabated.  As they continued to expand their yuri offerings, we got books like this that experiment not only with genre but with degrees of explicitness.

EVE AND EVE ( Eve X Eve), by Nagashiro Rouge.  First published in 2018 and first published in North America in 2019.




PLOT:

This story collection follows women in love through scenarios as fantastical as space, divine curses, and the end of the world, but also through situations as ordinary as infidelity, hang-ups about sex and love, and even determining who's the top and who's the bottom.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Holiday Review: HAPPY SUGAR LIFE

It's good that we've had such interesting manga to counter the steady stream of media that seems to confuse edginess for quality, like this one.

HAPPY SUGAR LIFE (Happi Shuga Raifu), by Tomiyaki Kagisora.  First published in 2015 and first published in North America in 2019.



PLOT:

Satou used to have a reputation for sleeping around, but lately she seems to be settling down.  Her new partner is sweet, innocent...and also a little girl.  Satou would endure anything to stay with little Shio. She would work multiple part-time jobs.  She would endure all sorts of bullying.  She might even go so far as a little murder to maintain what she belives is their happy sugar life.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Holiday Review: BEASTARS

Yet one of the most emotionally complex and interesting manga was a school-based murder mystery about anthropomorphic animals, and that's just wonderful.

BEASTARS, by Paru Itagaki.  First published in 2016 and first published in North America in 2019.




PLOT:

At Cherryton Academy, herbivores and carnivores alike study and live together, albeit segregated.  It's a tenuous arrangement at best, but the murder of Tem the alpaca brings tensions to a head.  At the center of it is Legosi, a tall, awkward wolf and one of the techs in the school drama club.  He tries to minimize tension within the club in his own way, but a chance encounter with Haru the dwarf rabbit girl brings out feelings and appetites he's afraid to explore.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Holiday Review: GO WITH THE CLOUDS, NORTH-BY-NORTHWEST

Emanon wasn't the only series this year to focus on slightly mystical journeys.  Vertical brought us another one from the creator of one of my guilty pleasures, Ran and the Grey World.

GO WITH THE CLOUDS, NORTH-BY-NORTHWEST (Hokuhokusei ne Kumo to Ike), by Aki Irie.  First published in 2016 and first published in North America in 2019.




PLOT:

Kei Miyama is a seventeen-year-old Japanese boy with the magical ability to understand machines with just a touch.  He uses this skill to help solve cases of missing items and lost people in the countryside of Iceland alongside his lusty French grandfather, his latest squeeze, and her ethereal niece Lilja.  Now Kei faces his toughest case yet: to find his missing younger brother Michitaka.