Friday, July 16, 2021

Review: DAYS

Since this month marks the start of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, we'll be taking a look at a series of sports manga this month (which will almost certainly be safer than anything going on at the actual Olympics).  We'll start with a series about one of the most popular sports in Japan and across the world: soccer.

DAYS, by Tsuyoshi Yasuda.  First published in 2013 and first published in North America in 2017.



PLOT:

Tsukishi Tsukamoto is a shy, hapless kid with more bullies than friends.  Everything turns around when he's accepted into the prestigious Seiseki High School.  Not only will get to go to school with his childhood best friend Sayuri, but that's the day he meets Jin Kazama.  Kazama is everything Tsukishi isn't: handsome, atheletic, eccentric, popular with just about everyone he meets.  Yet right from the start Kazama sees potential in Tsukishi.  He sees a level of determination and endurance that has largely gone untapped, and Kazama encourages his new friend to go out for the soccer team.  Tsukishi is no natural-born athlete, but he's determined to run and practice until he's good enough to play alongside Kazama.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Review: LOVE ROUND!!

 Let's wrap this month up with another one-shot from one of modern BL's most popular creators.

LOVE ROUND!! (Rabu Raundo!!), by Hinako Takanaga.  First published in 2003 and first published in North America in 2009.



PLOT:

Kaoru Komatsuna is very sensitive about his feminine name and his equally feminine looks, particularly when tall, muscular, traditionally handsome guys like Kubo comment on it.  Meanwhile, Kubo is just impressed that such a small guy could send him flying with just a single punch.  He encourages Kaoru to join his boxing gym, where Kaoru might succeed as a flyweight fighter.  Soon enough Kubo finds himself falling for the fiery Kaoru, but can he stop sticking his foot in his mouth long enough to make his feelings known?

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Review: KIREPAPA

 Well, it's time to dig once more into my inordinately large pile of bad BL and fish out another example to take to task, and this one even manages to tie into the fact that I'm posting this on Father's Day.

KIREPAPA, by Ryo Tanagi.  First published in 2003 and first published in North America in 2009.



PLOT:

Chisato is a single father who is beyond overprotective.  He fears that every boy that comes into the life of his innocent, waifish son Riju will try to assault him, so Chisato routinely scares away his son's classmates with harsh words and the occasional laxative-spiked snack.  The only boy he hasn't been able to detour is Shunsuke.  Things only get worse when he discovers that this annoying teen boy also moonlights as a novelist, one that Chisato has admired for years.  Can Chisato come to terms with this revelation and his own changing feelings for Shunsuke?

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Review: THE CONDITIONS OF PARADISE

Of course, we can't talk about queer manga without looking at least one modern-day yuri title, now can I?

THE CONDITIONS OF PARADISE (Rakuen no Jouken), by Akiko Morishima.  First published in 2007 and first published in North America in 2020.




PLOT:

This anthology collects a wide variety of stories about women in love.  There's Sarina, an organized office lady who loves her high-school friend/freelance travel writer Sumi but struggles with communicating her feelings, her desire for greater commitment, and trying to adapt to Sumi's freewheeling ways.  There's also Keiko, a 30 year old art teacher who begins dating Emi, a bright and bubbly 20-year-old whose youth makes Keiko feel insecure.  There's Lalah, whose tiny size and cosplay-centric lifestyle belies how organized she is compared to her statuesque, musically talented girlfriend Shinobu.  There's even the tale of Fubuki, a cherry tree given life so that she might finally be with the princess she adores.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Review: AGE CALLED BLUE

It's Pride Month once more, so once again we're looking at some of the manga queer stories to be found within manga.  Of course, that includes BL, and we'll start with yet another gem from one of my favorites.

AGE CALLED BLUE (Eiji Koorudo Buruu), by est em.  First published in 2008 and first published in North America in 2009.



PLOT:

Nick and Billy have known each other since they were kids, bonding over their mutual love of music.  Eventually they form a band, with Nick on vocals, Billy on lead guitar, and both of them serving as songwriters.  Their friendship eventually turns into love, but it's a love that's increasingly tainted by Nick's selfish and self-destructive behavior.  Eventually, Billy comes to the point where he has to decide what's more important to him: Nick or the band.