From Osaka with Love (and Host Clubs) Part 3

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If you’ve been reading manga long enough, then you’ve almost certainly come across the phenomenon of Japanese host clubs. Just in terms of setting, placing your story in the middle of the host club scene makes sense: lots of hot guys (and/or girls) in close quarters, a hierarchical structure perfect for the formation of rivalries–both professional and romantic–and plenty of new clientele coming in all the time to provide new characters and narrative fodder.

Of course, host clubs in fiction are far from a realistic depiction of reality, and even though I’ve enjoyed reading manga like Heart Strings by Akira Norikazu in the past, I’ve never believed hers and other manga-kas’ implication that these clubs are altruistic places that actually “help” women. Though my skepticism never lessened my fascination with the idea of maybe, one day, going into one–just to see what it would be like. Continue reading

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From Osaka with Love (and Manga): Part 1

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As someone who’s used to living on a giant rock in the middle of nowhere, it usually takes about ten trillion hours for me to fly anywhere other than New Zealand or Antarctica. So when visa extension issues in Taiwan required me to leave the country temporarily this past weekend…well, how could I resist a brief jaunt in Osaka when it’s only two-and-a-bit hours away? Continue reading

[REVIEW] 10 Dance by Inoue Satou

10 dance 110 Dance (テンダンス) Volume 1 by Inoue Satou (井上佐藤) · Not currently licensed in English. Check out 10 Dance’s Baka Manga page for scanlation and publisher information.

From the Blurb

Sugiki, a standard ballroom dancer, offers to teach Suzuki, a Latin American dancer, ballroom in exchange for Suzuki to teach him in return. Their names are similar, but their personalities are totally opposite, just like their dance. When the two meet, something’s bound to happen!

 Commentary

I was immediately drawn to 10 Dance when it started appearing in Tokyo bookstores because of its mature art style and somewhat unusual subject matter. (Admittedly, it was less the idea of ballroom dancing that had me intrigued, and more the potential for a Blades of Glory-style rivalry-turned-unlikely partnership). (Probably without the sibling incest though). Continue reading

[REVIEW] Secretary’s Job? by Miki Araya

secretary's job coverSecretary’s Job? (秘書のお仕事?) by Miki Araya (新也美樹) · Licensed in English by Juné

From the Blurb

Adorable and super-talented Takase is the star secretary of his company! His reputation’s been built on his amazing ability to make anyone he works with a success…but what will happen when he’s assigned to the lazy son of the big boss? Can a prodigy improve the reputation of a handsome slacker?

Secretary’s Job works overtime to prove that good-looks and charisma go a long way in the workplace! It’s lots of fun to tackle meetings with the company’s best employee, but will a professional relationship cross the line once sweet, surprising feelings come to light? Continue reading

[REVIEW] Honto Yajuu Volume 5 by Yamamoto Kotetsuko

honto yajuu 5 coverMy first introduction to the wonderful and prolific BL manga-ka Yamamoto Kotetsuko was through her series Honto Yajuu (‘Like the Beast’), detailing the romantic adventures of Aki (the young scion of a yakuza family) and Tomoharu, a good-natured neighbourhood cop. Volume 6 has started appearing in bookshops in recent weeks, but until I get around to picking it up, here are some brief thoughts on Volume 5. Continue reading

[REVIEW] Shisei Gokumon by Kuku Hayate

I quite enjoyed the only other manga I’d read by relative newcomer Kuku Hayate (琥狗ハヤテ), 2010’s Joujin, so even though I’m not a big fan of oneshot tankoubon, I picked up Shisei Gokumon (死生獄門) on my recent trip to Taiwan.

It’s a compilation of her work over a span of several years, though the manga-ka’s interest in mythological/fantasy elements is apparent in three of the stories. Also, the Chinese language edition I bought came with a promotional card with the volume’s cover art on it — a gimmick, but a shiny one. Continue reading

[“Review”] Corsair by Minami Fuuko and Misono Erii

I have a bulletproof kink for pirate stories, so a few years ago I picked up the three volumes comprising Corsair. But rather than go into the failings and perverse pleasures of Minami Fuuko and Misono Erii’s BL manga, this time I’ve decided to let the protagonist’s incredible variety of facial expressions do the typing for me. Continue reading

Tokyo BL Diary: Month 6 (Taiwan Edition)

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This month I was lucky enough to have the time and money to re-visit one of my favourite places in Asia, Taiwan. (The fact that the manga there is plentiful and cheap is purely coincidental, you understand). In between eating myself towards walrus-like routundness and brushing up on my Mandarin, I also haunted my usual BL stores in order to update my guide to local shops that stock yaoi. And, to the surprise of no one, pick up some new volumes along the way.  Continue reading