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 Crepes) Part 2

More highlights from my recent trip to Osaka! If you missed it, Part 1 is here ^__^

The good news: you don’t have to be embarrassed about buying secondhand p*rn anymore!

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That’s right, thanks to this privacy curtain in Dotonburi’s Book Off, you can now browse the titty mags to your heart’s content without having to deal with the side-eye of all the store’s patrons (who are happy to buy their sexually explicit material from practically every other shelf in the store). Continue reading

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] 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

[RECAP] Viewfinder: Pray in the Abyss Chapter 9

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(I said I’d get this done in under a week, but that’s before I knew it was 26 pages…lucky for me it’s Golden Week fufufu).

So here’s my recap of Pray in the Abyss Chapter 9, and if you’re able, please support Yamane Ayano-sensei and the Finder series by purchasing a copy of the original chapter and Volume 7 when it’s released this August :)

The Short Version 

Akihito discovers exactly what depths he’ll “sink” to in pursuit of a story.

The Longer Version 

Beginning where the previous chapter left off, Akihito declares that if Asami needs it, he’s willing to go find out who leaked the information to the press about Sudou’s underhanded dealings. We know Akihito means it because he’s got his hand pressed against his chest, Oath of Allegiance-style.

But Dear Leader Asami isn’t very enthusiastic about Akihito’s proposal.

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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