torachan: takatsuki & nitorin from hourou musuko (trans kids)
Usually I save my reading posts for the end of the day on Wednesday, but this week I not only have read a lot, but I've actually read stuff I want to talk about, so I'm posting right after midnight! XD

What are you currently reading?
Right now I'm reading vol. 7 of Crimson Hero. I read the first six volumes of this early last year, I think, and then just set it aside for a while because I got distracted by other stuff. But I'm trying to get through the backlog of manga I already have loaded onto my phone and there were several more volumes of this on there, so!

Anyway, I'm still enjoying it! It's a shoujo manga about a girls' volleyball team. The frustrating thing is that I could only find scans up through vol. 16 and there are 20 total. It's not available as an ebook and at this point is not available at the bookstore near me, either (they have really limited space, so pretty much only carry currently running series). It's possible that if I went down to Book Off they'd have the last four volumes, but idk. So I may have to order them from Japan to finish the series. >_< (Or maybe I'll just read the last four volumes in English, as it appears to have been fully scanlated. I hate when scanlators don't release their raws.)

What did you recently finish reading?
I have managed to read one volume of manga a day so far this year! Obviously this isn't something I can keep up the whole year unless I don't plan to read anything but manga (and there are books and fic I'd like to read!), but I really would like to try and read more manga than I have lately, so this is a good start!

The first two things I read were Aoi Futari and Ashita wa Dotchi Da, a couple of one-shot collections by Shiina Karuho, author of Kimi ni Todoke. Honestly, both were mostly forgettable. Cute enough stories that I didn't feel like I was wasting my time, but nothing on the level of Kimi ni Todoke. And one story was so obnoxious that it completely colored my view of the whole volume of Aoi Futari.

I expected better of Shiina Karuho because Kimi ni Todoke is so awesome (and I have enjoyed the other stuff of hers I've read), but this one-shot was terrible! I knew going in it was going to be meh because the main guy is a huge jerk and yet of course you know she's going to get with him. But it ends with her realising that while she had twice said she hated him (once as a kid and once in high school), he'd never said he hated her, and so she thinks like "how can I even begin to apologise?" But the reason she'd said she hated him was because he was a jerk to her! From the very first time they met, he was awful, and he was consistently awful in every interaction she's had with him over her lifetime. But in the end she is the bad one because she reacted to that by saying she hated him. UGH. I really expected better. The other two stories in this collection were cute (though not great), but this was the final one so it just ended on an awful note and colored my whole view of the collection.

So I would anti-rec that volume, even if you were wanting to read all of Shiina Karuho's old stuff! Or just read the first two stories in it and skip the last one. (Though it looks like only the title story has been scanlated anyway.)

Next I read volume 5 of Centaur no Nayami, which continues to be a delight. I just would never have guessed that something which looks like nothing but pure fanservice fluff would have such solid and detailed world-building. But it's clear the author has a worldbuilding kink as well as a kink for cute girls with various animal parts. XD I especially liked the random historical flashback chapter about Napoleon freeing the centaur slaves.

I also read the third and final volume of Mizusawa Megumi's Tera Girl. It was a cute series and I'm sorry to see it end for that reason, but I'm satisfied with the ending and it felt like it ended in a good place.

And last, but not least, I finally read the last two volumes of Hourou Musuko (though I had actually read about half of volume 14 in magazine scans). I had downloaded them quite some time ago but put off reading them because I was spoiled for the ending and so it was something I really had to work up to reading.

In the end, though, I'm not sorry I read it and I don't think it's a bad story. I just wish that I had not discovered it until it was already over and so I would have known certain things going into it. So many years of following along as it came out made me really invested, as well as, obviously, the fact that as a story about gender identity, it's very personal to me.

General feelings about the series as a whole as well as the ending )

So, yeah. I have a lot of feelings, but in the end I'm glad I read it and I do think it's a good story. And now I want ALL the fic about Nitorin and Anna being cute girlfriends.

What do you think you'll read next?
Probably at least a few volumes of Crimson Hero, but then who knows? There is a lot of stuff on my phone to choose from.
torachan: (Default)
Title: Dou ni ka Naru Hibi
Author: Shimura Takako
Number of Volumes: 2
My Rating: 4/5

Summary: A collection of (mostly unconnected) short stories.

Review: If you like Aoi Hana or Hourou Musuko, you'll probably like these short stories. They are generally slice-of-life stuff, with that same slow pace, focusing on small moments, that is the hallmark of her longer works. Many are relationship-focused (though not necessarily romance), and feature m/f, m/m, and f/f couples. My favorite was the story about a woman who gets a wedding invitation from a girl she dated in high school, and meets another wedding guest, who dated the bride in college. Neither of them are completely over the bride when they meet each other, but their drunken, bitter one-night stand after the wedding ends up turning into something more. It's always nice to find yuri stories that aren't the typical high-school girl stuff, and I like this even more because it actually starts in a way to make you think it's exactly that sort of story.

Dou ni ka Naru Hibi has been completely scanlated by Kotonoha (though it's not one of the ones I translated, so idk about quality).

Title: Kawaii Akuma
Author: Shimura Takako
Number of Volumes: 1
My Rating: 3.5/5

Summary: Another collection of short stories.

Review: One multi-part story dominates this book, followed by several one-shots. I honestly wasn't that thrilled with the title story. It was okay, but eh. I enjoyed some of the shorts more, though none were too memorable. I actually had to download the volume again (I read it a week or so ago) to refresh my memory as to what was in it. My favorite was the one where a girl is obsessed with a certain manga and when a new boy moves in next door, she tries to make it fit the manga (which also starts with a new boy moving in next door). Of course reality doesn't happen like a manga, but she does find out that the boy is also a huge fan of the same series.

I've scanlated one of the one-shots, Unworthy Son (Fushou no Musuko), but no one else seems to have scanlated the rest.

Title: Route 225
Author: Shimura Takako & Fujino Chiya
Number of Volumes: 1
My Rating: 4/5

Summary: A teenage girl and her brother take a wrong turn one night and find themselves in a parallel world where everything is just a little bit different. And their parents are missing. Using her brother's phone card, they're occasionally able to call home to their mom in their own world, but will they ever be able to find their way back?

Review: This is based on a novel, so Shimura Takako just drew the manga, didn't write the plot. That said, it does feel somewhat like something she'd write, sort of dreamy and slow (and while her longer works are all realistic, after reading a bunch of her short stories, it's clear she likes supernatural stuff, too). Anyway, I enjoyed this quite a bit, especially the ending (which from reading reviews of the comic and the novel on Amazon Japan wasn't a big hit with some readers).

This one has been fully scanlated, too, though again, I didn't take a look at it myself, so no idea whether or not it's actually readable.
torachan: (Default)
I just finally watched the last three episodes of the anime tonight. It was cute and I enjoyed it and I'm glad it seems to have introduced some more people to the awesomeness that is Hourou Musuko, but it's definitely not a patch on the manga.

Speaking of which...ejkwahewuhruwqgehjwghrjwebfhwhrgew!!!!!!!!!

I have not been checking my manga source as often as I used to lately, since I've been so much busier. So the last time I checked, I noticed that there was a new chapter. And also it looked like there were several new chapters that I hadn't yet downloaded. But I wasn't sure if I had actually downloaded them and just not left points for them (on this board you can leave points for people who upload stuff, and I always try to), or if I really had missed three chapters being posted, so I downloaded them all just to make sure, and as it turned out, I hadn't read any of them! Whee!

So that was a nice surprise, but omg the story has gotten so good lately! I was kind of getting bored with the seemingly endless drama storylines (literally drama, as in, putting on a play, not drama as in dramatic) of junior high, but now they have graduated! And spoilery )

The next chapter won't be out until next month, though. ;_;
torachan: (Default)
1. omg I made such delicious curry tonight. We had a couple potatoes, some carrots, and an onion, so I wanted to make curry, but we had no meat except ground beef. For myself I would have no problem just making vegetable curry, but Carla likes meat with hers, so I thought, hey, I could make meatloaf curry. I've seen it at restaurants, but never had it myself because I always go for the katsu curry or just plain (or the delicious, delicious beef curry they used to have down at Mitsuwa in Little Tokyo, made with thin-sliced beef).

We didn't have any packets of meatloaf seasoning, so I googled for ideas for what to season it with and the first thing that came up was powdered onion soup, which we have several boxes of in the cupboard as it was on sale one time and we were going to make dip or something I guess. So I used one of those, and some seasoned bread crumbs that were in the cupboard and divided the mixture into little patties and they turned out really, really good! I will definitely keep this in mind when making curry in the future.

2. I had ice cream twice today. :) First was mint chip, one of my favoritest flavors, and second was Thrifty's Lemonheads flavor, which I just could not resist buying when I saw it. It's not as intense as I was expecting, but is really, really good, with bits of Lemonheads in it (in almost powdered form).

3. I saw several people post this otter swim lessons video and just couldn't be bothered to click, but then I finally did and omg it's so cute! The mommy otter is giving her babies swim lessons! *_*

4. I finally read chapter 85 of Hourou Musuko and spoilers )

Daily Happysong:

Chemistry - Aikagi
I was listening to their first album last night and remembered how much I love it.
torachan: (Default)
Title: Love Buzz
Author: Shimura Takako
My Rating: 4/5

Pro wrestler Fuji Kaoru disappeared one day during a match. Now five years later she shows up again at her old gym unnanounced, with her five-year-old daughter in tow. But not everyone is ready to welcome her back with open arms, especially her former best friend Yuri, whose anger and hurt at Kaoru's betrayal are far deeper than Kaoru ever imagined.

Although this three-volume series is about women's pro wrestling, it's the same sort of slice-of-life story Shimura does so well with Aoi Hana and Hourou Musuko. The focus is definitely on character interactions rather than action scenes (though it does have quite a few of those, too). And while it's not yuri, there is a very slashy vibe between Yuri (ha) and Kaoru. Anyway! Very cute story. I really enjoyed it.

If I thought I had any chance of getting matched on it, I would totally nominate it for Yuletide. Hell, if I thought anyone would read it, I would totally write one-sided Yuri/Kaoru or maybe some requited post-series fic outside of Yuletide... (Maybe once I translate it, 'cause this is totally going on my scanlation queue.)
torachan: takatsuki & nitorin from hourou musuko (trans kids)
I was just thinking about the most recent chapter of Hourou Musuko and how asquee I was that slightly spoilery )

And then a few minutes ago I saw a link to this on my flist. Hourou Musuko has been officially licensed! The summary on the site is very hinky and makes me all frowny face, but I am really hoping that's just the article writer's summary and not reflective of the actual English version, which I really, really hope is done well. I love this series to death and I want people who can't read Japanese to be able to read it.

The first group that was scanlating it did okay. It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad either. Just your typical clunky but overall fairly accurate translation. But then they dropped it and the person/people who are doing it now just have no business doing scanlations at all. The writing is painful and every single chapter has more than one instance where things are not just clunky or slightly off, but downright wrong. It's clear they don't know Japanese at all and are just guessing with a dictionary and often getting the exact opposite meaning of what was actually said. And that makes me really sad. So I hope it gets a good translation, both in terms of accuracy and in terms of not being offensive.
torachan: (Default)
Title: Boku wa, Onna no Ko
Author: Shimura Takako
My Rating: 3/5

This is a collection of some early shorts by the author of Hourou Musuko. It's pretty hit or miss, really.

The title story is what drew me in, but it wasn't as good as I'd hoped. It's about what happens when everyone in the entire world is switched from male to female and female to male. There were a few interesting bits. I really loved the brief appearance of a trans woman who became a man and was saying she ought to have stayed a man before, then she'd be a woman now. There was also one former-girl now-boy in the main character's class who said he'd always wished he was a boy, so he was happy now. So you can definitely see the seeds of Hourou Musuko in this, but overall it wasn't that great.

The stories I really liked were Sweet 16, about a high school girl with a crush on her (female) tutor, and Flowers, which is a short story about Yuki, the trans woman from Hourou Musuko.

Sweet 16 has been scanlated and can be found here, but none of the other stories have.

lgtbq_recs

Jun. 13th, 2009 04:04 am
torachan: (Default)
Today was the last day of my first week of reccing for [livejournal.com profile] lgbtq_recs so I thought I'd post a round-up over here. I have recced all of these on my journal at some point or other, so to long-time readers they may not be anything new.

Graphic Novel: Skim by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki
Author: Ali Smith
Manga: Hourou Musuko by Shimura Takako
Movie: Imagine Me & You
Book: Luna by Julie Anne Peters
Music: The Cliks
Book: City of Night by John Rechy

I'll be doing a second week at the end of the month. :)
torachan: (Default)
Oh hey, I got hooked on another ongoing series. Wasn't I going to STOP DOING THAT? But when you read this review, I'm sure you'll see why I couldn't resist it. Guys. It's a manga about trans kids!!!

Hourou Musuko (Wandering Son) is in many ways a very typical slice of life manga. Except the main characters are Nitori Shuuichi (aka Nitorin), who is mtf and Takatsuki Yoshino, who is ftm. There is also Ariga Makoto (Mako), another mtf kid in their year at school, and Yuki, a trans woman they meet and become friends with. The story starts when the kids are in 5th grade and they are currently in 8th.

I love this story so, so much. Unlike with IS, I really have no reservations about this and love it wholeheartedly. (I mean, I could wish for it to be more queer, yes, but I'm not afraid the eventual ending might disappoint me, the way I am with IS.) I have never read another manga like this. Japanese media often features okamas (a term that can be applied to trans women, drag queens, or just (usually effeminate) gay men), but they're usually comic relief or bad guys. Even when they are sympathetic, they're likely to be very minor characters, and like in western media, it's much, much harder to find representations of trans guys.

As I said, this is your basic slice of life manga, just following the characters as they grow up. While the main characters are trans, it's not really an issue manga. It's about growing up. And some of the people growing up happen to be trans. I really love the art, too.

I pretty much devoured this over the past couple days, and I just argh! I don't want it to end! I want to read more! Why does it have such a slow release schedule!? (Seems like so much seinen is on super slow release... Why!?) There are just so many little things that ring true. I think one of my favorite bits has been Chii-chan, a new girl they meet in 7th grade, who occasionally comes to school in a boys' uniform, or wearing a tie with her girls' uniform instead of the ribbon she's supposed to. She's not trans or genderqueer, just likes doing what she wants to do, and I love how Takatsuki envies her, because for Takatsuki it's not that easy because it actually means something to wear boys' clothes.

This been completely scanlated, to the most recent chapter available in Japan (download here or read online here). If you read Japanese, you can order from Amazon Japan or download the first eight volumes here. There are currently 8+ volumes, with vol. 9 scheduled to come out this autumn (sadly, this one is released only one volume per year). Unfortunately I've so far not been able to find Japanese scans of the chapters that will eventually be volume 9, only scanlations. Really bad, since vol. 8 ended on a cliffhanger...

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