Aoba Ikura “Natsukage ni, Sayonara” review
About time I talk about some actual BL, huh? I read Natsukage ni, Sayonara yesterday after a random download just because the cover was cute to me, and was pleasantly surprised to find it’s actually the debut original release of my favorite free! doujinka: Amakura. Unfortunately, around the time she started going professional she deleted most of her sites so I won’t try to link them here, but here is her original works twitter.
This book definitely reminded me why I loved Amakura’s stories so much back in the days of free! fandom—there’s a bittersweet gentleness she handles her characters with that I really appreciate. This particular story centers on a young man named Fuuga who initially seems to come off as somewhat of a spoiled rich kid; he seems to have plenty of money, is attractive and popular, and goes to a good school. However, after his friends talk about the importance of earning their own money, Fuuga opts for a part-time job over summer break.
Yuri!!! on Ice Adores Cafe
Thank you so much for the comments on the Kurahashi Tomo cafe post! It’s nice to come back, and to see familiar names I haven’t been able to speak with for a long time. Since there was some interest, now we’re moving on the Yuri!!! on Ice Adores cafe.
Kurahashi Tomo “Pink to Mameshiba” Cafe
Good afternoon! It’s been a while! Lately I’ve felt lonesome for the chance to talk about BL, and since I’m done with what I feel is the most difficult part of my schooling (the whole taking classes I’m not interested in, maintaining a 4.0, being admitted into a strong Japanese program, etc. part) I figured it wouldn’t hurt to revive my baby. And what better way to revive it, than post a small report of the Kurahashi Tomo cafe I attended last month?
I’m sure you’ve all seen this coming. Admittedly I’ve been thinking about it for a while now. My life has gotten very hectic, especially recently for a variety of reasons. To keep it short and sweet, I’ve started going back to school in order to ~follow my dreams~ (in translation and publishing) and so my personal time as well as my finances have been cut pitifully short. Take into account my nearly full-time job and my small-but-existent social life, my internet presence has been dwindling and thus my ability to read bl much less post extensively about it just isn’t there anymore.
which isn’t to say I don’t still love bl very very much. I mean, obviously it’s part of the reason I’m working hard in other aspects of my life right now (better Japanese skills, higher paying job, more chances to travel to Japan = ability to read bl INTENSIFIES) and I’m not in any way going “feh fuck bl I’m out!” I can assure you when I’m in Tokyo again come September I’m bringing two big fat suitcases of bl home with me.
but I just don’t have the wherewithal to hold this site up to any of the standards I had when I originally started it. It’s better to close it now so I no longer have any pressure or guilt over abandoning it silently.
though rest assured, I will still be talking about it on my personal social networking accounts. Just not on the large scale this blog afforded. But there are many other bl blogs on the market now, so there will always be plenty of bl to read about. Maybe someday when I have more time I’ll even start a new one myself. But for now I’m paring down my online presence to just one personal blog.
it’s very bittersweet—I have met some of my Most Important People through the fact that I run this blog. I have met friends who I’ll hopefully have all my life. And I’ll cherish that forever. Just more reason so love both reading and writing about my favorite fiction genre. \o/
thank you all so much for following this blog all these years–thank you for the comments, support, and even gifts you’ve sent to me. You have all been amazing and it’s been wonderful being able to chat with you.
Akihira Shiro “Twilight Underground”
So I’m a huge huge fan of Akihira Shiro’s debut release Ame to Kiss and was thus pretty excited to see she had a new story already running in Craft. I bought the two latest volumes specifically because I was really impatient to read every available chapter of Kii Kanna’s Yuki no Shita no Qualia but I’d be lying if I said Akihira Shiro’s illustration on the cover of volume 62 had nothing to do with it.
I admittedly was somewhat nervous about reading it. It’s not that rare that I love an artist’s first work (or at least the first work I read by them) and then have too high of standards for the second release of theirs I consume. But two chapters in I’m already pretty in love with both characters and their overall relationship.
As I’m sure many of you know (as it’s such a popular title even in overseas fandom) Nobara Aiko not only released the first volume of Yokosu Inu, Mekuru Yoru this past month but also partnered with Marble Comics to rerelease her incredibly well-loved title Akiyama-kun! I had no clue, personally, until I happened to see it on Amazon.jp and wasn’t sure if it was a continuation or—in fact—just a rerelease of the original story. Well, it’s a little of both!
I was going through all the recent releases on on Chill Chill in hopes that they might have added a sneak peek of the third volume cover for Ten Count. Alas, I still can’t even find so much as a teaser image (maybe it would be useful if I followed Takarai Rihito or Dear+ on twitter?) but I did come across this upcoming BL anthology that I’m now pretty excited about.
The title is “Haitoku BL”, ‘haitoku’ meaning essentially ‘fall from virtue’ or ‘immorality’. So it’s a book of one-shot stories about overarching lust and debauchery. Amazing. There are eight artists in all, which you can check out here—I don’t personally recognize any of them, which admittedly just adds to the appeal for me. The cover illustration is by Rocky (or at least, I think that’s how you romanize it…) and it’s absolutely stunning in my honest opinion.
The publishing line, Charles Comics, has also released three other themed BL anthologies: Namida (teary) BL, Seifuku (uniform) BL, and more recently Kyousei (coercion/blackmail) BL. these anthologies seem to be a fairly recent line-up, considering the oldest one was released as late as December of last year. They all seem to contain mostly lesser-known artists, but going off the themes there’s a little something for everyone.
It’ll be interesting to see what themes they’ll come up with next!
“Bokura no Negai” by Yamamoto Kotetsuko
okay so I’m way behind every other bl/Yamamoto Kotetsuko fan in reading this, but I finally got around to rereading all of Mankai Darling (…and some other Yamamoto Kotetsuko works in the process) and then moving on to Bokura no Negai. Admittedly I’ve been putting off reading this because it’s tagged as a tragedy, and if there’s a sub-genre of bl I hate it’s ‘tragedy’. But I honestly believe tagging this as ‘tragedy’ is deceptive—which I’ll talk about later on—and I’m glad I gave this one a chance because I’m admittedly really enjoying the slow-build development with both the characters as well as their relationships.
the story revolves around four brothers who only have each other. Ryou, the oldest brother, joined the family through marriage—a hard working boy who has a tendency to shoulder too much by himself. Then there is Kento, the second eldest, who has a bewitchingly pretty face that he uses to hide nearly his entire self. The third son is Hayato, serious and brilliantly smart; he wants nothing more than to be able to help his older brothers support the family and to become someone they can rely on. Finally there is the youngest, Masato, small and innocent and upbeat.
upcoming releases to get excited about.
sitting here bored, so I figured I could do a post about recent or upcoming releases I’m excited to get my mitts on eventually! I literally have 50 books currently in my amazon.jp wishlist, though admittedly some of them are there after going through and trashing my magazines and being reminded of authors that I enjoyed but had somehow forgotten. Still, there are plenty of new and upcoming books I’m excited about as well.
first off, a book by a debut artist I’ve been excited about ever since I started to read her story running in Daria, Haji’s Double Hound. Her art style is really interesting and I love the facial expressions and proportioning of her characters, as well as the relationship between the two mains for this particular book. Unfortunately it’s currently on back-order so I’m gonna have to wait a while before I can read it.
as for Dear+, Miike Romuco released a book by them late in December that I accidentally missed out on even though it looks super cute. (tbh as a free! fan I can’t help but be reminded of Nagisa and Rei’s previous track teammate…) Then this month there’s Ten Count volume three, which I’m stoked about even though that story admittedly went in a direction I definitely wasn’t expecting. Then next month is Ogeretsu Tanaka‘s book through them. If you follow my personal blog you’ll already know how much I loved the story that had her debuting in Dear+. Admittedly a little disappointing, though, is that Masao Sangatsu still hasn’t released anything for her newest series…
for onBlue this month there was a new book released by Nobara Aiko that’s getting a lot of fanfare! Unfortunately, though, it’s also a backorder so there’ll be a bit of a wait before I can personally read it. A lesser-known bl publisher, Fleur Comics, released a book by Nishi Noriko that looks really cute—Focus.
through Chara another book I missed out on in December is this lovely-looking book by Natsukawa Shiori. Then this month they’ll be releasing a book by Minazuki Akira, which is always something to look forward to.
then we have a double-release by Kojima Lalako for Paradise View: one and two. Admittedly I’m a bit nervous for this release, since it seems a bit angstier than most of her stories and admittedly as much as I adore her overall I’ve always been more of a fan of her fluffier, more gentle stories. The double cover is really lovely, though, especially when placed side by side.
Rutile, ever the big-time releaser of some of my favorite stories, has a lot to offer me recently. Firstly, this month they released a new book by Misaki Usio, who I’ve really been loving these last couple years. Then next month they have a release by Uchida Tsuchi, and then something by one of my all-time favorite mangaka Hirakita Yuya as well. And lucky for me Hirakita is also releasing a book through Chocolat.
Rutile’s less-innocent sister line, Lynx, is then releasing a book by Ootsuki Miu! It feels like it’s been forever since there was last a new book by Ootsuki Miu through Lynx, which used to be one of the most active publishers of her work. I’m excited to see what kind of new stories she’ll have through them. And then drap is releasing a book by Shinozaki Mai, who iirc I’ve never read anything by but her cover is just beautiful.
finally, an anthology by Poe Backs Baby Comics, Hentai Play. Because I’ll be buying so many fluffy Rutile books I figured I’d better balance it out with this delightfully perverted-looking anthology that contains many great artists, such as Akahoshi Jake, Pii, Fujimako, as well as many artists I’ve never heard of before while us always a fun discovery experience!
Anyway, how about you guys? Any new or upcoming releases you’re particularly looking forward to?
out with the old, in with the new.
what better way to head into 2015 than with a rambly post about my current feelings toward bl, right? Right. So let’s get into it.
if you’re wondering why I haven’t been posting here are often as I used to, the answer is simple but also a bit complicated. The simple version is: free! + work. The more complicated version is throughout 2014 it was hard for me to really understand how I felt about bl and the role it played in my life. While I know that interests often boom and bust on a regular basis, it felt weird for bl to take somewhat of a backseat after being so adamantly passionate about it for years. Was I satisfied with how much I still liked it? Did I wish I liked it less? Did I wish I liked it more? I wanted to talk about bl, but at the same time talking about bl felt tedious. It’s been a strange spiral.
which is not to say at any point that I grew tired of bl. Or stopped reading it. Or stopped wanting to read it, which was definitively not the case at all lol. Just that I was unsure of where my interest in bl was going to take me—if it was really going to take me anywhere. So I’ve still been plugging along, reading various random new titles, posting quietly on my personal blog but seldom elsewhere—not iamfujoshi nor here.
fast-forward to the end of 2014, I got a laptop for Christmas and thus decided to part with my trusty desktop and completely revamp my room, which I decided would finally include….. recycling…. all of my old bl mags.