ahh I used to do magazine reviews like this all the time but for some reason it’s really hard to talk myself into doing them lately. But there are a few stories I’d like to talk about in the latest Chara so I figured it would be okay to at least do a short magazine review—better than doing nothing at all.
the cover is really lovely this time! Though I didn’t read and thus won’t talk about Deadlock since I’m pretty sure I missed the first chapter. orz;;; Not really any warning for R-18 content this time around since Chara is known for being a pretty vanilla publication.
the postcard is by Yamamoto Kotetsuko! /o/ It’s not very BL-y, somehow… But it still makes up for it with all the cute.
Some pictures from Voice or Noise by Enjin Yamimaru just because they’re pretty. I really have no clue what’s going on in this story anymore tbh.
Anyway, onto the first story I wanted to talk about: Hirakita Yuya’s Honto ni Kawaii! This is actually a continuation of a previous story—Hirakita’s first ever publication in Chara, actually—but it’s not super complex or anything. It has one of my favorite things ever: boys in dresses. The plot revolves around Hodaka, a young man who loves cute and feminine things, and his childhood friend Sei. In the previous chapter Sei found out that Hodaka sometimes goes out in girls’ clothing, and he received a keychain from Hodaka which his sister later told him is actually a romantic gesture—when you put two pieces of the keychain together, it forms a heart. So this chapter starts with Sei being flustered and unsure around Hodaka.
Sei is awkward around Hodaka now because he’s unsure of his own feelings. Is what he feels just good friendship toward Hodaka, or could it be something bigger? But poor Hodaka notices the way Sei is acting around him now and starts to get the feeling that he’s disliked. After they spend the day together Hodaka confronts Sei for his weird off-putting behavior and starts crying, and when Sei tells him to stop he says he’ll only stop crying if Sei kisses him. This causes Sei to pause, and he says he needs time to think about it. It isn’t until they meet again later that Sei admits he doesn’t understand the appeal of cutesy things, but somehow seeing Hodaka’s excited, appreciative face when he looks at them or receives them as gifts is what makes Sei happy. He takes out the keychain Hodaka gave him previously and they connect the two heart pieces, and Hodaka confesses that he’s in love with Sei. And then they kiss! A very, very cute story.
I think what made me really fall for it is that Hodaka, the one who loves all the feminine and sweet things, is actually the character who would best fill the ‘seme’ role. (If only because he’s the one who finds Sei cute and wants to hold him.) Hirakita is one of those rare rare rare BL artists who instead of always doing ‘uke x seme’ or pandering to the whole ‘seme x seme’ trend she tends to write two fairly gender-neutral characters who’re often very loving and sweet and gentle and would probably best fit the ‘uke x uke’ type role. This is something I absolutely adore but almost never get to see so Hirakita Yuya and all of her sweet stories like this always have a special place in my heart.
The second story I want to talk about is Kojima Lalako’s, titled Love Letter no o’Soushiki. This one is really weird but also really interesting—it has a premise that I’ve seen done before, but in a way that’s quite original. Anyway, Yuusuke comes from a family of spiritual mediums. And while he has no interest in the dead (or the living, really, for that matter) sometimes he’ll lend his left hand to them so they can write a final letter or two to their loved ones upon their passing. People think he’s weird for doing this, but there isn’t really anything he can do about it aside from stay out of their business after he delivers the letter. That is, until he delivers a letter to another young man at his school named Aizawa.
The letter to Aizawa is from another high schooler—a cute young woman named Michiru. It’s not really stated what their relationship was, but it’s hinted that they were dating and cared for each other dearly. Initially, Aizawa refuses to believe that Yuusuke wrote a letter from Michiru—to the point where he even gets angry and kind of scary. But Michiru is insistent toward Yuusuke that she needs to communicate with Aizawa. So he meets up with Aizawa again to convince him. This time, Aizawa thinks Yuusuke is Michiru and he embraces him (which greatly flusters Yuusuke, since he’s gay for one and also not really used to human contact) but Yuusuke explains that Michiru isn’t inside him—rather, she’s using him to write out her feelings for Aizawa. As they sit together at Aizawa’s house and try to get to know each other, at one point Yuusuke asks Aizawa his dreams (as in, aspirations for the future) and Aizawa morbidly responds “I want to kill the culprit who murdered Michiru.” Evidently horrified by this, the last panel shows a final letter from Michiru to Yuusuke: “I beg of you, make Suzu open his eyes.”
A pretty interesting, dramatic story so far!! I usually don’t buy Chara but I think I might have to for chapter two. orz;;; I want to see how Yuusuke will go about saving Suzu from considering murder.
Deadlock has gorgeous art as always.
Story three on my list of stuff I wanted to talk about: the third chapter of Junko’s Omamori shimasu, Doko made mo. I have the first chapter but I missed chapter two. orz;;;; But you can pretty much tell from this chapter that, after the first chapter in which we find that Chihiro is evidently some important young master, it seems Akira is now training to become his bodyguard and protector. Though I don’t know the reason or importance behind it aside from that it gives Akira a job to do. Sigh.
But when Chihiro and Akira are invited to go out drinking with a group of people, Akira ends up letting his guard down around the ladies and booze and Chihiro gets drugged and almost molested by a pretty young woman on Akira’s watch. While Akira saves him in time before Chihiro’s chastity is taken, it seems the pill was an aphrodisiac drug and without thinking Chihiro ends up confessing to a shocked and disoriented Akira.
Unfortunately since I’m missing the middle chunk of the story so far I think my understanding of what’s happening in the plot at this point is kind of lacking. orz;;;; But leave it up to Junko to get me hooked on buying Chara again. This story is really kind of addicting with this third chapter, and I really want to know Akira’s reaction to Chihiro confessing his love.
Then there is Kyouyama Atsuki but it’s chapter four so god only knows how many chapters I missed.
Also Akiba Touko which I for some reason wasn’t in the mood to read (somehow I’m not a huge fan of her art??) but here’s a picture anyway!
Finally, the last story I wanted to talk about in detail! This is actually the third part or a story that was originally a oneshot, by Konno Satomi. It’s a semi-supernatural story, about a dream-eating demon—actually, I talked about it on here before because I just really think it’s a sweet, adorable story. And evidently other people thought so too, if she was asked/allowed to continue it. In the second and third chapter Michiru and Taiga have to deal with problems over the fact that one is a human and the other is a supernatural being. Michiru has difficulty accepting whether or not he should be allowed to stay with Taiga and tries too hard to be human, ignoring the fact that he needs to live off human life force for sustenance and making himself sick.
I’m kind of a sucker for stories like this, where a human and non-human fall in love and have to make their romance work somehow. It’s just really cute and a nice change from the regular (though also enjoyable) relationship problems you read about over and over. Also, Konno Satomi’s art is always super super super cute and I adore Michiru and Taiga’s relationship. They are both so fluffy and wonderful—it brings a tear to my eye. ;w;)
As for the magazine ending extras, I didn’t know this book existed until just a week or so ago but now I really want it. There is really nothing more up my alley than BL mangaka talking about their pets—cats in particular. I guess I just don’t get enough of BL artists posting pictures of their cats on twitter.
And for the upcoming books, I wanted to show the listings for both Chara and Chara Selection because they both look pretty awesome.
Looks like Konno Satomi has moved on to Chara Selection! (Yay now she’s in the dirtier magazine!) Which means… I’m really tempted to buy it…. orz It doesn’t help that there’s also Ootsuki Miu and Kitazawa Kyou and Yukimura and Sakura Sakuya.
As for Chara itself:
More Junko and Kojima Lalako! Which means this one will also be almost impossible to resist. /o\
I may as well just give the bl comic industry my bank account number. At least then I’ll never feel like I ever had money in the first place… ;w;)