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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 11the 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.

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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.

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Akiyama-kun rerelease!

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!

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“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 ‘traged12y’ 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.

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“Hidamari ga Kikoeru” by Fumino Yuki

I posted this on my personal blog and then figured I should probably share it here as well! Hidamari ga Kikoeru is Fumino Yuki’s debut work, released through Canna just over a month ago, and has made somewhat of a splash all things considered. It’s such a lovely story–usually I’m not a fan of angst or sad subplots in my BL but this was a sadness that was not only very real but also very well-handled and had nothing to do with the usual relationship drama.

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the story starts with college student Taichi, who comes from a not-so-well-off household and is desperately searching for work. He (literally) stumbles across fellow student Kouhei while on a job hunt, and is incredibly enticed by the delicious bento Kouhei has in hand. However, something seems a bit off about Kouhei–and when Taichi consults his friends about it, he gets an answer he really wasn’t expecting: Kouhei is severely hearing impaired.

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“Himitsu, Hitohira” by Kawamura Ayano

I got back from Japan about a week ago and while I admittedly wasted most of my money and baggage space on free! doujinshi I did pick up quite a few bl titles and thus figured it wouldn’t kill me to post about them a bit here.

the first one I thought I’d talk about a bit is Himitsu, Hitohira by Kawamura Ayano.

Kawamura Ayano has released one other book, Hatsukoi Prism, also through Gateau comics late last year. (Unfortunately I haven’t had the pleasure of reading her debut work yet.) This book caught my eye very specifically because of the stunning cover art. I’ve always been a sucker for more ‘cute’ facial types, and you definitely can’t deny her coloring is absolutely beautiful. So I vowed I’d pick up the book sometime during my travels.

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Aniya Yuiji “Mic & Neo”

whoaaaa another post and it’s only been like a couple days! I’m on fire! But actually I just read Aniya Yuiji’s Mic & Neo (Miku to Neo, however you wanna romanize it idc) and my01 heart is BROKEN so I thought I would talk about it a bit. Fun fact: Mic & Neo actually came out in late May and I bought it dutifully as soon as it was released, but I couldn’t convince myself to read it until just now. Somehow it just feels like this is going to be Aniya Yuiji’s last real BL release so the idea of reading it was like… idk that feeling you get when you don’t want to finish that long video game or book or show that has been part of your life for a long time. (Also I wasn’t so sure I had the level of Japanese skill necessary to understand the plot since it’s more than your average high school romance, ehe ★)

And I’ve been waiting for this story for a long time—it’s been running in OPERA since 2009 and was in the first issue of OPERA that I ever bought and I’ve been constantly pining since for the damn thing to be compiled and released. Yet I still put off reading it for two months when it arrived. Go figure.

after reading it, I can say one thing for sure: Mic & Neo really02 isn’t a story you can do justice for in a short description. There’s a lot going on for a two-volume book filled with gags and angst and gratuitous makeout scenes. But I’ll try! Essentially the plot is this: A young man tries to hang himself in the woods but unfortunately fails and is found by the not!priest of the nearby temple. And to make matters worse, he completely loses his memory from the ordeal and has nothing to go by except a children’s backpack full of cash, some Gucci loafers, and a keychain nametag with the name ‘Miku’ on it. From that point forward the amnesiac is christened ‘Mic’ and stays with the Maeda brothers Banbi and Neo while he waits for his memories to resurface.

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