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Claymore readers might be interested in this post on women warriors and the male gaze. Spoilers through v. 15. I kind of noodled in the comments, but my brain is too dead to come up with anything coherent.
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Joy Kim recently posted on female friendships in shoujo, and I found myself doing a lot of "It's not shoujo, but..." Ergo, another list!

What are good manga series that respect and celebrate female friendships? And because it's so rare to find in manga, good manga series that respect and celebrate female romances as well?

Since Joy's list has the shoujo series, anything but shoujo here!

Here are some of mine:

Azumanga Daioh, by Azuma Kiyohiko - Not only is there a LOT of female friendship in this, there are only two or three male characters I can think of. And out of those, only one is human!

Claymore, by Yagi Norihiro - Like AzuDai, the ratio of female to male characters is heavily weighted toward the women. I love that the series takes all my favorite shounen tropes—being willing to literally give your comrades your arm, "I will get stronger to protect my precious people!," "I must defeat you one-on-one to prove my strength!," and camaraderie in the face of near-impossible odds—and gives almost all the major roles to the women, leaving the few men to be damsels in distress, comic sidekicks, or villains. There is so much depth to all the relationships among women in this series.

Emma, by Mori Kaoru - Although the driving plot is het romance, I love the many secondary female characters, from Mrs. Stowner to Aurelia and Mrs. Meredith's friendship to Emma's friendship with the maids to Eleanor and her sisters to Eleanor and Grace to Grace and Vivian. I particularly appreciate the many age ranges of the female characters.

Gunslinger Girls, by Aida Yu - Possibly controversial, as Aida also did the character designs for a hentai game that I think eroticizes underaged girls. But I very much love the bonding among all the little cyborg girl assassins and how they are each others' only family, makeshift though it may be.

Yotsuba&!, by Azuma Kiyohiko - There's the Ayase sisters and Mom, Ena's friend Miura, and Asagi's friend Torako. And, of course, Yotsuba! I like very much that the friendships are between sisters, mother and daughters, and across quite a few ages as well.

Sadly, I have read next to no yuri. Erica Sakurazawa is a bit hit-or-miss for me, and the Utena manga is nowhere near as awesome as the anime. There was a super-cute (and very NSFW) all-color yuri romance that I think [livejournal.com profile] octopedingenue recced to me, and I know I've seen several mentions of Kashimashi Girl Meets Girl and Maria-sama ga Miteru on my reading list. And, of course, Rose of Versailles, which I also haven't read.

Although I think both Naruto and Bleach have some great female friendships, what I've read of the series constantly underprivileges the female relationships for het romances or for the male friendships and rivalries, which is why I'm leaving them off this list. And though I love Urasawa, he tends to do the "single girl/woman." His female characters are frequently awesome, but they're also almost always the lone woman in a world of men.
oyceter: man*ga [mahng' guh] n. Japanese comics. synonym: CRACK (manga is crack)
This was a spontaneous panel attended by [livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink (Mely), [livejournal.com profile] akycha, [livejournal.com profile] heavenscalyx (HC), [livejournal.com profile] mystickeeper (MK), [livejournal.com profile] takumashii (T), [livejournal.com profile] fourthage (Nienna), and Alaya Dawn Johnson (ADJ). Names I'll be referring to them by in parentheses.

I don't remember the description that I wrote up for the panel suggestions, but here's the one I posted to the Wiscon community:

Most bodies in shoujo manga are thin and wispy, with an emphasis on androgyny. Many of the men tend to lack muscle definition (think Yuu Watase), while the women are much less curvy than their shounen manga counterparts. What does this mean to us? What other body types are there in shoujo manga? We will hopefully talk about gender-bending, cross-dressing, body image, and the fashion industry. Suggested series to discuss: After School Nightmare, Paradise Kiss, Walkin' Butterfly, Angel Sanctuary, Fruits Basket, W Juliet, Rose of Versailles, and Princess Knight.


I also took no notes, so all this is based purely off of my very faulty memory. Also, I am writing it up grouped by topic, as opposed to following the flow of the conversation, as a) I don't remember the flow and b) I think it will make for an easier-to-read post.

I freaked out a little at having to lead the discussion, but after an awkward beginning for me, people seemed to jump in on their own fairly quickly. Yay participation! I will blame my completely not remembering how the discussion started on nerves. I mentioned that we were mostly going to focus on shoujo manga and manhwa, with some possible delving into shounen manga representations of female bodies, but more as a comparison than an exploration of shounen manga.

Gender-bending and cross-dressing )

Constructs of femininity and masculinity )

Biology and constructions of gender )

Devaluing the female POV )

Historical gender constructs )

More that I am too lazy to categorize )

Thoughts

Overall, this was one of my favorite panels from Wiscon, probably because a) I suggested it, b) the spontaneous programming meant mostly people who knew about shoujo manga came, and c) I felt I finally got to go as in depth as I wanted to in a panel. The last bit is largely influenced by the second bit; thought not everyone was familiar with every series discussed, it seemed like most people had read a fair amount of shoujo manga and manga overall, and that most people were fairly familiar with Japan, so there was very little 101 to do. I loved being able to talk about so many works and to connect them all, and am only sad that we couldn't keep going for the entire night.
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Because I desperately want to babble about shoujo manga to people:

Shoujo Bodies

Most bodies in shoujo manga are thin and wispy, with an emphasis on androgyny. Many of the men tend to lack muscle definition (think Yuu Watase), while the women are much less curvy than their shounen manga counterparts. What does this mean to us? What other body types are there in shoujo manga? We will hopefully talk about gender-bending, cross-dressing, body image, and the fashion industry. Suggested series to discuss: After School Nightmare, Paradise Kiss, Walkin' Butterfly, Angel Sanctuary, Fruits Basket, W Juliet, Rose of Versailles, and Princess Knight.

Time and place should be decided on Thursday at Wiscon; keep an eye out on the spontaneous programming board.
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This week, I went with [livejournal.com profile] cychi and A. to see the Tezuka Osamu exhibit at the Asian Art Museum in SF.

As we got off the BART, little did we know (well, ok, A. knew) that this was the weekend for the LGBT pride parade, which meant... STREET FAIR!

It was huge! I didn't get to see most of it, as we didn't have that much time, but we all managed to find the fooding booths. We started off with funnel cake, deep fried and squiggly and covered with powdered sugar, absolutely delicious. It was the first time A. had had funnel cake ("Deep-fried dough with powdered sugar!" I said. "How can it be bad?"). Then we decided that we should probably eat lunch first before eating even more.

A. took us to a Vietnamese place in Little Saigon, in which I introduced A. and C. to the joys of roast squab, particularly roast squab with a crispy, glazed skin, oozing with juice and fat, laid on a small pile of carmelized onions and raisins. ("Better than duck!" said C. "I now think of pigeons in an entirely new light!" said A. "Squab!" yelled C. upon exiting and walking through a giant swarm of pigeons on the street.) We also had a tart and refreshing green papaya salad with little bits of beef jerky, along with stir-fried meat, bean sprouts, and other stuff wrapped in a thin, pancake-like substance, which was then wrapped with a lettuce leaf and eaten a little like a taco. Everything was extremely good, except possibly the pigeon claw, which A. discovered upon tasting was more decorative than actually edible, unlike chicken claws at dim sum.

We then went to get dessert at the fair, because they had.... DEEP-FRIED TWINKIES!

"OMG! Awesome! We must get some!" I exclaimed during our first pass through.

"Uhhh. Deep-fried what?" said A.

"I had some once. They were pretty good!" said C.

"OMG! Awesome! We must get some!" I said. "OMG! Beignets!"

"What's that?" asked C.

"More deep-fried dough! Awesome!" I explained.

"Look! Deep-fried artichoke hearts!" said A.

"Yay street food!" said C.

Deep-fried twinkies )

Tezuka Osamu exhibit )

Yoshitoshi woodblock print exhibit )

Book loot! )

More food! )
oyceter: Stack of books with text "mmm... books!" (mmm books)
Out of McCloud's three books on comics (the other two being Understanding Comics and Making Comics), this is the weakest. This is largely because this is McCloud's book on the future of comics, and it was published in 2000.

The book consists of two distinct halves, the first concentrating on the future of comics themselves -- the industry, the readers, expansion, etc., and the second concentrating on how the digital revolution will affect comics. I think the first still has a lot of relevant information in it, despite the fact that it's now seven years later. McCloud clearly has a lot of experience in comics and in the industry, and his manifesto of sorts still resonates with me (despite my, uh, knowing not much at all about the comics industry). While some of it is now obsolete or somewhat funny, given the current manga trend, it's nowhere near as obsolete as the second half on computers and comics.

Alas, the second part just had me alternately giggling or scanning over pages. It is not really his fault that he wrote it just before the first big internet boom crash, or that things in that industry change so fast that books from last year are already out of date. But there you go. Also, it reads like every other book about the internet and "ZOMG THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION!" written. I mean, I would be interested to see McCloud's look back on things that have changed -- PayPal and the popularity of many webcomics and blogs and the entire "long tail" theory are versions of what he predicted, but I'd love more concrete details on how they have changed the comic industry. But no more predictions, because they just make me laugh.

The first part, though, would have benefitted from even more detail; I think the book as a whole would have been better if it had all been the first part. McCloud details 12 areas in which comics could improve in, some of them being gender representation, minority representation, more genres, focus on the writing, focus on the art, industry revolution, and etc. Sadly, there are only a few pages dedicated to each of these twelve areas. And while I know he only wanted to give a jumping-off point for people, there could be whole books written about each of them.

Also, (you all knew this was coming up) while I was glad that he did at least notice the disparity in gender and POC representation in the content of comics and the comic industry, the whole thing gets about four pages. Argh. I mean, he thankfully knows enough to acknowledge that it's not as easy as saying, "Well, it's just because we don't see enough comics with women/POC" and he acknowledges sexism and racism as institutions. But I don't think he goes far enough to point out that increasing representation takes a lot of work and focus; it's not something that just happens. Granted, it is the same for broadening genre representation, but since I personally find that combating sexism and racism in comics is about, oh, say, eleventy billion times more important to me than genre representation (I can get that elsewhere), I am just going to harp on that point.

Also also, I laughed and laughed because we did get a lot of the advances he was asking for, only with manga. Alas, the American comics industry has yet to get a clue, from my POV. This is, by the way, not to say that manga solves everything, because manga also needs to improve in the same twelve areas that McCloud pointed out for comics. It's just that I feel like the manga industry keeps growing here, so the potential to hit upon those improvements is larger, as opposed to the comics industry, which has yet to win me back. (Comics, I used to love you a lot, but I feel like you keep slapping me in the face over and over and over. At least manga wants me, even if it is only for my money.)

Anyway, it was an interesting read, though flawed, and I so desperately want McCloud to write something on manga.
oyceter: Stack of books with text "mmm... books!" (mmm books)
This is a general introduction to creating shoujo manga, done in manga format. It's slightly gimmicky; we follow little panda Satomi in her quest to become a shoujo mangaka, but I forgive it for the gimmick because I am so amused by Satomi and Mr. Manga Star, her hard-ass editor.

The book is divided into several sections, each of which covers a topic on manga production, each written by a different shoujo mangaka. They can vary widely in quality; thankfully, the ones that seemed pretty bad were the sections I wasn't very interested in anyway. These include the two chapters on writing (character and plot), which seem to believe that the more cliched something is, the better. I also suspect that the book isn't very good for those looking to improve basic drawing skills like perception or human physique.

On the other hand, while the book never manages to go into great depth, it actually covers things like panelling and toning and inking, all of which are topics that are very foreign to me. I think if you know anything about those topics, this book might be boring, but since I don't, it was pretty neat. I liked it best when the mangaka got into the nitty gritty of what they do, of the pens and the ink they use, of things like sand erasers for erasing clouds into skies of screentone. And there's some fairly basic stuff that I don't think about, like having the main character generally facing or running or walking from right to left, to follow the reader's reading patterns.

Also, while I disregarded most of the story-telling advice ("Exaggerate your characters so you can describe them with just one word!"), I liked notes on how to compress monologues and skip over unimportant action, both of which are things that I (hopefully) already know how to do in writing, but not necessarily in manga.

Now I want more detailed books on things like panelling!
oyceter: Stack of books with text "mmm... books!" (mmm books)
(subtitle: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels)

I think this is McCloud's third book on comics/manga/graphic novels, the first two being Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics. Like the other two, this one is written in comic format. It sounds gimmicky, but it actually isn't, as McCloud uses the format to illustrate how and why comics are a different medium. Also, it's so much easier understanding what he's talking about when you can actually see the techniques in effect, such as word balloon placement, gutters, panel layout, and etc.

I haven't read Reinventing Comics, but Understanding Comics is still the textbook on the techniques of comics. Making Comics goes even further and has McCloud explaining exactly how certain techniques and tricks work to support or take away from the narrative. He goes into character creation (more the appearance than the character's background), panel layout, narrative flow, and etc. He breaks down the artist/writer's choices into five: choice of moment, choice of frame, choice of image, choice of word, and choice of flow. These cover fonts, word balloons, panel layout, style, establishing shots, and more.

I can't really say how useful this would be, since I don't actually write or illustrate comics, but as a reader of the medium, it's fascinating. There's even a chapter 5 1/2 online so that McCloud can show the readers how the nature of browsers and the internet change things for comic writers and artists.

My only problem with this book is that it isn't long enough; I wanted even more details that McCloud provides, including in-depth analyses of manga pages, comic pages and graphic novel pages. But I suspect that would make the book four hundred pages long or so. When I say that it isn't long enough, I don't mean that McCloud doesn't give enough details. He has created a great overview into the techniques that any comic writer/artist needs. It's just that... he's so good that I want entire textbooks.
oyceter: Ed Elric looking at a grave (fma)
These are going to be brief notes rather than an actual argument, largely because my brain is still broken from watching all of FMA and from the beginning episodes of Princess Tutu.

Disclaimer and standard grain of salt: My understanding of shounen tropes is taken from sports anime/manga, fighting anime/manga, and some mecha anime, though most of the tropes that I'm used to come largely from the arena of fighting anime/manga. Also, my samples pretty much consist of Bleach, Naruto, Hikaru no Go and Kenshin. I also don't read/watch that much shounen, so again... grain of salt.

Also, I generalize a ton with regard to shoujo and shounen; I don't mean to imply that female equates emotion while male equates physical. I'm being more descriptive than prescriptive in terms of the genres, given what's largely out there in the market.

Spoilers for all of FMA

1. Dangerous Sekrit Techniques that Usually Aren't All That Bad )

2. Very Precious People )

3. Speshul Abilities )

4. Fight scenes )

5. Violence and war in FMA )

Anyway, I am running out of bullet points.

In conclusion, go watch Fullmetal Alchemist!
oyceter: man*ga [mahng' guh] n. Japanese comics. synonym: CRACK (manga is crack)
So, I posted the bit on me and anime and manga and culture shock some time last year. Then I got distracted by actually watching anime and reading manga.

But someone interviewed me for a paper a few weeks ago on my experiences with anime and manga, and it brought back memories. So, of course, I spew them over the internet!

Please insert the standard disclaimer that these are my personal experiences and my personal history; they're not meant to reflect the status of anime and manga as a whole or anything of the sort. There's also going to be a lot of talk about female spaces and male spaces and what feels female or male to me. This isn't meant to be a pronouncement from high on what makes something female or male. They're definitions very specific to how I feel, and I'm largely using them as labels so I don't have to say, "spaces occupied largely by female people or people portraying themselves as female on the internet" or "what is stereotypically thought of as a female trait even though I disagree and am not a gender essentialist but will simply use this word so I don't have to type out all my qualms every single time."

Anyway.

Back to the beginning... )

The Yaoi/Slash Thing, Take #134098245 )

Shoujo Manga! (You Knew This Was Coming...) )

Yay Incest? )

Shoujo and Academia )

Shoujo and College )

Things Keep Changing )

Personal history of anime/manga index
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So I am crazy and decided I wanted to post something Saiyuki every day. I also finally caved and created a separate Memories category just for Saiyuki, since it looks like there will be much content on it.

I will also be posting non-Saiyuki content, I swear, for those of you completely bored by the manga talk and wondering what crack I'm now on.

Who's linking to all the Intl. Saiyuki Week posts? I know [livejournal.com profile] telophase and [livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija are (here and here)... anyone else? Links in comments incredibly welcome!

Spoilers for Gaiden up till vol. 2 )
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I found some of my old sketchbooks a few days ago, and I've been flipping through them nostalgically. I forgot that I used to draw a great deal before... wasn't particularly good at it, but apparently it was just something that I did. Maybe I'll try and do that again, not so much serious drawing or anything, but just trying it out every so often.

It's rather funny. There's a giant chunk in there of Gundam Wing inspired drawings (aka me learning to draw anime by copying artbooks and the like), and now I'm also slightly nostalgic for the days of GWing obsession and first discovering anime.

In the Beginning...

I had watched anime and read manga prior to the discovery of Gundam Wing in junior year of high school, but most of it was Sailor Moon (the season with Sailor Uranus and Neptune, who, btw, were really cool. Esp. Sailor Uranus). I also read a good chunk of the manga while I was getting my braces done, because the dentist's office had them and I wanted to find out what happened with the Sailor Uranus/Pluto/Neptune/Saturn arc.

Of course, this was in Taiwan, so finding oft-read copies of manga in the dentist's office was par for course, as well as the (really bad) Chinese dub of the anime. I also watched a lot of Robotech, dubbed in English, which I didn't know was actually a rather cut version of Macross. Fighter pilots falling in love with the aliens sent to assassinate them is apparently one of those plotlines that will always get me. Who would have thought.

Read more... )

Culture Shock and Confusion

College was in America. I realize this is a bit of a silly statement to make, but while I had intellectually realized that I'd be moving to a different country, albeit one I'd lived in before, eight years is still a long time, particularly when those eight years happen during childhood.

Sorry all people reading this who are really bored by the Third Culture Kid talk by now. It does seem to be rather inseparable from pretty much everything in my life ;).

Read more... )

Homestay

I did a two month homestay in Kanazawa, Japan to study Japanese, and my host family was rather amused to learn I was an anime fan. They actually had all of Evangelion stashed somewhere, and my host mom let me borrow their copy of the Nausicaa manga, none of which I could read, since having taken two years of Japanese does not actually mean one can read sci-fi, to my great dismay. I never really talked with my host family that much; it was difficult to maintain anything resembling an intelligent conversation. I do remember several instances of pointing to the Evangelion videos and saying something like "I watched that and liked it."

Read more... )

Miyazaki in Three Countries

Despite announcing his retirement after Princess Mononoke, Miyazaki had a new movie coming out the summer I was in Japan -- Spirited Away. I was very, very excited, as I'm sure everyone can imagine (insert lots of loud squeeing and the mad waving of hands, and you've probably got it right). It was coming out around my birthday, and there were ads everywhere. The studio or someone had made some sort of partnership with NTT DoCoMo (the lead cell phone company at the time) and Lawson's (a popular convenience store) to provide i-Mode kiosks everywhere advertising the fact that you could buy your Spirited Away tickets with your phone. The stuffed animals were already in department stores -- I also desperately wanted a stuffie of the fat purple mouse with the buzzy bird on his head, but alas, Japan is expensive. Posters, TV ads, everything. We all pre-ordered tickets and went when it came out, to a crowded theater. I had no idea what it was going to be about, only that there was a girl with some pigs on the poster, with the caption "At the other side of the tunnel, there is a mysterious town..."

I had absolutely no idea what was going on, but I laughed hysterically everytime the purple mouse was on the screen. All the other people seemed to enjoy it though.

Read more... )

Things Change

When I was doing research for my thesis, I dug out some old newspaper and magazine articles on anime and manga in the US, to frame the general climate most English anime and manga scholarship was written in. The trend wasn't surprising to me -- there were many articles on the shocking nature of anime and manga, emphasizing the strangeness of using animation, generally thought of as a medium for children, to portray sex and violence. Several articles were on the manga industry in Japan, and while there were mentions of the broad array of subjects that anime and manga could cover, the author inevitably reverted to the "But it's animated sex and violence!" theme. Around 1999, things had started to change a little, with the Pokemon phenomenon reaching the general audience and with Princess Mononoke winning critical acclaim. There weren't that many other articles published; the bulk that I found were written around the Pokemon/Princess Mononoke timeframe, since that was when everyone started to sit up and notice these things.

Read more... )

[livejournal.com profile] coffee_and_ink also has a post on feminism, manga and anime in the form of a personal history.

Anyone else have their personal anime/manga experiences posted?

Personal history of anime/manga index

(no subject)

Sun, Mar. 20th, 2005 04:05 pm
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Wah, reading [livejournal.com profile] telophase's visual analyses of manga and watching Fruits Basket seems to have reawakened my long dormant desire to read manga! I am doomed. I hit the peak of my anime/manga obsession around senior year of high school, and I actually bought the entire set of Rurouni Kenshin and brought it over to America! That's a whopping 28 vols. Someday I need to ship over my collection of X, Mars, and assorted Yazawa Ai manga. Although maybe I'll just succumb and re-purchase all of her Tenshi Nanka Ja Nai in Japanese at the Kinokuniya here.

It's sort of funny, because I know people around me on LJ have been getting into manga for quite some time now, but I always sort of stood off to the side. It's still a little strange watching people go through the first stages of obsession, mostly because I remember doing it myself back in high school. I would think I'd be more nostalgic and happy about it, the way I am when people I know start to get into Buffy and Angel for the first time, but it's just so strange because all of my old favorites have just started to be published here, or people are reading all these new manga that I haven't heard about. I suspect my knowledge of anime/manga is still stuck in 1999. It is very strange though -- Rurouni Kenshin, the manga that got me started on manga, has only really recently started being published here. I still remember eagerly awaiting book 21 to come out in Taiwan, 6 years ago. For me, it's long concluded and over, but for people here, it's still new. Same with X. Well, not concluded for me, but prematurely ended! Grrr. And I look at all the shelves of manga at Borders and Barnes and Noble, and I don't know what to pick up anymore. It also doesn't help that they're still so expensive here. Used to be about $3 a volume back in Taiwan, and I can't quite justify shelling out so much yet.

So I've been reading people's entries and being very happy about that, but not quite getting into the spirit myself. But then I found out Nana by Yazawa Ai, possibly my favorite manga series, has finally been licensed! Joy! Celebration! I keep wanting to make everyone read Yazawa Ai, but only Paradise Kiss is translated right now, and that's far from my favorite of her series. Now I've been hankering to reread Nana and to finally read vols. 6-9. Except I lent vols. 1-3 to someone and never got them back before graduating.

Today I ventured out to Kinokuniya in search of the first three books and discovered it's up to vol. 12 now! Yikes! Of course I got them. But the store didn't have vols. 1, 3, or 10, so I have special ordered them from the SF store. And (you see where this is heading) I found that there is a Nana artbook!!!!!! I am so excited!!!! It's a Yazawa Ai artbook!!!! The only other one I have is from Gokinjo Monogatari, which I like, but not half so much as Nana! Also, I adore her artwork, because it's so different from typical shoujo style. I spent much more money than I should have because of that artbook. But... it's so pretty! And for some reason, buying them in Japanese makes me feel a little better because they're imported and still cheaper than the translated versions. So far... Plus, this way I don't have to wait for them to be translated, hee. And I shall also sort of justify this as a way to practice my extremely rusty Japanese.

You know, with all this talk of manga going around right now, I was sort of contemplating ripping off my thesis and cobbling together a brief history of shoujo manga/shounen ai, or a brief intro to the Japanese language or something, but I'm not sure if that would be entirely pretentious and telling people things they already know, or what. I think I researched so much for my thesis that I can't tell anymore. And it's sort of odd because I remember first getting into anime and people online spouting their "credentials" and the like, which is partially how I ended up in East Asian studies, but I really don't want to go off and sound like I am some know-it-all, because I am far from knowing much about it at all...

(no subject)

Wed, Jun. 23rd, 2004 12:24 am
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Ugh, been keeping an extremely weird schedule these past two days -- go home, eat dinner, promptly fall asleep on the couch. Then wake up at midnight, stay up a few hours and go back to bed. So, LJ has fallen a bit behind.

Feeling vaguely better (about homesickness, not so much the job hunt). It's hard to believe sometimes that I've been in CA for a year now, and it's been driving me crazy that I haven't been able to go home this summer. I think this may have been the longest stint I've gone without going back. I feel vaguely like that Greek myth guy who touched the earth to regain strength (name starts with an A....) who Hercules had to fight.

I also applied to Viz for a job last night, heh heh. I figure that's the one job I've applied to for which I actually, you know, qualify. Everything else feels like: I don't have experience, and I'm an EAS major, but I learn fast! Really! And I'm smart... I think... or maybe not... sigh. I would have applied to Tokyopop too, except they're down in LA, boo. Then I wonder, gyah, even if I get it, do I want to be in a small company? I suppose it depends on what I'd be doing. And the sheer coolness value of dealing with manga cannot be denied. Though, of course, there is also the possibility of burnout and never being able to read for fun again. This is, of course, assuming that I even get an interview.

I was talking to my boss a few days ago on book reading habits, and he says after voraciously reading everything he could get his hands on, he sort of calmed down a bit. I think part of this was because he had the store all the while and could borrow stuff, and after a while on the buying team, you get a little patience and realize you can wait until a like new copy with your favorite cover comes in. I thought for a little and realized I'm still in the voraciously reading everything stage. I must have shifted into high gear when I moved here and realized I actually had room for books because I wasn't moving every year (ha, yeah right, and oh how my back regrets those purchases!). But, I have two pretty good public libraries near me, and the store, and I stumbled onto lots of smart people on LJ who've read tons and tons and tons of things I haven't, and I feel like I'm scrabbling for all the books I possibly can get my greedy little paws on to keep up. In Princeton I had a milder case of this, as being in college without a car limited public library and bookstore trips. Plus, I didn't have this ocean of recs.

Gah. I feel so underread (not-well-read?). I want to read all the sci-fi and fantasy classics now, along with good feminist lit crit (I don't think I've read much... mostly I've stuck to feminist history), want to read more non-Asian feminist history, want to read more Asian feminist history, want to brush up my Chinese history and Japanese history, want to read up on Korea, on which I am frightfully ignorant, want to read any new anime/manga criticism that's come out, and wah, there are too many books! Not that that's the bad thing -- it's the too few hours that I resent.

On a brief continuation of the manga post, not only is Hana Yori Dango/Boys Over Flowers (Yoko Kamio) out, so is Hana Kimi (Hisaya Nakajo), which I was still reading in Taiwan. Has cross-dressing heroine and much shenanigans in an all boys school. Plus, pretty art. And wah, Revolutionary Girl Utena the manga is out!! (ok, it's probably been out forever, but I've been really out of it) Still no Good Morning Call, which was my first intro to shoujo. Still no non-Paradise Kiss Yazawa Ai, which annoys me because I want to make everyone read Nana so I can finally talk to someone about it. The last person who I knew read it was my Japanese teacher. But I find myself excited about manga again, now that they've stopped limiting themselves to translating all of CLAMP and other magical girl comics. I'm, heh, actually not that big of a CLAMP fan, mostly just because I never bothered to read anything past X.
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First new manga I've read in quite some time -- it's kind of funny having several people on the reading list start reading manga (and meeting the girl in Hawaii who was very into it) after having sort of passed my glomming stage.

I picked it up because it was at the store and because one of the books had some sort of Editor's Choice thing on it. Must remember sometimes that trusting the summary on the back is a good thing. It seems to be a fairly typical shounen romance, ala Marmalade Boy and Tenchi Muyo and all those other ones. By fairly typical I mean the setup, in which a young, fairly normal, down-to-earth guy (sort of the male version of the gawky girl with glasses), Suekichi, is interested in a nice, good girl (in this case, the director of his theater troupe, I think), while being sexually tempted by a morally dubious, very open girl. At least, that was the set up in the first book. Granted, the next few could have changed the formula a bit, but from reading the backs, it didn't much seem like it, so I gave up. I don't know if there is a similar setup in non-manga fiction -- I can sort of see echoes of it in Robert Jordan (Rand has three girls chasing after him!) and in Elfstones of Shannara (Eretria and Amberle), and I'm sure others have it as well, but maybe not so obviously? But I think it's safe to say that it's a pretty well-established genre or sub-genre or trope or whatever you choose to call it in manga and in anime.

It's also a trope that annoys me, mostly because the girls are really stupid and fight each other constantly for the guy. And while I am generally all for women who are open about their sexuality, the type in these works tends to turn me off because they feel so gratuitous. You know, I wonder if this is how guys feel when they read romance novels. Good but boring guy vs. hot and slightly uncivilized stud is a pretty common formula (see: Sunfire romances). There's a lot of sex in this book, and it's fairly graphic. I was actually surprised at what was drawn at times, give the censorship laws in Japan. Maybe they've changed? I do remember that they aren't supposed to draw any sort of pubic hair or genitalia, but I distinctly remember seeing a penis or two. Maybe I am making it up. Generally, the attitude is very literal, so you see pretty much everything, except the girl looks like she's giving a blowjob to a cylindrical white space (and etc.).

Anyway, it wasn't really my thing. I think people who like Tenchi Muyo and Love Hina would enjoy it.

On anime and manga in general )

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