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I am kind of amazed at the relative lack of genderfail in this series so far (relative as compared to some of Yuki Kaori's other series), though given Yuki Kaori's track record, I expect this to change at any second.

Spoilers (though I feel you can never truly be spoiled for Yuki Kaori) )
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(note: all names taken from the Wiki article because figuring out the Chinese transliteration of the Japanese transliteration of names is beyond me)

I am so happy there is a new Yuki Kaori series! Also, much like Cain Saga, this seems to start with individual mysteries of the week (only involving nuns and deadly zombie dolls and court intrigue!) but will probably end with a ton of angst, backstory, and more zombies. I love it already!

Also, it helps that it is already 100 times more comprehensible than Fairy Cube.

Here, we get more of Lucille's backstory, in which we discover he is the most beautiful, talented person EVAR. It also involves a Trio of DOOM, a cold-hearted queen (I love her already), a deadly cousin, and a lot of love and hate for your sibling. It's not quite incest, but pretty close.

And did I mention that the queen is dressed in loligoth Victorian kimono?

Then, there is an individual mystery which involves a villain in a cat mask wielding a giant tuning fork (!), a nun who dies via crucifix impaling (!!), swords hidden in a giant organ (the keyboard-and-pipes kind, not the kind Jezebel Disraeli keeps in jars) (!!!), secret staircases (!!!!), revived zombie nuns (!!!!!), and a flower called something like "the Madonna's tears" which is also deadly poison (♥♥♥). It is awesomesauce!

Also, Lucille crossdresses as a nun. Of course.

Also also, there's some nice development of the Lucille-Eles relationship.

Spoilers are the only ones who can touch your scars! )

In conclusion: ILU YUKI KAORI, ILU!

Also also also, in a moment of strange real life coincidence, after I read this and shoved awesome Yuki Kaori art featuring a girl stepping on an angel in Rachel's face and cackled loudly about the entire nun story, we ate lunch with a giant group of people... in which Rachel was seated next to what we thought were two nuns! (They were Mormon missionaries.) It was particularly awkward, as they asked Rachel where she grew up, and she desperately tried to avoid any discussion of religion while I giggled helplessly in my soup. Rachel elbowed me under the table to try and get me to stop, unsuccessfully.
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(eta: changed series title to match licensed one)

It is a new Yuki Kaori series! With gender bending!! And killer dolls!!! Called Guignols!!!!


The Galatea virus somehow turns people into flesh-eating dolls who roam around trying to catch prey; people mostly live in walled cities to avoid them. A mysterious court rules the land. It's not quite sure what they do yet, but given that it is an authoritative figure in a Yuki Kaori series, i am certain they are corrupt and morally bankrupt.

Lucille, Kohaku, and Gwindel compose a (very tiny) orchestra whose music somehow destroys the Guignol dolls.

Right now, it looks like the series is fairly episodic, a la early Cain Saga/Godchild, but we're already getting very brief glimpses into Lucille's Sekrit Angsty Backstory.

Spoilers as only Yuki Kaori can do )

Also, there is a pet hedgehog that lives in a hat. And offering your flesh to be eaten as an expression of true love.


So far, no zombie doll fetus armadas, but I am confident they (or something of that ilk) will be in future volumes! I'm also hoping that this is a nice long series with room for many, many cracktastic plot twists, because while Fairy Cube was fun, it was too short for me to get very attached to the characters. Also, the ending was largely incomprehensible, but that seems par for the course. I feel the solution to that is to just have more awesome middle so no one cares if they can't figure out the ending.
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This is embarrassingly late, and my other year-end posts will be even more so. It's so late that it's even late by the Lunar New Year!

OMG people! I actually read less manga this year! I suspect this was less because I was reading actual books and more because I moved to a place where the public library either does not have as much manga, or I have had a harder time finding it via the catalog, since they are never on the shelves.

Some people may also have noticed that I've switched from doing a post for manga to doing a post for sequential art overall. It's getting too annoying to distinguish between which OEL manga is manga and which is comics—some just read more like comics to me, and I cannot say why, except that they do. I'm also changing formats a bit, since having the same series on my best-of list for three years in a row or so feels odd. At least, that would be my reason if I wanted to look good. In actuality, it is merely because I am tired of trying to come up with blurbs that will sound different from last year's.

As with previous years, this is my list of favorites that I read this year, and it has nothing to do with the date published. Unlike previous years, I have each individual volume linked, thanks to my awesome new database! If there's no link, I haven't written it up, but feel free to ask about it in comments. The licensing information is only for the US, many apologies!

Favorite new-to-me series )

Also recommended )

Favorite ending series )

Favorite continuing series )

Total read: 197 (36 reread)

All sequential art read in 2008 )
oyceter: man*ga [mahng' guh] n. Japanese comics. synonym: CRACK (manga is crack)
Let me just say that I have read volume 2 twice, and I still don't know what happened in it. Unsurprisingly, this made reading volume 3 quite an adventure! Most of it went something like this:

"Why are they calling him Raven? Does he have two names?" (twenty pages later) "Ohhh, she kept referring to a new character who was constantly off-screen. Possibly he was introduced in volume two."

"Who's trying to take over the world now? Is that person a guy or a girl? Or both? Whose side is everyone on again? Whose body is Ian in again? Wait, door to what? Why is there a giant concert hall? Did she randomly copy-paste much of the ending to Godchild in here, change the setting, and hope we wouldn't notice? How the heck is that person related to Ian again and have we seen him or her in volume two? Was this all set up in volume 2? Why can't I remember volume 2? Have I been affected by the same maniacal fairy brainsuck that seems to be affecting all the characters? Has volume 2 mysteriously written itself out of my brain no matter how much I read it? And if so, why were all the secret cabals and attempts to take over the world and numerous double crosses placed in volume 2?"

Possibly this is Yuki Kaori's dastardly scheme to make me think there are bloodthirsty fairies out there attempting to wipe my brain. Or possibly it is just Yuki Kaori being somewhat more incoherent than usual (given the general state of coherency in Yuki Kaori, I feel this is saying something).

And yet! Random fairy plots! Completely random pieces of Fae mythology woven into otherwise haphazard worldbuilding! Even more girls who have absolutely no romantic chemistry with the leads and turn out to be woeful and self-sacrificing! ABSOLUTE INSANITY masquerading as plot!

Spoilers, if they are un-nonsensical enough to actually be spoilery )

In conclusion: WTF just happened? Someone explain?

(Not that utter lack of comprehension is going to keep me from reading Yuki Kaori, because even this made me laugh and flap my hands with glee. It would just be nice to remember exactly why I was laughing and flapping my hands with glee.)
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Blood Hound - Kanou Rion's friend has disappeared, and she barges into Krankenhaus, a host club, based off of a business card her friend handed her. There, she runs across Suou and the other vampire hosts, solves the mystery of her friend's disappearance, and then goes on to solve another mystery while trying to find Suou again. There's some potentially interesting angst involving Rion as the possible reincarnation of some heavenly woman the vampires have been searching for, and a little more involving Rion, Suou, and their pasts, but it only stays there in the background, taunting the reader by showing a taste of what Blood Hound could be as a series, not a one shot. Also, while I'm glad Yuki Kaori is writing more women, it would be nice if all the women who aren't the heroine weren't all evil or victims.

Overall, very disappointing, and I will instead imagine an ideal version of the story, which has angst galore, barely sublimated sexual tension in the form of biting and neck licking, better loligoth outfits, and a heroine who has a mysterious past that is actually an important part of the story.

... or I'll just reread Vampire Knight.

Boys Next Door - I refuse to put an apostrophe in "Boys," even if Yuki Kaori wrote it in. Adrian Clay is an elementary teacher who murders male prostitutes in his spare time. Lawrence Hill ("La" or "Lawr," and no, I am not making that up) is a fourteen-year-old male prostitute who accidentally witnesses Adrian murdering people. It's a beautiful love story for the ages!

If you're Yuki Kaori, that is.

In other words, I love this to pieces. It is absolutely cracktastic and entirely wrong on so many levels—the underage sex! Dead mothers as the cause of their sons' psychoses! The CIRCUS! And did I mention the whole serial killing thing?—and yet, it is awesome! Awesome!

I am not sure I can write a good review for this. It has, in addition to the bad-and-wrong elements mentioned above, sexy finger licking, a tattoo, and killing someone/offering your body as a cannibalistic meal as the ultimate expression of love. I think people can decide for themselves if that is right up their alley or not. (I love it and make high-pitched squealing noises about it that I reserve solely for Yuki Kaori's most cracktastic work.)

There are also some short stories in the back, but I skipped them, as the art and the paneling were terrible. Tell me if I missed something good!

Kaine - Rock star Kaine has died in a car crash, and his twin brother must now replace him. It is cracktastic and gothic and has a proto-Kira/Setsuna relationship. Also, there are death wishes, evil women (OH YUKI KAORI WHY), and a mysterious album that causes everyone who listens to it to commit suicide. Everything else I can say about this is spoilery.

Spoilers! )

There were also short stories in the back of this that I skipped. Again, tell me if I missed something good!
oyceter: man*ga [mahng' guh] n. Japanese comics. synonym: CRACK (manga is crack)
Saikawa Kanade and his half-Japanese, half-French cousin Anais solve three perfume-related mysteries. I feel this plot seems deceptively simple compared to the tangles in Angel Sanctuary and Cain Saga/Godchild, but given that it's only a one shot, what can you do?

I was bored a little by Kanade, despite his angsty backstory rivalry with a fellow perfumer, but I love Anais. She is half-French so Yuki Kaori has an excluse to give her blond hair and blue eyes*, and amazingly, there are no incestuous vibes between her and Kanade, despite the fact that they aren't actually related by blood (she's his aunt's stepdaughter). She is grumpy and tall and beats people up and glares sullenly from the cover. I wanted to get more backstory about her childhood bond with Kanade, but only tidbits for me.

Sadly, the crack is not quite up to normal Yuki Kaori levels, though there are goth girls, dead bodies galore, lots of evil women, and an evil MTF to boot. Oh Yuki Kaori, why?

Still, the art is gorgeous and there are enough cracktastically insane bits to please me, but it's definitely not among her more memorable pieces of work.

* I do not understand all these half-Continental-European characters running around in manga and anime and how they all have blond hair and blue eyes. I mean, obviously there is no set way to look if one is half-Asian and half-European, but it'd be nice if one of these half-Continental-European characters had brown hair and brown eyes for once.

ETA: I am going to the comic book store tomorrow, so tell me what in Yuki Kaori's backlist I should get! (Besides the rent boy serial killer one, which is, uh, already on the list.) Bonus points for letting me know if the plot involves crazy terminology like "organic angels," which will be a little confusing in Chinese.


Thu, May. 1st, 2008 05:28 pm
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oyceter: man*ga [mahng' guh] n. Japanese comics. synonym: CRACK (manga is crack)
Huh. I am not sure what to think of this. There have been a spate of killings called "the fairy murders," as each victim has a pattern of bloodspray around their back that looks vaguely like fairy wings.

Meanwhile, Ian has grown up thinking that he had green hair and red eyes, though he does not. He has also been able to see fairies, but because of saying this, he is known as a liar. His childhood friend Rin, whom he has not talked to since he rejected her years ago, has just moved back, and suddenly, Tokage, the cruel fairy who manipulates people around Ian, puts his evil plan into action.

Whew! It's nice to know that Yuki Kaori can still cram more plot into one volume than most people can into 5.

So far, I am very confused, as I had to flip back every other page to figure out what just happened, and I have no idea what is going on. Also, while there have been some interactions with Ian and Rin, Rin sadly has stopped being interesting and very quickly started being The Girl. Oh Yuki Kaori! Will you ever write women as cool as Alexiel again?

I am also sad, because I don't know how into this series I will get, given that there is only one more volume. But I will continue to read for the insanity!
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Waaaaaah! No more Godchild!


My favorite quote (maybe. I have many favorites), which works just fine completely out of context. Also, it is amazingly not spoilery at all for the series, considering that it could be said by and about pretty much anyone:

"I'll give you his head after everything is finished. Then like him, you can live your life while embracing the mutilated corpse of a loved one."

Spoilers! )

I feel I have been remarkably restrained with the allcaps and exclamation points. Really.

- [livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink's synopsis

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Woe! This is the penultimate volume, which means soon, I will have no more new Godchild to read! At least Fairy Cube has been licensed, else I wouldn't have any new Yuki Kaori to read, which would just be tragic.

All I will say outside of spoiler-cut is that there is one scene in here that nearly made me lose the breakfast I have not yet eaten, it is that disgusting.

Spoilers of gothic DOOM! )
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Breaking with my usual rule of not reading Yuki Kaori in public, I read this in a cafe with [livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink sitting nearby so we could immediately squee. I think the various snorfles and snorts and other strange noises I made while attempting to suppress hysterical giggles, hand flailing and "OMG! OMG!" scared off everyone in the vicinity (which is why I usually don't read Yuki Kaori in public).

Spoilers )

Viz, why haven't you licensed everything else Yuki Kaori has written? I would so throw money at you for it.
oyceter: (godchild evil parrot of DOOM)
This one didn't send me into hysterics of delight, as Cain/Godchild usually does, though there was a moment that made me laugh for a straight minute (and then I choked and coughed and really scared the rats).

Spoilers )
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Oof. It is very confusing reading the new Godchild and the new Cain Saga at the same time, as I tend to mix up elements and forget what happens when.

When I was first thinking about writing this, I was actually not as excited as I usually am. I think this is because of the high pitch of excitement that I have been at all day, partly because of personal stuff going well and partly because of the awesome Cool Bits Generator and the growing list of cracktastic things.

And then I opened the volume to flip to a page, remembered the main plot point, and nearly fell over cackling with glee. I swear, this is more cracktastic than most of the things I have read today, and I say this while emphasizing that I have been reading a LOT of cracktastic things today.

Spoilers! )

Oh Godchild. You make me so happy.
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Why I Love Yuki Kaori #34598:


I just spent about half an hour flipping through the volume again to try to pick out my very favoritest moment, except I really can't. There is too much!

Thankfully, [livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink has already quoted my favorite part from Yuki's asides.

So -- Why I Love Yuki Kaori #34598-34601:

As Yuki wanted to name Riff after Riff Raff from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Riff's full name is "Riffael Raffit." She also hurriedly assures the readers in an aside that no, no, Cain and Riff aren't embracing! Cain's just smelling Riff's shirt! And the priceless Disraeli-talking-to-organs aside linked to above.

And I have only just gotten to the asides!

Then there is Viz's absolute horrible translation combined with Jizabel Disraeli's insanity, which results in:

When a silver knife slits [Cain's] pale, slim limbs... it will be like bright red pomegranates cut wide open! His blood vessels will be like the branches of a tree, still warm and pulsing. His organs and membrances shining and gasping like a gold fish out of water.

To be honest, despite Yuki Kaori's protests, I think Disraeli really does name his organs -- the organs that he collects in jars, not his own personal organs. Though maybe he names those too.

Minor spoilers )

* I still cannot believe that this is a plot point in not just one, but two manga series. At least, that I know of...
oyceter: (godchild evil parrot of DOOM)
First of all, the copyediting on this was awful. I spotted a ton of typos, the worst probably being "prom rose" instead of "primrose." I was very confused and started wondering when Victorian England had started having American high school rituals. There's also "Never play with a woman's feeling!" because she only has one, and if you do, what will she have left?

Best excuse for skipping out on a party ever: "Tell him that my poison collection has affected my brain."

Spoilers, sort of )

And of course, throughout all this madness is the pure true love of a boy and his valet Combat Butler butler.

*dies and is dead*
oyceter: (godchild evil parrot of DOOM)
Oh Yuki Kaori, I love you SO MUCH! And I get not just one, but two doses today!

I have to say, I found the editor's note in the beginning to be a wee bit on crack. Despite being subtitled "Kafka," this volume doesn't feel Kafkaesque in the least. In fact, the overblown gothicness of it feels almost like the anti-Kafka. Yuki's protagonists aren't alienated like K; oh no. They're really something else entirely. What else, I can't quite pinpoint, but I'm sure there's a heavy sprinkling of bat wings, blood and black capes swirling in the London fog in the mix.

Because it is absolutely useless for me to sum up the plots of these, largely because I am immediately incapacitated by laughter, I'll give you my favorite line.

The volume opens with the classic: "At last we will have the calamity child! The embryo of the cursed bloodline rises to the heavens dripping blood and flapping its black wings."

I was bad and broke my vow to never read these in public, and I nearly died inhaling my sandwich. This alone was totally worth pestering a Borders employee to scan all the shelves for me and then dig things out from the back room. Words cannot express how much love I have for this series!!

I also loved: Spoilery )

In less cracktastic news, the art is finally looking like Angel Sanctuary. The little story tacked on at the end isn't particularly interesting, as Yuki Kaori has clearly not yet learned how to unleash her mighty and powerful id upon us all.
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So. These do not quite reach the sheer insanity and cracktasticness that the height of Angel Sanctuary or later volumes of Godchild do. Even though Godchild is technically the same series.

We will ignore Viz's strange title choices.

And the art isn't as good as those two series either, particularly not Godchild art.

I didn't like the first volume all that much, and I honestly wouldn't have picked up Godchild if Viz had started from Cain v. 1, so... I suppose the strange title choices paid off, in a way. But the second volume -- that one I do wish I had read before Godchild.

We get backstory galore, except it's not actually backstory, since Godchild is the same series.

Cain meets Mary Weather for the first time (we will also ignore Viz's strange transliteration choices)! Cain meets Riff for the first time! Cain gets whipped! Cain nearly gets poisoned! Cain discovers he is a child of incest and great trauma! Riff dresses Cain's scars (which only he can touch) for the first time!

Ahhhh, good stuff.

I have even gotten so used to the gothic cracktasticness that I've stopped giggling hysterically every other page.

The second volume, which I already adore, contains but is not limited to: poison on pins, poison in bracelets, poison in food, poison collections (2), incest, abusive orphanages, secret societies (1, I think), tarot cards, sexy butlers (alas, only 1), cute urchins (>3), abusive parents (nearly all), insane parents (nearly all), and people driven mad by love (nearly all).

No words can express my love for Yuki Kaori.


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