Tag Archives: Romance

“As my love first came to realization, Word had already spread.”

chihayafuru1It’s kind of amazing how you look at something differently after watching it the second time. I spent yesterday and a bit of today re-watching the first season of Chihayafuru (and unbeknownst to me so was chungky). For those of you who don’t know it, Chihayafuru is a manga/anime about a bunch of high-school kids playing karuta. Karuta’s basically a game based around the hyakunin isshu, a collection of 100 poems by 100 poets.

Chihayafuru really changed for me when I re-watched it; most probably because my understanding of karuta was a lot better, but now that I knew some things were going to happen, I could pay attention to others instead. For example, there are times in the story where they use the poetry from the hyakunin isshu to illustrate the relationships between the characters; before I thought they were just pretty words that relate really well to the situation. But my second experience with Chihayafuru found the description to be so beautiful, I’ve quoted some of them in this post!

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Let’s start!

I read the Chihayafuru manga before the anime came out, and I’ve been captured by it from the very beginning. Maybe it’s my own bias for stories that use the ‘childhood friends’ card; I always feel that the relationship between children are a lot more direct, honest and simple (e.g. not manipulated by hormones yet). So anyway, the three main characters are 1, the heroine (Chihaya), 2, the transfer student who introduces her to karuta (Arata) and 3, the bully/friend (Taichi). I’ll be going off on my own rant about it from here on, so spoilers will follow. But if you’re like chungky who went all “Well, 6don’t mean to spoil it for you, but looks like the bully’s gonna get her,” when I’d only explained what characters were in the story and nothing about storyline, then we all never had to worry about what ultimately would or would not happen.

BUT THAT’S THE THING!! Continue reading

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One-Shot for the Weekend – Natsu Yasumi Zero Zero Nichime

Natsu Yasumi Zero Zero Nichime (夏休みゼロゼロ日目) | 00 Day of Summer Holiday

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Mang-aka: Akizuki Sorata

Genre: Romance, School Life, Shoujo, Slice of Life

Sometimes love visits you in the most simple yet unexpected moments in our daily lives. Where love can come in even a form of a pop of a bubble, to give us the courage we need to take our relationships.

Originally published in Aoi Lala by Hakusensha.

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You’d think that because it’s winter, we’d toss out a winter themed recommendation. Or perhaps choosing a summer one-shot for the winter is way predictable? After a few weeks of adjusting my life in the States again, I hope to start blogging more consistently. Akizuki Sorata has been one of my favourite manga artists of all time, it’s strange that I’ve never really pushed her work as strong as I may have done but I do have my own reasons and frankly, she doesn’t need that extra publicity anyway. Her work can pretty much do all the talking and I hope to cover her most popular work in the near future. I chose a summer one-shot because I really need a bit of warming up, like literally. The temperature just plummeted 20 degrees and my sister has been sending me photos of London being thrashed by snow. I dislike snow unfortunately. I’ve also been suffering silently in my room freezing and I’ve just bought a portable heater to make myself feel like a normal human being.

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But weather-y rants aside. This is a breath of fresh air for those who need some escape from the wintry months both physically and emotionally. In some ways summer is about being carefree – do whatever you want and be adventurous and in this instance, in love. Summer love is a strange little thing, it’s always associated with pain and everything seems to fall apart after the sweaty season. But yet, most of us are willing to go through it again, whether we be hurt or not. I believe in taking the plunge. This one-shot is fresh, the scenario is new, but with the nostalgic summer spirit of bubbles cascading in the air. The characters are normal, familiar, they aren’t blown up just like slice of life is suppose to be. And with Akizuki Sorata at the helm, she never fails to add her poetic touch and remind us that reality is often just as sweet as the imagination. So here’s my current winter manifesto, take the harsh winter with a summer heart. Or for some, embrace winter with a mind full of snow(quoting Wallace Stevens).

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Rating: 4.5/5

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One-Shot for a Weekday – Shisei (刺靑)

Shisei (刺靑)/ Tattoo

Manga-ka: Yokobaba Ryo

Genre: Drama, Historical, Romance,  Shoujo, Tragedy

Forbidden to be together in the world they live in, two young lovers remain as one. They find a means to preserve what they couldn’t have, that they will be together their hearts, all in a form that is etched onto naked skin.

Published as a one-shot in 2009 in Melody magazine by Hakusensha.

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Here is a relatively short one-shot for a week-day, it spans about 22 pages. I’ve been going through a lot of short one-shots lately and though there aren’t that many pages, they still manage to make an impression. This is a period love story where a couple is forced to separation because of one’s profession and social standing. It is amazing how people can always find ways or means to be together again. In this case, with a tattoo. A permanent mark on the skin, to represent undying devotion or to say “I’ll never forget you.” As they forge a unity that would mean only in their hearts or distance. Perhaps that would be enough to keep them going, as they hope to be united again; in the future, or in another life-time.

Rating: 3.7/5 

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One-Shot on a Weekday: Nino-hime no Monogatari

Nino-hime no Monogatari | 二の姫の物語 | The Tale of the Second Princess

Manga-ka: Izumi Kaneyoshi

Genre: Drama,  Historical,  Romance,  Shoujo

In the turbulent time of wars, a princess and a vassal are bounded together despite different ranks. Soon they are at the mercy of their fates, and what they decide to do is…?

Published as the main story in an anthology entitled Ninohime no Monogatari, serialised in Betsucomi.

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This was another great read and one which develops in a world of its own. It’s one of the fantastic period one-shots out there with it’s East Asian influences. This is an incredibly long one-shot at 100 pages or so and I absolutely adore long one-shots because since they are one-shots, they leave to make an impression. With 100 pages to utilise, the manga-ka will be able to plan the story accordingly and which this one is epic.

I summarise it as an Epic Historical Fable.

This is real good movie material. It sort of reminds me of Mulan but it stands on it’s own. The story really does feel as if it’s been inspired by some genuine Chinese Legend. We watch how a ‘turnip princess’ grows into a strong woman, one who can be strong even without being part of the Royal family. To conclude this post, who says a cocky guy can’t be likable?

Rating: 4.5/5


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Manga-Talk: Hana to Akuma vs. Twilight

So I found out some time back that Hana to Akuma has actually been completed. There I was wondering why it never got updated, and guess what genius? The whole ‘I-won’t-read-this-chapter-I’ll-wait-for-the-next-so-I-can-read-it-in-one-go’ strategy has quite obviously backfired.

Just to sum up Hana to Akuma, it’s about this 14-year-old girl who lives with a demon. He’s been taking care of her ever since she was in diapers coz she was abandoned in front of his huchamungous mansion, and guess what happens?

Moving on.

I never quite got why I enjoy reading it; I started following it quite early, and I would read it whenever a new chapter came out, but I never cemented an attachment to it. It was like a good passing acquaintance rather a friend, I would say. But I think that might have changed with the last chapter.

I was actually really curious about how Oto Hisamu would end the whole story. Hana to Akuma carries the whole ‘happy ending’ atmosphere from the 1st chapter all the way to its penultimate 57th one, so I seriously wondering how it would finish – she was a human with a limited lifespan, and he was a demon who would continue living for countless millennia after her.

So anyway, the spoilers (and comparison) start here so if you don’t want to read either one, you can stop reading now.

But, I mean, I would appreciate it if you didn’t. That’s why I wrote this post.

Continue reading

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Mushroom Manga~ Shinkuu Yuusetsu & Kokoro Botan

Hello sweet peas! It feels like ages since I’ve posted something! Arawr suddenly had this blogging-spurt which came out of nowhere. While she took the helm of posting, I’ve been working on the the blog layout as you can see; made a new header and created some gifs which took me AGES(still a newb). I’m trying to fully utilise the trial of my photoshop CS5 before I downgrade and use the ancient CS version(which I hope will be able to achieve 99.8% of the same results with CS5).

I’ve also been slightly pre-occupied with our side-project, Weekend Betsuender – our scanlation team which will debut with a one-shot called Natsu No Kakera by Amano Shinobu. I doubt that we’ll be able to debut soon considering that I’ll be extremely busy with university during the next two weeks.

Announcements aside, here  is my mushroom manga post:

Shinkuu Yuusetsu (真空融接)

Manga-ka: Bikke

Genre: Fantasy, School Life, Shounen Ai, Slice of Life, Romance

In this country, every person has to be matched up with a partner. Partnerships are made around when you turn three or four. The doctors decide who gets paired together. One person acts as the ‘supplier.’ The other as the ‘receiver.’ It is impossible for a ‘receiver’ to continue to live without periodically being given power from the ‘supplier.’ And in the same way, it is imperative for a ‘supplier’ that a ‘receiver’ accept some of the power generated within their body. This ‘power’ can’t be made anywhere other than inside a ‘supplier’s own body… So for the ‘receivers,’ we ‘suppliers’ are completely indispensable….

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I went slightly ga-ga over reading this – correction, I went completely ga-ga. It’s the cutest thing I’ve read in a while though I haven’t been reading that much throughout these few weeks. I believe this is the first time I read something from Be x Boy magazine (or was it Be x Boy Gold?). I’ve seen these magazines constantly in stock in Japan Centre without fail and they cover serialisations in the shoujo, josei, shounen ai, and yaoi genre. So anyway, back to Shinkuu Yuusetsu, this is a terrific manga as a whole regardless of whether it’s shounen ai. It’s a first class piece of work and I’d place it right next to Seven Days – no, actually make that one step above. I really hope this gets licensed because I really need to collect this(not sure whether it ever would since it’s been 4 years since publication. I might have to get the Japanese copy instead).

The story’s concept is what will distinguish this manga from many others of it’s type. It’s an original, and I have never meant that word more than I do with Shinkuu Yuusetsu. If you’re afraid of venturing into shounen ai, this is a chance for you to experience a good one. The first chapter can easily be read as a one-shot. The first couple of pages might seem like a chore to read but it’s all explanation and background information which really in itself is quite interesting. The idea of people relying on each other as ‘supplier’ and ‘receiver’ is genius and the act of kissing to ‘re-charge’ isn’t executed in a gimmicky way just for the reader’s pleasure though I have to say it really is quite cute. Continue reading

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Otomen Vol 1

*May contain spoilers*

Title: Otomen

Author: Aya Kanno

Artist: Aya Kanno

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, School Life, Shoujo, Slice Of Life

Status: Ongoing

Asuka Masamune is a guy who loves girly things—sewing, knitting, making cute stuffed animals and reading shojo comics. But in a world where boys are expected to act manly, Asuka must hide his beloved hobbies and play the part of a masculine jock instead. Ryo Miyakozuka, on the other hand, is a girl who can’t sew or bake a cake to save her life. Asuka finds himself drawn to Ryo, but she likes only the manliest of men! Can Asuka ever show his true self to anyone, much less to the girl that he’s falling for?

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My goodness, when was the last time we posted one of our reviews? It must have been donkey years! Well, I do find them difficult to write – and when I finally do get down to it, I leave my draft to arawr for a whole check-up before it goes live (I’ve always wanted to say that – ‘it goes live,’ hehehe). 

Otomen is among one of the tankōbon that I’ve bought blindly in the past (I don’t do that anymore) and I was lucky I enjoyed it! It’s a story that focuses on a male protagonist instead of a female, which is pretty rare for a shoujo/school life/romance manga (without action) – but what I found most appealing was the feminine qualities portrayed by this male protagonist that makes him Otomen. Continue reading

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5 Doses of Manga Love for Valentine’s Day~

***chungky: Once again apologies for releasing this post so late! I’m so glad the world spins around because our friends in the Americas are still in 14th February. It’s actually 11:41pm now so strictly speaking, we still made it :D***

If you’re having a lazy day at home today or maybe you’re not even bothered by all the drama going on, here are a few reads to get you in the mood for love of all kinds – be it forbidden love or shounen ai, we tried compiling a range.

Continue reading

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Starry☆Sky Anime + Episodes 1-2

Welcome aboard everyone, now this is exciting, isn’t it, Eh?

This is my first ever anime review/opinion post, I’ve never written one before so I’ll attempt to convey my thoughts in the best way I can. Please take care of me~

I’ll be focusing on two episodes in each post on Starry Sky anime since each male character/love interest is explored through two episodes. I’ll also cover most of the general aspects of the anime in this post.

Starry☆Sky/スタ☆スカ

Genre: Slice of life, School life, Shoujo, Harem, Romance(this is included the genre but I’m not quite sure it fits)

Status: Currently airing, planned for 26 episodes, 11 minutes each episode

The heroine, Tsukiko, enrolled to a school that was recently changed from all-boys school to co-ed. Since the area where the school is conveniently rural and the rather exclusive curriculums the school has, up until now the heroine is the only one female who enrolled to the school.

In Starry Sky, the 12 constellations of the Zodiac are personified into handsome young men.

The anime will be directed by Kiyomo Sayaka. Adapted from the Starry Sky Otome Game series. The anime is in an episodic format.

Rated G – All Ages

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When I got news that there was a to be an anime adaptation of Starry Sky I felt all warm & happy inside. However, at the same time, I pondered about the outcome, how could an otome game, filled with guys who all end up in love & married with the same woman possibly work. I had my doubts and there were certainly complications, but I still very much enjoyed the first 2 episodes, saying that, I have played the first part of the game, Starry Sky in Spring. Continue reading

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