Archive for the 'Nakamura, Shungiku' Category

07th Sep 2010

Junjo Romantica 12

Rating: ♦♦♦

As much as I enjoy this series, it is starting to wear a bit thin on me. Yes it’s cute, yes Misaki is unbelievably adorable, yes it’s fun to see his lover molest the hell out of him. But, it’s the same thing we’ve seen for the past 11 volumes. They just don’t seem to get past the stumbling block of Misaki being able to commit to Usagi, and while this leads to comedic gold, it doesn’t lend itself to much plot development. Which, is why I’ve been slightly cranky with this series for the past few volumes.

Not cranky enough to stop buying it, mind you, but cranky enough that I do stop and think about how much money I want to invest in this series before it either jumps the shark, or I lose interest. The cute factor is a big part of why I do keep investing in this series. As cranky as I can get with it, it always does make me laugh.

So, this time, Misaki’s getting ready to graduate from college, and is getting pressure from all around him as to what he’s going to do with his life after college. Usagi would like nothing better than to have him continue as he as been. Cleaning and cooking for him, and having lots of wildly hot sex. But, this being BL and Junjo Romantica, things aren’t quite that simple.

Unfortunately, we have to wait until the next volume, to see if there will be any resolution. The only thing we get out of this volume is some lovely pervy sex, and a promise of a trip to meet Misaki’s favorite manga artist.

I’m going to keep reading and enjoying this series, but it does get hard when every single volume seems to re-tread over the same circumstances and problems.

At least it’s still cute as hell.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦, Junjo Romantica, Nakamura, Shungiku | 2 Comments »

11th Jan 2010

Junjo Romantica 11

Rating: ♦♦♦

We’re at that point in a series where I start to get bored. I know the characters, I know how they’re going to act in most situations, and I know that we’re going to have a happy ending.
While I still crack a grin at some of Misaki’s misadventures, it’s getting old.

Now, knowing how good this series is, I’m sure that it will pick back up in a few volumes.
But, right now, it’s just pages of drabble, interspersed with some flashes of smut.

There’s the normal Akihiko family drama, with Misaki feeling overwhelmed, and Usagi having to make things better. Then Usagi’s cousin moves in, and develops a crush on Usagi, leaving Misaki floundering, once again.

Jealousy, chocolate and teddy bears rule this volume, and while it’s cute, it’s an overdose of sweetness.

I may back off of this series for a while, or at least just stick to the anime, until I can appreciate its form of insanity again.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦, Junjo Romantica, Nakamura, Shungiku | 1 Comment »

18th Jul 2009

Junjo Romantica 10

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

I think part of the reason that I like this series so much is because Misaki is such an average guy. He’s in a position to interact with people who are not average and is bemused as to why Misaki reacts the way he does. I don’t know why it’s taken me ten volumes to come to this conclusion. Something in this volume just made it stand out very clearly to me. There was a scene where Misaki gets to meet one of his favorite manga-ka, an artist who’s drawing a series about a chef, and Misaki reacts in a sane yet fanboyish way.

It’s something I would do if I ever got the chance to meet one of my favorite artists. And, looking back on the series, I realized that what makes it so endearing is watching this average guy react to these insane situations. His normality is being skewed to match the insanity around him and he’s just struggling to keep up. It’s very cute and will keep me reading this series for a long time to come.

So, in this volume we have more family drama, Usami getting jealous, trying to make deadlines, and tons of Misaki just trying to be Misaki.

If you’re not already a fan of this series, I’m not sure what’s stopping you from giving this one a try. It’s lovely, happy and just cute enough to be endearing without crossing the line into being saccharine and overdone.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Junjo Romantica, Nakamura, Shungiku | 1 Comment »

27th May 2009

Junjo Romantica 9

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

I can’t not like this series. Sure, some of the volumes drag a bit, but the series always manages to turn around to show off the crack that it is. Misaki is always endearing–even when he’s playing the protesting uke-boy. Usami is always wonderfully odd and loving without being creepy. It’s really something that I look forward to.

It’s been a year since Usami and Misaki got together and they’ve settled into a comfortable routine. Things seem to be going swimmingly for the couple until Takahiro shows up and causes Misaki to worry that Usami’s feelings are going to go back to his old flame. Then, throw in a female cousin who’s insisting on Usami’s hand in marriage and things get very strange.

Misaki’s caught in the middle and doesn’t know where to go or who to trust. As always, he seems to be the only character in the series who can manage to keep a cool head. And, when Misaki’s calm and collected in comparison to the other characters, you know things are slightly insane. Misaki’s inate charm and sweetness serve him well as he manages to get himself out of some sticky situations, but all the charm and sweetness in the world can’t convince him of Usami’s feelings.

This series is just far too much fun. It doesn’t take too much brain power to read, the art is always good and it’s just fun. I’m not looking for hidden meanings or anything like that. I can just read this series and enjoy it for being random insanity.

With the amount of manga I read, and especially with the amount of crappy manga I read, something like Junjo Romantica is a breath of fresh air. It’s not one of the series that reaffirms my love of the genre, but it is one that reminds me of why I keep reading and reviewing.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Junjo Romantica, Nakamura, Shungiku | 1 Comment »

25th Jan 2009

Junjo Romantica 8

Rating: ♦♦♦

If it wasn’t for the fact that I still find Misaki incredibly endearing, I think I would have given up on this manga a long time ago. Every time I think that I’m done with it, that I’m not going to spend my money on another volume, I end up buying it and getting sucked right back into the madcap insanity that makes this series so much fun. This volume had a little less madcap insanity and more plot build-up, but that just means that the next volume is going to be a joy to read.

We start off with Usami running into a deadline and being stuck as to how to write a normal date scene. Neither of the boys have actually been on a normal date. Usami because he’s crazy and Misaki because he’s gotten swept up into Usami’s world. So, Misaki plans out his perfect date and Usami takes him on it. That works out well, but Usami’s distracted and a bit distant. This is coupled with the fact that he asked Misaki if he wanted to move out on his own earlier and Misaki is going through the typical uke-boy confusion. Throw Usami’s brother into the plot, an appearance by Usami’s estranged father, and things are going to get very interesting.

Then we have a short with the Egoists. Nowaki is caught in a slightly compromising situation, leaving Hiro to jump to the wrong conclusions. Then, surprisingly, admits to some of his true feelings.

This series is like a guilty pleasure. It’s just fluff, it doesn’t do anything but make you grin when you read it, but you feel so much better after you finish a volume.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦, Junjo Romantica, Nakamura, Shungiku | 1 Comment »

28th Sep 2008

Junjo Romantica 7

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

For a series that I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get into, I’m really enjoying how the various Junjo couples can make me smile. It’s insanity and sweetness all tied up with a bow made of cute. I’m still not sure how long they’re going to be able to maintain this level of goodness before it’s pushed over the edge, but I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

In the Junjo Terrorist camp, Miyagi and Shinobu are fighting. Shinobu is jealous of Miyagi’s ex-lover. Of course, the fact that the ex-lover is dead has no bearing on Shinobu’s feelings.

On the Junjo Romantica side, Misaki gets a confession from an unexpected source which causes him to show his true colors. Usami reacts with his normal lack of emotion mixed with his overblown, over-dramatic actions.

Then there’s the Junjo Egoists who turn everything into a battle of wills, even with something as simple as planning a date.

As I’ve said before, it’s hard to write a review when we’re so far into the series. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but I also don’t want to confuse the hell out of people who may just be tuning in.

It’s a fun series and a relief to read after some of the crap that’s been inflicted upon me this week. I’m so happy that BLU is going to keep releasing the series.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Junjo Romantica, Nakamura, Shungiku | Comments Off on Junjo Romantica 7

30th Jun 2008

Junjo Romantica 6

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

As time goes by, I’m growing more and more fond of this series. Of course, this is compounded by the fact that I’ve been downloading the fansubs of the series as soon as they become available. Hell, I even went out and got the artbook to help feed my Junjo addiction.

Even some of the things that made me cranky about the manga flow smoothly in the animated series. But, of course, watching the anime, just makes me want to dig back into the issues of the manga. Okay, enough babbling about the animated series. You’re not here for the review of that. I’m supposed to be concentrating on the manga. Bad Cyn! No cookie!

We get a glimpse into the completely messed up family life of Usami and his older brother, Haruhiko. It seems that Haruhiko has taken a shine to poor Misaki. So much so that he declares his love for him. Now, if you thought that Usami was socially stunted, he’s nothing compared to his older brother!

After Misaki mentions that he likes strawberries, Haruhiko starts sending him bushels of them daily. To retaliate, Usami starts buying Misaki every form of strawberry-flavored delicacy that is made. Misaki is up to his ears in strawberries. Haruhiko even goes so far as to kidnap Misaki and lock him away in the family mansion.

Misaki does manage to escape but, as is par for the course with Misaki, manages to injure himself in the process. Usami ends up coming to his rescue and there’s some lovely, hot sex as Usami reestablishes his claim, so everything ends well. It’s more of the general lunacy that I’ve come to enjoy with this series.

There’s also a continuation of the Junjo Terrorist story line, where there’s a huge misunderstanding between Miyagi and Shinobu. So much so that Shinobu is leaving to go back to Australia. Once his decision is finalized, Miyagi realizes just how much he cares for him.

This series far too much fun, even when its silliness borders on the ridiculous. I always walk away from reading a volume of this series with a smile on my face.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Junjo Romantica, Nakamura, Shungiku | 4 Comments »

27th May 2008

Hybrid Child

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

This is a story that I fell in love with a few years ago when I read the scanlations of it. If you’re a fan of bittersweet stories that will pluck at your heartstrings, then this is definitely something you want to add to your collection.

The book revolves around a collection of stories about these hybrid children and their owners. A hybrid child is a mechanical person, who only grows and matures through the love of their owners. As in the case of Chobits, we’re left questioning if mechanical beings can have feelings. A hybrid child is supposed to mirror its owner’s feelings. In one of the stories, a hybrid child is unable to grow because his owner is just showing him the sweet and innocent parts of life. When the hybrid child is introduced to some of the darkness in his owner’s soul he begins to grow and become a full companion.

There are two stories in the book that really get to me. They make me tear up every time I read them. The first story in the book revolves around a rich, spoiled young man by the name of Kotaro, who finds a hybrid child thrown out in the trash and takes him home. His family tries three times to throw the hybrid child away, but each time Kotaro finds him and brings him back home.

Trouble is that Kotaro’s hybrid child, Hazuki, was the very first hybrid child that was released for sale to the general public. That being said he’s got a few problems. Hazuki is deteriorating and all of Kotaro’s money can’t save him.

Kotaro brings Hazuki to Kuroda, the person who created the hybrid children to see if anything can be done to save him. Kuroda gives Kotaro a slim chance to save Hazuki if he can find and bring back a rare item that he has to collect himself. Kuroda never does find the item, even though he put more effort into looking for something to save Hazuki than he has ever put into anything else ever. In doing so, he and Hazuki find their true feelings for each other.

It’s just all kinds of bittersweet, sad, endearing and lots of other great adjectives.

The last story in the book revolves around Kuroda, the creator of the hybrid children, and just why he started making these humanoid dolls. It’s a sad tale, set right before the Meiji restoration. Lots of period clothing for me to drool over and a truly tragic tale.

Seriously, this book is right up top on my list of favorites that June has released. The artwork is gorgeous, the stories are endearing and you’re left wanting more. I really couldn’t ask for anything else.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Hybrid Child, Nakamura, Shungiku | Comments Off on Hybrid Child

26th May 2008

Junjo Romantica 1

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

There are two elements that really make a series addicting to me. I love series that revolve around a bunch of interconnected characters a la Love Mode. I also love series that have a good sense of the absurd and are not afraid to poke fun at themselves, a la Shout Out Loud!. Junjo Romantica has both elements and wraps it all up in an engaging story and cutely messy graphics.

The first couple we’re introduced to is Usami and Misaki. Usami is a wunderkid/rich-boy. He’s also a genius, an award winning novelist and a Boys Love author. Not only that, but he’s also in love with Misaki’s older brother.

Misaki is a slightly dense, overemotional student who’s grades are not nearly high enough to get him into the university of his choice. Usami agrees to tutor Misaki once he finds out why Misaki won’t settle for a lesser school. It seems that Misaki’s older brother got accepted to this prestigious university but had to drop out after his and Misaki’s parents were killed in an accident.

Now, Usami, being in love with Mr. Older-Brother, is going to do everything in his power to get Misaki into that school. Misaki scrapes along and finally brings his grades up high enough to get accepted into the school. He got in from being on the wait list, but he got in! During this time Misaki discoverers Usami’s BL novels, which quite graphically describe what Usami wants to do to Mr. Older-Brother.

As you can imagine, Misaki is not pleased. Of course he ends up getting molested by Usami in turn after he taunts him that ‘anyone would do’ argument.

Things return back to normal until Mr. Older-Brother’s birthday rolls around. At the birthday party Mr. Older-Brother reveals that he’s going to be married, crushing Usami’s hopes once and for all. Misaki goes to comfort Usami and finds that his feelings for Usami are stronger than he ever suspected.

The other relationship revolves around Hiroki and Nowaki. Hiroki went to school with Usami and was secretly in love with him. One night he even talked Usami into sleeping with him by telling him to pretend that he was Mr. Older-Brother. The encounter left everyone involved feeling vaguely unsatisfied, but it did not cure Hiroki’s lust for Usami. Love, yes, but sometimes it’s harder to tell your hormones to take a long walk off of a short pier.

The other partner in the relationship, Nowaki, has not had an easy life. He was abandoned in front of an orphanage when he was young and had to drop out of school to find jobs to support himself. When he runs into Hiroki crying over Usami he decides that he wants him and will stop at nothing to have him.

Intrigued yet? Good. This series looks like it’s shaping up to be completely crack-like. Totally addicting and completely endearing. I don’t know how this series slipped under my radar, but I’m sure glad that I found it.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Junjo Romantica, Nakamura, Shungiku | Comments Off on Junjo Romantica 1

26th May 2008

Junjo Romantica 2

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

Time for somemore inspired lunacy. Misaki and Usagi have been living together, mostly peacefully. Misaki still flies into a rage when he reads the boyxboy smut that Usagi writes, thinking that Usagi is writing about him and the things that they have done together.

Misaki’s still struggling with his feelings for Usagi. He doesn’t want to think that he’s gay and he doesn’t want to actualy be in love with a guy like Usagi. Things get even more complicated for poor Misaki when Usagi’s beautiful, and female, assistant lets herself into the apartment to check on Usagi.

Misaki gets hit with feelings of jealousy, even though he’s not really sure what it is he’s feeling. Things work out well for the boys, or at least as well as they can given the circumstances of Misaki being unsure of his sexuality and Usagi being a pervert.

This volume also features another couple, Hiroki and Nowaki. These two were together for six years when out of the blue, Nowaki leaves to go and study abroad in the US. Understandably, Hiroki is not too happy about this. Then, as suddenly as he left, Nowaki is back, and working himself back into Hiroki’s life, and expects that he and Hiroki can just pick up things right where they left off.

I really like this series, but I don’t love it. I don’t get all happy and excited when I hear that a new volume is going to be released. It’s cute and funny and mostly harmless, but it just does not have the same spark that would turn this into a truly great series.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Junjo Romantica, Nakamura, Shungiku | Comments Off on Junjo Romantica 2

26th May 2008

Junjo Romantica 3

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

Maybe it’s just me, because goodness knows I’m not always very quick on the uptake, but I get very confused with the timeline of the relationship between Hiro and Nowaki. In the first book, they show Hiro and Nowaki and how they got together. Hiro used to be in love with Usami. In volume two, we go through the angst that Hiro and Nowaki went through when one of them went to the United States for medical school. Now, if this is all supposed to be taking place at the same time that the rest of the book is, then I am just very, very confused.

There is a very cute story about Hiro and Nowaki in this release though, so even if I’m confused as hell about the timeline, I’m enjoying how disgustingly sweet they are. Nowaki seems to be feeling a bit under the weather and Hiro tries everything in his power to nurse Nowaki back to health. Turns out that Nowaki really wasn’t that ill, just enjoying the attention that Hiro was paying to him. It’s sweet.

Misaki and Usami are back to the same problems that they always have. Misaki is tweaking out over Usami writing details of their love life into his BL novels. He keeps thinking that he’s going to be better off without Usami, but when Misaki’s older brother calls up and wants Misaki to come live with him, and his new bride, it’s harder to get Usami out of his system than he thought.

I go back and forth with this series, between loving it and finding it to be simply pretty good. This is one of the volumes that reminded me just how much I enjoy the series. Hopefully, the next volume will be just as enjoyable.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Junjo Romantica, Nakamura, Shungiku | Comments Off on Junjo Romantica 3