Archive for the 'Nitta, Youka' Category

13th Jun 2010

Otodama, Voice From The Dead 1

Rating: ♦♦♦

Because of the plagiarism scandal, I have a love/hate relationship with Youka Nitta. On one hand, I love her stories. I enjoy her character designs, and when she’s writing BL, it can be utterly filthy, and it’s wonderful. On the other hand, she’s traced some of her best images from fashion photography. So, while I did enjoy this release, in the back of my mind I’m wondering how much of it was her talent, and how much was taken from outside sources.

Now, this is not a BL release. This kind of sucks, because I could have really used some of her smut styling right about now. Still, I’m going to take it for what it is, a gorgeously drawn murder mystery with pretty boys and an ambiguous relationship. This really does beg to be slashed, and slashed well.

There’s Kaname, a man who can hear things most other’s can not. His hearing is so sensitive, that he can hear the screams of the dead. His friend, Hide, used to work with Kaname for the police, but now both have left the force and are trying their hands at other careers.

Hide is trying his hand at being a private detective, which brings him in contact with a lot of murder victims, which brings him into closer contact with Kaname.

Kaname likes to keep Hide around, because unlike most of the population who’s voices sound distorted, Hide’s sounds clear and true to him.

See what I mean about the slashy bits?

It’s pretty. It’s a fun read, and I’m going to enjoy the rest of the series if it continues in this vein. I just can’t get the nagging thoughts of this not fully being the work of Youka Nitta out of my head, and that’s spoiling the fun for me.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦, Nitta, Youka, Otodama, Voice from the Dead | 4 Comments »

28th Dec 2008

White Brand

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

I know all about the Youka Nitta scandal. I think she pulled a dumb-ass move and am glad that she’s taking a break for a while. This doesn’t mean that I hope that she’ll never work again or that I’m going to shun her work. Even though her faces look very similar, I still like the style. I like her characters and I like how she writes.

I’m going to be really cranky if she doesn’t finish Embracing Love because I want to know what happens, dammit! Let’s not get into the fact that the company that had the license for Embracing Love managed to fuck everything up royally and that no one has stepped in to buy up the licenses. No, I’m not bitter about that one; not at all.

That being said, White Brand is not one of my favorite Nitta releases. It’s good and it’s going directly to the keeper shelf, but it’s not one that I’m drooling over. It doesn’t have some of the over-emotional storytelling that I’ve come to love nor the extremely graphic sex that has become one of Nitta’s hallmarks.

No, this is a collection of shorts about characters trying to find a place where they fit in and to find love at the same time. It’s sweet. In fact, sweet may be just about the perfect word to sum up this release–it’s not usually a word I associate with Nitta.

My favorite story revolved around the American who went to Japan to learn the art of lacquering. He apprentices with a Japanese master and proceeds to work his way up through the ranks even though all of the other apprentices think that he’s never going to make it solely because he’s an American and can’t truly understand the Japanese aesthetic.

However, the master’s son appreciates his American guest and wants to see him succeed. Well, okay, he wants to do more than see him succeed–he wants to get fucked five ways to Sunday, but as this is a fairly non-graphic release, so we’re concentrating on his PG-rated wants.

Now, of course our young man gets what he wants and our American finds success. So, we have a happy ending, but there are all of these angsty little bits that make me want to care about the characters and their happiness. This is why this one is staying on my keeper shelf.

Say what you want about Nitta. I’m going to keep following her work, hoping that she’s learned her lesson and will make a return to manga soon.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Nitta, Youka, White Brand | Comments Off on White Brand

27th May 2008

Kiss of Fire

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

For those of you who don’t know this already, I collect artbooks. It’s a fairly large collection, but I’m fussy about what I let in it. So far there has not been a single English language release that has gone into my collection.

If I didn’t already have this book in the original Japanese, it would be going into my collection.

It’s exactly the same as my version. The only thing that’s missing is the mini-comic that was included in the original release, but to make up for it they included a nice envelope and printed, on very nice paper, letters written from Kato to Iwaki. In Japanese. They didn’t just translate them and give them to us, no, these are the notes that we find in the book in printed form.

One nice touch is that anything that is translated, aside from the table of contents is the first thing left in the original Japanese and then unobtrusively under or next to the image is the English translation. Very classy way of handing the language barrier without messing up the quality of the images.

All the pages are the same, everything printed on quality, heavy paper. The book consists of images of Kato and Iwaki, some separate, some together. It also includes a few mini-comics, just one or two page things, showing the boys together and interacting. Some very interesting phone calls those two have when they’re apart. I wouldn’t want to have their phone bill.

If you’re one of the people who missed out on getting the original release before BIBLOS went under, here’s your chance to pick up the art book. I know the last time I went looking at the prices of the original release, the dealers had jacked up the price to almost $100 a book. I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to be blowing $100 on an artbook, that thing had better be impossible to find or a limited edition.

Congrats to June for doing an artbook right and releasing it in a format that the fans will want to buy. If you’re a Youka Nitta fan and missed out on getting the original, this needs to be in your collection.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Kiss of Fire, Nitta, Youka | Comments Off on Kiss of Fire

27th May 2008

Casino Lily

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

Magira Yuri, a.k.a. Casino Lily, is lucky on an international scale. He beats the house every time. His presence is practically revered by casino owners. Basically, Magira is fabulous and all the boys want him.

However, there is a catch to Casino Lily’s luck and casino owner Anthony Monte Carlo is determined to find out Magira’s secret. In so pursuing Magira, Carlo falls for the pretty gambler. Magira can’t settle with Carlo though because of a promise to another in Japan.

We all know how this is gonna end, right? In perfect Nitta-style romance, of course!

There is also a short story titled “Not Guilty” at the end. Talk about twisted and delicious. It’s a lovely BL spin on the yakuza world.

I can tell this is one of Nitta’s earlier works. Her drawing style has solidified, but her storytelling is a little shallow. I will still recommend this to Nitta fans because Casino Lily is a good read and very easy on the eyes. If you want a classic, pick this manga up!

Posted by Nikita | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Casino Lily, Nitta, Youka | Comments Off on Casino Lily

27th May 2008

Embracing Love 1

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

I’ve got to come clean here, I was a huge Haru wo Daiteita fan before there was even the slightest inkling that they might be bringing it over for a North American release. Loved the art, loved the characters, and loved the plot. So if I tend to sound like a bit of a gushing fangirl, you’ll have to forgive me.

We’ve got two AV (adult video) stars. Iwaki and Kato. Both are competing to be at the top of their genre and have developed a sizable rivalry. They are both invited to come and audition for a part in a new movie, which is based on a homosexual relationship. The author and director instructs them to have sex, so that they can judge just how much raw feeling and emotion these two are going to be able to produce.

Eventually, these two end up starring in a TV serialization of the story and begin a relationship of their own. I’m glossing over a lot here, but I’m trying to not give away too many salient plot points. Suffice it to say that it’s a rocky relationship at best, but they find that having real emotion and love is much better than showing fake emotion and love on the screen.

I’ve always been a fan of the next to last chapter in this manga, “Imitation Room.” It’s filthy and lovely and all kinds of good. Youka Nitta has never shied away from being graphic in her manga. She likes to push the limits of what the censors will allow. For someone who reads a lot of BL manga and is used to seeing the glowing cones of light used for penises and characters who are completely devoid of pubic hair, it’s quite a shock to see these characters drawn with pubic hair. It makes the scene just that much more filthy.

Really the only problem I have with this manga is the same problem that I have with every Be Beautiful release. I hate the blown up black and white images on the inside covers. They just look ugly. Once again I want my dust covers and my full color inserts. I know I’m sounding like a broken record here, but maybe if I bitch long enough and hard enough they will get a clue as to what the fans want.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Embracing Love, Nitta, Youka | Comments Off on Embracing Love 1

27th May 2008

Embracing Love 2

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

The tension continues in Embracing Love, Volume Two. Iwaki doth protest too much, I think, but Katou always gets his man. We all know that neither one can resist the other. And, really, who could blame them?

The jealousy in the story “One Night Gigolo” adds the right kind of spice I like. They angst, they yell, they… unwind. Even if Iwaki and Katou are together, they both are striving for fame separately. This, of course, is the main issue in their relationship. I can imagine that most famous couples go through this sort of thing. Nitta handles Katou and Iwaki with a grace that is rarely seen in manga.

I found no flaw in illustration. Youka Nitta draws poetry. The curve of a neck says so much. It’s as simple as that.

I’ll, uh, stop gushing now. I will confess that I would like to see color inserts, but I’m not stressing over it. I’m here for the story and art, everything else is gravy. I would think that anyone who is a fan of Embracing Love feels the same.

Posted by Nikita | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Embracing Love, Nitta, Youka | Comments Off on Embracing Love 2

27th May 2008

Embracing Love 3

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

The first chapter of Embracing Love, Volume Three is the chapter that introduced me to Kato and Iwaki. I had picked up a used copy of BeBoy Zips on a whim. Flipping though it, I was pretty disappointed in the series that this issue was featuring, except for this one story that had these boys angsting and then getting together and screwing madly.

Not being able to read Japanese, all I knew about it was from the words in English at the beginning of the chapter “Paradox Dogs”. Eventually this lead me to my love of all things Youka Nitta.

In this installment we’ve got Kato and Iwaki moving into a house together and dealing with Iwaki’s family and their take on the boys’ relationship. Once again, Kato and Iwaki prove that at the end of it all, love is all that really matters.

The book is beautiful, the story is beautiful. This book just helps to prove that Embracing Love is one of the hallmarks of the genre.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Embracing Love, Nitta, Youka | Comments Off on Embracing Love 3

27th May 2008

Embracing Love 4

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

When you’ve got a series as engrossing as this one, you don’t mind a filler volume every once in a while. Katou and Iwaki are not working together anymore. Working on separate series is starting to wear on the couple. Especially on Katou, who needs almost constant reassurance of Iwaki’s feelings for him.

A hot and fast encounter in a parked car goes a long way towards soothing Katou’s ruffled feathers, but after the encounter, his jealousy rears its ugly head again. Katou’s feeling uneasy about Iwaki’s pretty new male assistant and for good reason. The assistant wants nothing more than to drive a wedge between Katou and Iwaki.

A guest role in Iwaki’s series helps to reassure Katou of his place in the world and in Iwaki’s heart, but it backfires when the ratings for Katou’s series being to slip. Poor Katou, he just can’t get ahead. Iwaki always manages to present a facade of calm control, but Katou’s emotions are all over the place. Very messy indeed.

We leave the boys happy after a bout of lovemaking that helps to reaffirm their relationship and Katou’s place in the world. But, you know that as soon as anything goes wrong or Iwaki stops paying extreme amounts of attention, they’re going to be right back at square one.

Included in this volume is the story of Sawa, the cross-dressing author of Embracing Love, the book-turned-movie-turned-series, that brought Katou and Iwaki together in the first place. It’s nice and gives a glimpse as to why Sawa acts the way he does towards his younger lover.

It’s very easy to get addicted to the characters in this series. It’s filled with enough angst and pretty boys humping to make me one very happy fangirl. The character’s emotions are larger than life and pull you into feeling what they are feeling. Really, it’s just all around wonderful.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Embracing Love, Nitta, Youka | Comments Off on Embracing Love 4

27th May 2008

Embracing Love 5

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

Well, it seems as though Asano’s plans are about to come to fruition. Katou’s away for a shoot, Iwaki is lonely and uncertain, and Asano pounces on the opportunity. Ah, but can he really come between our lovers?

Yes, he can. Katou and Iwaki don’t talk as much as they should. They’re very passionate about each other, but that passion is a double-edged sword.

But, come on! This is drama. This is really sexy drama, actually. They make up with steamy sex in the living room, among other places. This is what all couples do, right?

In this volume, you have my favorite part of this series: Winter Cicadas. This is a sad, wonderful Romeo and, uh, Romeo story that takes place in the Bunkyuu Era. First, we have Kusaka Touma who is part of a clan against foreigners in Japan. Then we meet Keiishirou Akizuki who is, predictably, in a clan for the inclusion of Westerners in Japan.

The clans end up warring against each other and everything goes to Hell in a handbasket. Akizuki and Touma are doomed from the beginning of course. They make a promise to be together when foreigners aren’t an issue and they can love each other freely.

“Winter Cicadas” is romantic and tragic. It ends exactly how it should. I found some problems with the translation though. Okay, first it’s ‘top knot’ not ‘top-notch.’ And, it’s ‘Akizuki’ not ‘Akidzuki.’ Whoever did the translation and spell check should be slapped up side the head for this.

I can overlook the mess-ups and enjoy the manga for what it is. I hear the same complaints from others about production value and translation issues. It’s starting to sound like a broken record. If these things bother you so much, quit buying or become a manga translator for these companies. It’s as simple as that.

Posted by Nikita | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Embracing Love, Nitta, Youka | Comments Off on Embracing Love 5

23rd May 2008

The Prime Minister’s Secret Diplomacy

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

Let me start off by saying that anything by Youka Nitta is a treat. Her stories are always emotional, the smut is graphic and her boys are too pretty for words. Whenever I pick up something by her, I know I’m going to be satisfied.

This book is no exception. The only difference in this release from her others is that in this one, I don’t particularly like the characters. I understand them, I know why they’re doing what they’re doing, but I don’t particularly like their behavior. Don’t get me wrong, I loved this release, but the characters’ behavior made me want to shake some sense into the two of them.

Welcome, my friends, to the wonderful world of diplomats. Here you have to marry in order to improve your standing and where you have to bury down your feelings for the good of the country. There’s Yoshinaga, the Japanese minister to Thailand, and Shiraishi, a young man who joined the diplomatic corps for the prestige of his family. Yoshinaga is engaged to Shiraishi’s sister. The marriage will improve Yoshinaga’s standing in the diplomatic corps.

Yoshinaga seems to be the perfect diplomat, but one night Shiraishi catches him at a night club, kissing another man. Shiraishi can’t say anything. If he outs Yoshinaga, then it will bring shame on his country and his sister. As much as Yoshinaga’s behavior repulses him, it attracts him as well and they start an affair.

Yoshinaga still insists on marrying Shiraishi’s sister and Shiraishi can’t bring himself to tell his sister the truth. They keep twining around each other like climbing ivy, but I’m not sure if they’re going to support each other, or smother each other.

Nitta has promised to write more about these two and I’m really looking forward to that. Even if I find their behavior reprehensible, there’s something really hot about these two sneaking around to be together!

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Nitta, Youka, Prime Minister's Secret Diplomacy, The | 1 Comment »

22nd May 2008

Sound of My Voice 1

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

I have been waiting with bated breath for Sound of My Voice, a.k.a. Boku no Koe, to be released in the States. Youka Nitta draws the prettiest men I have ever seen. Even some with glasses! Oh, be still, my nerd-loving heart.

So, welcome to Wataru Jouchi’s world. He’s an up-and-coming voice actor. He has yet to get his big break, but he works hard and tries to be true to himself.

In a twist of fate, Jouchi finds himself auditioning with a elementary school buddy/rival, Renji Kazama. Their personalities clash early into a job and Jouchi limps away with a bruised ego. However, Kazama’s not that much of an asshole to let Jouchi suffer. There’s not a direct apology, but the boys make up in their own way.

Of course, Jouchi and Kazama aren’t the only ones dealing with shifting paradigms. There are many relationships and competitions in the voice acting industry. I find this series fascinating because Nitta lets the reader go behind the scenes to see how this industry runs.

Okay, Sound of My Voice is not like Nitta’s other works like Embracing Love. This series is not about sex 24/7. Sorry to disappoint. The one sex scene in this volume is pretty much fanservice. However, if you’re a fan of Youka Nitta, you’ll enjoy Sound of My Voice immensely! I’m looking forward to the next book to see what’ll happen next!

Posted by Nikita | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Nitta, Youka, Sound of My Voice | Comments Off on Sound of My Voice 1