Archive for the 'Takanaga, Hinako' Category

17th Sep 2010

The Tyrant Falls in Love 1

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

I have been waiting for this one! I had adored these characters when we were introduced to them in the Challengers series, and was very disappointed when I learned that DQ wasn’t going to be able to publish the sequel, The Tyrant Falls in Love. Then DMP came to the rescue, and bought the license, so we have the wonder and absurdity that makes this series so damn great. And, by damn great, I mean morally reprehensible and fantastically pervy.

Tatsumi is the older brother of the sweet Tomoe Tatsumi, whom we met in Challengers, and ran off with the ‘gay’ Kurokawa. Tatsumi has never forgiven Kurokawa for corrupting his sweet and innocent younger brother, and this manafests in him hating all ‘gays’, including his assistant, Morinaga. Now, Morinaga, has confessed his love for Tatsumi, to his face – and survived it.

So, for five years, Morinaga has been in love with this homicidal, fanatical, lunatic, and appears to be happy to suffer in silence, until one of his friends gives him an aphrodisiac to try on Tatsumi. Morinaga is horrified by the thought, and hides the bottle away, never planning on using it.

Of course, this being a BL manga, a night of drinking (set off by the news that Tomoe is going to marry his beloved Kurokawa, and Morinaga’s refusal to let Tatsumi blow the USA to smithereens) leads to Tatsumi downing the whole bottle, and Morinaga having to sleep with him – for purely medical reasons, of course.

Now, as you might have guessed, this does not endear Morinaga to Tatsumi the next morning. Yet, Tatsmui can’t quite bring himself to hate Morinaga. He even finds himself worrying about Morinaga when he drops off the face of the earth for a few weeks.

It’s a manga that I have far too much fun reading, and if the release of the second volume gets delayed, I am going to be a very cranky Cyn, indeed.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Takanaga, Hinako, Tyrant Falls in Love, The | 2 Comments »

19th Nov 2009

Liberty Liberty!

Rating: ♦♦♦

I really enjoy Hinako Takanaga’s art. This is a very good thing, because her art saved this release. It’s a cute story. It’s fluffy and light, and something that pretty easy to forget, five minutes after you’ve read it. It’s nowhere near as good, or as madcap, as some of her other releases. Maybe I’m just cranky because this release is void of almost all physical interaction between the two male leads. I like my boys, I like them to be humping. One chaste kiss does not make me happy.

There’s Itaru, who’s running away from his problems, and Kouki who keeps coming to his rescue. Kouki finds Itaru after he’s passed out drunk in a garbage strewn alleyway. In the process of coming to Itaru’s rescue, Itaru manages to destroy Kouki’s video camera.

This being manga-land, Kouki takes the drunken sot to his apartment to sober up. He then informs Itaru that he now has to give Kouki money to replace the camera.

Now, Itaru, being unemployed, and on the run from his problems, has no way of repaying Kouki. Itaru, trying to find a way to repay his debt, starts following Kouki around like a little lost puppy dog. We then find out that Kouki works for a struggling local TV station. Throw in a transvestite news reporter, and things get interesting.

It’s cute, but there’s no real substance. I didn’t get sucked into the mental state where I believe in the characters and all of their impossible situations. I found myself just flipping through to the end, and enjoying the art.

I’m all for bringing over all of the manga that we can, but I don’t think we should bring over everything a popular artist has done, unless the quality of the release is as high as the works that made them popular in the first place.

I guess it could have been worse, they could have been school boys.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦, Liberty Liberty!, Takanaga, Hinako | Comments Off on Liberty Liberty!

19th Apr 2009

You Will Drown in Love

Rating: ♦♦♦

Maybe I’m just not in the mood for sweetness, light and a happy ending this week. Normally, I’m a huge fan of Takanaga. Hell, I’m still pissed off at Drama Queen for the fact that they dropped the ball and we won’t be seeing the masterful The Tyrant Who Fell in Love.

While having some of the insanity that I’ve come to know and love from Takanaga, this one just didn’t pack an emotional punch. Still, a mediocre release from her is better than some of the stuff that gets released over here. I should be counting my blessings.

This is a sequel to You Will Fall in Love and features big brother Reiichiro and his search for love. After losing what he thought was the love of his life to his little brother, I think the poor guy is deserving of some love and affection.

Enter Jinna, an employee at the kimono shop that Reiichiro is now managing. Jinna isn’t too thrilled with Reichiro’s lack of management skills and tact. So, he decides to school Reiichiro in the arts of management, customer service and sweaty hot boysex.

It’s cute, sweet and up to BLU’s normal quality standards, but it just didn’t make me want to sing its praises. I think I may come back to this one when I’m in more of a fluffy romance kind of mood.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦, Takanaga, Hinako, You Will Drown in Love | 1 Comment »

01st Mar 2009

Love Round!!

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

I shouldn’t be as fond of incredibly silly manga as I am. Really, I shouldn’t. Yet, when they’re done well and don’t cross the line into the realm of absurd, I find myself really enjoying them.

Takanaga has taken her trademark insanity and brought it to the world of boxing. I don’t know about all of you, but I never found boxing all that sexy. Still, when presented in a format like this, I can start to see the appeal.

There’s Kaoru, who’s embarrassed by his feminine-sounding name, and his girlish good looks. He’s also got a killer right hook, as his admirer Kubo finds out after complimenting Kaoru on how cute he is. See, for all that Kaoru looks like a 95-pound weakling, get him pissed and he gets this superhero-like fist-of-doom.

Poor Kubo, with his growing feelings for Kaoru and his tendency to insert his foot firmly into his mouth, he’s the recipient of almost all of Kaoru’s knock-outs. Through the haze of bruises and concussions, Kubo gets more and more into Kaoru and Kaoru starts to be come more and more comfortable with who he is. Proving that he’s more than just a pretty face, he’s just as much of a man as Kubo.

This one is a happy little gem. Light reading, nothing too taxing, but entertaining enough to keep you wanting to know what happens to the characters. I’m not looking for ground-breaking literature in my BL–I just want to be entertained. This release managed to do just that.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Love Round!!, Takanaga, Hinako | 2 Comments »

12th Dec 2008

You Will Fall In Love

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

I’m a huge fan of kyūdō or the art of Japanese archery. Ever since I read Rin, I’ve thought that it was beautiful and an interesting plot device. That, combined with Takanaga’s storytelling and art, turns what is a basic and formulatic plot into something that’s really special.

Haru is a young teacher who’s subbing at a prestigious high school. That’s all well and good, but his problems arise when he’s asked to help coach the archery team. Haru used to be an accomplished archer, but quit suddenly for no apparent reason.

The reason for his abandonment of archery was because of his unrequited love for his best friend and fellow archer, Reiichiro. Seeing Reiichiro rattled Haru out of the necessary concentration needed for his sport, so to get away from his feelings, he walked out of Reiichiro’s life and archery.

It should come as no surprise that the star archer at the new school is Reiichiro’s younger brother, Tsukasa. It should also come as no surprise that Tsukasa has the hots for Haru. See where this is going? Now, the whole student/teacher thing is getting to be a bit old, but when done well, I still enjoy it. This release is a prime example of how to do it.

There’s no big surprises here, no deep revelations or plot twists, just a nice story that holds your interest and is drawn well. And, that really makes me happy.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Takanaga, Hinako, You Will Fall In Love | Comments Off on You Will Fall In Love

12th Nov 2008

A Capable Man

Rating: ♦♦♦

I like Hinako Takanaga. I’ve liked her ever since I read the scanlations of The Tyrant Who Fell In Love. While she’s not out and out raunchy, she does have a nice bit of filth in her stories, and there’s a nice thread of lunacy running through her works.

Now, given the fact that I’m really sick and tired of anthologies, I was of two minds going into this one. I was looking forward to seeing new stuff by Takanaga, but I wasn’t looking forward to short, quick stories with little character development.

The first set of characters proved that my reluctance was well founded. I just didn’t give two shits about what happened to these guys. Shingo has always liked men who were exceptional. His best friend, Koji, has devoted his life to making himself exceptional, so Shingo will pay attention to him. When Shingo’s cousin, who is an exceptional man, comes back on the scene, Koji feels threatened. In the wonderful world of BL, a threatened potential seme when faced with an emotional uke, turns into a full-out seme with the power to force his reluctant uke into the world of pleasure. Yeah. It’s the same contrived plot that we’ve seen over and over again.

Thankfully, the other stories in the release were a breath of fresh air. I particularly liked the ones about the teacher and his student, and the teacher’s non-behaving hair, and the chef and his apprentice who develops a masochistic fetish for his sempai.

While I can’t recommend this one wholeheartedly, it is good enough to say on my keeper shelf. As always, BLU did a very nice job of presentation. I’m pretty sure these are early works of Takanaga, so it’s easy to see the glints of quality that can be found in her later work.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦, A Capable Man, Takanaga, Hinako | 2 Comments »

05th Jun 2008

The Devil’s Secret

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

Is there anything more fun than a incubus getting his claws into a Catholic priest? I don’t think there is. Maybe it’s just my lust for boys with wings and bastardization of Christian mythology coming through, but this release pushed almost all of my happy kink buttons.

So, there’s a priest, Father Mauro, whose kind heart led him to take in a drifter he found in his garden – a drifter with horns and a tail. Now Mauro doesn’t think twice about his guest’s extra appendages, except for asking him to hide them from his parishioners. Mauro is convinced that demons don’t exist. His guest is just, um, special.

The guest, Raoul, worries that he may be a demon, but lets Mauro reassure him that it isn’t possible. After all, Raoul’s not evil, just mischievous and playful.

This all changes when one of Raoul’s brothers comes looking for him to take him back to his family in Hell. Raoul’s not just a demon, he’s an incubus and one of Satan’s own sons. This doesn’t make him that special, there’s over one hundred brothers, which explains how they lost one of them. Of course, being an incubus, there’s really only one way that Raoul can take sustenance and this means that Mauro’s on the menu!

The whole thing is very sexy and cute. I have to admit to wanting more stories about the older brother incubus and what life is like in the author’s version of Hell. Her version of Hell seems to be more like a pantheon of gods rather than a place of fire and punishment. Still, the book was very satisfying and made me grin the whole way through.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Devil's Secret, The, Takanaga, Hinako | 1 Comment »

27th May 2008

Challengers 1

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

Let me start off by saying that I got into this series by its sequel, The Tyrant Who Fell In Love, which will be released by Drama Queen later this year. If you’re familiar with The Tyrant Who Fell In Love, you know that one of the reasons that the main character is so tyrannical is because his beloved baby brother ran off with a ‘gay’.

Challengers is the story of the baby brother and the ‘gay’ that he ran off with. Tomoe Tatsumi is lost when he first arrives in Tokyo and just slightly naive. Mitsugu Kurokawa takes pity on poor Tatsumi and takes him under his wing and even offers to let him live with him.

Kurokawa tries his very best to hide his attraction to Tatsumi, but it’s so hard when Tatsumi’s so sweet and trusting and all kinds of things of that nature.

Enter in Tatsumi’s older brother, who considers murder a ‘viable option’ when it comes to making sure that Tatsumi stays clean, pure and untainted by Kurokawa’s clumsy advances.

It’s cute, endearing and all-around one of the sweetest stories I’ve read in a long time. Top it all off with the art work being stellar, Drama Queen leaving in the honorifics and a full-color insert and I am one happy little fangirl.

No one can beat Drama Queen when it comes to a quality presentation and quality releases. They really seem to have their finger on the pulse of what the older contingent of BL fangirls want to read and the format they want to read them in.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Challengers, Takanaga, Hinako | Comments Off on Challengers 1

27th May 2008

Challengers 2

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

Well, we’re back for more. This time we’ve got Tatsumi slowly falling for Kurokawa. Much to the chagrin of friends and family. There’s Rick, an American exchange student, who want’s nothing more but to be in Tatsumi’s pants, Kurokawa’s insane mother and Phil, another American exchange student who’s got the hots for Rick.

With complications like these, it doesn’t seem like Tatsumi and Kurokawa are ever going to get together.

Since this is a BL comic and true love trumps just about everything, of course they do end up together and life is all peaches and cream. Well, except for Tatsumi’s big brother who hates ‘homos’ with a passion and would die to know that his brother was dating one of them, but that’s another story.

There’s also a side story that includes just why big brother hates ‘homos’ so much and thinks that they are all ‘Satan’s rape demons.’ Poor Morinaga. He’s never going to get into older brother’s pants at this rate.

Morinaga is the research assistant for the gay-bashing older brother of Tatsumi’s, Souichi. Morinaga has been crushing on Souichi for a long time now, but because of Souichi’s prejudice won’t be able to act on it. Poor kid. He knows he shouldn’t be falling for a straight boy like this, but he just can’t help himself.

As per usual, kudos to Drama Queen for their stellar presentation. Full-color inserts, honorifics and all the things that I look for in a quality manga.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Challengers, Takanaga, Hinako | Comments Off on Challengers 2

24th May 2008

Little Butterfly 1

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

So, we’ve got our basic, goody-two-shoes boy and a brooding introvert. Kojima’s the gregarious one. Everyone wants to be his friend. Everyone except Nakahara who rejects every single friendly overture that Kojima makes.

On a school trip, Nakahara strays from the rest of the crowd. Kojima, who hasn’t been deterred by any of Nakahara’s rebuffs, follows him. Turns out that Nakahara isn’t just straying from the group, he’s trying to run away. Nakahara and Kojima have a long talk. The plot to run away is forgotten for the time and a friendship is born.

Nakahara is your typical bad boy. He’s got an angsty, troubled past. He’s not a virgin (a fact that endears him to no end with the rest of the kids at school) and he’s got a massive chip on his shoulder. Throughout the book we watch as his feelings for Kojima grow stronger and stronger until it’s all he can do to keep from touching Kojima.

He does eventually tell Kojima how he feels, which slightly freaks Kojima out. Being the stereotypical goody-two-shoes, Kojima hasn’t even considered his sexuality, never mind considered shacking up with his best friend.

It all ends on a positive note and leaves you looking forward to the next book in the series. Now, supposedly, it’s in the third book that this series earns its mature rating. We shall see. Right now it’s just addictive, sweet fluff, but I could definitely see it getting filthy later on as the boy’s relationship progresses.

I’ve been very happy with everything that DMP has been releasing with their new June line. Hopefully, they’ll keep up the good work and keep releasing series that are utterly addicting.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Little Butterfly, Takanaga, Hinako | Comments Off on Little Butterfly 1

24th May 2008

Little Butterfly 2

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

I’m finding it very hard to come up with anything I dislike in this series. While it hasn’t quite lived up to its 18+ rating yet, it’s so amazingly endearing that I find myself getting sucked in and letting the story tug at my heartstrings.

This time around Kojima is struggling with studying for his exams. He and Nakahara have planned to escape from their families and their problems by going to college together. The only problem lies in the fact that the college that Nakahara wants to go to is a bit more prestigious than the college that Kojima was panning on attending.

Nakahara’s uncle comes on the scene to check up on Nakahara and his family, and offers to tutor Kojima in the subjects that he is struggling with. Now, Nakahara’s family is disintegrating before his very eyes. His father is never home and his mother is sinking deeper and deeper into the grips of mental illness. Uncle-dear had been banned from contacting Nakahara years ago after a disagreement he had with Nakahara’s father. But yet while he’s in town, he asks to have a meeting with the father.

Turns out that Uncle’s company is in trouble. The only person who is going to be able to loan him the money he needs is Nakahara’s father. Father’s willing to do it, but only on one condition. He wants to divorce his wife and cut out Nakahara from his life. The money is all Uncle’s, no strings attached, as long as he takes back his family.

Thank goodness for Kojima and his sunny disposition. There’s always room in his heart for Nakahara.

The book ends with the boys in bed exploring each other and taking the sexual aspect of their relationship up a level. Good for Nakahara, not so good for Kojima who’s worried about his inexperience and his new found inability to pay attention in class because he’s concentrating too hard on Nakahara.

You know, in all honesty, as much as I like my smut, these are the kind of books I like the best. The books that are sweet, addictive and all kinds of wonderful that leave you feeling warm and happy after you read them. I know the slow build up to the climax of the boy’s relationship is going to turn away some readers, but it just keeps sucking me right back in.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Little Butterfly, Takanaga, Hinako | Comments Off on Little Butterfly 2