Archive for the 'Tateno, Makoto' Category

26th Sep 2010

How to Control a Sidecar

Rating: ♦♦♦

Tateno is the perfect example of a manga artist taking a BL trope that I should be exhausted with, and managing to keep my interest all the way through.

In this release, we have the straight bartender, Kousaka, fending off seduction from the cute Fumi and bold Kanashiro. But, after Kousaka reads the two incorrectly, he ends up sending Fumi off, heartbroken, and ends up being raped by Kanashiro. Then after threatening Kanashiro with the police, finds that he misses the two of them, and ends up falling of Kanashiro.

Ahh, the wonders of BL, where rape leads to true love. You know, if this wasn’t done so well, I would be getting on my little feminist soap-box and ranting about how brutal rape is and how this is a trigger for so many people, and how we should never be using it as an element in fantasy… Yet, it is just a fantasy, and it’s something that Tateno handles deftly enough to make me look past it, and accept it as part of the BL fantasy.

This isn’t a great release. This is not going to end up on my list of top-ten manga that’s been released this year, but it was a fun read, and it was nice to get back to some of the characters that we were introduced to in How to Capture a Martini. I got a half an hour of happy, escapist fluff. Most of the time, that’s all I really want in a manga.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦, How To Control a Sidecar, Tateno, Makoto | 1 Comment »

11th Feb 2010

How to Capture a Martini

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

I adore Makoto Tateno. I know going in that there’s going to be a boat load of angst, there’s going to be boys screwing madly and there’s going to be a happy ending.

She doesn’t tend to stray from this format, and I’m not complaining. Reading her is like escaping into a romance novel. It’s sweet fluff, that doesn’t leave you feeling bloated afterwards. By all rights, I should be looking for something with more substance – but, there are times when you just want something that you know is going to have a happy ending.

While in High School, Naoyuki fell in love with his sempai, Shinobu. Naoyuki was convinced that they were going to be together, forever, and was making plans to follow Shinobu to college. They had agreed to meet after Shinobu’s graduation, so Naoyuki could give him a gift. Shinobu never showed.

Years later, Naoyuki has moved on. He’s got a girlfriend, but he’s never really forgotten Shinobu. While going to bars one night, he and his girlfriend run into a bartender that looks familiar. It’s Shinobu. Problem is that Shinobu has no interest in Naoyuki, and is not too pleased to have this blast from his past.

To make things even more problematic, Shinobu has been acting the whore, and sleeping with any male that shows interest to him.

Now, we all know that in the world of BL, this means that Shinobu is hiding his pain and that he’s still in love with Naoyuki, right? God, I love BL tropes. They make for such fun angst.

So, now Naoyuki has to fight to get Shinobu to recognize that what they have is real, and get him back.

It’s fun. It’s decidedly romantic, and it’s just what I want to read when I’m having a bad day.
Just like everything else that Tateno has ever released. I know that it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but when I’m in the mood for it, it hits a home run.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, How To Capture A Martini, Tateno, Makoto | 2 Comments »

11th Jan 2010

Blue Sheep Reverie 2

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

I always enjoy Makoto Tateno’s work. I’ve really been happy with this series, and it’s follow up, Steal Moon. There’s something about this dystopian society, with assassins and cabals that just pushes all of my buttons. Plus, there’s angst and pretty boys screwing. Hell, throw in some Mecha and some teenage pilots, and this would be my version of Gundam Wing.

I love the tension between Kai and Lahti. By now, I shouldn’t be all impressed with Tateno’s deft handling of angst, and longing, but she still manages to get me every time.

Kai wants Lahti, but Lahti is giving off mixed signals. Then there’s the underlying drama of Lahti’s assassin sister, Maria, who captured Kai’s heart – and his conflict with his perfect image of Maria, and the truth of the assassin that she really is.

What drives me crazy is that I shouldn’t like this as much as I do. In one scene, Lahti hauls off and smacks Kai across the face, and Kai goes crawling back to him, like a puppy dog who doesn’t know any better. My feminazi self is screaming that I should be offended by this, not turned on and enthralled, yet, I’m sucked in and left wanting more.

That’s the talent of Tateno. This is old-school, stereotypical BL. The stuff that normally makes me cranky. Yet, when presented this well, I find myself remembering exactly why I like the genre in the first place.

I’m just in it for the angst.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Blue Sheep Reverie, Tateno, Makoto | 2 Comments »

09th Nov 2009

Happy Boys 1

Rating: ♦♦♦

I keep forgetting that Doki Doki is DMP’s tame line. Logically, I know that it’s supposed to be for readers that are just looking for pretty boys, with no other interaction, but when I encounter a release by Makoto Tateno, that knowledge flies out the window. I guess I’ve been so spoiled by her other works, that I have a hard time associating her with anything else.

From my understanding, Happy Boys is based on a TV show in Japan, revolving around gorgeous men who run a tea house, and treat all their guests like royalty. Kind of like a host club, without the sex.

Now, this being Makoto Tateno, the boys are pretty beyond compare. There are many slashable situations, and I’m sure that the fans of the show already have their favored pairings, hell, if this gets big in the US, I’m sure that the fangirls will be slashing this one all over the place. Right now, the only thing I can say about it is that it’s gorgeous, and it’s reasonably entertaining.

There isn’t too much of a plot. It’s just a vehicle for pretty boys to interact with each other. There’s the stand-offish one, the funny one, the one with a mysterious background…
We all know where this is going.

It’s cute, it’s definitely eye candy, but there’s no real substance to back it up. In a way, it reminds me a little bit of Weiss Kreuz, where the character designs were amazing, but the series was kind of silly. What made that series such a guilty pleasure was the fandom, and the stories that the fans created around the characters. I can see the fandom getting a hold of Happy Boys and making it into something that’s more than the sum of its parts.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦, Happy Boys, Tateno, Makoto | Comments Off on Happy Boys 1

18th Jul 2009

Steal Moon 2

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

Angst, guns, violence, sex and a computer on the moon set on destruction. Oh, and bastardized Egyptian myths. I don’t think they could have fit any other plot devices in this series if they tried. You would think with a mix like this, the story wouldn’t work, but it does. Just like every other story by Tateno. I get pulled into the eroticism of the story and it all works together.

Nozomi’s on the run after Coyote’s betrayal, but ends up getting sucked back into the intrigue and mystery surrounding Isis–the computer on the moon I mentioned. Nozomi believes that Coyote didn’t feel anything for him, but we all know that’s not true. Throw in an extremely hot sexual torture scene and you’ve got a confirmed couple ready to take on anything to save the other one–even if it means sacrificing one them to save the other.

I can’t say enough good things about this series. Like all of Tateno’s works, it grabs you viscerally and doesn’t let go. One of the best things that June has done has been to license and bring over her works!

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Steal Moon, Tateno, Makoto | 3 Comments »

10th Jan 2009

Blue Sheep Reverie 1

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

I’m so happy that there’s a backlog of Tateno’s work to bring over. Just when I think that a series is done and I may have to start going into withdrawal, they bring something else over to keep me happy.

While this isn’t one of my favorite works by her, it’s crack-like enough to keep me entertained and is populated by a plethora of pretty boys. Blue Sheep Reverie is set as a prequel to Steal Moon and was originally written for a non-BL market. This helps explain some of the stiffness in the story and the flow. It’s not something that detracts heavily from the story. You’ve still got a butt-load of angst, a convoluted plot that will suck you in and pretty much guarantee that you will want to buy the next volume.

So, we start off with Kai. Kai is on a mission to avenge the murder of his lover, Maria. Maria had a special ring she wore set with a blue cat’s-eye stone. The leader of one of the gangs controlling the city, Lahti, wears the same ring, so Kai assumes that it’s Maria’s and sets to work his way into the gang to see if he can solve her murder.

Of course, Kai’s a skilled fighter, so he works his way into the gang quickly, ending up as Lahti’s bodyguard and even into his bed. However, it’s a different ring and things are not quite what they seem.

Yup. Convoluted, completely silly plot, but it made me want to keep reading. Tateno always manages to suck me in no matter how unbelievable her stories are. I don’t know how she does it, but her mix of pretty boys, angst and wildly fantastic plots always seem to push every button I have.

It’s not nearly as good as Yellow and not quite as much fun as Hero Heel, but it’s pretty damn good. I’m really looking forward to seeing where this one goes.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Blue Sheep Reverie, Tateno, Makoto | 1 Comment »

28th Dec 2008

Hero Heel 3

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

Oh, Makoto Tateno, how I adore thee. Your art is beautiful, your releases have graphic sex scenes and you suck me in with your convoluted plot twists. I’m always sad to see one of your series end, but I take comfort in the fact that you’re a fairly prolific artist, so I’ll always have something new to look forward to.

So, we’ve come to the last volume of Hero Heel. In this volume, we’ve got the series that the boys are acting in coming to a close. They’re getting ready to film the two-part series finale, but our main actors don’t seem to want to let it go. As you may remember, our two leads are really good at transforming their feelings for each other into meaningless sex and fake relationships with others while trying to keep the other one from knowing their true feelings.

Okay, lust like this has always been one of my buttons. I love the angst that’s involved with two characters wanting each other, but taking out their frustrations and wants on surrogate bodies. Don’t ask me why, but it just does it for me.

During the filming of the finale, Sawada is injured on set and does his best to hide the extent of his injury. Minami, being highly attuned to Sawada, because of course, Sawada is the one that he wants to be screwing, goes to make sure that Sawada is really okay. This prompts the guys to really examine their feelings and evaluate what it is that they’re hiding from.

There’s a happy ending and things all work out in the way that BL novels usually do. However, it’s a fun ride getting there and a ride that Tateno can take me on any day!

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Hero Heel, Tateno, Makoto | Comments Off on Hero Heel 3

05th Jun 2008

Steal Moon 1

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

Let’s hear it for sci-fi stories and boys in impossible outfits! The only thing that could have made this story better would be to throw in an apocalypse or two, but hey, the series is still young. There’s still time for the world to end. Hell, with the way this one ends, there’s a strong possibility that I may get that!

There’s Nozomi, who is the reigning street fighting champ, who gets defeated by a stranger named Cyote and ends up forfeiting his freedom. Nozomi ends up locked in a ‘peeping tom’ room where people can tune him and watch him 24/7. The only chance Nozomi has for escape is to earn enough money from his page views to pay for his freedom.

Things aren’t what they seem. There’s a mysterious plot involving computers that are sleepin, the moon, and a whole other set of watchers that end up using Nozomi and confusing the hell out of him. Then there’s Cyote who’s involved with the conspiracy, drags Nozomi into it without explaining anything and ends up worming his way into Nozomi’s affections. As a reader, you go between wanting to see the two consummate the heat that’s been building up between them and wanting Nozomi to punch his lights out and make his escape.

This is over and above Tateno’s usual standards of greatness. The story is fully engaging, the characters are well formed and the whole thing is completely addicting. I’m just hoping that I won’t have to wait another year and a half for the next volume like I did with Hero Heel.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Steal Moon, Tateno, Makoto | 1 Comment »

27th May 2008

Hero Heel 2

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

I have been waiting for this. More lovely, sexy angst with boys dressed in futuristic fantasy outfits.

When we last left our heroes, Minami and Sawada slept together. We were left wondering what was going to become of their relationship after Sawada gave Minami the cold shoulder after the night of fun. The two actors can still work together, but the negative emotions they feel towards each other come out in their acting. Good thing that their characters are archenemies.

After Minami goes through some more emotional upheaval at the hands of Sawada, he finds comfort in the arms of another costar, Katagiri. Katagiri isn’t exactly the person that Minami wants to sleep with, but Katagiri makes a good substitute since Sawada is unavailable.

As the story progresses, we get to see a bit into Sawada’s back story and that he was dumped horribly by a fellow actor who resembles Minami. Hmmm. Maybe there was more to Sawada saying that Minami wasn’t his type than he was letting on.

Things really get interesting when that fellow actor is brought in to play a guest role for a special on the series they’re working on. Instead of a love triangle, we’re looking at a square. Things get very messy very quickly.

I’m still hoping that Sawada and Minami get their heads out of their asses to figure out that they’re supposed to be banging each others’ brains out. Let the other two get together and go off into the happy yaoi-land sunset.

I can’t say that Makoto Tateno is my favorite artist. I like the style of a few other artists more, but, damn, if Tateno pulls off some of the best goddamned angst out there. Every time I sit down with one of her releases, I get sucked right in and end up caring far too much about her characters!

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Hero Heel, Tateno, Makoto | 1 Comment »

27th May 2008

Hate to Love You

Rating: ♦♦♦

I was really quite excited to get this release. I’m a big fan of Makoto Tateno. Yellow is one of my all-time favorite series. I was really looking forward to seeing what her early work was like.

Let’s just say that she’s come a very long way. Not that there’s anything really wrong with this story, it’s just not as polished and crack-like as Yellow or Hero Heel. It is kind of neat to see her progression in the artist that she is today.

So the story has a Romeo and Juliet feel to it, only with out Juliet and sans the whole suicide thing. Which is a good thing in my opinion. I do love star-crossed lovers, but I can really do without everyone dying in the end.

Masaya Konoe and Yuma Kazuki are students attending the same high school. Their families are business rivals and that rivalry has gone back several generations. Masaya has a love hate relationship with Yuma. He hates him because he’s supposed to, but in all reality he wants Yuma to pay attention to him.

After a fair bit of angst, we find that Yuma’s been hiding feelings for Masaya. Now the boys just have to find a way make their relationship work. It really is a cute story, it’s just painfully obvious that it was her first work.

Deux did a pretty good job with this release. The translation was very nice, but I’m always cranky when the companies don’t bring over the honorifics. I know that by now, it’s clear that we all want our manga in the most untouched state that is possible. I would of loved to watch the progression of what the boys were calling each other as their relationship progressed. Oh well, maybe Deux’ll get a clue with some of their other releases.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦, Hate to Love You, Tateno, Makoto | Comments Off on Hate to Love You

27th May 2008

Hero Heel 1

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

This series is done by the creator of Yellow, so if you liked the art style in that, you’re going to be in for a real treat in this series.

Minami, an up and coming actor, gets talked into auditioning for the lead role in a space drama, Airguard Oreas. The show revolves around a goddess from the future coming to the present day and awakening warriors to save the world. I always like save-the-world stories, they just make me happy. Must have watched too many magical girl series in my formative years.

Of course, in this drama we’ve got to have an antagonist. Sawada, an actor with a bit more experience under his belt, is picked to play the role of the gorgeous general who is fighting on the side of evil.

Now our hero isn’t too keen on being in a space drama. He thinks he’s a bit too good for this kind of work. Consequently, he isn’t taking his position too seriously. Sawada is quick to point out all of his flaws. During the course of filming the first few episodes, Sawada manages to shame some great performances out of Minami. While this is good for the show, this does nothing to endear Sawada to Minami.

One night after work, Minami discovers that Sawada likes boys. It’s kind of hard to miss this fact when Sawada is kissing the boy in plain sight. After that night, Minami keeps discovering Sawada in dark corners with pretty boys. Mostly because Minami is constantly on the look out for it.

Eventually, Sawada gets tired of the scrutiny and decides to teach Minami a lesson by kissing him senseless. The plan works and leaves Minami questioning a lot of things about himself.

Through the magic of BL plot lines, Minami realizes that he is in love with Sawada and asks him to take him to bed to show him what male sex is all about. Now this whole time Sawada has been spouting off about how he would never fall for a guy like our intrepid hero, no way, no how.

He doth protest too much methinks.

So, Sawada takes him to bed. They have hot-monkey sex and our hero realizes just how much fun getting screwed into the mattress can be.

All is well and good until Sawada leaves him, telling him that he hopes he realizes now how empty sex is when there’s no feeling involved. We’ve now got our poor hero-boy left floundering because the sex wasn’t empty for him. He’s fallen and fallen hard for the general.

So very happy with this book. I’m really looking forward to the next installment. It’s been a long time since I’ve looked forward to the next volume of a series coming out so much.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Hero Heel, Tateno, Makoto | Comments Off on Hero Heel 1