Archive for the 'Shout Out Loud!' Category

23rd May 2008

Shout Out Loud! 1

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

Poor Nakaya. He just lost his mother, his grandparents don’t really care about him and he’s living with his long-lost father. Everything he’s ever known has been taken away from him. All he has left is ice hockey and the hope that maybe his father won’t be too bad to live with.

Did I mention that the father is a seiyuu (voice actor)? The father’s, Shino, voice acting work on a popular anime has dried up and he needs to find work fast. What’s a desperate voice actor to do? Why go and work on BL radio dramas, of course. It’s good money and it’s really not that demeaning. But how is he ever going to explain this to his son? And what is he going to do when he starts getting hit on by male co-workers?

I was iffy on this story at first, but after the entrance of the BL mangaka and her assistant squeeing over who was better suited to be seme and uke in the BL drama I was won over. This is a series that isn’t afraid to poke fun at itself and at its genre.

The art is slightly rough, but as in Love Mode, the story more than makes up for it. It’s cute and the developing relationship between father and son (not like that!) is more than enough to keep my attention.

Much love for BLU keeping the original title on the cover and for keeping in the honorifics. I wish some of the other companies out there would take their cue from BLU and leave things like that in and stop trying to americanize the manga.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Shout Out Loud!, Takaguchi, Satosumi | Comments Off on Shout Out Loud! 1

23rd May 2008

Shout Out Loud! 2

Rating: ♦♦♦♦

Shino’s got his hands full. Not only is he auditioning for new roles and getting hit on by coworkers, but his son is developing an unhealthy interest in anime, as well as an interest in the handsome new hockey coach for the junior team. No wonder he’s having trouble concentrating on his lines!

Add in his son asking lots of questions about male-on-male relationships based on what he’s gleaned from listening to BL drama CDs and then running off to spend time with the handsome new hockey coach. Then there are Shino’s two male costars arguing over who gave him his first kiss in a radio interview and them both trying to get into his pants. It’s enough to make one’s head spin.

There are so many little bits in this series to make you just laugh out loud. It’s rare that a series really just makes me laugh, but this one does. All the references to the BL fandom and insane fangirls just make it for me.

One of the series that Shino’s auditioning for seems to be a play on Gundam Wing. Pretty-boy space pilots with mecha, intergalactic war, tons of angst, uniforms and great hair. When his agent is trying to talk Shino into doing the series, he magically appears in one of the uniforms from the series (don’t ask how he did it, just fear the power of ‘otaku support’) and attacks him with ‘yaoi fan books’. Can we all say doujinshi?

The art style, while still rough, is starting to grow on me. It’s not as polished and pretty as some of the other series that I have enjoyed, but the faces are very expressive. It’s one of the few series that I find more nuances to enjoy every time I read through it.

Yes, it’s slightly trite with both father and son falling into male-on-male relationships, but it’s written well and you end up just buying into it. It’s definitely worth a second look if you were on the fence about picking up this series.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦, Shout Out Loud!, Takaguchi, Satosumi | Comments Off on Shout Out Loud! 2

23rd May 2008

Shout Out Loud! 3

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

Being a teenager is rough enough. Compound the normal teenage angst with feelings for another boy, a father who is convinced that his voice-acting work in BL drama CDs is what is causing his son’s burgeoning sexuality and you’ve got a bit of a mess on your hands.

I hate to admit it because I love the character of Shino, Nakaya’s father, but I find the blooming relationship between Nakaya and his hockey coach, Fuse, to be much more compelling than the relationship between Shino and his coworker, Tenryu. Don’t get me wrong, I love Tenryu beating down Shino’s defenses. I love all the scenes with the voice actors arguing over whose character’s going to be uke and whose characters going to be seme.

Maybe it’s just Fuse’s character. A young man who had a promising career in professional hockey, but had a injury knock him down to coaching a high school team. He wants Nakaya badly, but he doesn’t want his experience to overwhelm Nakaya and push him into something he’s not ready for yet. Hell, Nakaya’s not even sure he’s ready for this. Getting a hard-on from kissing a boy throws poor Nakaya for a bit of a loop.

I’m just rooting for these two to get together and find their happy ending. Though, I am going to fully enjoy the angst while they’re getting there.

Now at the same time all of this is going on, Shino’s struggling with his feelings and though he’s really not letting himself acknowledge his feelings, Tenryu keeps getting under his skin. Shino wants Tenryu’s touch, he just hasn’t realized it yet.

In all seriousness, this series has become one of my all-time favorites. There’s just something completely compelling about the characters and how they interact with each other. I’m so happy that BLU brought this series over and brought it to my attention.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Shout Out Loud!, Takaguchi, Satosumi | Comments Off on Shout Out Loud! 3

23rd May 2008

Shout Out Loud! 4

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

I know the manga really revolves around Shino and his relationships, but I’ve got a soft spot for Nakaya and his relationships. Poor Nakaya gets his heart broken in this volume.

Fuse has decided to quit the club and move back to Canada. He calls Nakaya to let him know about his decision and Nakaya rushes right over. The end up together despite Fuse’s protests and spend the next three days screwing madly. After Nakaya finally returns home, Shino gets a call from Fuse, telling him to inform Nakaya that he was moving up his flight plans and leaving early for Canada. Poor, poor Nakaya. I was really rooting for him. I’m just hoping that either Fuse comes back into his life or he finds someone really sweet who will screw him blind and keep him happy.

As for Shino, he was thrown into a tailspin when Grandmother Tsuzaka comes over and tries to get Shino to agree to an arranged marriage. Shino isn’t too keen on the idea and Nakaya is definitely against it, though he does admit that he likes the idea of Shino marrying a female more than he likes the idea of Shino ending up with Tenryu.

The whole idea is rendered null and void after Grandmother Tsuzaka finally sits down and listens to some of Shino’s BL voice acting work. It’s kind of hard to pin your hopes on someone marrying a female after you hear the potential bridegroom moaning coming out of the stereo speakers.

As always this is one of my favorite series. BLU is doing a good job with the translations and even though I would rather see dust jackets and full-color inserts, it’s still a high quality release.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Shout Out Loud!, Takaguchi, Satosumi | Comments Off on Shout Out Loud! 4

22nd May 2008

Shout Out Loud! 5

Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

This is one of the series that I wouldn’t mind having around for a few more volumes. Five volumes of sweetness and inspired lunacy just isn’t enough for me.

As this is the last volume, we have a lot of wrapping up of loose ends. Sadly, Fuse and Nakaya don’t end up getting together. I really wanted those two to end up happy. Poor Nakaya. Seriously, I just want to wrap that kid up and give him a hug.

At least Father-dear gets a happy ending. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a metric-fuck-ton of angst before he gets to his happy ending, but he gets there. There’s even a happy ending with the meddling grandmother.

At the end, I’ve got to say that it was a fully satisfying series. I loved the industry jokes, the characters and just how true-to-life the story felt. A lot of the manga that I love have the characters in larger-than-life situations and reacting accordingly.

Shout Out Loud consisted of fairly normal entanglements and fairly normal resolutions. Of course, not everyone is going to be working as a voice actor, but it’s more honest than having happy, snugly yakuza running around or ex-porn stars falling in love and deciding to give up the sex industry to bang each other stupid. Don’t get me wrong, I love series like that, but sometimes it’s nice to have something that’s not quite so out of the ordinary.

You know, if we could get dust covers and full-color inserts for BLU releases I would say that they’re one of the best companies releasing BL works. However, I’ll take their releases any way I can get them, but I really would love to see dust covers.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦♦♦♦, Shout Out Loud!, Takaguchi, Satosumi | Comments Off on Shout Out Loud! 5