Archive for the '♦♦' Category

26th Sep 2010

Cute Devil

Rating: ♦♦

Sadly, this is another case of a pretty cover, and great illustrations letting me down. I really wanted to like this one, as the art was so damn pretty, but I just couldn’t get into it. I kept flipping through it to get to the smut, drooling for a bit, then flipping through to find more smut. I didn’t care about the plot because it was so damned boring.

There’s Tohru Akiyoshi, who’s top in his class and in the student council. The prettiest boy in school, Fuuta Naruse, wants him to be his boyfriend, and won’t take no for an answer. See, Naruse has a savage streak, so he’s willing to do just about anything to get what he wants, including taking poor Tohru by force.

It’s your typical school boy scenario, and it bored me to tears. It really is very pretty, though. This is the kind of art where I would like to admire from afar, perhaps pick up an artbook if the artist ever releases one, but stay far away from having to suffer through their narrative.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦, Cute Devil, Madarame, Hiro | 1 Comment »

24th Mar 2010

Shining Moon

Rating: ♦♦

I’m kind of ashamed to admit that I didn’t realize that this was book four in a series. I’m sure the first three volumes of Junior Escort are sitting somewhere in the mountain of To-Be-Read books that keeps threatening to take over my bedroom. I thought I had read the first book in the series, but as BL tropes can blend together – I’m not surprised that I really didn’t have a clue.

Oh well, on with the show! We’re visiting Pomeh, the singer for a ‘hip hop’ group and music producer Toya. Mr. Music Producer is brought in to write a new song for the group. Now, instead of writing the song for the lead singer, he writes it for, Koji who we were supposed to have met in Junior Escort, because he’s known true love, and Pomeh hasn’t.

Later we find Pomeh and Toya spending more and more time together. Toya even gives Pomeh a key to his house. Pomeh hopes that this key means that Toya wants something more than friendship, but Toya does little more than pat him on the head like an obedient puppy dog.

See, Toya doesn’t want to ruin Pomeh’s purity. And in the world of BL logic, this makes sense, somewhere. Pomeh being an average teen, just wants to fuck. This leads to an argument, which leads to fucking. Pomeh for the win!

We also get a glimpse in to the events that changed Koji. His life as a rent boy, and the man that made him change his ways.

This was a fairly enjoyable piece of fluff. I don’t know if I’ll remember much of the plot in a week, and I’m not sure if it’s going to end up on my keeper shelf, but it did keep me amused while I was reading it, and I guess that’s all I can ask for. I’ll be digging through the To-Be-Read pile to find the rest of Junior Escort, but if it’s along these lines, I’m pretty sure it won’t be staying on my keeper shelf, either.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦, Hanafubuki, Sakurako, Shining Moon | 2 Comments »

14th Dec 2009

Love Skit

Rating: ♦♦

I really wanted to like this release more than I did. The art was really well done, and the story wasn’t too silly, but it just didn’t gel. It was just kind of fluffy with no underlying substance to make me care about the characters.

There’s Aoto, who’s left alone in the world after his sisters death. He transfers his affections to his brother in law, Takashi, who seems oblivious to Aoto’s feelings. There’s Takashi’s friend Masayuki who decides that he’s madly in love with Aoto, even though Aoto does not return his feelings.

It’s kind of cute, and has some nice graphic moments, but in all honesty, this didn’t make me that happy.

I guess I’ve been spoiled with a lot of 801’s releases; they’re usually graphic, have a decent plot and make me all kinds of happy. When I find one that’s graphic, and has a plot that’s just okay, I compare it to the ones that I’ve loved, and just find them lacking.

It’s cute, and it’s something that people will enjoy, I just want something with more substance.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦, Honjoh, Rie, Love Skit | 2 Comments »

19th Nov 2009

Kurashina Sensei’s Passion 1

Rating: ♦♦

I wasn’t that familiar with this artist, but, I was pretty impressed with the quality of the artwork.
Sadly, the story didn’t live up to the promise of the art. The only thing I found myself really enjoying was the lead characters pet cat, Matsumoto. I’m a sucker for cats in manga. Good artists always manage to capture the essence of cats, in all of their cranky, snobbish, silly glory.

It still doesn’t redeem this release, but it did inspire me to finish reading the release, just so I could see more of the cat.

New teacher Kurashina is assigned to teach Japanese History at the same school he graduated high school from. Given the fact that he still looks like a pre-pubescent teen, the students at his school have a hard time accepting him as being a teacher.

Kurashina gets roped into being the gopher for the Events Organization Committee, and roped into the Committee’s unusual requests and the lives of the members. To top things off, he’s constantly being rattled by the Student Chairman of the Committee, Asano.

I guess it’s cute, and it is well drawn, but I just can’t get into it. Now, if this artist did a manga just revolving around a cat, I would be first in line to buy it.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦, Kurashina Sensei's Passion, Shino, Natsuho | 2 Comments »

14th Jun 2009

Idol Pleasures

Rating: ♦♦

I really wanted to like this one. It started off being kind of quirky and cute. The kind of madcap romance that I usually enjoy as a bit of fluff. In the end, it was a fluffy bit of suck. Not quite bad enough for me to throw it across the room in disgust, but that may have been do to my inherent laziness rather than my level of loathing.

Amagi is a older divorcée, who through the work of his meddling sister ends up managing popular idol, Koju. Koju isn’t that interested in having a new manager until Amagi starts to earn his trust. Once that happens, Koju develops an infatuation with Amagi, wanting to do everything in his power to keep Amagi’s eyes fully on him.

Now, at this point Amagi, who hasn’t admitted to any sexual interest in men, is being set up on a date with a woman his own age by his sister. Also, isn’t even sure if he wants to continue working as a manager. However, this is the wonderful world of BL. Small things like a person’s sexuality aren’t important. What’s important is getting the two male leads in bed.

Eventually, Koju wears Amagi down and they enter into a relationship. Cue the big dramatic moment. In the very last part of the book, we see someone from Amagi’s past try to rape and blackmail Amagi because of his relationship with Koju. Koju enters, saves the day via a rock to the assailant’s head and they live happily ever after.

I think a better ending would have been rocks fall and everyone dies. But, that’s just my frustration talking. Throw in some invisible cock and sex scenes that are more fade-to-black than explicit and I’m not finding that much to like about this release. Deux had been on such a roll releasing quality manga. I hope that this was just a hiccup and they get back to the good stuff and quickly.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦, Idol Pleasures, Misasagi, Fuhri | 2 Comments »

19th Apr 2009

Hey, Class President! 1

Rating: ♦♦

Aside from having one of the longest and hottest masturbation scenes that I’ve ever seen in a manga, I don’t have much to get excited about in this release. Don’t get me wrong, the sex scenes were graphic and all kinds of lovely. However, when I find myself skipping pages of plot to get to the smut, there’s something wrong.

My main issue is that the writing and the pacing are confusing. I had a hard time figuring out which character is which, what they were doing and, most importantly, why they were doing it. I don’t think that it was a translation issue. I think that part of the manga was crap to begin with.

There’s Chiga, who’s confused as to why his judo partner, Kokusai, is elected class president. Kokusai doesn’t seem to be popular–except for random stalkers and pervs on trains–or to have the qualities that would make a good class president. Even more surprising is that Kokusai picks Chiga as his running mate.

It’s obvious that Kokusai is unsuited to his position and that Chiga’s only role will be to keep Kokusai out of trouble. Of course, they’re going to end up in bed after this set up. It’s just a matter of convincing Chiga that he really wants what Kokusai has to offer.

I guess it’s not really a bad release; I just couldn’t find much about it that I really liked. Well, aside from that really hot masturbation scene.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦, Hey, Class President!, Monchi, Kaori | 2 Comments »

23rd Feb 2009

Where Has Love Gone?

Rating: ♦♦

I have to admit to liking salarymen more than I like schoolboys. Even though the angst and the drama is just aged a few years, workforce romances ring a bit more true to me than tales of blushing first love. Of course I would have enjoyed it more if the story was better, but I guess I can’t ask for everything.

It’s your typical straight-man rapes gay-man and finds that he likes it kind of story. I always want to shake the poor ukes in stories like this and yell at them to stand up for themselves. However, if they were standing up for themselves, they wouldn’t be moaning and mewling in bliss, so it’s a trade off I’ll have to live with.

Our uke-boy, Takayama, has done a pretty good job of hiding the fact that he’s gay from his co-workers until the night that his co-worker, Ishikawa, catches him in the embrace of another man. Ishikawa decides to use this knowledge to his benefit and screws Takayama silly when he decides that the pressure at work has become too much. Eventually, as could be expected, they find that they’re better together than they are apart and ride off into the happy yaoi-land sunset.

I just keep wanting manga with some meat in it. Something that’s going to make me think and get me involved mentally instead of just showing me pictures that get me kind of hot. I need my brain to be involved to get really hot and this manga just didn’t do it for me.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦, Tsunoda, Ryoku, Where Has Love Gone? | 1 Comment »

08th Feb 2009

Double Trouble

Rating: ♦♦

I have some kind of mental block when it comes to this artist. I got some books from DMP last week and I grabbed this one to review because the art on the cover was the most appealing. I read it, thought it was utter crap, then put it down until it was time to write the review. Today, I go to add the artist’s name to our tag list and I find that the name is already listed. So, I start searching to see what else this artist has done.

That’s when the cursing started. For those of you who have the same mental block that I do, this is the artist who brought us Love + Alphα and Heavenly Body. This release is more of the same. Same crappy story telling, same pretty art. The only thing that the other releases have that this one is missing is some graphic sex. In fact, the plot line in this release is close to incomprehensible.

We have Kou, who’s moved away from home to attend high school and to avoid forcing his advances on his step-brother, Naruki. This oh-so-clever plan is foiled when Naruki decides that he misses Kou and to attend school with him. Now Kou is faced with keeping the horde of horny teenaged males away from Naruki’s sweet ass. Everyone seems to be attracted to Naruki’s innocence and naivete. To help combat this, Kou’s roommate, Yoshino, comes up with a plan. He will hypnotize Naruki into being someone who can stand up for himself. Well, things don’t work out exactly as planned and they end up turning meek little Naruki into uber-seme boy every time he gets aroused.

Just to make things even more crack-tastic, seme-Naruki’s favorite source of relief is Kou. Kou isn’t too pleased as he was planning on being seme and he’s not sure of Naruki’s true feelings. Throw Yoshino into the mix with the fact that he wants into Kou’s pants and you’ve got something that is definitely not easy to follow.

I like my plots to be a bit crazy, but I also don’t want to feel like I’m watching a bad 80’s soap opera when I’m reading my manga. I need to figure out a way to embed Takashi Kanzaki’s name into my head, so I can avoid all of her works in the future. I don’t need to get this cranky when I’m writing reviews.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦, Double Trouble, Kanzaki, Takashi | 1 Comment »

19th Jan 2009

His Arrogance

Rating: ♦♦

I have this odd mental quirk. I have a horrible time at remembering names of manga artists. Oh, I remember my favorites and the really well known ones, but other than that, I don’t have a clue. This has actually served me well when reviewing because I pick up a volume and don’t know that I’ve hated stuff by this artist before.

So, it should come as no surprise that I was reading this volume and thinking that the art is good, but the story is absolute crap and then wracking my brain trying to remember if I’ve seen this level of crap story and good art before. Of course, I have. It’s the artist who brought us such gems as Love + Alphα, Heavenly Body and Falling Into Love. My question is, does anyone think these stories are actually any good? Look past the semi-graphic sex scenes. Look past the pretty art. There’s no actual content.

I know I’m a fan of some pretty crappy manga. However, the crappy manga that I enjoy and follow at least have story lines that can be likened to a soap opera with their complexity and ability to make me exclaim ‘what the fuck?’ at least once a volume. This storytelling just bores the crap out of me.

So, we have Ryou, whose brother is a world famous model. Ryou lives in the same dorm as the models. The dorm is owned by his family. His family runs the modeling agency too. This puts him into close proximity to lots of pretty boys. One of the salient plot points for this manga.

One of the models, Kazuto, wants to win Ryou’s heart. The problem is that Ryou has a bit of a brother complex and no one can match his brother, Tomohito. Kazuto must prove his worth to Ryou before Ryou will give him the time of day. This proof not only involves molesting Ryou at every possible opportunity, but also proving himself as a model.

Pretty boys, check. Slight hint of possible incest to titillate the readers, check. Boring-ass story line, check. We’ve all seen this before. I’m hoping I’m going to be able to remember this author’s name so I don’t have the unpleasant surprise of picking up another one of her works and getting disappointed, again.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦, His Arrogance, Kanzaki, Takashi | 2 Comments »

12th Dec 2008

Meeting You

Rating: ♦♦

I wanted to like this one because even though I’m really not fond of this artists style. I didn’t hate her other release, Love Me Sinfully, that Drama Queen brought over. However, looking at her style again I just can’t get past the odd proportions and angles. Top that off with a pretty crappy-ass plot and I’m not at all happy with this release. There’s nothing that really made me angry–it wasn’t bad enough for me to really want to start ranting–just kind of boring.

It could have been saved if the art was better, but this artist really doesn’t have the chops to compete with some of the other manga-ka that are being published over here. This week I’m reviewing books by Toko Kawai and Hinako Takanaga and Mio Tonnohji just can’t compare.

First, we have Himeshiro, who’s a bit of a slut. He’s known for never saying no to anyone–male or female. When Touru asks him out, Himeshiro immediately says yes, but dating isn’t the only thing on his mind. He’s got a battery of tests to put Touru through to see if his intentions are pure.

Now, Touru isn’t the most aggressive of people. The blurb on the back of the release calls him shy and timid. I’m hard pressed to find another way of describing him. Well, a virgin, blushing school-girl with a penis would be another way of describing him, but shy and timid works.

Timid little Touru goes along and passes every test that Himeshiro throws at him. Proving that his love is pure and that the best thing for Himeshiro would be to date him exclusively, pop his cherry and sail straight off into happy-ever-after land.

Yeah, there’s nothing really new and different here. Just a plot we’ve seen before and some really awkward facial expressions. 801 has some amazing stuff in their catalogue. This doesn’t live up to the quality I expect from them.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦, Meeting You, Tennohji, Mio | 2 Comments »

02nd Nov 2008

Falling Into Love

Rating: ♦♦

There’s really nothing wrong with this release. I just don’t care for Kanzaki’s storytelling. She’s a talented artist and if she ever released an artbook, I would most likely buy it. I just want to look at the pretty pictures, not suffer through her attempts at stringing a story together. I’m going to guess that she’s popular somewhere for June and 801 to keep bringing her stuff over, but in all honesty, I’m tired of her and I’ve only read three or four releases by her.

This is an anthology and it’s pretty predictable. School boys with impossible romantic entanglements. Sex scenes that are only tepid and no emotional hooks to make you care about the characters.

The first story is about Hisashi, a amateur model, and fan of the supermodel Tomohito. Tomohito is nothing like Hisashi imagined and a surprise kiss leaves Hisashi questioning whether or not he really wants to get involved with a business that has people like Tomohito in it. He doesn’t wonder too long, though, because the limp sparks fly between these two and they end up in a relationship. It’s hard to care about the fact that they have a happy ending when you really don’t give a shit about what happens to the characters.

Now, I know 801 is better than this. Most of their releases are things that I’m really excited about–things that go directly to my keeper shelf. I’m going to hope that their next release is something better, something that’s hot enough and engaging enough to erase this release from my memory.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in ♦♦, Falling Into Love, Kanzaki, Takashi | 2 Comments »