Archive for the 'Websites' Category

18th May 2008

East of Sanity

East of Sanity
March 5th, 2005

Interesting text window, in center right of the page. I hate the wallpaper. Very well done, I just hate pink it all its forms. Plus, I have to look at it no matter what link I click. It gets old kind of fast.

Oh well.

Warnings warnings warnings. I like Utopian Trunks’ style, doesn’t seem to take herself too seriously. And all of the text fits in the window. Nothing irks me more than having to scroll back and forth to read all of the text.

Explanations of each link. Nice, I hate to have to go digging. First stop, fiction. (Hi, my name is Vidya and I’m a smut-o-holic.)

This is why I came here; I love Utopian Trunks’ fanfiction. Ever since I read “Why Kids Shouldn’t Talk to Grown-ups about Sex”, I have loved it. And here there’s a multi-part sequel. Guess I know what I’m doing for the next half-hour or so. Just mull about for a while, I’ll be done in a sec.

Oh, all right.

Each fic is rated, lists the pairing, all good points. I hate getting halfway through a mystery fic and finding out that Omi has become a cross-dressing dominatrix on Farfie. Ew. And with that thought I will yank myself away from the fics.

Glossary, very thorough. There must be some reason why the various forms of ‘I’ and ‘you’ are separated, but overall good.

Big collection of doujinshi. Easy to read, nice scan quality. Only thing I have to suggest is that you put some links in the pop-up with the scans in them. I read one page, close the window, click the link for the next page — new window. I would be more inclined to keep going if I could just click ‘next.’

Rest seems pretty straightforward, Contests, Guestbook, Submission rules. Hmmm, yuri. I’m all for equal opportunity smut, let’s take a look. Yikes.

Holy change of background, Batman! Actually, after the initial eye readjustment, I like this background better. Same format as the yaoi page, text box in the center right, graphic left. Not as much content though. Too bad.

Overall, I like this site. Easy to navigate and the fics are some of my personal favorites. I will forgive many things in a site if the fics are well written. I’ll be coming back here.

Vidya

Posted by Guest | Posted in Websites | Comments Off on East of Sanity

18th May 2008

Atsui

Atsui
October 23, 2004

Cynthia: Fuck me gently with a chainsaw, ladies and gentlemen. A GW gallery that actually looks good. Will wonders never cease? Nice layout. Good color scheme. I don’t want to gouge my eyeballs out with a fork. Very nicely done.

Nikita: I agree. The red isn’t too bright and the text does stand out nicely. The layout itself leaves me wanting though. The little update window is annoying and throws off the design. It’s rather distracting.

Cynthia: It could be a lot worse. The thing that really throws me off is the scroll bar on the left-hand side of the page. It really doesn’t add much to the design and it tends to throw me for a loop. I don’t know about most of you, but I usually have more than one window open at once. On this site I end up clicking randomly for a few moments on the right-hand side wondering why nothing is working.

Nikita: Ah, that isn’t showing up for me. I have the right-hand scroll bar still. I’d rather see the main content and navigation centered anyway. And, for our PC users, the scroll-bar on the right.

Cynthia: *grumbles about Kita-kat being a silly Mac user* I’m not loving the fact that there’s an ad for domain hosting on every page. Yes, cheap hosting is good. Yes, you getting two months free is good as well, but, in my opinion, one of the benefits of having your own domain is that you can get rid of having advertising on every page.

Nikita: *sticks her tongue out at the silly PC user*

Cynthia: Okay, onto fics. I love how they have the five random picks. Great idea. I just wish they managed to code in a description of the fic instead of just a link. I like to know about my smut before I start reading.

Nikita: That’s a pet peeve of mine. I want to know what I’m getting into.

Cynthia: Well, at least the archive has descriptions. Nice layout on that as well. Good job describing the fics. Nice collection as well. The time and energy put into collecting these is evident.

The lovely color scheme continues into the fics, but the scroll bar leaps back on to the right-hand side. Aurgh. I just got used to clicking on the LEFT-hand side.

Nikita: I think the web designer needs to be consistent here.

Oh, look, they have fanart. Decent stuff. Much better than some of the shit I’ve seen. But I see a very familiar picture. Someone stole our commissioned piece from Baby Pen. “This was originally for someone named Cynthia, I think.” You think?! Did you ask Baby Pen or Cynthia herself to post this? Hell, did you ask any of the artists?

This fucking chaps my ass. This looks exactly like the original picture of this piece on BND. No credit to BND or Cynthia or anything. *growl*

Cynthia: *ahem* It was a piece I commissioned from Baby Pen especially for BND. “Nevermind the purple hair, but anyway…” I requested Duo have purple hair. What I really wanted was a drawing that was Koji and Izumi based, but when she wasn’t familiar enough with the characters to do it, I asked her to draw me characters based on Duo and Heero, but have them be mechanical angels and give the Duo-based character purple hair.

So, um…in all reality they aren’t really Duo and Heero. They’re the Boys Next Door boys.

Nikita: Apparently, someone didn’t do their homework and just assumed it was Heero and Duo because omigod! one boy has long hair and the other has short! EEE! It must be Duo and Heero!

Cynthia: *calms Kita-kat down* At least people like the fruits of Baby Pen’s gorgeous work and my hard earned money.

Nikita: Tch, at least…

Cynthia: Ooooh! A review page! A review page is tough to do. Only one review so far. Good job. I’m not fond of the points system, but it gets the point across and, hell, I’m even thinking of visiting the site she reviewed just for shits and giggles.

Nikita: Her review is thorough, I give her that. It doesn’t spoil the site for the visitor at all.

Cynthia: All in all, it’s a very well designed, well thought out site. I would definitely recommend it to someone who’s new to the GW fandom. There are parts of it that irk me… but I’m a cranky bitch. It takes an awful lot for me to NOT find something to be cranky about. Taking the BND image without asking probably contributes to my general air of crankiness though.

Nikita: I was about ready to close the damn window and forget the site when I saw the BND commission. I don’t take too kindly to crap like that even if the site is good. Despite the designer using FrontPage.

Cynthia: Don’t let our crankiness stop you from giving this site a try if you’re not completely off of the GW fandom by now. My interest in GW tends to wan after the fifteenth crappy blanket fic that some fourteen-year-old twit wrote, but every now and again I remember what drew me to it in the first place.

Nikita: Duo’s long braid? Zechs’ sexy self? Treize’s smooth voice? *grins* Okay, I’m in a better mood now.

Cynthia: Mmmm… Zechs. I think I’m going to go and drool over some Zechs and Duo smut I’ve got stashed away. Always puts me in a good mood.

On that happy note, we leave you to enjoy this site. It really does have quite a bit going for it. Thank you for finally creating a GW archive that I will enjoy revisiting.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in Websites | Comments Off on Atsui

18th May 2008

How to start your own BL-themed website

How to Start Your Own BL-themed Website
Or Website Creation for Dummies BND Style
April 13, 2004

So, you want to start your own yaoi-based website? Great! That’s wonderful! We need more people like you in the world.

Before you start though, let’s go over a few things that you should and should not do.

Picking a Theme
Having a site dedicated to yaoi or BL isn’t enough. There are hundreds upon hundreds of sites of that nature out there as we speak. You need to come up with something to make yours stand out. Believe me, the last thing the internet needs is another Heero/Duo site. If I see one more Gundam Wing archive proclaiming just how cute Heero and Duo are together or Trowa and Quatre, etc., I will regurgitate my lunch all over my keyboard. It’s been done already. It’s been done better than you can do it and it’s been done worse than you can ever imagine. There comes a time when there’s no use beating a dead horse any more. Gundam Wing is one of those.

If you’re archiving your own work, then it’s simple. It’s your work so obviously it’s original. It’s when you’re archiving other’s work that the problem of too many sites archiving the same things comes into play.

If you’re going to do a general archive, please do something to make yours stand out. Do you have writers that will only submit work to your site? Are you going to run some sort of contest to get people to come to your site and submit their work to you? Are you running a specialized archive? Specialize in a form of kink?

Hosting
Or where can I post this mess?
Hosting can be the biggest headache you come across or it can be quite simple. It’s a very simple process to purchase space from a server and to register a domain name. Keep in mind that this option usually requires a credit/debit card. There are a few companies that will let you pay for hosting with a check or through Paypal. Do a search for domain hosting. Pick one that has the terms you like (And if you’re paying over $20 a month, you’re getting robbed.) Remember you’re starting off small. You don’t need to pay for huge amounts of bandwidth. Hordes of screaming fans will NOT be lining up to lick your boot heels anytime soon.

The hardest part of this option is going to be finding a domain name that no one else has claimed yet. A good thesaurus can come in handy for this task. A .org or .net name should run you about $17 a year. Shop around. You may find a better deal than I did.

Make sure you’re familiar with FTP before you choose this option. It’s fairly self-explanatory, but it’s a good idea to know how to use it before you start trying to upload content.

If you don’t have a credit/debit card or can’t afford to purchase your own domain, there are three choices left to you:

1. Beg for hosting. This isn’t as hard as it seems especially if you’re hocking your own original work. Many domains will host you for free if your stuff is good enough. Look around and see what you can find.
2. Some ISPs will give you a small amount of web space on their server when you purchase their monthly internet plan. This is a fairly good option. For the most part, it is free of popups and banner ads. Just make sure you check your TOS (Terms of Service) agreement to make sure that any graphic content won’t get you kicked off. Some companies will have hidden in their TOS agreement that anything you upload to their server is their property and that they can delete it/resell it at will.
3. The dreaded Geocities/Angelfire account. Please only use these as a last resort. Monster pop-ups, banner ads and very limited bandwidth. Not to mention the fact that a site on one of these hosts screams amateur.

Basic Design
I am a firm believer that simple is better. Clean design is good. Cluttering up the site with too many useless graphics slows down your load time and generally annoys the viewer. (Unless of course your viewer is a fifteen-year-old girl on her first introduction to this genre who thinks that the little spinning hearts and floating Duo-bats are KAWAII.)

Things to avoid: animated graphics, under construction signs, cute javascript pop-ups asking for the viewer’s name when they enter the site, HIDING the entrance to your site. Hiding the entrance will in no way, shape or form protect you from being sued. (Dumbass.) If you’re really worried about little ones getting on your site, register it with some of the bigger blocking programs (Netnanny, Safesurf, etc.).

If you’re really worried about the content of your site, post a warning on the index page, but hiding the entrance link is a big no-no.

Now I can’t tell you step-by-step how to design your site. There are a ton of internet sites out there that will teach you basic HTML. There are a lot of freeware HTML code builders that you can download easily. Take a look at sites that you like. View their source. Ask the owner if you can copy parts of it to make your own. There’s really nothing wrong with using other’s code as long as you ASK first. I can’t stress this enough. Viewing source and tweaking with it is one of the best ways to learn basic HTML.

If you’re going to attempt frames, please make sure you have a basic idea of what you’re doing. Nothing is worse than a frames site that just does not work well. Unless you’re an HTML god/goddess, like our Nikita, use a program like Dreamweaver to help you construct frames. It will save you and your viewers a lot of headaches in the future.

Color and Background
I am firmly against having a background image unless you really know what you’re doing with graphic design. I’ve seen one to many starry backgrounds with neon red text to be comfortable recommending using a background to a beginner.

Your best bet for readability is to use a light-colored background with a dark text. Light text on a dark background tends to be hard to read after a while – and if you’re posting an epic, something where people will be staring at their computer screens for more than an hour, readability is important. Of course, if you really feel that creatively a background with repeating images of chibi-deathscythe and bright red text is the way to go, I’m not going to stop you. I’m just going to laugh my ass off at you for being a complete fuckwit.

You don’t have to just use white with black. Be creative. Light blue or lavender with a dark grey text can work very well. Remember to test it out in a few different browsers and on a few different screens. What looks like a lovely shade of pale blue on your computer can be an eye-blinding teal on someone else’s.

Remember that no matter how bad your site is, there are always ones out there that are worse. I cringe when I look back and remember my first attempts at web design on Geocities. Not a pretty sight. A different color for every page… rainbow text… webrings posted on five different pages. It really was a mess.

This is just for fun. Most of us will not be making money off of our fan-pages. At the core of it all, these pages are about boys fucking. Preferably they will have graphic depictions of boys fucking. But this is all just for fun. If you like your multi-colored page with neon green text, please feel free to have it. I’ll make fun of it, but it’s your right to have it.

Good luck and pray I never come to review your site.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in Websites | Comments Off on How to start your own BL-themed website

18th May 2008

The Yaoi Shrine

The Yaoi Shrine
July 15th, 2003

Right off the bat, I’m not happy about this site. All the graphics on the index are broken. What the hell? Sahari, honey, fix your damn graphics. Broken graphics are ugly and annoying. And don’t bother “hiding” your link to the main page. It’s stupid. Yes, I’m addressing anyone who has ever made a site. Don’t hide the fucking link.

All right, the main page loads up real quick. I like fast loading sites since I have the ISP from Hell. First, I see this big bold red type that begs for $200/month. $200 for what? What sort of burden? If this domain costs Sahari $200/month, she’s got a really bad deal for a domain. I’m thinking, “Like hell I’m forking over money to someone when I don’t know where the money is going.” I mean, is this going for manga? Or for personal bills? A mysterious “burden” does not get my sympathy.

The color of the site is real nice; very easy on the eyes. The graphics are ho-hum and the font she used is a little hard to read. It screams amature.

I click on “What is Yaoi?”. I know what yaoi is, but I want to know what she thinks yaoi is. And as I read through, I’m pleased to see correct translations, some psychological analyzation and a very basic Japanese vocabulary. Good, good; even though the top graphic is broken. Hell, a lot of the graphics are broken around here. Bad, bad.

I can’t help myself. I skip to the fiction. Did I ever mention I’m addicted? Well, I am.

I go for Kizuna fics; “A Need for Shelter” by Sahari, herself. I must admit, this is a tasty bit of work. Highly recommended. I go for another fic which shall remain nameless because it’s not that great. Some of these fics are decent. The true lemon quantity is low, but the stories, themselves, are quite good. I’m a pervert. I need my smut and a little heavy lime action isn’t going to cut it for this fangirl. At least she has a bit of descriptions for each fic. I hate when I don’t know what I’m getting into.

Back out to the main page and I click on “Scans”. Oh my. Look at all these options… I feel a squeal coming on. Her scans are GREAT. Right now, I’m downloading to my heart’s content. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate great scans. As some of you may know, Cynthia and myself make wallpapers for BND. I think you guys should expect some good looking wallpapers from us because of this site.

I shall say it now. Bless you, Sahari, for offering this on your site.

Yes…heh. Back to the review.

The site, at first glance, is dull. If I stumbled across this and didn’t look any further, I would’ve blown it off. But after some digging around, I find this site to be a real gem. I’ll be coming back to download some more scans and look through the archive of fiction a little more.

I am very pleased to say that The Yaoi Shrine is updated on a monthly basis. I hope it will continue to be for a long time. Perhaps, it’ll become a staple of the yaoi experience. Though, if that is to happen, the site needs a major redesign. And I’m still not quite sure about that $200/month thing…

Posted by Nikita | Posted in Websites | Comments Off on The Yaoi Shrine

18th May 2008

Boys on Boys on Film

Boys On Boys On Film
May 17th, 2003

Every once in a while you come across a site that makes you want to smack your forehead and grumble, “Why in the hell didn’t I think of that!”

Welcome, boys and girls, to Wiggle’s Boys on Boys on Film. An idea that was way too long in coming. On one website you can find not only yaoi and shonen-ai animated works, but lists of the top slashed series and cinematic films with boys falling in love, screwing and everything else. Not to mention the fact that they very kindly list places where you can get fansubs for all those series that they *ahem* haven’t seen fit to release in the US yet.

Enough gushing, let’s go through the site. I’m going to skip over the cinematic stuff because I’m poor and don’t want to be drooling over stuff I’m not going to be able to buy anyway. No use in tormenting myself.

All right. slashable series. Very good. Very humorous Weiß review. I swear if I find out about Koyasu Takehito being in another series that has boys screwing or gives mad potential to have boys screwing, I’m gonna start wondering about him! (Let’s see… last count he was in Zetsuai, Weiß, Gundam Wing, Fushugi Yuugi, Gravitation, Legend of Blue Wolves… I’m forgetting a few in there… but that man has been in a LOT.)

What else… oooh, so that’s what Get Backers is! Heh. Now I feel stupid for never having heard of it. Saiyuki, Utena… yup, I’m agreeing with all of these. Where’s Gundam Wing though? As sick as I am of that series, it’s the way that most of us got into this sordid little world. No Fushugi Yuugi either. Damn. And no Evangelion! Come on Shinji and Kaworu! Well… these things are all subjective. Guess I can’t really take off points for leaving them out.

Next up – Boys Love series. Good list! Great review on Fake. I’m going to disagree on the quality of the Fake dub mentioned in the review… But, hey… I guess there are some people out there who actually do like dubs. Not missing too much. Hell, they’re listing things that I haven’t heard of yet. The only things I would add to that list are Fish in the Trap and Lesson XX (and Earthian… but on the message board, Wiggle talks about a review for it being on her to do list).

Going to disagree with their review of Song of Wind and Trees. That one just pissed me off to no end. Walked away from the TV feeling cheated out of a hour or so of my life. Gilbert (or however you spell his name) was a whiny little fuck with an annoying laugh. Like annoying on the scale of Emerald from Sailor Moon annoying.

On to the graphic stuff. Good review on AnK. I swear, that and Zetsuai are the two movies that will leave me sobbing for the day. I’m wrecked after those two. Worse than CLAMP angst!

Yes, Legend of the Blue Wolves has the world’s scariest seme… but after that… it’s another one that will make me cry.

Okay, before I get off on my own bit of angst, let’s finish the review so I can watch some of these and curl up with chocolate and be mopey.

What else do we have here… message board… not too many people on it. That’s a damn shame. Don’t let the fact that the board is pop-up riddled stop you. There are LOTS of freeware pop-up killers that will download in under five minutes even on slow dial-up. I know. I have one.

All in all, this site is a fantastic resource. I will be pimping it out as much as I possibly can. We need MORE well designed, well thought out sites like this.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in Websites | Comments Off on Boys on Boys on Film

18th May 2008

Scribblemoose

Scribblemoose
May 17th, 2003

I’m feeling mighty damn ambitious today. Ambitious and too lazy to get off of my computer and go find something better to do with myself. So let’s take a look at Scribblemoose’s site.

Fairly plain. But plain is a good thing. I’m sick of seeing sites crapped up with busy backgrounds and comet cursors and shit like that. Blue on blue is good. Sticking with one font and one font size would help. Oh well. No one’s perfect. I’m feeling generous today.

You want to know the whole reason I’m in a generous mood today? This girl writes raw down-right fucking dirty smut. Aya. Aya beating off. Aya beating off thinking of Yohji. That thought alone is enough to put a smile on my face for the rest of the day. Check out the prologue to “Walking on Hell” in the Weiß section…

He let the thoughts fall away, focused on his own body, pale and taut and willing. His breath wanted to come faster now, but he wouldn’t let it. He sighed, arched his back to release some of the tension that was building in his body.

He brought his knees up a little, feet flat on the futon, making it easier to move his hips.

He thought of Yohji.

Definitely Yohji: Yohji with women, hiding his pain in soft, pliant bodies; Yohji with men, furtive, secret, self-punishing; Yohji with Yohji, male and hard and needy.

He let himself give in to the breath, spreading moisture from the weeping head of his erection down the length of it, raising one finger to his mouth to caress swollen lips, wrapping his tongue around it, wet and hot. He kept caressing his fingers with his mouth, and his mouth with his fingers, moving his other hand over hardness with increasing pace.

He thought of Yohji.

No-one but Yohji: Yohji’s lips yielding to Aya’s, soft and pliant; Yohji’s body pushing against Aya’s, hard and wanting; Yohji’s cock, leaking and twitching in Aya’s hand, sliding into Aya’s mouth, filling him; Yohji’s ass, hot and tight and wrapped round Aya’s cock in an embrace so intense, so intimate, so final… and so good it had nothing to do with sin, or pain, or guilt.

Just Yohji.

Aya arched his back, lifting his hips from the bed as he came, completely unaware of how beautiful he looked: long slender body taut and pale, shadowed by candlelight; eyelashes fluttering against cheeks slightly stained with pink; hair tumbling from his face in streaks of red silk; ribbons of white flowing over his tight belly and chest.

This is good. This is damn good. Except for the fact that every page opens up in a new window is tending to piss me off royally. A suggestion if I may, a MUCH better design choice would be to only have the stories open up in a new window. There’s a functional set of navigational buttons on every page. If people are too stupid to figure out how to use them, then you really don’t want them visiting your site.

I’ll put up with it to see what else we have for fiction. Kenshin… eh. Never got into Kenshin aside from it being a damn good series.

Original stuff… oooh… must remember to check that out. But I’m bypassing it in favor of my biggest guily pleasure: Final Fantasy VIII. And, LOOK! No Seifer/Squall! YAY! I hate Seifer. And she’s got my favorite sniper cowboy. My favorite cowboy getting fucked by my favorite Gackt look-alike.

Boatload of Irvine screwing with all the female characters before you get to that though. I just don’t deal well with het-smut lately. Especially when it involves Rinoa. Rinoa naked and strawberries are words I can live without ever reading in a sentence together. If that’s what floats your boat, so be it. I’m just going to bypass all that ’til I get to the parts where it’s Squall and Irvine.

Heh. It gets better. Now this is completely AU, unbelievable, stupid crossover fluff… but there’s two stories where she manages to get Squall, Irvine and Aya and Yohji all together and all fucking madly. Quit rolling your eyes and just read it for the imagery. Hell… she’s got P.L. Nunn illustrations to go along with these stories.

There is other stuff on this site besides the fiction, but the fiction is what caught me and keeps bringing me back. It would be nice to clean up the design a little bit, but I would say, screw it and just keep on pumping out stories. They are very much appreciated.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in Websites | Comments Off on Scribblemoose

18th May 2008

Steelsong

Steelsong
March 25th, 2003

Now this site used to be just Gundam Wing. Steelsong has expanded into new anime, which is good. There are way more animes out there besides GW. I’m sick to death of GW. Too many virgin-newbies that annoy the piss out of me.

*clears throat* Yes, anyway, the review. That is what I’m here for.

Okay, first a simple splash page with the title and one of those damn “Stop the Hate” banners. I click enter… Holy shit, Steelsong is covering all her bases. Warnings, disclaimers, a “This Site is Yaoi Full” banner (bleck), and some vaguely interesting site information. Yes, I completely ignore the Heinlein quote. I love the man, but I just don’t give a crap. So I scroll down and barely read all the text. I’m a big girl, I know what I’m getting into. Goddamn, I hit enter again.

A gorgeous black-and-white H.R. Giger-ish picture greets me. I approve. It’s Baby Pen. Brava. Now, look at all those links… Hmm… which one to choose…

All right, fuck it, I click on Gundam Wing. Another beautiful Baby Pen picture, this time of Heero. I skip all the other crap and go to fanfiction. Motherfucker! Another goddamn warning! I KNOW there’s naughty stuff here. I read your warning before.

Now I am confused. What is “featured fiction”? Is that like a fic of the month kinda thing? Welps, I click on that. Woohoo, finally some fiction, but there are no descriptions! What the hell! I have no clue what I’m getting into. I do not approve.

I pick the first fic I come to. Okay, much BDSM psychobabble. Yeah, I’m impressed. Love the lingo. Just like the whole Master and servant thing. No capitals for the lowly whipping boy, huh? Lovely. I’m panting already. I read through the fic. Not a bad piece of sado-masochism. Ah, yes, more ass-kissing at the end of fic. Stroke those egos, girls!

Well, blah, I’m bored with the featured fiction. I go back and hit up the author list. Looooong list of authors. Some I know, some I don’t. I randomly pick an author I don’t know. Oh, look! More fics without descriptions!

Just finished a fic which was great until the sex. No lubrication. It is quite apparent that some writers haven’t practiced what they preach. Ladies, ladies, ladies, romance does not a lubricant make.

I go to the woman herself, Steelsong. I click on “Tales from Shinigami’s Basement”. Who knows what the fuck you’ll get around here. Oh, for Christ’s sake, another damn warning. BDSM warnings. Lots of whips and chains. Now this is something I can get into. I click on intro. A poem about the male submissive and another warning. Listen, if you’re scared people are going to get offended, don’t put it out there.

I just went through all the tales from “Shinigami’s Basement”. Um, wow. I’m floored. If anyone knows the whole BDSM thing, it’s Steelsong. Kudos to her! I wonder if she’ll let anyone archive her works…

I wander back out to the main page, still drooling. I think I need a shower.

I see Weiss Kreuz. My favorite bishonen anime. Damn. Not linked. My high from “Shinigami’s Basement” is starting to dwindle. I check out the links. All of these links I’ve seen before and they’re everywhere. Well, except for the sites that she hosts.

Back out to the main page… How about Baby Pen’s Pic of the Month? Shit, hasn’t been updated since July 2002. Bad, bad. The picture is lovely though, as usual. My high is gone.

All in all, Steelsong.com is a decent site. I’ll probably stop by when I remember it. I’m afraid this place takes itself way too seriously. It hasn’t been updated in months. The white background and, well, steel gray/blue leaves me a little cold. The whole site, while beautiful, lacks passion. I’d recommend it for a first timer on how to make a site. It is, by no means, a master’s site.

From what I hear on the grape vine, Steelsong doesn’t allow anyone to archive her works. It’s her prerogative, but bad business. As someone who has a yaoi archive, I want to give the opportunity for others to discover a fic writer without having to know the said writer’s site off the bat. *sighs* I guess not everyone sees it as an opportunity. What a pity.

Posted by Nikita | Posted in Websites | 2 Comments »

18th May 2008

TrowaluvsDuo.net

TrowaluvsDuo.net
March 14th, 2003

Well, we’re back at it, ladies and gentlemen. Given as I am now officially old, cranky and bitchy, I decided to revive our reviews. Today we’re looking at Aoe and Shoori’s TrowaluvsDuo.net.

I really am a fan of this site. These two girls can write. They throw out angst without having it get melodramatic, can write smut like no one’s business and manage to keep your attention through stories that go on for 30+ chapters.

The drawback to the site is a lack of a design style. The main page has a simple starred background, but about five different colors of text. Picking a color and sticking with it would really benefit the Gundam Wing part of the site. The Weiß Kreuz part of the site (Bleeding Hearts) doesn’t have that problem. It’s an extremely simple design… but it works. The only bad part I find design-wise in Bleeding Hearts is that the index page for each of the stories is a different color.

Anyone who’s familiar with some of my older reviews knows that I’m a stickler for continuity in a site.

Back to the writing. “Making It Down to Learning” is one of the few Gundam Wing stories that manages to put all five of the boys in bed together and keep the story somewhat believable. “Something Me In You” and the “New World Order Arc” are the only Schu x Yohji stories that I can read. When most authors write a Schwarz x Weiß pairing they tend to make whichever Weiß boy is taking it into a spineless, emotional punching bag and the Schwarz boy who is giving it into a total bastard OR a secret good guy with a heart of gold. The latter making me want to regurgitate my lunch onto my keyboard.

So… my final thoughts on the site? The quality of the writing is more than enough to make up for the lack of design. At least there’s a lack of popups, hidden entrances and people referring to themselves in the third person. The design could be a LOT worse, and the writing couldn’t be better. Go and read and enjoy.

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in Websites | Comments Off on TrowaluvsDuo.net

18th May 2008

Shinigami’s Rage

Shinigami’s Rage
October 20th, 2001

Aside from the HUGE FREAKING COUNTER on the main page of this site it’s not too bad of a site.

There is a section for fan-fiction, a section to learn about the characters from Gundam Wing, etc.

In all honesty, aside from the huge counter, this is a fairly run-of-the-mill site. There are hundreds of GW fan sites like this out there. The saving grace of this site is the fact that:

a) I can stand to look at their design scheme with out pulling all of my hair out.
b) The fiction isn’t amazingly bad.

My suggestions for this site? Keep doing what you’re doing. You’ve got a decent site. Maybe some of the little bips out there will take a look at your site and realize what a piece of shit their site is and *gasp* change their site to reflect yours!

Posted by Cynthia | Posted in Websites | Comments Off on Shinigami’s Rage

18th May 2008

Gundam Wing on Acid

Gundam Wing on Acid
April 30th, 2001

Well, boys and girls, after a long long period of procrastination, I decided it was finally time to sink my teeth into this website. It was quite a while ago when I ran across Gundam Wing on Acid, and let me be quite honest. I closed the window when I glimpsed the entirely overused images gracing the front page. When I peruse a yaoi website, or any site for that matter, I want to see originality, an eye for design, and simple navigation… none of which this website possesses.

First of all, I’d really like an explanation of the title of this site. Say it with me, folks… “Gundam Wing…on Acid“. What the hell is this supposed to imply? Are the boys dropping purple snowflakes while they fuck? Is it to suggest that they’re all drug addicts? Or is it a quirky little title that’s supposed to make you smile and not think? It made me think, and no matter where I looked on this website, I never found an explanation of what this cryptic little quote is supposed to mean. That being said, let’s get into the tofu and potatoes of this review.

There’s your left frame graphic, folks. I have to admit that this is a rather nice setup. Whereas the picture is entirely too common, the stained glass effect is nice, as well as the way the menu is set up. However, behind all this bright blue is a white background, kind of like what you see here. Quite frankly, the contrast makes my stomach flip.

Now, it took me a moment to figure out exactly what was going on with this page. As you will notice, directly below the image of Duo and Heero, you see “Menu 1”, “Menu 2”, and “Menu 3”. Would someone please care to enlighten me as to what might lie behind these links? Here we have committed one of the most heinous net crimes out there, “Mystery Meat” navigation. It’s a gamble. You, as a patron of this site, might know what you’re looking for, but you obviously have no idea to get there.

If you look underneath your “menu” links, you see various other links, bearing such titles as “Comrades in Each Other’s Arms”, “A Temple of Mercy”, “Trowa & Quatre”, etc. Yet again, these titles are little better than obscure, and leave me wondering what on earth could be behind them. Good plan to get a user to click on the links? Not in my eyes. It turned me away. I don’t want to waste my time searching in vain for something that might not be there in the first place.

But, wait wait wait! Now I see! Or… do I? No, no, all these little links on the right-hand side have nothing to do with the left frame bar. They’re stand alone pieces, little lists of what Heero Yuy and Rei Ayanami might have in common. Now, if it weren’t for the sparse, Geocities bannered page that held the content, I might have been sated for one moment. But once you click on these links, you get nothing but another badly designed page, one that obviously hasn’t been paid much attention to. There are banners at the top, which made me pop the window closed. It’s sad really, because I have a feeling that some of these lists might have gleaned a laugh from me.

Further below this same picture of Duo and Heero (Again? What about the other boys?) and below the links I just spoke of, we finally, finally get what I was looking for. A semi-explanation of what the menu to the left means. It defines what each sub-link is, yet does not go into detail about Menu 2 or Menu 3. Well, I’m feeling slightly more optimistic about this site now, even though I’ve already been tempted to toss this review onto Cynthia, who is inherently nicer than I am.

So I click on Menu 2 and find a whole new slew of things… Yuri, yaoi, non-yaoi, you name it. Basically, guys, it’s fan-fiction. I have to ask myself why on earth the “Menu 2” link wasn’t entitled simply “Fan-Fiction”. It’s only a few more letters to type out, but I suppose the allure of some mystery is just too much for some people to turn down.

Under Menu 3 we find a Gundam Wing/Please Save My Earth crossover. Shouldn’t this go into fan-fiction? Is there any reason why it’s in a “menu” all by itself? Is it in some strange way not fan-fiction?

Frankly, I’m put out. I didn’t delve any further into the site than this, because my feeble little brain couldn’t take all the directions it was being pulled in. I don’t expect everyone to be genius web designers. I could take the contrasting colors and the overused images if only the navigation didn’t make me dizzy. The content inside might be very good. It might be the best I’ve ever seen, but I’ll never know, because the design and navigation scares me away. For the love of god, please fix this and let people know what the hell is in your site. I’d love to give it a good review in the future.

Violaine

Posted by Guest | Posted in Websites | Comments Off on Gundam Wing on Acid

18th May 2008

Yaoi no Hentais

Yaoi no Hentais
March 18th, 2001

Betsy
When you reach the splash page of Yaoi no Hentais, you can either click on the disclaimer, or you can click “enter”. Either way you get a small window in tasteful colors either disclaiming you or laying down the rules.

I don’t mind the little pop-up window, but I know there’s a javascript swimming around the net somewhere for links that will simultaneously close the pop-up and return the viewer to the previous window while the new page loads, and I’d really wish the guys would use it here because, all told, by the time you get to the main page, you’ve got three separate windows open on your browser. Just call me finicky.

For a moment, while I’m looking at the main page, dissected neatly into three frames, I panic, wondering where’s the navigation, only to feel extremely stupid when I finally notice the image map discreetly disguised as a banner at the top.

The left frame features images of bishonen making kissy-face, just in case you didn’t know what to expect between the disclaimer, the entry rules and, well, the very name of the site. I can stare at them contentedly without even bothering with the rest of the site, but the review must go on.

Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Moe. Which page first shall I go? What the hell is this SPCAC shit? I go there first.

Heh. It’s one of those adoption services. “Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Anime Characters” pledges to find homes for bishonen who have been paired with (gasp!) female companions. Whimsical.

And the Mission? A combination of mission statement/clique. Members can paste one of twenty-five link-free graphics (the twenty-sixth one leads to a 404–ewps) boldly proclaiming that their site is “yaoi-full”. The link leads back to the mission statement featuring a rant on the subject of anti-homo-eros discrimination.

The link to the forum opens the full page instead of trapping it in between the frames. Good. I hate it when people do that.

Le sigh. I was hoping that the Galleries would have DJ scans. I guess all I have left now is Sahari’s Yaoi Shrine since an irate mother scared Benjamin Wick off the net. In the meantime, one can never have too many bishonen piccies.

The fics “section” is actually a vestris forum. I don’t know about you PC owners, but the vestris pop-up is wreaking HAVOC on my Mac. Mac owners, close it as soon as the page comes up. I’d actually recommend Network54 because, in spite of its shortcomings, it just has a banner at the top of its pages. But I understand the hassle of having to move everything over. Anyway, you’re pretty free to post at will, leaving the mods with the daunting task of making sure your story isn’t crap. Impressive, that. Myself, I have trouble following the jumble of text. Are these my browser settings? Do the colors really have to be blue, red, and purple? Can’t they be the same colors as the EZboard? *whine*

However, I do have to give the YnH boys props for the setup itself as well as the idea. A free forum where just anyone can post their fics. Older stuff is tucked neatly away into temporary archives, while the official archives are back on the main page. *dives in*

Erm. Okay, the opening picture’s cute and all, but why the new splash page and new format? It doesn’t make sense to me, especially considering that this new format doesn’t include the disclaimer and rules — I can see just see those who carelessly link directly to the archives, leaving the webmasters to get their asses burned off by disgruntled viewers who were “surprised” to find themselves here. Sure, it’s a nice change of scenery for me, but you might wanna cover your butts.

All right. Let’s see if this stuff is any good. I notice that some of the pages are located on dencity.com — dunno if they’ll be too happy about that, but now I’m really nitpicking Oh well. While I’m nitpicking, I might as well add that it’s “Bakuretsu Hunters” and “Card Captor Sakura”. There’s a link to the fic forum, a spot to enter contests (none going on at present–oh well) and the links, located under “Misc.” page, is 404. Misc doesn’t seem to be in business anyway. The updates page hasn’t been updated since July. But, yay! The webrings work.

There are a couple of 404s lurking here and there. Watch out for those… They’re not strictly the YnH boys’ fault, as many of the fics are direct-linked to the author’s webpages. But such pitfalls are avoided by copying the text and saving it to the YnH servers. Additional troubles that can be avoided are when the author’s page just plain clashes with the frameset layout, like “Lessons Learned” by Shara. Advice for Shara — get a spellchecker; I nearly shot coffee out of my nose at your hilarious misspellings. The same problem occurrs with Llanyia’s elegant contest entry “Recapture”, for all it’s a good read, the red text on the black background made me squint. I’m having enough trouble keeping those crow’s feet at bay, yanno.

I’m kind of disappointed that none of the webmasters have contributed any of their own material. Thea’s got some good stuff, particularly the award-winning “Igai Ai” in the Fushigi Yuugi archive. “Whisper” by Aqua, in the Legend of Zelda archive is over much too soon, but all the sweeter for it. Still, I find mostly shounen-ai limes everywhere I look until I locate Kotori-chan’s “Broken Garden” in the Revolutionary Girl Utena archive. Hee hee hee…

I just wish that everyone would just learn how to spell “come”. It’s just four little letters, people. Not that hard.

Cynthia
Now my favorite parts of YnH are the Hidden Vault fiction archive and their fansubs.

Betsy makes some valid points about the Hidden Vault and the quality (or lack thereof) of some of the fiction on there and I agree with her for the most part… it’s not that hard to spell the word “come”, people. But what I like about the Hidden Vault is that *anyone* can post there. It doesn’t matter if your work is the most trite piece of shit out there. You can post your work to the Hidden Vault and get feedback. As long as you follow their content rules (i.e. no shota), you can post. I think it’s a much needed archive where first-time writers can get their work out there.

My second favorite part of YnH has to be the fansubs. Everyone bow down and worship these boys for doing this for all us rabid yaoi fans out there. They provide free copies of almost every shonen-ai title not released in the U.S. All you have to do is send them the tapes and a postage paid mailing envelope and *poof* you’ve got great titles like Ai no Kusabi and Bronze to drool over.

I’ve taken advantage of this and ordered almost every title they offer. The boys have been extremly fast at getting me my tapes back.

Violaine
Yes, Betsy, the three windows that open upon the startup of browsing Yaoi no Hentais are a pain in the ass. I have to place myself in the shoes of a brand new user here, since I’ve been perusing the site since June of 2000. Were I to come across these three windows, having never before visited this website, I might very well be tempted to close all three, a little overwhelmed. That’s one of the biggest mistakes the boys have made here. You have about three seconds to grab attention with a web page, and those three seconds are crucial. Granted, the opening graphics did catch my eye, but the attention soon became divided upon the opening of the two additional windows.

I find it also a little daunting that you cannot simply click on the image to enter the website, which is more than commonplace. I understand that perhaps they’re trying to draw your eyes downward to the ‘enter’ text, which is located right beside the ‘disclaimer’ link. After all the problems these boys have had, I applaud their efforts to warn people about the content of Yaoi no Hentais. However, if you’re going to receive that pop up window no matter what you click, go on and make it easier for the web illiterate and anchor the picture.

As for the actual disclaimer, for the most part I find it clear and concise, except for the “No Mary/Marty Sue” fics rule. I remember the first time I saw this rule, and thought, “What the fuck is a Mary/Marty Sue fic?” There needs to be an explanation here, letting the viewers know that no self-insertion fics are permitted. I’m frankly surprised that no one has posted any as of yet. Maybe I’m just an idiot that never heard of the term before, who knows. Regardless, I think it needs to be explained.

Perhaps the biggest gripe I have with Yaoi no Hentais is the image incongruity. The graphics are wonderfully designed and holding onto the same theme, of course, but as for the colors and styles, it bothers me. You go from the light, lucid blue on the front page, to a bolder blue inside, then back and forth, back and forth. I think it needs to be mainstreamed, and designed in the same style all around, rather than it is currently. If it weren’t for the consistent layout, I’d almost think I was visiting totally different web sites.

Yes, Yaoi no Hentais offers fansubs, those darlings, but if your eyes were drawn to the pretty pictures on the side and top, you’d never know that little fact, due to the information being located in the main frame in plain text. Re-do the banner and place the Fansubs link up there with the others.

As for the content on Yaoi no Hentais, I couldn’t be happier as far as the writing goes. You have thousands of fics being posted in both the Hidden Vault, and in the archives. The Hidden Vault, as Cynthia says, allows anyone on the planet to post whatever piece of horrid tripe they wish. It’s a wonderful way to improve your writing skills, sue to the countless number of replies you receive, and it’s a haven for crazed yaoi readers to get their panties in a knot. Wonderful idea you had here, guys, and I applaud you for it.

The graphics section is a bit lacking, and in my honest opinion, I think it should be done away with altogether. YnH’s strengths are its writers, not its fan artists. If the galleries remain intact, I agree with Betsy, scan in some DJs and advertise wanting art submissions. Browse the net for all those pictures of popular anime series, gank them, and post them, thus making YnH your one-stop hentai shop!

In the end, I may be highly biased. I never go anywhere but YnH for my fics, and I will never post my fics anywhere else. The admins for the site work their asses off to make it the place it is, and do a wonderful job of it. My gripes aren’t because of lack of content, or bad aesthetics, but merely navigation and ease of browsing. I realize I have no right to complain of such things, due to the state my of my own website, but here I am, doing it anyway. I think if the site were streamlined a bit more, it would blow everything else in its genre away.

All in all, it’s worth your time to visit YnH… I did once, and I never left.

Posted by Betsy | Posted in Websites | Comments Off on Yaoi no Hentais