Is it that time of year already? Time flies when you are poring over stacks of doujinshi. And where did all these stacks come from?? This is supposed to be the 2017 edition of this annual tradition, in which, as we all now know, I discuss various doujins I picked up in 2016 because I like to make things difficult. And I did indeed pick up some of these last year at Comitia or J. Garden or Mandarake or just directly from the author in weird happenstance. But I came across doujin from 2003 in this pile! So, uh, clearly, the round-up devolves yet again into basically just some stuff I read lately that may or may not be recent or even attainable anymore by the casual doujinshi reader. Sorry. I feel like I’m supposed to be getting better at this book-reading thing after writing here for the last six years now, but clearly that is never going to happen. So let’s all dial our hopes to anything but up and just look at some books already! Continue reading
Given that I spent some time talking about the random doujinshi I have encountered on this trip to Japan, you might well expect that there was some non-random doujinshi involved in my reading lately, and in that, you would be correct. I have indeed been reading the doujinshi of people who are, in fact, known to me, as I hope they are to you. And if they’re not, I would suggest you check out the non-doujin works of these artists because they are six kinds of awesome and they could use your support. Oddly enough, they’ve all been published in English, so if you have manga dollars to spend, these would be a good place to put them.
You know that I basically cannot spend anytime in Japan without picking up something by Brain favourite est em. She is just so prolific and her work is just so worth talking about. And for some reason, Mandarake was practically overflowing with her doujinshi work the last time I was there. Did someone sell off their collection? Did she herself decide to replenish their stock? I have no answers, only smutty doujins. Smutty, horsey doujins.
Because of course, I picked up some of her centaur phase work. Both Equus and Equus/Duo contain stories collected in the Equus book published by Shodensha. I don’t have Equus here to compare these doujin versions with the mainstream version, but from my memory, they are pretty similar, if not essentially the same. Continue reading
In our little nerd chat about BL last week, one name that kept coming up was Fumi Yoshinaga. Mostly in the context of her BL/crossover series Kino Nani Tabeta? (the English release of which was announced mere days after we expressed our fervent desire to see an English translation; fujoshi power at work???), but we also discussed her other BL and non-BL work during and after the recording of that podcast. So much so that by the time I hung up the Skype phone (what does “hang up” even mean in a world without receivers?), I was itching to read some Yoshinaga. Fortunately, a little elf at Viz knew what I needed even before I did and had sent me a copy of All My Darling Daughters. I love that little elf!
And thanks to that little elf, I am reading Yoshinaga in English for the very first time. I know she’s probably the most widely published in English of all the manga artists I chatter on about here, but I still go for the Japanese because the original is always better. I’m sorry, monolinguals, but it is true. I say this as a professional who tries really hard to make the translation as good as the original, but we all know the translation is essentially my interpretation of the text. Continue reading
I’ve always had this love-hate thing with Yoshinaga. I mean, it’s mostly love, but there is this thing about her drawing style where everyone looks like they are smirking almost all the time that really gets to me. I had the hardest time pushing through Ichigenme wa Yaruki no Minpo because of all the smarmy looks. (I notice it in Ooku too, but so far, it’s not making me put the books down or anything.) (And yes, I am still reading Ooku. My to-read pile is insanely high.) It didn’t help that the majority of the characters were rich, soon-to-be-lawyers who you could easily see smirking their way through the majority of their lives. So first off, the thing I maybe liked the most about Kino Nani Tabeta? was the serious lack of smarminess. Facial expressions are a lot more relaxed and there is not the distinct downturn in the mouth lines of characters at rest.
I picked this series up because of the weird research I’ve been doing into BL as a genre. I’m sort of fascinated with the feminist undertones and implications of a genre of manga that takes as its subject male sexuality, but which is almost exclusively written by women and for women. In the course of exploring the genre, I have read a *laht* of BL. And full disclosure, I translate this stuff too, so I have spent far more time than is probably normal with comics focusing on man-on-man action. (And coming up with the sound effects for a BL manga is often awkward; I spend waaaaaay too much time thinking about what skin rubbing against skin sounds like in English.) All this to say, the gentler, more introspective approach Yoshinaga takes with Kino is more than welcome. Continue reading