dancing_moon: [APH] Austria getting his hair teased (Stress)
So I was totally planning on going to bed early tonight, but instead I stayed up far too late discussing shoujo manga. Whoops.

This makes me realize how much I miss my geeky friends ;_; Internet discussions are great, but RL talk over tea and anime is also quite, quite good. COME VISIT ME SOON GIRLS!!

To comfort myself, I shall post a pretty image behind the cut. While I can't buy this figure right now, I can at least drool mightily and hope to one day find it second hand or something

Indecently expensive (but hot) P.O.P 'Sailing Again' Zoro figure )

Also good is that I cleaned up the apartment today, and packed my school bag while I was at it. I think 15 minutes for a shower + toothbrushing will have to do tomorrow morning, yeah?
dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
My univeristy library has a lovely system which sends out mails approx 2 days before you need to return a book (and then you get increasingly stern mails that you should Really Return That Book, NOW PLEASE, once the date has passed). For some reason it's called millenium, so I have a bunch of mails from "millenium". It feels a bit like being in contact with a Dan Brown novel

Anyway! I borrowed a whole bunch of books for my paper and have re-loaned all the ones I'm still working with. However, since there is absolutely no room for anything more in the paper as it is and I have no time at all to read them, I am returning Maria Nikolajeva's books about the structure of childrens literature. I managed to read her first one - Barnbokens byggklossar (The Building Blocks of Children's Books) before the essay writing began, since it was included in the reading suggestion list for the essay course. It was really good! I've also got "Power, Voice and Subjectivity in Literature for Young Readers" here, but I'm gonna return it unread and hope to pick it up later some day.

She uses narrativism to pick apart and analyze the structure in children's literature. It interested me, because it's a much better approach to studing manga than many other lit science entrances I've seen - not as good as actual, y'know, mangastudies but there is still a lack of a good "comic analysiz + story tropes + solid step-by-step analysis - Orientalist exoticism = GOOD FRAME FOR MANGA ANALYSES" book. What I like about using a structure such as Nikolajeva's children's focused narrativism, is that you can get to grips with the text as such, and (I hope) not get tangled up in Western perceptions of Japanese culture. I am, anyway, more interested in How Manga Reads Here than But What Does it Mean There? At least when it comes to trying to do any work of my own, I loved Kinsella's study of the Japanese publishing industry in Adult Manga. But hey, I'm in lit science, not sociology plus I don't speak Japanese - it's not like attempting to update her study will ever be anything that I can or should do :)

Anyway! Nikolajeva: Easy to follow, very structured, I haven't actually tried to apply any of her stuff, but it seemed nice and comprehensible.

This, and the intimatopia idea put forward by Elizabeth Woledge are both tools/theories that really ring true to certain experiences I've had as a fandom-focused reader, writer and all-around participant.
dancing_moon: Mana looks angsty (woes)
"Screw it, we're not going to make money with most of these manga anyway, so I'm just going to publish my favorite manga and hope that DC Comics pays for it?" - Jason Thompson speculates on why in the world CMX ever decided to publish this series.

One has to wonder if there's not a kernel of truth in that statement, because CMX choice of published titles can generally be summed up with a giant WAT? If you look at it from a business perspective, that is.

Besides From Eroica with Love, they had Swan, Moon Child (nothing to do with Gackt) and Kaoru Mori's Emma. But also crap like The Devil Does Exist and plenty of other really bland titles... On the whole, the line-up lacked a real hit. Though I am eternally grateful that they kept going for as long as they did!

Anyway, do read the entire column, whether you know Eroica or not. It's pretty funny, and also shows a compelling argument for why one should always read the two first volumes of Eroica before making a judgement

Then, if I know you IRL, feel free to come over and borrow the manga off me. Am always glad to pimp this series out to folk ^^
dancing_moon: Kermit goes "YAY Ohmygod" (Yay)
Ohhh, it is soooo good!

But before I get to that point, a little preface: Sometimes, I don't quite get how people reporting news think. In the "real world" is the Swedish papers and their treatment of the whole Facebook-hacking thing. Okay, you warn a lot of users, good on you. But did you really have to mention the name of the plugin, so that any n00b can try hacking someone's account? Tsk.

A similar thing happened with manga scanlations recently, when Anime News Network posted about how one of the big scanlation sites put back up manga that they've pulled before, due to it being licensed. Since they mentioned that Kuroshitsuji / Black Butler was among them I *cough* made sure to read it this weekend, before it's pulled again.

Please misunderstand me correctly - I think the US official translation is pretty good. I buy each volume of YenPress' Black Butler as soon as they come out. But look at that release schedule... Volume 6 in July 2011? The japanese collections are at volume 8 currently (I think, +/- one) and the monthly chapters even further ahead. I'm sorry, I just - I CAN'T WAIT.

Especially not when it is this awesome-sauce good and full of locked-room murders, cliffhangers and mysterious goodness.

Squeeage of the most recent Black Butlers, spoilers to chap. 50 )

I don't watch season two of the anime, btw. I didn't hear good things about it in the beginning, and when I read a summary of the end, completely lost all interest in watching it. Besides, the manga is so much better.
dancing_moon: Farin Urlaub is shot by Lara Croft. No, really (Farin U)
The Diffusion of Foreign Cultural Products: The Case Analysis of Japanese Comics (Manga) Market in the U. (pdf)

At work, don't have time to read this paper during my break... But it seems to be an interesting paper, collecting and analyzing the stats of published manga in the US.

I like the links from ANN's "academic" column but I have a tendency to forget to read stuff I go ohh, cool! over ^_^;;
dancing_moon: Jadeite / DM / Me (Default)
Am I the only one who strongly dislikes the term "animanga"?

In particular when refering to anime and manga fandom where the sources are unrelated. But also where the sources are related, because unless you know something about that particular canon, it's a risky business to equate an anime with the manga of the same name when you do your meta.

But it basically boils down to this sense of unease I have. I'm not in any darn animanga fandom kthx!
I'm a manga fan and there are a bunch of anime I like. I know loads of people who are anime fans, with a few handpicked manga that they like. It's not like we talk about moviebook fans, or even comicartoon enthusiasts.
dancing_moon: To Victory! Daleks can win the war (victory!)
Wait, fav couple? Didn't I already do this one...? Oh, right. That wasn't specifically BL.

I guess I should pick something from an "official" BL source this time, then. Talked about Zetsuai yesterday so let's go with something slightly more light-hearted today:

FAKE is very funny. Police comedy and the guys are canonically each others love interests? Yes please! Lot's of silly humor, (really bad) mysteries, cute family scenes, snark and then some more snark as Dee Laytner of the NYPD tries to get his new partner Ryo to tumble into bed with him. And, somehow, on the way it's Dee who ends up tumbling into a life with Ryo

Btw - the english manga version? Has been censored, for shame! Read it in German instead ;)
dancing_moon: [APH] Austria getting his hair teased (Stress)

Koji Nanjo


Totally tired right now. But the TVTropes Yandere entry (The "I am c-r-a-z-y for you" stereotype) lists Koji Nanjo from Zetsuai as an example.

Or, well, to put it plainly most of the people who feel love/lust/obesssion in Zetsuai and Zetsuai Bronze fit this trope...

You won't understand what I like if you watch that old OAV, btw. The animation is rather horrid, though I liked the music. (Watch the music videos on youtube)

However, if you enjoy a tragic boy's love story with a plot of near operatic proportions (Especially in the sequel, Bronze. Put it like this, there are arms cut off - as an expression of devotion) the Zetsuai mangas are good. I like the art style too, very messy and just on the edge of scribbly but much more dynamic and, well, artistic than most of the bland drivel produced today. Alright, the first books are pretty choppy in style (especially the forehead of the women, holy beehive, Izumi's sis!!)

Koji Nanjo is a rock singer. Interesting tidbit: His visual performance borrows in part from the band BUCK-TICK, who were pretty big back then. Minami Ozaki and Kaori Yuki are among the few manga artists I know that have specifically mentioned visual kei (and related styles) artists as inspirations for their characters.

Anyway, Koji sees Takuto Izumi, a young football player traumatized by having witnessed his mother murdering his father in a fit of jealous passion, and falls into... obession? They do actually begin to love each other after a while, even share a rather cozy apartment for a while (then it all goes to hell - again) but it definitely doesn't start out in a healthy way.


Takuto Izumi


The problem with the love in Zetsuai is, I'd say, that both the protagonists are so horribly damaged by their families and that they can both be incredibly stubborn. Izumi cares for his little sister, Koji for nobody at all. They act self destructively (Koji smoking, drinking, fighting and driving with a death wish, Izumi not taking care of his body despite grueling football practice) and when they fall together it begins a spiral of obsession, violence, self-hatred and burning passion. That Koji has two plain crazy brothers and that their fans and the media aren't exactly welcoming the (after a while) prominent gay couple doesn't make things better.

Make no mistake, Zetsuai is melodromatic and tragic. But it's still very gripping and the art grows into something absolutely fascinating. Abstract, almost breaking free of the pages in violent b/w smudges to then fade away in rare, sunlit scenes of tenderness.

I (lazily) collect the Zetsuai artbooks and soundtracks. Own three so far, Zodiac, Puff and God as well as some doujinshi. Ozaki started out in the amateur scene and she kept doing (might still be for all I know?) doujinshi to her own work for quite a while.

Fyi, if you ever offer me one of Minami Ozaki's Sailor Moon doujinshi, I might just pay you with my soul.

oh, one more pic... )

Entire anime meme here
dancing_moon: To Victory! Daleks can win the war (victory!)
Quick bookmark to myself. ANN has added another interesting column to their already good and varied group of scribblers ^_^

Brian Ruh, whom I have never heard of before (but then, I know very few names in anime/manga academia) is going to write about japanese media from a more studious perspective. He'll also present other interesting writings and starts of with Mia Lewis's study about kanji/kana wordplay in manga as used by CLAMP to torture translators

Sounds great, I'll follow this column with interest.
dancing_moon: [APH] Austria getting his hair teased (Stress)
Ohohohoho, moe? The budding/burning fan-service pandering that is either making or breaking the anime industry, depending on who you talk to....

First let me say, that with the exception of creepy-cute shows like Higurashi and Umineko no naku koro ni, I don't like moe-girls. They're small, speak in high-pitched voices and tend to be useless for the narrative except as objects to save, protect and drool over. If the drool potential isn't there, they're infinitely boring. Thus, me no likey.

But Japan is nothing if not gender-neutral when it comes to fan-service. Case in point, an article that ANN reported about a while ago from a mainstream woman's fashion magazine called An-an.

What is moe for women? )
And there we have it: Axis Powers Hetalia, a series about as moe for women as you can get.

Within the swarm of moe that makes out Hetalia as a whole, one can find each and every cliche, often in several variations.

Axis & Allies moe )


Appropriately enough, one of the most moe characters, Austria (glasses, young-lord-of-the-manor personality, frilly suits, emotional shyness, clumsiness, musical talent and funny hair-doink) is actually married to a full-blown fujoshi/slasher girl. Yay Hungary! She's also super strong and used to think she was a boy when she was a kid, and still is the one defending him with her military.

Then there's Prussia, a failed bad-boy (the mention the appeal of "rumpled suits" in the article too), soft-spoken and oft-forgotten Canada and a whole bunch of other characters.

While the Nordic countries haven't been in the series much, they easily form their own sentai-team.
Denmark is red, spiky-haired, wild and crazy. Finland, cute, kind, funny and easily embarrassed. He'd only need glasses and he'd almost be Miyuki. Sweden - big, strong, silent, wears glasses, cooks and fixes things, super-duper-shy. Norway, cool, blue (ok, they're almost all blue, so the color codes fail), converses with supernatural beings. Iceland, sarcastic, tsundere with a little-brother complex and slightly mysterious.

It all fits very well, because Hidekaz (the author) is excellent at picking out the historical stereotypes that supports his ideas and he's a very, very deft hand at recognizing moe-traits and combining them in appealing ways.

This, btw, is why I dislike those that sneer at Hetalia as a "show full of bishies" aka pretty boys. Part of the moe appeal, for both girls and boys, is that it's not just the perfect and beautiful that attracts. It's the imperfect that really makes one burn with passion, be it clumsiness and small breasts or stubborn stupidity and difficulty to connect with ones emotions. And one shouldn't sneer at things for the wrong reasion, dammit.

Entire anime meme here
dancing_moon: Farin Urlaub is shot by Lara Croft. No, really (Farin U)
I pimped my favorite authors and latest manga finds at the J-fi blog (its in Swedish) in the post called "Reasons to dust off your school German".

It's basically my reasons to get thee to Germany and buy a bunch of good yaoi/girls manga titles, because they have loads more than is easily available in English.

Illustrative picture:


Look at my pretty Kuroshitsuji bag ^_^ Isn't that reason enough to start shopping in Berlin?
dancing_moon: Kermit goes "YAY Ohmygod" (Yay)
Finally! My book has been sent from the states. I've been waiting for Boys' Love Manga: Essays on the Sexual Ambiguity and Cross-Cultural Fandom of the Genre for quite a while now, but it seems as if there were delivery problems or somesuch. Hope it arrives today or on Tuseday ^_^

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May 2012

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