Junjo Romantica vol. 1

Junjo Romantica Vol. 1What’s on the back: Misaki is struggling to pass his college entrance exams, and has taken up a tutor: the cool and sexy Akihiko Usami, who also happens to be a famous boys’ love novelist. At first, Misaki is disgusted by Akihiko, but slowly, Misaki realizes he may be develping feelings for the older man. And so begins the bumpy relationship of his odd couple, filled with comedy and pure romance.

Review: I decided to throw another Yaoi review at you guys. Junjo Romantica is one of the most popular in terms of Yaoi. The recent release of volume 10 even landed on the New York Times Graphic Novel Top 10 list. I was late  getting into Junjo Romantica, but I can see why it’s so popular.

In Author’s Pet (my last review), The main story was about an author and a student. Junjo Romantica, has that too, but a lot more steamier. Misaki is barely prepared to pass his college entrance exams, so his older brother recruits his friend to help tutor Misaki. Akihiko is an author of explicit boys love novels, accepted Misaki brother’s offer and became his tutor. Misaki soon discovered Akihiko’s profession and felt uncomfortable. But as time passes on, even though Akihiko is always up to mischief, Misaki finds himself falling in love with him.

Junjo Romantica consists of two story arcs within one volume. The second of arc is called Junjo Egoist. The great thing about this manga is that even though there are two separate stories in this volume, they somehow intertwine. Hiro was heartbroken by his first love. He was crying at the park when he met up with Nowaki, who tried to make him feel better. He later asks Hiro to help tutor him, but in truth, he just wanted to spend time with him. They both ended up with romantic feelings for each other. At first Hiro was confused of his feelings for Nowaki, because his first love still lingers. It seems like his first love is a hurdle he has to overcome.

The majority of BL manga has no plot, just a lot of sex scenes. How women write these stuff…I have no idea. But Junjo Romantica, actually has a story. I’m entertained throughout the pages of this volume. Honestly when I picked up this manga, I just wanted to see what the hype was. Even during a convention, if you don’t get it fast enough, they sell out pretty quickly. But after reading this volume, I can see why it’s so popular. The story is solid and you feel like you want to grow with the characters in the story. As of right now, my favourite character is Akihiko, whose persona I find very compelling.

The only thing that bothers me about this manga, is it’s art. At times certain panels looks too rough. The art itself is very sketchy looking and sometimes I have a hard time figuring out what’s going on because the author drew it too rough. Nevertheless, the art doesn’t really bother the story, it’s just my own pet peeves.

Final Thoughts: As of right now, Junjo romantica is climbing it’s way to the top of my favourite BL series list. I haven’t read too much of it, but I have the next 8 volumes in my TBR pile, so I’m looking foward to the character’s developments in the future. I also think that Junjo Romantica is a good starting point for people who are trying to get into the Yaoi scene.

Overall Grade: B+

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Author’s Pet (Yaoi)

Author's PetWhat’s on the back: He didn’t mean to accidentally injure a man at the train station, but now he’s stuck playing slave to the cranky (and gorgeou) author Tsubaki while his broken body mends…and it doesn’t look like the sickbed will stay cold for long, the worst part? Yuuta has to type out Tsubaki’s latest novel, word-for-steamy-word, and he’s fighting to keep his new-found, illicit feelings to himself! Will real life and fantasy finally merge, or will master and servant keep searching for their storybook ending?

Review: For months, I’ve been staring at this manga. When I decided to get it the first time, I missed my chance, since all of the copies at the local comic store was sold out. A couple of months later though, I picked it up at a convention. The reason why I wanted to pick up this manga though is solely because of the cover art! The front and back of the cover page, is just too kawaii! I wasn’t interested in the story itself, for me, it was all about the cover. lol. But to my surprise, the stories weren’t half bad. They were just filled with a lot of fluff.

All of the stories in Author’s Pet is actually quite cute. The main story is about a boy who acidently hurt the arms of a famous/very good looking author and is forced to help him type his new novel. But little did he know, the author is writing a steamy love story that includes a lot of PG 18 scenes. I actually laughed out loud at his situation because while the author was saying naughty stuff out loud, the boy is trembling in embarassment.

In To Keep a Cat, A young man picks up a guy who is beaten off the street. He tends to his wounds, like he would for an animal since he’s a veterinarian.He also offers a place for him to stay. It turns out, the young man actually don’t like people, and perfers the company of cats oppose to humans. Stuff occurs, and the guy who was beaten starts to fall for the young man. But what is he to do, when the guy he loves hates people?

My favourite of all the stories though was called ” Love Battle in the Dorms.” The story itself, was very cute, but a lot of things happened that made me go “how did that happen?” There was a scene in the story where one guy pokes a hole through the wall to spy on the guy he likes. How the hell does that happen? Regardless of the ridiculous stuff that occurred, it gave me a  lot of “lol” moments.

As I mentioned before, the reason why I picked up this manga was because of the artwork on the cover. But the inside is totally different from what it is on the outside. The art is a little bit more sketchy, and somehow it reminds me of Honey and Clover, but to the extreme. It’s not ugly to look at, it’s just more rough looking.

Final Thoughts: If your looking for something on the more fluffier side, definitely pick it up. Into Drama? Don’t pick it up. Author’s Pet is definitely a relaxing read to pass time.

Overall Grade: B

Maid War Chronicle Vol. 1

maid-war-chronicle-manga-volume-1-coverWhat’s on the back: When the kingdom of Arbansbool is invaded, the prince escapes with a handful of his closest attendants. But these aren’t just any attendants. They’re all maids whose job is to pour tea, not raise an army and help the prince reclaim his throne. Now chief maid cacao Sardonyx and her five colleagues must take up arms and save a kingdom in this skirt-slashing, tea-spilling epic!

Review: You know when it’s obvious that a book is written for a male audience? When every other page is filled with fan service, and a kid who’s practically a pervert. Even though Maid War Chronicle is a harem manga aimed at guys, I guess I could say it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The premises of the story is good, but with so many fan service scenes, I’m a bit turned off.

A young prince recruits beautiful/exotic girls to be his maids. The maids are actually named after different sweet liquors such as: Cacao, Vanilla, Mint, etc. They’re a weird bunch I must say. One use to work in a circus, one’s a book worm, and another is an exotic girl from some island. They all have one thing in common though (except fo Cacao), they all kind of worshipped the prince, who’s totally a pervert. I’m not surprised that his kingdom got invaded. It seems to me, that the prince is more into skirt chasing, the governing a kingdom.

Art wise, Ran Sensei’s art is very similar to Ken Akamatsu, who’s the mangaka for Negima and Love Hina. Which is not surprising, since he drew the art for Mao-Chan, which is a collaboration between Akamatsu and Ran. Visually the art is very apealling but there’s nothing really special about it.

Final Thoughts: Regardless of all the fanservice, the story itself isn’t half bad. Towards the end of the volume, I enjoyed the story a little bit more. The manga moved from a fan service direction, to a more of an action/adventure direction. It’s too early to judge if the manga is going to be any good. But from what I see, it might be a little bit better in the next volume. Plus, the thing about me is, that I never ever drop a series. Curse my habits. lol

Overall Grade: C –

Otomen vol. 1

Otomen1_500What’s on the back: Asuka Masamune is a guy who loves girly things — sewing, knitting, making cute stuffed animals and reading shoujo comicsBut in a world were boys are expected to act manly, Asuka must hide his beloved hobbies and play the part of a masculine jock instead. Ryo Miyakozuka, on the other hand, is a girl who can’t sew or bake a cake to save her life. Asuka finds himself drawn to Ryo, but she likes only the manliest of men! Can Asuka ever show his true self to anyone, musch less to the girl that he’s falling for?

Review: Is it me, or is an otomen the perfect husband? I know most women would die to find a husband, who cooks, sew, and in my case, loves to read shoujo! In my honest opinion, Asuka is the perfect guy. Not only is domestically incline, he’s also good at sports and other “manly” things suck as kendo. I’m not going to lie, I would die to eat one of his lunches. Not to mention, he’s not gay! All the guys that I know that are like this, they are normally not interested in the opposite sex.

Ryo on the other hand, she’s more like me in the sense of not being able to the things a women should know how to do, such as cook. Ryo is actually a mess when it comes to domestic things. She can’t bake cakes, and she’s not really into cute things. I don’t blame her though, she was raised by a father, who is the manliest of men. It was love at first sight for Asuka, but how can he like a girl, who goes for guys who are really manly?

It’s funny how one of my favourite character in this volume is actually Juta. At school, he’s a ladies man. But at night he’s a mangaka. Not for a shounen, but a shoujo! A really popular one, as a matter of fact. He based his main characters on Asuka and Ryo. But the thing is, Asuka makes the perfect heroine! The funny thing about this situation is, Asuka loves this manga. But he hasn’t realized it’s based on him. lol.

What can I say about the art? I have been a fan of Aya Kanno Sensei’s art since I read her past series, Blank Slate.  In Blank Slate, her artwork wasn’t as girly, but the moment I open the pages of Otomen, everything about it screams shoujo. Which I don’t mind, of course. Every page there are stars and flowers everywhere, but I don’t really mind, because the theme of this Manga is about feminity.

Final Thoughts: I loved Otomen. If Asuka was a real, living, and breathing guy, I’m pretty sure a lot of girls would go for him (That includes me too).

Overall Grade: A

Venus Capriccio Vol. 1

VenusCapriccio1Warning!!!! Reading this blog will lead to some spoilers!!! So beware if you wish to continue.

What’s on the back: Takami is tall, attractive, and funny. But when one more guy she was interested in dumps her, she’s at her wit’s end to figure out what she’s doing wrong. Maybe it’s because she’s interested in the wrong kind of guys — boys who want their girlfriends to act more “girly” than Takami. So she turns to her music prodigy friend Akira for support. They’ve known each other since they started taking piano lessons as kids. Will their long time connection develop into something more than friendship?

Review: The reason I picked up Venus Capriccio vol. 1 was because it had something to do with music. I’m a sucker for music related manga because I spent most of my life playing the piano. Truth be told, music doesn’t really play a big role in this manga, but its presence is definitely there. Venus Capriccio’s main heroine Takami, is tall, attractive and funny. She gets asked out on a lot of dates, but her relationships with men never last past a date. The reason behind this is because she is a Tomboy and lacks feminity. Her mother was worried about her only daughter being influence by too much testerone (she only has brothers) enrolled her in Piano school, in order for her to be more like a girl. There she meets Akira who is a prodigy at Piano. He also happens to be a couple of years younger than her.

Time passes by, and Takami learns to see Akira as a little brother. But Akira doesn’t see her like that. Throughout the volume it’s very obvious that Akira likes Takami. But Takami was ignorant of Akira’s feeling until near the end of the volume. What really makes this Manga stand out from other shoujos is the difference in age between the two main characters. Normally what you see and find in a Shoujo, is that the main guy character is always older than the heroine. But in Venus Capriccio, Takami is two or three years older than Akira. I was a little shock at this revelation at first, but then I started to find this concept really refreshing. It’s nice to see a little change in shoujo once in a while.

The story itself, is very cute. Normally, if I like a manga, I could read it in one sitting. But if I dislike a manga, it normally takes me a couple of sitting to finish a volume. For Venus Capriccio, it only took me one sitting. The art, story and also the personality of the  characters makes it such a fun and addictive read.

Final Thoughts: Venus Capriccio is meant for someone who’s looking for something different apart from the usual shoujo. It’s definitely has a lot of the things i look for in a manga such as music. I’m definitely excited to read the next volume.

Overall Grade: B

One Thousand and One Nights Vol. 3

1001nights_3Warning!!!! Reading this blog will lead to some spoilers!!! So beware if you wish to continue.

What’s on the back: The most beautiful Queen ever who ruled and destroyed the hero. Cleopatra, her name will be remembered eternally among those who loved her…even more among those who hated her… On the third night, Shahrazad tells the extraordinary story of the beloved yet tragic Queen, Cleopatra. Come along and listen to the fascinating tale alongside the Sultan.

Review: One thousand and nights is somewhat a guilty pleasure for me. It has everything in a story that I like such as adventure, love, and history. Each volume of 1001 nights tells us a separate story. In this volume, the story that Shahrazad tells is the story of Cleopatra.

During the beginning of the volume, the Sultan escapes Ali, who has captured him in the last volume in order to avenge Leila, who was one of the girls that the sultan has killed. This is all thanks to Shahrazad, who asked some chinese merchants to help him release the sultan.

The story of Cleopatra wasn’t as moving as the past stories, but nevertheless, it was still quite entertaining. I always enjoyed the concept of strong heroines, and cleopatra was definitely one of those. I’m not saying that she’s pure, but definitely, she’s one of those people who knows what she want. To summarize the story: Cleopatra got married to her younger brother. During the marriage, the younger brother was pressure by his eunuch to dethrone Cleopatra who he feared was getting to powerful. Cleopatra gets exile, and cunningly met up with Ceasar in order to be permitted to enter the castle again. Caesar falls in love with her beauty. Because he betrayed Cleopatra, her brother leaves the palace, and forms an army in order to defeat Cleopatra.

At the end of the volume, there is a page that tells the history of Cleopatra. I thought it was nice of the author to clue his or her readers into the life of cleopatra. It was definitely a great bonus.

Final Thought: 1001 Nights is still one of my favourite Manhwas. The art is beautifully drawn, and the story is still pretty much enticing. I will definitely be looking foward to the next volume.

Overall Grade: A

Red River vol. 22

REDRIVER22Warning!!!! Reading this blog will lead to some spoilers!!! So beware if you wish to continue

What’s on the back: Learning that Nefertiti has taken Ramses to a temple inside her palace, Yuri rushes there to try to save him, In the course of the attempt, she and Nefertiti wind up in an argument that results in the proud Queen of Egypt learning too much! While all of this is ging on, the rebels have kept busy storming the palace. Success seems within their grasp, but their leader Yuri’s desire to rescue Ramses does not promise that they will ultimately triumph in their fight for freedom.

Review: Red River ranks as one of my top favourites. Not only is the story excellent. The main herione, Yuri, is actually a strong character. In a lot of shoujos, the main heroines normally has a flaw. Like for example, in PSME, the main heroine is timid and shy. Yuri’s only flaw is that she keeps getting kidnapped. lol.

In this volume, Yuri is leading a group of rebels in order to save Ramses from Nefertiti’s clutches. Honestly, I don’t find her as evil as the Nakia, but her ways of doing things is quite wrong. Yuri storms into Nefertiti’s palace and corners her in the temple. Yuri acidently said too much, and ultimately her identity was leaked. But in the end, evidence against Nakia’s and Nefertiti’s treachery towards their own nation was found, and Ramses was also release. Ramses also decided not to go after Yuri anymore. He realizes that Yuri loved Kail too much, and that he would never find a place in her heart.

Yuri had a problem though. The rebels learned about Yuri’s plan and thought that she had no intention of leading them in the rebellion. But Yuri’s intention was to release Ramses in order for him to hear the rebel’s woes.  But in reality, the rebels thought that Yuri was a traitor, so they set out to try to kill her. So during her journey back to a saver destination, they were attacked by the rebels. Yuri makes it out of the situation unharmed, but Ilbani was left behind to fight the rebels. Yuri arrives in Byblos and meets up with her old comrades. She rushes to Kail’s side only to find that he is sick.

Right at the end of the volume, we learn that Kail is sick. When I was reading this, I was like Oh My God…what happened to him? Now, I’m dying to know what happens next. But unfortunately, I don’t have the next volume.

Final Thoughts: I love the fluidity of this story. The story never leaves you confused or wonder what the hell just happened. I’m actually a sucker for Historical romances. Especially when it involves individuals who actually existed. Sometimes I even find myself looking it up in wikipedia. I can’t wait for the next volumes of this manga to arrive, especially since, the manga is almost done.

Overall Grade: A

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