• manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Sore wa Tabun Kyuuai

    Sore wa Tabun Kyuuai – Megu Iroha

    Every day, just like clockwork, Hirono Nanami hurries home – because if he doesn’t, he just knows that annoying Godai would hunt him down and challenge him to a match again! As it turns out, Nanami can easily beat Godai in all kinds of sports except one, and Godai jumps on the chance…but, feeling bad that he’s taken advantage of the one weakness Nanami has, Godai decides to settle things between them with something they’ve never tried before – by whipping out what, now!? (Source: Futekiya)

    We’ve frequently heard about dick-measuring contests, but what happens when guys actually whip them out and compare?

    Maybe It’s Courtship is two high schoolers whose bitter rivalry went out of hand, or should we say, taken in hand, when one of them proposed to settle things through a jacking off contest.

    Nanami, the grumpy one, is on the student council. He’s a confident, straight-A student in charge of handling the budget for extra-curricular clubs. He plans to withhold the shogi club budget and/or disband the barely functioning club altogether, especially with their president, Godai, forever volunteering to pitch in to other clubs.

    Godai, the smiley one, excels at almost all sports, has good grades, and is well-liked around the campus. He frequently sought out Nanami, issuing one challenge after another in some vague attempt to secure the shogi club budget. He’s forever thwarted, until he came up with the brilliant idea.

    Godai woes that Nanami is just good at everything, while Nanami, whose POV is more frequently shown, has his brain on overdrive thinking about Godai. When they somehow connected their action to feelings, the two became a couple around the 2nd chapter.

    The rivalry simmered down a little, but now Nanami shifts his mental resources to love, sex, and ridiculous school superstitions on relationships in an effort to keep his connection with Godai. Godai, being the laidback one, appears chill but delivers the romance and sweeps his frazzled boyfriend off his feet.

    This silly little manga is rife with overdoing, overthinking, and over the top scenes that made me LOL. The two are pretty well-matched, with Nanami being slightly ahead. The derpy reaction faces were super funny.

    The miscommunication gags were amusing and showed the lengths the MCs went through for each other. Antics aside, Nanami and Godai are cute together! You could tell this two dorks crazy about each other, the way they go at like bunnies.

    No maybes, this one’s definitely a riot!

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    MANGA: Rajou Koizukiyo

    Rajou Koizukiyo – Saku Hiro

    “Who is the strange onmyouji (exorcist), who’s interested in demons?” Kon, an onmyouji, who lives in Kyoto, was immediately drawn in by a strange ship and the “other” world that it came from, the moment he set eyes on it. When he is asked to repair the ship’s barrier, he meets a former male prostitute named Ibaraki, a beautiful four-horned demon. The ship is a red light district?!

    An extraordinary Japanese-style fantasy BL woven by former male prostitute, Ibaraki-doji x demon otaku onmyouji.

    Roughly translating to Night of Love in the Ancient City, this is an enemies-to-lovers paranormal romance between a powerful demon and a young exorcist.

    The demon, Shiki, is, of course a HELLA GORGEOUS specimen of demonkind, fangy, with four horns. Coming from the Heian era, he wears fabulous flowy kimono that gives the art that extra oomph. He’s missing his right hand after a long-ago battle with his master against a group of samurai and exorcists. Formerly a sex worker, he’s currently working as a brothel bodyguard.

    The exorcist, Kon, is an nth generation scion of the Higashimikado clan, whose history goes back to the Heian period. They were, in fact, one of those who went against the demons in that famous battle. However, Kon is surprisingly sympathetic to the demon side. He volunteered to work with the demon brothel since his specialty is barriers.

    Kon, a self-declared “bad boy” because he prefers the company of demons, shows many acts of kindness toward the supernatural creatures. He’s especially kind towards Gara, a child demon that turns into a skeleton, which Shiki uses as a mode of transportation.

    The plot is one of those “arrangements” conveniently set up to facilitate smexy times. Here, Shiki contracted Kon to help restore his right hand thru futon shenanigans. But this is not a raunchy manga. The story is based on folklore, Genji Monogatari, Rashomon, and other historical and literary references I’m not familiar with, making it feel grander and epic.

    It is poignant and deeply nuanced with bittersweet undertones, but the full effect was lost on me. Aside from some unfamiliar cultural references, the storytelling didn’t flow smoothly. The narrative is frequently interrupted by flashbacks or glimpses of backstories that took me a while to connect to the main plot.

    However, I still highly recommend it. This is a beautiful manga with a moving story and lovable characters you’ll root hard for. The Spirited Away setting is magical and surreal while also inviting and strangely familiar.

    Lose yourself in this endlessly fascinating tale!

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    MANGA: Yoichi to Tsugumo

    Yoichi to Tsugumo – Hayate Kuku

    In the protected forest of the guardian deity, Yoichi the tanuki, arises a new guardian deity, Tsugumo. After dying as a fox cub, he was reborn for the sake of becoming a god and is still yet at a very tender age. While he is taught about the laws of life and the usage of divine forces, he innocently takens to Yoichi. “I love you, Yoichi. I want to be by your side forever and ever.” To Yoichi who has continued protecting the forest heftily in solitude, Tsugumo revives his long ceased feelings back, however…

    Yoichi and Tsugumo is a daddy/boy interspecies romance between two furry deities. 

    Yoichi is a millennia-old tanuki or raccoon guardian deity of the forest who found a newborn fox guardian deity he named Tsugumo. The tanuki became the guardian and mentor of the white fox, who soon grew his powers and knowledge of life, harmony, and the world at large. And with that, sexual desire developed, and soon the two became lovers.

    Tsugumo is bratty and childish. His power is stored in his tail. Yoichi is grizzled and tired. He almost gave up life but rallied when he found Tsugumo. His power is stored somewhere the sun doesn’t shine. Tsugumo had fun finding out.

    The mangaka did a good job combining the animal characteristics with the human ones. The two lick, smell, and bite as animals would, but they also showed self-awareness, wear clothes, walk on two legs, and pretty much behave like people, albeit with powers.

    The basic plot is so-so, but the supernatural elements, as well as the unique MCs gave it an edge and a fluffy charm. The evolving relationship between Yoichi and Tsugumo was endearing in its own way. The themes of immortality and the cycle of life and death also lent the story depth and poignancy.

    Admittedly, this might not be everybody’s cup of tea.

    There’s no shifting to human form here. It’s beasties through and through. However, the sex scenes weren’t graphic nor gratuitous, lasting only a couple of panels. Personally, I didn’t find them disturbing, and they weren’t the focus of the story.

    The manga as a whole, and the the artwork in particular, is very well-done. So, I still say give it a try.

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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Romance ni wa Hodo Tooi

    Romance ni wa Hodo Tooi – Amamiya

    In high school, Arata fell for a British girl. A salaryman now, he’s reunited with that person, but they’re actually a man?!

    There was a time when I was dying to pack my bags, hightail it to Japan, find work, make pilgrimages to anime sites, and have cosplay photoshoots. Alas, lack of resources and poor mental health wouldn’t let it be so.

    Far From Romance is a tale of a British guy doing just that. Luis, an elite systems engineer, surprised everyone when he transferred to a small fishing village to work for a small IT company. Secretly, his mission is to win the man who helped him years before when he first visited the town that was the setting of a popular anime.

    Luis is an otaku and now fluent in Japanese. It was amusing how the story poked good-naturedly at Japanese quirks through the eyes of a gaijin. He doesn’t cosplay but loves photographing places he’s seen from the anime. He even volunteers to photograph their cosplayer co-worker, thrilled to see cosplay from a Japanese.

    In contrast, Arata doesn’t watch anime but soon did after their work involved promoting the town to anime otaku. He’s portrayed as the typical workaholic salaryman and a well-liked boss. The story is mostly from his POV, where he remembers his anonymous blonde, blue-eyed first love from years ago and how they tried to communicate with the language barrier.

    And now, seeing Luis, he couldn’t help but be drawn despite being straight.


    The gorgeously drawn characters of Luis and Arata and their endearing connection, the gentle but determined way Luis wooed Arata, so pure yet so passionate, just thinking about it, I got happy goosebumps! SQUEE~

    Kommatsu is their female co-worker and a cosplayer. She keeps an eye on the romantic development of the two and dies swooning when she realized Luis and Arata are now officially a couple. Kommatsu is all of us.

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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Shishi no Odoriko

    Shishi no Odoriko – Yanase Seno

    Yoru works as a male prostitute after being betrayed by the owner of the circus.One day, a man appears who wants to buy Yoru for one night.That was Amran, a high race “hybrid” who is said to have two forms of human and beast. That night, Yoru is hugged violently without even having time to make up for him…

    The Lion Dances With a Loved One has stunning artwork, massive dubcon issues, beast sex, captivating dancing, and beautiful long-haired men. Quite a brew!

    The plot is Yoru, the sex slave, purchased for some mysterious reason by rich company owner and lion shifter, Amran. He’s forced to have sex but is also treated kindly by his new owner, which left poor Yoru conflicted.

    The setting is vaguely historical Arabia, where full-bred shifters, a.k.a. hybrids, are considered superior, and half-breeds are considered weak. Yoru was a circus dancer advertised as a hybrid against his will. He’s actually human, so when he was discovered, he was forced to work as a sex worker.

    The story also has some omegaverse elements where the shifters are in heat for certain periods of time. This is where content warnings come in place because there are scenes where Amran fucks Yoru in lion form. This I could ignore because, heck, I read monster romance, and those come with even weirder appendages.

    What bothered me are a couple of things. First, Amran is the kind of petty bastard who repeatedly forced his crush because Yoru didn’t recognized him after all these years. Second, Yoru digging a hole for himself later on when he declared he liked it rough and not to stop even if he said no. Clearly, these two needed a safe word. Yoru has no sense of self-preservation whatsoever, so this on Amran, who is a sadistic motherfucker.

    There were attempts at heartwarming moments, childhood connection trope, and cutesy side characters, but I didn’t like the MCs, so it was wasted on me. Still, this might charm other people, and the drawings are really pretty.

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    MANGA: S.O.S.? Salt or Sugar?

    S.O.S.? Salt or Sugar? – Michiru Sonoo

    Oshio’s job requires him to wine & dine potential clients—but Satou from the rival company is always a step ahead!

    OMG!!! This is sooo freakin’ adorable!!!!!

    S.O.S.? Salt or Sugar? is a salarymen romance between two elite med reps from rival companies. Oshio, popular, cheerful, considerate, is from a traditional Japanese pharmaceutical company and Satou, cool, suave, know-it-all, is from a foreign-owned pharmaceutical company.

    The two met in a snowstorm and quickly bonded over food.

    If there’s any BL couple I’d love to be friends with, it’s Oshio and Satou. These two are hardcore foodies! They know all the best restaurants, from high end steak shops to nameless hole-in-the-wall izakaya. I want them to be my food guide if I visit Japan!!!!! The way these two go on and on about food, I’m drooling!

    Oshio sparing no expense on his meals and cheerfully declaring he’s broke, “I spend half my money on food…sometimes I’m on the red.” I feel you, man!

    Satou is the enigmatic one. How he knows everything from career advice to hospital feng shui is a mystery. We know little about him, but you should see the way he’s smitten with Oshio.

    Alongside workplace woes, the rivalry between the companies, and the endless food trips, an understated romance developed. It was gentle and sweet, an oasis of calm for the constantly on the go couple. Oshio and Satou quietly support each other, unknown to their fiercely competitive co-workers.

    The humor is quirky, the effect enhanced by people in the background drawn as mere silhouettes or caricature reactions. The MCs are drawn as slim and slender men who look fabulous in suits. How they manage to maintain that, with all the meals they ate, I don’t know. All I know is they ate their way to each other’s hearts.

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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Fuhen no Hikari

    Fuhen no Hikari – Washio Kyo

    A story about childhood friends brought together by work, reminiscing their past while reflecting on why they want to be together and facing their feelings.

    Unchanging Light or You’ll Always Be My Twinkling Star is about two childhood friends, Touri and Ritsu, now working as astronomers/researchers. Touri came to Japan to fetch Ritsu, whom he invited to work in the US. Ritsu’s nephew, Riichi, is helping his uncle pack, and he couldn’t help but notice a special closeness between the two older men.

    First, I loved that this is about two mature men of opposite personalities and the special bond they shared since middle school. The story is not exactly a typical romance. Touri and Ritsu is not so much as stuck but more like settled comfortably in that nebulous zone of more-than-friends-but-not-lovers.

    It’s a relationship of companionship, admiration and mutual support that has lasted decades. My asexual heart approves.

    This one-shot is laid-back and humorous with a poignant undertone that hits hard at the kokoro with that ending! One of my top manga this year.

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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Kimi no Pink to Boku no Blue

    Kimi no Pink to Boku no Blue – Ohmura Amo

    Yuuki is an aspiring musician currently working as a housekeeper. One day, he is put in charge of cleaning the house of Kikuchi Koudai, a popular fashion designer whose designs are centered around the color black. What happens when Yuuki finds Koudai’s secret plushie collection room and discovers his long-held secret love for cute things?

    This manga has many things I love, not just the romance.

    Your Pink and My Blue is about a genius fashion designer, Koudai, in the closet, so to speak, not for being gay, but for secretly liking all things cute and pink. His secret hoard of kawaii was discovered by his new housekeeper, Yuuki. 

    Expecting the usual disgust, Koudai was surprised that Yuuki was accepting, even appreciative of his love for pink. He even encouraged him to be open about it. It’s no wonder Koudai fell in love with him. But is Yuuki ready for a relationship with a man?

    Koudai’s black aesthetic is totally my aesthetic! I’d kill to wear his designs! Like him, I also love anything kawaii. I hang small plushie keychains on my bag as pops of color in my all black ensemble. And I am so happy to read about a fashion designer MC because there was a time I studied to be one. It didn’t pan out, but I’ll always love fashion.

    And, of course, music! Yuuki is an aspiring singer-songwriter. Heck, I’d probably be in a band if I knew how to sing or play an instrument. So this adorkable manga was practically created for me.

    In truth, the execution here wasn’t anything outstanding or different from the typical enjoyable manga I’ve come across. The best thing about this is that it has one of the healthiest relationships between MCs.

    The two are such supportive boyfriends in the best way possible! They never push too hard, but they instinctively know when to give the other that extra boost. It’s sweet and inspiring! Koudai and Yuuki are goals!

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    MANGA: Ningyou Yuugiroku

    Ningyou Yuugiroku – Hatoba Kogarashi

    As a high-ranking general captured after the end of a war, the Holy Knight Gilbert braces for execution… when at the last moment, his life is saved by Chris, the enemy nation’s master artificer and puppeteer. An arrogant, wickedly playful man who surrounds himself only with dolls of his own making, Chris claims to admire the beauty of Gilbert’s soul and intends to use him to create his newest masterpiece.

    When Gilbert refuses to go along with Chris’s plan, he is forced to choose between certain death and forsaking his faith to become an immortal doll. Hoping to buy enough time to make his escape, Gilbert instead offers himself up to Chris as a slave. But if that’s the game this knight wishes to play, then Chris fully intends on toying with him until Gilbert breaks to his will…

    We could all agree that the cover is GORGEOUS! And that this manga is smutty AF.

    The Genius Puppeteer Loves the Holy Knight Fiercely is about high-ranking knight Gilbert, held captive by the genius puppeteer Chris, who saved the man from execution by offering to turn him into a doll. Not wanting to lose hope that someday he might escape, Gilbert offered his body for Chris’s sexual pleasure in exchange for not turning him into a doll.

    Personally, the cover gave me Captive Prince vibes. Tall, blond Chris with mismatched magical eyes can see souls. Shunned as a child, he took solace in dolls. He’s arrogant and aloof, but has a surprisingly childish side. He saw Gilbert’s soul and thought it would be perfect for his creation.

    Gilbert is dark-haired, muscular, and fiercely loyal to his country. He’s compelled to submit or else be executed. Spare you the details, but he learned to like it. Later events opened his eyes to some bitter truths, and he has no where else to go.

    The plot might be something I’ve read many times already, but the additions of paranormal elements and dollmaking technology amidst war give it an edge. The story is somewhat gritty and dark, with lots of non-con moments.

    I am pleasantly surprised that it fit everything within a single volume because this is the type of story that could go on and on, and I’ll never see the end of it. Even with just five and a half chapters, it was able to portray the evolution of Chris and Gilbert’s relationship convincingly.

    With the English title like that, you’d think this would be a swoony affair. This isn’t your usual cute, squee-tastic romance. This is a romance built on dominance and forced submission.

    The softer feelings and, most importantly, trust came later. It was compelling and nuanced with a deep connection that can only be acquired through trial by fire. All in all, swoony in its own way, definitely fucked up and surprisingly poignant.

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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Motokare x Security

    Motokare x Security – Rihara

    Since dating Miharu in high school, Rikuya Nishiki has been dependent on certain… pleasures. Deeply ashamed, he swears to become a strong, manly man, and gets a job as a bodyguard at a security company. But, part of him can’t forget all the dirty things his younger ex-boyfriend taught his body to enjoy. One day, who should turn up but Miharu himself, now a successful novelist, demanding that Rikuya be his bodyguard…! All those suppressed longings and obsessions come rushing back as Miharu casually puts the moves on him, just like old times!

    My Ex-Boyfriend is My Bodyguard is a second-chance romance you might want to pick-up if you’re looking for steam. It’s also a prime example of why some exes are best left in the past.

    Rikuya is an in-demand bodyguard who went viral because of his attractive looks. Before that, he was a skinny high-schooler and a geeky bookworm seduced by fellow club member Miharu. Realizing his alarming dependency on the other boy, Rikuya broke up with him and, upon entering the university, worked hard to improve his body and fighting skills.

    Miharu, now a best-selling mystery author, hired Rikuya as his bodyguard, claiming he has a stalker. The idiot then spiked his bodyguard’s coffee and had his non-consensual way with Rikuya. This while there was a stalker about.

    It’s clear early on Miharu is a manipulative bastard. It is unfortunate that Rikuya has a Pavlovian response to him. The poor bodyguard just couldn’t resist, tried as he might, whenever Miharu turns on the charm. Which was every chance the bastard gets.

    Having the ex-boyfriend as a bodyguard is actually a cute idea, but it’s so unconvincingly done and with such a poor specimen of a seme. What a waste! Then again, you could read it for the smut.

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