• manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Ishibashi Defence Corps Individual

    Ishibashi Defence Corps Individual – Unohana

    Kokubunji, a Uni student with a rugged face, endures harsh training everyday in order to protect his friend, Ishibashi, who has an angelic smile and a supple body.── During class, club activities, and on holidays, he must carefully observe Ishibashi, so that he does not face danger! For his beloved Ishibashi, Kokubunji must struggle on a daily basis! He is tested to act logically, constantly! He is in defensive war for his best friend, with the Uni’s top student (with a dirty mind).

    Ishibashi Defense Corps Individual is a funny, hopelessly in love with your best friend story about the super athletic Kokubunji whose sole purpose in life was to protect his beloved best friend, Ishibashi.

    Ishibashi is a cheerful guy who is passionate about protecting his country. He and Kokubunji have been friends since middle school. Unbeknownst to him, his grumpy friend only joined the defense academy just to be with him.

    The two friends navigate freshman and senior year. Being a natural athlete, Kokubunji excelled at everything effortlessly. The only thing he struggled with was hiding his true feelings towards Ishibashi.

    I really liked the manga’s military navy setting. The story itself is light-hearted and cute. Kokubunji’s total adoration for his friend was super sweet and pure. I loved how the two friends progressed into boyfriends. It just felt natural. The scene where Kokubunji fried his brain when Ishibashi kissed him was hilarious!

    The artwork is not that unique but I loved the way the mangaka drew the expressions. Especially Kokubunji’s. The man has an epic resting bitch face. His going-gaga-over-Ishibashi-while-trying-to-keep-it-cool face was super funny. He gave off this intimidating aura but he’s really just a big dork.

    Bonus here was Sakura-senpai, Ishibashi’s roommate. He is a great character. Kokubunji thought their senpai was after his best friend so his hackles were up. Later, it was revealed that their senpai was actually, quite sneakily, working to turn the friends into a couple. They also learned that Sakura has a boyfriend. I’d love to read their story too!

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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Ginza Neon Paradise

    Ginza Neon Paradise – Unohana

    In 1940’s Japan during the war, long-time friends Aoi and Takahiko part ways as Takahiko is enlisted. For years, Aoi stayed in their hometown with the looming worry that his friend might not come back. He never received word from his friend and so he feared the worst. Now, Takahiko shows up all of a sudden and Aoi is not sure to what to make of this. Anger, relief, paid, all of these emotions overwhelm Aoi as he was certain his friend was gone because he never received a letter or any indication he was alive. Can the two reunite as friends or are they long past the point of friendship?

    Ginza Neon Paradise is a historical, childhood friends to lovers drama set in post-war Japan with flashbacks to the war time period.

    Aoi and Takahiko couldn’t be more different from each other. One was a serious bookworm who later became an interpreter for the American army, the other was a carefree womanizer who was disinherited by his grandfather.

    The two were separated when Takahiko was drafted. After 3 years of radio silence, the solder finally showed his face and was now an actor.

    I called Takahiko carefree but he’s really a callous good-for-nothing who trampled all over his friend. He lives with Aoi and frequently comes home smelling of booze and women’s perfume. He put Aoi through a wringer. The man was one of my least liked seme.

    I preferred the kind-hearted American Lieutenant Walter, Aoi’s boss, to the deadbeat Takahiko but alas, Aoi’s heart was forever loyal to his friend. Takahiko did redeem himself at the end. But barely. There was even a ridiculous fight because he was jealous about Lt. Walter’s attention towards Aoi. Tsk! What an ass.

    Unlikable love interests aside, this manga did a great job rendering a slow-burn, angsty, passionate love story amidst the backdrop of post-war Ginza. There were some liberties taken to eliminate homophobia but it retained most of the historical elements such as the bomb wreckage, poverty, shy interactions with the Americans, the glittering clubs, etc. My favorite part here was them walking around the city in the middle of the night just feeling the vibe. I always wanted to do that

    All in all, this a sepia-tinted homage to a district that never lost its luster.