Junjou Romantica OVA and Kuroko No Basuke Fandisk: Owaranai Natsu

Junjou Romantica OVA: As you guys know, there was a bonus OVA release in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of Junjou Romantica (God, Nakamura’s been writing Junjou for 10 years, 本当に信じられない。) There wasn’t really much advancement in the plot category, but there were so much of the nostalgic, heartwarming moments that truly characterised the Junjou Romantica series. Junjou was the gateway for me into the world of anime and to watch this episode and to experience all the familiar heart pangs makes that 20 minutes particularly memorable and nostalgic. Junjou will always have a special place in my heart. ❤

KuroBasu Fandisk: It’s merely a recap of the Kuroko no Basuke series with a lot of candid interaction between Kuroko, Aomine, Kise, Kagami, the Seirin team and the pink haired person. Loads of laughable moments and its everything you want in a fandisk though it’s kept pretty tame if you’re looking for yaoi moments.

Let me know if you’re unable to find a copy of the OVAs and I’ll direct you appropriately. EDIT: In light of overwhelming requests, I’ll only address requests for followers who either follow me in tumblr or in wordpress.

K Sequel: K OVA/Second Season is in the Works

New K OVA/Season announced at the end of the last episode of K. At least there’s some promise of continuation, unlike some other anime (::cough::KuroBasu) which intend on making fudanshi and fujoshi agonise for several months in digging out further news of a second season. >.< More updates later. It’s still unclear whether it’s an OVA or a 2nd season. Stay tuned.

Fushimi X Yata Dakimakura

 

As promised, here’s the full details on this lovely Yata X Fushimi dakimakura:

Venue: Tokyo Comiket 83, Booth 332

Date: 29/12/2012 to 31/12/2012

Price: 10000 yen including taxes.

Size:1700×500mm

This is probably exclusive to Comiket alone so you need to decide fast and quick if you want this. If you don’t stay in Japan, you’ll need to hire a courier service and I can recommend some of such services (not affliated to fudanshihaven) if you need.

Season 2 of Kuroko no Basuke confirmed!

So says JUMP Next! Winter magazine 2012. It’s pretty much confirmed and official; all the Japanese blogs and websites are going crazy over this. So fuck yeah, hello Akashi and Murasakibara!

 

On Yaoi Merchandise: A Blurring of Gender Roles and Desires

It’s pretty rare to find dakimakuras depicting males in compromising positions.

 

For a very long time, I’ve been wondering why it has been really hard for me to get yaoi merchandise that I really want. Whenever I make my way towards anime conventions (I live in the East so we have quite a bit of official Japan imported anime merchandise sold here), I usually find accessories or nit-nats such as files, pencils, pens, mugs whereas what I really do want to buy are specially drawn dakimakura (bolster) covers, picture books, t-shirts etc.

I got a ruddy Junjou/Sekaiichi exclusive pen for instance… What I really want are ARTBOOKS or DAKIS

According to an anime industry insider, “It is not so much a matter if there are more otaku males or females, or which of the two is more deeply involved in otaku culture; the difference is in the ‘quality’ of their obsession.  For instance, a guy will spend over 9000 yen (about $110) on a cute anime girl hug pillow because they prefer expensive, high-quality material. If the same kind of pillow is made from a  cheaper polyester material, it won’t sell.”

“Women are realists,” says the insider, “the most they will spend is 3000 to 4000 yen ($36 to $48)  on something like CDs. 300 yen ($3.60) clear plastic folders with characters on them are best-sellers. Female otaku like to buy a number of small things at once.”

Of course, you do see certain variations nowadays. For instance, I’ve seen 2 yaoi dakimakuras sold out completely in the past two years: The No.6 dakimakura (pic above) was wiped out completely at the Animate Girls Festival 2012 within the FIRST HOUR and was resold at yahoo auctions for the sick price of 38000yen. (452.92 USD)

The second yaoi dakimakura I’ve seen is from Hadaka Shitsuji (Naked Butler) exclusively sold in toranoana stores: 

But then, Hadaka Shitsuji is more than just yaoi; in many ways it’s closer to bara and the whole game design and creation was done by a (presumably gay) male so in many ways, it has a male target audience as well. It’s also highly popular and was sold out in a matter of weeks.

I’m not too sure what are the sociological implications of this. I can only speculate and I think that there are two possibilities. What is defined strictly as “feminine” or “masculine” interests or merchandise is slowly becoming more and more diffused and amorphous. The rise of selling erotic anime goods towards a predominant female crowd could be attributed towards Japanese women becoming more open about their sexuality and sexual desires which may not be the case 10 years ago. Or, there could be an increase in fudanshi numbers in recent years which suggest the high sales of such goods which were traditionally aimed at male customers.

Review: Magi Episode 11, Falling Short where Code Geass and Kuroko no Basuke Succeeds.

Highlight of the day.

Before I get down towards proper analysis, may I just say that I’m completely on the Alibaba X Morgiana (let me know what’s the name of this ship cause I’m ready to set sail) bandwagon here; they are such an adorable couple and probably one of the few heterosexual pairings that I actually actively support. XD What I find particularly lacking however, is the lack of quality interaction between the two. Yes, Magi is action-packed, has loads of side characters and a complex sociological theme on slavery and capitalism but it’s no excuse. Other animes such as Pandora Hearts, Code Geass (and dare I say it, Sword Art Online) had managed to juggle plot and character interaction in a wholesome, organic manner in which Magi can definitely learn from.

Moving on, I personally thought that the conflict between Aladdin (well, Ugo mainly) and Judal were stretched for too long, ranging one and a half episodes. Yes, the graphics are pretty, yes the people involved are powerful but this is what I find particularly distasteful about this show. Magi sets itself up discussing very powerful social themes on governance, social inequality, slavery and the problems that come with capitalism and it presents these themes in a mature, complex manner that I rarely see anime do. It argues that any form of chivalrous thievery ala Robin-Hood style is bound to fail because it’s the social system at hand which perpetuates social inequality; which explains why Alibaba’s Fog Troupe team is bound to fail. (For more discussion, click here) It also argues that the reason why the social inequality isn’t because there are corrupt individuals at the top. It’s because the capitalist system is corrupt, in the sense that it encourages individuals to be corrupt, by providing a social background where privileged individuals are conditioned to believe that their system of governance is fair and just (or maybe they are conditioned not to care) when it is not.

And this is where Magi is starting to get disappointing because it preaches that the way out of such corrupt systems is to depend on “people with magical powers”, where the individuals with the greatest firepower gets to rule. In a way, it’s very shounenesque. The amount of battle scenes in which the commoners are swept aside while a selected magical few fight it out to determine the fate of many is a simplistic way to resolve such a complex social dilemma. In the fight betwen Judal and Ugo, the political discussion between Alibaba and Abhmad, the common man is neglected, tossed away, faceless. In better executed anime such as Code Geass for instance, even though Lelouch has the imba magical ability to force people to obey his orders, his success and failures are usually dependent on normal individuals who managed to outwit him with nothing but lots of cunning and calculation. Instead of defeating antagonists (Fog Troupe, Judal etc) using human intelligence or traps, the anime resorts towards muscle power and brute strength to win the battle. Similarly in Kuroko no Basuke, even though Kuroko and Kagami have “miraculous” basketball abilities, ALL of the basketball team members despite having comparative rudimentary skills have a distinctive characteristic that shines through and aids the team to victory. It’s not a “one-man” show where a character or a few characters dominate the entire series because they have superhuman capabilities; it’s about glorifying the humanness, that being human, or being ordinary in its own way, we can become superhumans in our own rights.

Because in KnB, people without coloured hair matters too.

Yes you.

P.S: The singular form for “magi” is “magus”. One magus. 3 magi wandering in the desert. Slight grammatical peeve when watching the anime.

Kuroko no Basuke Doujinshi: Loser~ Takao-kun and Midorima-kun were being XXX by the senpais

I usually don’t write about doujinshis due to the sheer amount of them within the market but this is an exception. I’m not sure whether I had mentioned this before, but most of the yaoi market are usually targeted at women and hence, typically represents women fantasies on romance, relationships, body types and male characterisation. Most yaoi doujinshi that I can get my hands on seem to represent these types of thematic concerns rather faithfully: an emphasis on relationship development rather than sex per se, slim slender bodies for guys and a greater focus on character vulnerability and emotional expressiveness even if (and usually is) it is OOC (Out of Character.),

Rarely had I been able to read a yaoi doujinshi which caters more towards the male market. This means including themes of immediate sexual gratification, a dismissal of emotional vulnerability in guys and greater sexual experimentation such as bondage and sado-masochism. I know that I am at the risk of making certain generalisations on the male and female market and I’m not denying that there are certain male and female individuals who have strong preferences outside of what is expected of their gender. However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a particular dominant discourse, prevalent in deciding certain market trends in the types of doujinshi that would sell more towards a female market.

This doujinshi proves to be one of the outliers; I’m fascinated by how well the cum scenes and portrayals of Midorima and Takao (a bit weird in the title scene though) are:

I’m a shameless Midorima X Takao fan so I’m definitely purchasing this. XD It’s from the doujinshi circle: kuzumochi くずもち which is the name of a delectable type of mochi for your information. ^_^ I strongly encourage everyone who’s interested in this to make their purchase from here, since it’s less than what, 600 yen which is around 7USD? I also believe that if you’re really interested in having a stronger male presence in the doujinshi market, you need to support the circles that are producing them because the doujinshi market is highly competitive and needs strong backers and support to survive, Unfortunately, the company does not ship internationally so you have to either stay in Japan, or get the service of a carrier. If you need any help getting someone within Japan to ship it for you, I personally know of certain reliable carriers who are amazing at what they do, or heck if worst comes to worst, I can deliver it for you. Drop me an email if you need any help in purchasing it. 🙂

P.S Grammar rant: The original title of the doujinshi is LOSER~高尾君と緑間君が先輩達にXXXされちゃう話~ which is almost grammatically untranslatable in English. XXX means sex generally so I originally tried to translate it as: “Takao-kun and Midorima-kun were having sex by the senpais.” But this wrong because されちゃう is a combination of the される (passive form) and the ちゃう form. To translate it into the passive form is bad enough, remember:

Active voice: I ate the apple

Passive voice: The apple was eaten by me.

Active voice: The senpais were having sex with Takao-kun and Midorima-kun.

Passive voice: Takao-kun and Midorima-kun were being sexed by the senpais??? Sounds wrong. “Sex” as a verb cannot be expressed in the passive voice (but then I’m not good in grammar so if there’s anyone who can enlighten me please drop me a comment.)

Secondly, the ちゃう form which expresses regret, shame, disappointment cannot be translated simplistically into the sentence. If all the elements of the original sentence must be translated, it’ll be: “Takao-kun and Midorima-kun were being XXX by the senpais which caused them to feel shame and guilt” but no translator will ever do that. >.<

December 2012

Some plans for this month:

1. Complete Magi, K, Shinsekai Yori as promised.

2. I’ve added Sword Art Online to my anime watchlist as well however, given its penchant for fanservice, melon boobs, tentacle carass and incest, I’m not going to spend too much effort on a yaoi/quality anime blog. I’ll still cover it because I believe that Sword Art Online has a number of redeeming elements, a lot of clever plotlines which many has praised the original light novel for. Unfortunately, the anime adaptation was directed by an individual who distorts the novel to cater towards the lowest plebeians within the otaku community by creating a harem culture that was never fully elaborated by the original author.

I too, am not amused.

3. Hyouka. Dropped it after the first episode; can’t stand that whiny girl.

4. Zetsuen no Tempest. No idea what it’s about; just that it has yaoi and I need to watch it. It’s made from the same studio that did No.6 so…

5. Psycho-Pass. Script is written by Urobuchi Gen who wrote the script for Madoka and Fate Zero, both of which I’ve rated at least a 9/10 which makes this a must-watch.

6. Spirited Away. Friend’s bugging me to watch this; I’ll cover it on this blog if I think it’s artistic or well-directed.

7. And if I have time: Tsuritama and Natsuyuki Rendezvous.

Novelisation of Hadaka Shitsuji is confirmed.

This is the closest non-NSFW picture I could find.

So it’s pretty much confirmed today: a novelisation for Hadaka Shitsuji (Naked Butler) is set to be released in 2013 Spring for around less than 900 Yen. Source here.

For those who don’t know anything about Hadaka Shitsuji, it’s one of the few BL games that’s entirely smutty, without any romantic elements and any attempt to do so will result in a dead/bad end. It’s a fantasy that includes themes of subordination, oppression, sado-masochism and absolute obedience and the producer has been active in promoting this product for more than a year since it has been released. You start out as the incidental head of a manor for 30 days and you can subject your butlers to a series of humiliating actions, such as stripping completely naked or to grovel at your knees and lick your feet if you’re into that. Personally, I love this game because as a guy, I really appreciate all the smut going on and it doesn’t follow the typical overly saccharine romantic plotlines that plagued many BL visual novels. There’s a heavy physicality of sexual relationships that is often a heavy component in many homosexual relationships and it is important that it is emphasized in this vn because in many ways, it resembled a gay visual novel per se than a yaoi visual novel targetted at women. I believe it’s actually my favourite VN to date and it’s one of the few visual novels that I’m willing to buy and support the creators because it’s that good.

Did I mention that this visual novel is largely created by a one person studio named Mada Lobo? The graphics, coding, plot were all done through the hands of a sole individual and if anyone knows the inner processes of how visual novels get created, this is an incredible feat.