Castle Mango

When I read the description about this manga, I must say I had some prejudices and I really didn’t expect it to be the way it is. When I read love hotel, shooting AV’s and pants suddenly removed, I kinda thought that we will have a “typical bully”, who “can’t help it and can’t control himself” and a “poor, little and confused” lamb, who knows nothing about anything and just accepts thing and let’s being pushed around. Yet, there’s more there and I’m glad I gave it a shot.

There are two main characters, Yorozu and Togame. Yorozu is a very responsible and serious high school boy. A boy that, because of his family circumstances, doesn’t know how to relax and be just a boy or depend on adults.

Because of the lack of his experience, which growing up and dealing with different things brings, he will misunderstand a situation between Togame and his younger brother Satoru, which will lead to other things and actions he will do, which just show that he’s still a kid.

rsz_s

What I liked about his is that he really supports his family, how capable he is and that he doesn’t hide the fact that he lives in a “love hotel”, even though many people would think it’s so shameful. There’s a good reason for it and it’s enough that he knows it. On the other hand, it helped him decide what he wants to do in the future.

Togame, on the other hand, is a director of pretty popular AV’s. He does that for living but he doesn’t stop there and he also has his dreams. I like it how he treats Satoru and how, later on, he will try to help Yorozu because he understands that kids shouldn’t go through hardships like that. The more I knew about him, the more I liked him and the way he reacts and deals with things. He sure has his flaws too, yet it made him feel more “real” and human.

I liked the relationship that will develop between him and Yorozu and how it develops slowly and steady and without rushing anything. His coworkers are pretty interesting and nice too, and it was nice to see how they care for him and support him.

This manga was written by Konohara Narise and art was drawn by Ogura Muku. It is the right manga for you if you look for a deeper story, yet if you are more interested in love scenes, then you’d be a bit disappointed.

 

3-gatsu no Lion (March comes in like a lion)

I don’t remember how did I chose to watch this anime. Probably I liked the synopsis and decided to give it a try. I didn’t get to watch it while it was still ongoing but I picked it up three months ago. I had no idea that it will sweep me away and that I would like it that much. Be warned, this review contains some spoilers.

From the first episode, it begun pretty good. I recognized the art and I was pleasantly surprised that the mangaka is the same like the one for Hachimitsu to Clover (Honey and Clover), which is another lovely anime.

The story seems pretty simple. It’s about a boy called Kiriyama Rei, who is a professional shogi player, one of the five of them who became professional in middle school. He’s a very shy and quiet boy, who seems like all he knows how to do is play shogi. He lives alone in Tokyo, doesn’t take care of himself much and who repeated one year of school, so kids actually think he’s a one year older loser.

But that’s just the beginning. As the story goes on, you get to know him better and what happened to him. I can easily say that my heart ached every time I saw him sad, lonely and so poorly understood by others. He was a lonely boy since he was small, but his way of “speaking” with others was shogi. He loved spending time with his father, who was also a shogi player, so that’s why he started playing it.

He was unfortunate to lose his family and, unwanted by the rest of his family, he ended up living with the family of his father’s friend. You would think that that would bring him some desperately needed stability but no. He had to deal with a strong-willed daughter of that man (Kouda Kyouko), who saw him as a threat and a person who took away everything from her, with his stepbrother who wasn’t really mentally strong (but it’s normal, he was just a kid) and who broke under the pressure and his stepfather who seemed to only value people/children through shogi and that looked like that’s the most important thing for him and if you’re not good at it, you don’t deserve his attention. It was fascinating (and kinda scary) to see how much Kyouko actually hates him and how she blames Rei for everything bad that happened in her life, no matter the bad choices she made by herself.

But, Rei was lucky to meet three lovely sisters, Kawamoto Akari, Hinata and Momo, who are living with their grandfather who owns a traditional wagashi shop and some very funny cats.

They live a pretty humble life, where Akari (the oldest sister) works to support the other sisters and who is like a motherly figure. They brought light in Rei’s life. They give up such a warm and fuzzy feeling and they accepted him like no one ever did, in his whole life, and they became like a family to him…They really care for him and love him. The unfortunate events also struck their family and they went (and are still going) through a rough and sad time, yet without asking, they support each other and make life easier. They gave him everything he was craving to have and feel his whole life. He feels like home with them.

There are also some other very nice characters. I liked a lot his school teacher, Hayashida Takashi, who was doing his best to support him and who payed attention to Rei and saw what a great boy he is. He saw that Rei has a low self-esteem and feels insecure and because of that he doesn’t manage to interact with others. But Hayashida slowly pushes him to change the way he is at school and makes him question some things.

Nikaidou Harunobu (one guy called him “steam bun” 😀 ) is a sickly shogi player, to whom Rei was an inspiration and his biggest rival. You will enjoy watching that loud, funny boy, that seems like a storm who entered Rei’s life.

I also liked A-rank shogi player Shimada Kai, from whom Rei will learn a lot of things and who will show Rei what would he actually like to do in the future and how would he like to be and feel.

I do suggest you to watch it and I sure hope you’ll enjoy watching it as much as I did. Second season started in October. For now, it’s as good as a first one!

Lonely to Organdy

It’s a story about Haruto, who left his parental home because he didn’t want to continue family business but try to be a singer and songwriter. After a failed attempt of singing on the street, he stopped playing music and just passed his days working, eating, sleeping and watching dramas on TV.

One day, he got involved in an accident, when his life flashed in front of his eyes and when he thought of the fact that he will die and wont do the things he planned on doing, when he came there. Yet, he survived and from that moment on he was able to see Akira, the ghost that was haunting him.

That was a start of a really nice friendship. They would pass days and nights together, enjoying each others company. Haruto will learn things about Akira, where is he from, how and because he died, what he felt then and while being a ghost. Akira brought light in Haruto’s lonely life, but Haruto helped him feel less lonely too. He will support him to start over with his music and go towards the goal he had. 

This short manga, written by Ogeretsu Tanaka, was unexpectedly warm, sad and easy to read. It shows that we don’t need much to be happy, if we are lucky enough to encounter with special people in the time of our greatest need (many times especial for us only). 

NHK ni Youkoso! (Welcome to the NHK)

When I started watching this anime, I didn’t have any specific expectations. It has a good score on MAL, but still I don’t pay attention to the score so much, because it’s not like I will like that anime just because it has a high score, or the opposite. I was interested in the story itself, I wanted to see what they will tell about a 22 year old college dropout Tatsuhiro Satou, who has isolated himself for 4 years and who became a hikikomori (reclusive adolescents or adults who withdraw from social life, often seeking extreme degrees of isolation and confinement). This is an ongoing problem, not only in Japan but in other countries too (although maybe not as much as in Japan). I wanted to see if Tatsuhiro will manage to escape from “claws” of hikikomori and return to “normal” life.

What I didn’t expect is that he will believe in such a weird conspiracy theories, many of which don’t make any sense (his senpai isn’t any better, he probably got all those ideas from her). The beginning of the anime is quiet weird, in my opinion. But, Satou sure has a very vivid imagination 😀 He’s funny, he’s crazy, he’s really special, in his own way 🙂

Besides him, there is Yamazaki Kaoru, the boy who he “helped” while he was in high school, an unusual person who seems to have a lot of talent for making games, but still a bit of a shut-in who has problems with his family. He seems to provoke people to bully him. I find him as funny and interesting as Satou.

rsz_yamazaki

Then, we have Misaki Nakahara, a girl that is thinking that she can help Tatsuhiro to overcome his state of hikikomori. She was very patient while she was trying to persuade Satou to let her help him and sign a contract and she seemed like she knows what she’s doing. After the first session with Satou, she seemed quiet inexperienced and kinda funny while trying to use Froid’s analysis on him and thinking that Satou doesn’t even know who Froid is 🙂 But after you get to see just how clever of the girl she is and how she deals with Satou 😀 How time passes by, you’ll get to understand the real reason why she was helping Satou and that she needed him as much as he needed her. This is how he saw her, after the initial meeting…

It’s so funny to see the fantastic lies Satou comes up just to “prove” that he isn’t a hikikomori. He started by lying to Yamazaki, Misaki, then he even lied his mother in a such spectacular way (for her not to drag him back home)… But, in time, he will accept the state he’s in. The more I watched, the more I liked Satou. You get to know him better, understand his situation and how he got where he got. You’ll see that he has a really great mother, you’ll see how he will become good friends with Yamazaki and you will laugh at many funny moments they encounter.

nhk1

On the other hand, you’ll see how they will deal with some very serious occurrences, how Satou will be kinda dragged into some very serious situation, just because he was misunderstood. And how he isn’t powerful enough to fight it and get himself out of it. This anime really makes you think, it’s way more than ranting of some lunatic about conspiracies in this world. It’s something that can happen to anyone, at any time, especially if you are a bit of a  “mentally weak” state and prone to suggestions.

If you give it a try, I’m sure you’ll also enjoy this anime. The opening song is just great and, after hearing the other song that Yamazaki likes a lot (“Puru puru pururin” song), it will for sure stick in your head 🙂

 

 

 

Film girl

It’s a story about Nakamura Mei, a girl that was a model as a child. She had a trauma where she heard that she doesn’t have any talent so she quit and from then on she tried to be as plain and invisible as she can (I don’t know why she would go to that extreme but ok).

One day Shirou sees her. He’s been her fan ever since he was 12 years old and saw her in a magazine. From that time on, he tried his best to become a model and meet her someday. He shows a lot of funny faces in this manga, I found him pretty entertaining 🙂

 

There are a lot of cliches in this manga, one of them being that Mei wants to do her best and shines for Shirou, and not for herself. I do understand that lack of confidence and a trauma are a big problem, and that his help was something that she really needed, but then doing everything to make someone else happy and proud, is a bit too much.

Still, I like how the relationship between them will grow and be more mutual than in the beginning. I like how they look like on photo shoot together.

rsz_20170719_173022

Also, I didn’t think it will end how it ended, but for me it was a good ending, where it showed that they grew and they know better what the want to do with their life and career. There are some really funny situations to, so it’s a fast and quiet enjoyable read. It was written by Takagi Shigeyoshi.

Hybrid child

A hybrid child is a toy for middle aged, rich men. Depending on how much affection and attention they get from their owner, they grow and develop. Hazuki was found by Kotarou, when he was a boy. Kotarou is an heir of Izumi family, a very old family. He was the third person who took Hazuki in. The others at the house tried to get rid of him a couple of times but Kotarou didn’t let it.

rsz_16

But, after a few years passed, one day Hazuki just collapsed. Kotarou took him to Kuroda, the creator of hybrid children. Kuroda was surprised to see that Hazuki is a part of first models that were released. He told Kotarou that there is no way of fixing Hazuki and that he is rotting from inside out. After Kotarou complaining a lot, Kuroda told him that he needs to find and bring him the moon droplet. It was touching to read how Kotarou was trying to find it and how desperate he was to try and save his friend. Hazuki, on the other hand, was full of love for Kotarou and he was more worried about Kotarou and how he will continue with his life, since he is pretty useless, than about his own dying.

Second story is about Ichi Seya and his doll Yuzu. Ichi is a beautiful man, that often sits in the garden with a painful look on his face. And Yuzu wants to grow taller and mature faster, because he wants to help and support Ichi-sama. A lot will happen and Yuzu will find out why is Ichi-sama like that, after an attack on him occurs and Ichi-sama becomes blind. Even when Ichi-sama decided to send him back to Kuroda, so he can find him a better owner, Yuzu declined and said that he wants to stay with him and support him.

There is one more story. The last one was really touching and painful to read. This manga was written by Nakamura Shungiku, the mangaka who also did Junjou Romantica and Sekaiichi Hatsukoi.

What I liked about them is that these hybrid children weren’t used for their “original” purpose, to satisfy some perverted desires of their owners but they are a real companion for their owners, someone to listen to them and support them in good as well in bad times. They are more than just a mere dolls. The only strange thing was the time when the stories took place. Warriors in a time of Shogunate and dolls that can grow up and learn to speak kinda don’t go one with another.

Omoi no Kakera (Fragments of Love)

This manga was very sweet and cute and nice for reading. It’s the first yuri I’ve read but I really liked it. It’s a story about love, one sided one, lust, insecurities, friendship, support… It’s really easy to recognize a lot of the events from manga in real life. The only different thing is that here are mostly girls falling in love with girls.

In a way, the main character is Takaoka Mika. I really liked her, as a character, she’s really down to earth, she has a nice way of thinking, she’s sharp and good at noticing things around her and people close to her.

She many times has a good advice for someone and she’s good at pointing what’s really the problem. Her only “fault” is that she was really hurt by her first love and, since then, she closed off her heart because of the fear that she might get hurt again. To overcome that, an encounter with Harada Mayu will be crucial, for both of them.

There’s a story about Matsumodo Takako and Harada Yui too. You’ll get to see how and why they’ve met in school, how will their relationship change over time and to what lengths they are willing to go so the can support each other.

rsz_6.jpg

The art was pretty nice too and I’m sure I’ll check some other manga written by Takemiya Jin.

Koujitsusei no Tobira and Jin to Neko wa Yobu to Konai

For Buegette Cys, who lived his life quiet normally, with his work and girlfriend Irene, everything will change one day when he gets the call informing him that his brother died and that his brother left behind an adopted son, Buegette Kai. He haven’t seen his brother, who was a scientist, for 10 years. His brother was working on a way to implant a foreign memory into someone’s brain and change that person’s memory. The arrival of beautiful 17 year old boy will lead to him losing his girlfriend and, in a way, losing his mind since he will get strangely attracted to this boy.

rsz_221

It will appear that Kai is doing some shady work on the side, but Cys couldn’t even imagine what was going on and where it would lead him. Cys will hear amazing stories about himself and his brother and Kai. Both the FBI and CIA will get involved. After all the things he heard, he just wanted to be left alone.

rsz_4

In the time that follows, Cys will try to find out more about his past and his brother. He understood that he shouldn’t have said that to Kai and that he has a lot of questions for him. Kai seems to know many things about him, even from the time that he doesn’t remember. He will tell him about the time they met, who named him and many other things.

rsz_3

This manga turns out to be more a thriller than just a common and repetitive yaoi. But the end wasn’t quiet satisfying.

If you want to read more about Mari and Jin, you can in Jin to Neko wa Yobu to Konai (Neither Jin nor a Cat Come when Calling).

rsz_5

But let me warn you. This manga has different short stories and it isn’t as good as Koujitsusei no Tobira. Jin is way too weird, for my taste. Mari was more interesting for me yet he seemed like he wasn’t quiet sure what he wants to do about certain things. His friendship with Jin is pretty unusual. There’s also a guy that violated Mari but wants to continue?!? Besides the story about Jin and Mari, there is even a weirder story about an ex baseball player. Also one shockingly sad, involving death. And if you are in need of gay angels, you’ll find them too. You wont miss anything if you don’t read them.

Both manga were written by Shoowa.

Sorenari ni Shinken Nan desu. (Only Serious About You)

This isn’t the first time that I was reading a manga where a gay couple takes care of a child together, still it was a nice story. This is a story about Oosawa Naoki, one really hard working man who, while trying to make money for his family, kinda “forgot” that he should spend some time with them too. As a result, his wife left him and their daughter, after saying that she is tired of being at home alone and taking care of their daughter Chizu. Now Naoki is trying to mingle between taking care of Chizu and working all day long as a chef in one restaurant.

rsz_5

From the restaurant, he got to know a pretty handsome man called Yoshioka Seiichi. Yoshioka is a person who changes his partners often, falls in and out of love and is open about the fact that he is gay. He constantly makes advances on Oosawa, even though he knows Naoki is straight. But it’s almost like some type of “ritual” Yoshioka does.

rsz_3

Their relationship will slowly start to change, after the time when Oosawa will really be in need because of Chizu and when Yoshioka will help him out, even though Naoki never expected something like that from him.

Now, there are a lot of events that are nothing new you didn’t read before in one yaoi manga, but what I liked about this particular one is mentioning some things from real life. What I mean is, how you can have prejudice about someone, just because the way they act, but they can surprise you in a positive way and change your way of seeing them. How, even when you are a grown up and you think you know yourself well, you learn new things and you try to change, although it isn’t easy. How you learn that being someone’s partner is way more than just being married to them. Also, families can be “unusual” but they can be nice and warming and contained of happy people.

I am sure you will enjoy this manga, written by Asou Kai.

P.s. After reading this manga, I was excited to read also Yachin Hanbun no Ibasho desu. (A Place for Half a Rent), which is a parent story. But, it wasn’t as enjoyable as the first one.

Sennen no Yuki (Millennium Snow)

Sennen no Yuki is a manga written by Hatori Bisco. It’s a story about Matsuoka Chiyuki, a high school girl hospitalized with a heart problem. Since she was born, she had a weak heart and she was told that she would probably live to be only fifteen. She missed a lot of her school and, when the story starts, she is on a verge of dying, hoping that she will get to see snow one more time. That’s when she meets Kanou Touya, a vampire who is in his right age (age of eighteen) to choose his companion among humans and make that person almost immortal (that person would get to live a thousand years). In return, that person would let him drink their blood. For now, his only companion and faithful servant is Yamimaru, a small bat that can transform into human of different age.

rsz_12

The story is quiet interesting. On one hand, you have Chiyuki who is desperate to continue to live. Her heart was always a ticking bomb and she could never do what she really wants. On the other hand, you have Touya, who supposedly dislikes the taste of blood and doesn’t like humans much, since he believes that they are weak creatures who will only die before him and leave him behind. That’s why he is so against having to choose a human companion. Other reason is that he doesn’t want to condemn some other person to a long life, which he thinks wont bring much joy to anybody.

rsz_214

After meeting Chiyuki, Touya will meet a lot of interesting people and he will start to see the world in different perspective. He will grumble a lot, but he will start enjoying life more and come to realize that living with others is more fun.

rsz_15

One more thing is interesting. This manga went on a hiatus for many years, and you will be able to see how the art gets way prettier in the second part of the manga. I also enjoyed it more, the more I read.