November 2012

It’s the start of a new round for SSS. The running theme in part 1 of round 3? Possessive dudes are hot and being possessed is a thing to want. Here we go:

Black Bird

  • Oh wow, Misao is actually dating someone other than Kyo. Although now I’m worrying how this is going to end…
  • More passive sulking from Misao about Kyo not wanting her for her, but because she is the magic bride. Can’t have our heroine sulk about how sucky her situation is cause all women think about is whether men want them.
  • Kyo doesn’t seem to understand this little idea we like to call choice. He seems perplexed that Misao wants another man when he’s pledged to protect her for all eternity. You’re right Kyo, god damn those women, can’t they just be happy that someone wants them?! How dare they reject a man just cause they don’t want to date him. He’s so committed and in love. They should be thankful and just accept him!
  • Not that this stops Misao from blushing. Cause it’s sooo romantic that Kyo thinks her choice is irrelevant and all that matters are his wants and desires. (more…)

I recently found this link on MAL (from an anti-moe club) to an article about moe (I recommend reading it, it is quite insightful) and the article inspired me to finally write the post I’ve been meaning to write. Now I know that “moe” isn’t suppose to be a particular character trope or a specific something. It’s a feeling. I get it. I really do. And for the longest time, I had trouble making a case that the roots of moe come from a very specific type of moe. Thankfully, the article is written by someone who has the knowledge I was lacking and they laid out the claim I was desperately trying to make, but had no real historical proof to back it up. So here it is, what I always suspected but didn’t have any idea where I could research such a suspicion to back it up:

Today, while hardcore lolicon (and its young-boy equivalent, shota) still exists, the biggest descendant of lolicon has a new name, moe (“mo-eh”) . . . The word moe actually comes from a kanji meaning “to sprout.” “My vegetable love should grow,” to misuse a quote from Andrew Marvell—a slow budding affection, like a tender young plant. Or like an underage girl, unfortunately. The moe which makes me periodically ashamed to read manga in public, and which has caused a raging debate in the Otaku USA letter column, is a particular kind of moe which has its roots in the Japanese love of cuteness, domesticity and—one element among many—the lingering lolicon trend. It’s the moe of stories like Azumanga Daioh and Strawberry Marshmallow and Tori Koro and Yotsuba&!, in which adorable girls do adorable things.


Basic Information:

System: Gameboy Advance
Genre: Strategy RPG
Difficulty: Fair to Difficult
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: March 2005
Rating: E for Everyone
Retail Price: N/A

What’s It About:

Eirika, the Princess of Renais, is unexpectedly forced to flee her country when their long time ally, the Grado Empire, suddenly invades. She and a small group of Knights must make it safely to Frelia and from there seek out her twin brother, who was riding through Grado at the outbreak of the war. However it soon becomes apparent that something more sinister stirs behind the current war as sightings of hideous fiends are becoming much more common throughout Magvel. The player takes control of Eirika and her group of knights as she searches for her brother. Later on, the player is given the choice to complete the game through the eyes of either Eirika, or her brother Ephraim. (more…)

I mentioned this in the comments of the very first ever Substandard Shoujo Spectacle, but I’ve been thinking about writing companion posts for the feature that look into other aspects of the manga that I’ve got running in the feature. I thought it would be interesting to see where these manga run in terms of magazine anthologies. I had suspected, perhaps more so hoped, that they were confined to very specific anthologies. That perhaps the themes running through these manga were a fad of some niche in the market. Alas, this little research attempt broke all my illusions. Unfortunately, except for two manga, all the rest have run in different anthologies. Some are quite surprising actually. So here are the anthologies in question:

Betsucomi (more…)

It’s been a while since I’ve singled out a particular chapter of a long running manga and wrote a post about it, but this chapter bugs me on a number of levels. It was very painful to read this chapter because I’m a pretty big One Piece fan and I always liked Zoro, yet this chapter felt like all the bad things sticking out from time to time about the series finally came together in this one chapter. Sigh. Ok, here we go:

So the basic gist of this chapter is that Tashigi stays back with Zoro to fight Monet because she doesn’t believe Zoro can cut a woman. This is all fine and well especially since she looks down on him for this view, but that’s all going to be undermined by the fact that Tashigi can’t handle Monet on her own and Zoro has to step in to help her out (and to tell her off for talking big but not delivering). While he does admit to disliking slicing certain things (aka women), he still proceeds to cut Monet in half. Now this would have been a good subversion to the can’t hurt a women thing shounen works like to employ, but alas Zoro purposely doesn’t use haki so Monet survives the blow and Tashigi is the one to deliver the finishing blow. She calls him out on it next chapter, but Zoro refuses to admit he didn’t want to kill Monet because of her gender. He even starts talking down to Tashigi because she’s so weak. (more…)

This is the final part of Round 2 for Substandard Shoujo Spectacle. A quick summary of where our other contestants stand: Both Black Bird and Hot Gimmick are still neck-in-neck as both really picked up their game and made it to A-. Suki Shite Sadist had a more toned down chapter two, but still plenty of silly elements to warrant a B+. Meanwhile, Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun‘s chapter two scored a lowly D+ because it seems to be headed in a better direction and manages to frame the less exemplary aspects in a less problematic way than they normally appear in other manga. Finally Hadashi de Bara wo Fume shows us its true colours by totally destroying all characterization for Sumi established in chapter 1 and instead replacing it with a silly infantile Sumi; and shooting up to a B+ in the process. Unfortunately that trend is continuing with our final two manga, which makes Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun the only manga that’s actually getting better instead of worse. sigh.

The Beautiful Skies of Houou High

  • Keeping with shoujo tradition, Houou High give us another charming asshat for a love interest, who we can always count on to torment the heroine because tormenting the heroine is such a must! What would we do if the female character didn’t have to be constantly abused. It would be just so down right boring! And Houou loses no time with this either. Just in the very first few pages of this chapter, Yui forces Kei to keep her barf down cause she’ll dirty the classroom. Truly, what an outstanding young man. Indeed we need more individuals who place such value in the cleanliness of their classrooms over the welfare of their fellow man woman.
  • Unfortunately, Kei’s woman brain is a bit more developed than most, so she is fully aware that Yui is treating her like shit and hates it. But I’m sure she’ll eventually understand that he does this out of love; or at the very least that it doesn’t matter how he treats her as long as he’s hot and rich.

hahaha? Sexual and Physical abuse is so funny, right?

  • But Houou realizes that mean love interests are a dime a dozen in the shoujo world, so it needs to add more oomph to Yui. And what better way to stand out from the crowd than to make the love interest a sociopath that enjoys stabbing people with giant needles and then sexually assaulting/raping them by putting foreign objects up their bum. (more…)

Ok, so I haven’t watched all the seasons so this may change, but from what I’ve heard of the most recent seasons, it is not very likely. I’ve watched seasons 1-3 in their entirety and half of season 4 and a few episodes of Savers. That out of the way, here is why I think Tamers, aka season 3, is the best season and I really lament the fact that there aren’t any more seasons like it. (more…)

We’re back with the next batch of contenders for Round 2 in Substandard Shoujo Spectacle. A quick summary of last part’s standings: Black Bird has managed to outdo its first chapter and has made it to an A-, whereas Suki Shite Sadist has toned things down a bit but there is still plenty of ridiculous things going on so it gets a B+. Meanwhile, Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun is barely keeping up because it actually has likeable leads and goes to great length to show us that Haru has problems but he’s getting better, so it finishes with a measly D+. What is this round going to bring us? A drop in quality for each of the manga, unfortunately.

Hot Gimmick

  • The popular girls are bitches as usual (can’t have a shoujo without that can we?), and our dear heroine must try to persuade them that there is nothing special about her relationship with Azusa (who is super popular with the ladies and a model to boot!)
  • Akane’s period magically came while Hatsumi was out getting her a pregnancy test. I don’t know whether I should laugh or roll my eyes.
  • Flashback to Ryouki groping her cause we can’t get enough of that. And look Hatsumi is already falling for heart-throb Azusa. All it took was for him to come to her defence just once. More shoujo cliches I say! I want MORE!
  • And of course Hatsumi’s little sister is totally oblivious to Ryouki’s asshole side and totally impressed with him. Ah, but maybe she is aware and likes that. After all, she abuses Subaru cause he’s a nerd (and nice) and if Suki Shite Sadist taught us anything, it’s that girls are just naturally drawn to the biggest jerks and completely disgusted with any guy that has even a single shred of respect towards woman.
  • Meanwhile Ryouki loses no time in reminding Hatsumi that she is his slave.

Don’t date the sluts, they are not worth it cause you know, who wants “used goods”.

  • Of course Ryouki assumes Hatsumi is a total slut and tells Subaru as much. I guess he figures since she’s a slut, using her for sex is a-ok! Of course sluts don’t mind having sex with random people at their beck and call. You know, this logic seems vaguely familiar. Where have I heard this before? (more…)