IMG752Photo taken by me of my own copy. Strangely there aren’t many high resolution images of covers floating around anymore. Oh well. As you can see, I lucked out this time and this used copy is in terrific condition. I wish they could all look this good. I got some former library books with all the stickers and it is not pretty. ; w ; The cover art itself is quite nice. I definitely like the summer theme going on.

Summary


 

Shigeru, Tsukasa’s fiancee, declares that she is willing to marry him and aggressively begins to pursue him. Tsukushi tells herself she doesn’t care, while Tsukasa tries to explain. This all culminates in Tsukushi telling Tsukasa that Shigeru is better for him because she’s from a good family. This pushes Tsukasa over the edge and he slaps Tsukushi. Things fall apart from there as Tsukasa slowly realizes that he’s done something terrible again. (more…)

IMG243 Picture to the left was taken with my phone, so I hope it’s not too bad. I decided to give the 3-in-1 edition a go with Skip Beat and my experience with this edition is mostly positive. It definitely took awhile to get through the thing as it’s pretty long being really 3 volumes. But I loved the story, so it was definitely a good thing to have more of it in a single volume.

Summary


At first glance Kyoko Mogami seems to be an average girl, but she has a secret. Her special prince charming is none other than the famous raising star in the Japanese music scene, Sho Fuwa. Kyoko has been deeply in love with Sho since a child and did not hesitate to follow him to Tokyo to help him achieve his dreams by working part time jobs to support the both of them.

However, now that Sho has gotten a big break, he seems oddly distance and moody. In an effort to cheer him up, Kyoko decides to bring him some food from her part time job. In the process, she overhears him bragging about how he brought her along as a maid and nothing else. He even declares to send her packing if his manager promises to “take care” of him (in other words, let him live with her and be bed partners). Surprisingly, instead of crying her eyes out, Kyoko snaps and vows revenge on Sho. Sho only sneers saying she can only have her revenge if she makes it into show biz (since a regular person can’t touch a star); but he is confidence she will be unable to make it. (more…)

boys over flower 16 Boys Over Flowers is now out of print, so I had to pick up a used copy (an old library book) and I’m rather sad at how beat up it is, but I guess a beat up copy is better than nothing, right? This volume’s cover is also one of my favourites. It’s nice to see all 3 main characters together and smiling. It was also neat to discover that a promo photo of the voice actors for Tsukasa, Tuskushi, and Rui was the basis of this volume’s picture. Those extra little notes from the author are rather neat~

Summary


Now that Tsukasa has declared that Tsukushi is precious to him in front of his mother, Kaede is determined to do everything possible to remove Tsukushi from Tsukasa’s life. At first she targets Tsukushi’s weakness and brings 50 million yen to Tsukushi and her parents. She wants them to take the money in return for Tsukushi cutting ties with Tsukasa. Beyond offering the money, she is very rude to Tsukushi; openly stating that Tsukushi is merely a fun diversion for Tsukasa and nothing more and to be mindful that purity is her greatest asset in the future. To everyone’s surprise, Tsukushi’s mother pours salt on top of Kaede and refuses her money stating they have pride too. Unfortunately, it seems rather than defending her daughter, Tsukushi’s mom is thinking of the big picture. Instead of 50 million yen, she wants the entire Domyoji fortune via Tsukushi marrying Tsukasa, much to Tsukushi’s annoyance. (more…)

Ian & Rin

Rin and Ian

It’s no secret that I like Fairy Cube. The manga isn’t perfect, but what I really appreciated about it is how well balanced the two main leads were. Often times, it’s so easy for a writer to write one character as strong and the other as weak, or write weakness in a way that denies agency. It feels as if some writers think showing any real weakness would somehow undermine how “cool” or “powerful” or just strong that particular character is. But that’s not really what makes someone strong and furthermore having a character that only knows how to look cool is often the quickest way to make a boring character. Likewise, having characters that embody only weakness and helplessness often causes readers (well at least me) to get frustrated with the character. Weakness is only interesting when it’s paired with some sort of character growth or balanced in some way by adding aspects of strength. Do we really want to see Character A wallowing in self pity over and over? That’s as equally boring as having a flawless character! (more…)

Well this is the final volume of Hana Yori Dango I had sitting on my manga backlog. This is also another really cute cover. I mean Tsukasa with a dog is just adorable! And funny given what Tsukushi compares him to this volume! xD Also looking at this cover reminds me of how much better Ms.Kamio’s art has gotten. It’s very lovely now. :) Also like with the last two volumes, the picture here is one I took myself. Fortunately, the lighting here is better than the last two times. ^__^;;;

Summary


Sakurako’s suspicions of Junpei turn out to be right when Tsukushi gets kidnapped by his accomplices not long after he saves her. She is tied up in an old gym warehouse and some of her hair is cut and sent to Tsukasa. Junpei finally reveals that he did all this (including planting the red slip) to get revenge against Tsukasa for beating up an old friend of his in middle school. Tsukushi doesn’t believe Tsukasa will show up after she told him to leave her alone, but he does and he takes the beating from Junpei’s accomplices to protect Tsukushi. Eventually, Tsukushi cannot take anymore and jumps in front of a chair Junpei means to attack Tsukasa with and pleads that they have done enough. Junpei then leaves and both she and Tsukasa fall unconscious. (more…)

Major spoilers for the manga Basara by Yumi Tamura ahead. Also like the title suggests, I will be discussing rape in the manga pretty extensively.

I was avoiding talking about Basara on Shoujo Spotlight since I feel like all I do is rave about this manga, but considering how many anime and manga I’ve come across with questionable rape themes or scenarios, well, I just could not leave this topic alone much longer. I’ve already written about how the framing of rape has been problematic before, but I’ve never really written about good use of rape in a story. And since Basara is currently the only shoujo I have read that I feel does the topic justice, it was unavoidable that I must once again sing the praises of this manga. Strikingly, Basara actually has three rape victims that play pretty integral roles in its plot while not being centre focus, and what’s more, one is male and two are female. However, I think the biggest indicator of why Basara doesn’t trivialize rape is because it doesn’t use it like other shoujo manga do.

sarasa_&_tatara

Gender plays a key role in Basara, but rape is never played as a means to enforce Sarasa’s vulnerability as a woman.

As I pointed out in my impression of Fushig Yugi 10, rape plays an almost dramatic role in the series. It is there to raise the tension: Miaka can only summon Suzaku if she is a virgin, so her enemies try to prevent her from doing that by attempting to rape her, twice. Furthermore, it adds another moment of drama for our heroine since it causes her to feel unworthy of being with her true love when she believes she really has been raped. Likewise in Black Bird, rape is also being used for tension: Misao, our heroine, has to constantly watch her back because demons want to either rape or kill her. It’s also being used to paint the sole demon not willing to do that to Misao as romantic and to use that constant threat of rape as a mean to bring them together. Even Boys Over Flowers, as much as I like it, plays into this when Tsukasa sends some guys to rape (well ok just scare her by threatening to do so) Tsukushi in the very first volume. So yes, rape as tension/drama is a pretty regular occurrence in shoujo manga. However, I think this is a pretty basic and tasteless way to include such a touchy subject in a story. Most women are more than aware that rape is this ever present threat. We’ve been brought up in a culture that makes it pretty clear to us, so I feel like these instances don’t really add anything and just reinforce the “rape = bad” idea. Yes rape is awful, but so what? If that’s all you want to express, I feel it’s pretty pointless and in fact tasteless, because it uses a common problem for women to add some oomph to the story. Rape shouldn’t just be some vehicle to spice up your story precisely because it is such a problem. It shows a lack of empathy if all you think rape is worth is some drama. (more…)

Like with volume 13, I couldn’t find a decent picture of the cover, so I took the picture myself. The lighting is weird, once again, because the glare the regular lighting was causing forced me to use just a desk lamp when taking this picture. ^__^;;; With that out of the way, I actually think this is a pretty cute cover. I like the telephone theme and you can definitely get an idea of each boy’s personality from how they are talking on the phone.

Summary


After Tsukasa’s jealous outburst last volume, Tsukushi is determined to cut ties with him and flat out refuses to talk to him anymore. She also visits Oribe and meets his younger brother Junpei, who also goes to Eitoku. The two later meet at Eitoku, where Junpei wears glasses and at first Tsukushi doesn’t recognize him. They hit it off and become friends. (more…)

I couldn’t find a good quality image of this cover, so I took a picture of my own copy with a camera, hence the weird lighting. ^__^;;; I quite like this cover. I wouldn’t say it’s a favourite of mine, but I definitely like how nerdy Tsukushi looks here. I also think she looks pretty cute in glasses. :3

Summary


Tsukushi and Yuki join the F4 on their trip to Canada. Unfortunately, Asai’s group also crashes the party by insisting Tsukushi invited them too. As per usual, they get jealous of Tsukasa’s attentions to Tsukushi and tell her that Yuki has gone back to the slopes one night while a terrible snowstorm rages. Tsukushi, greatly alarmed that they did something to Yuki, runs into the blizzard wearing only a sweater and some pants and it isn’t long before she is lost and succumbing to the cold. Fortunately, Tsukasa finds her in the nick of time and the two spend the night in a cabin, where Tsukasa warms up the frozen Tsukushi using his body heat and a fire. (more…)