lydamorehouse: (Default)
 I volunteered to be part of a pop-up library at Anime Detour this weekend, though MELSA, the over-arching library organization to which Ramsey County Libraries belong. The gig was short two-hour shifts, and I thought why not? If nothing else, it's essentially a free past to the con.  They encouraged cosplay, so I dug out my old Aizen cosplay. The picture is blurry because the only full length mirror we have in our house is behind a door that we almost never close and even though I washed centuries of dust off the surface, the glass is still wavy with age. But, I wanted to show a full length picture because frankly, the footwear is my best part. The tabi (the two toed socks are PERFECT). The rest is borrowed or thrift store finds.

blurry picture of a dumpy lesbian in a soul reaper cosplay

Finding the convention was kind of trip. I had not gone last year when they moved venues, so finding the Hyatt on Nicollet Avenue was a lot of me cursing while making u-turns in downtown Minneapolis. I have long joked that since moving to St. Paul the directional faeries of Minneapolis have rejected me, because things I used to find with ease now completely baffle me.  So, I'm glad I left a half hour earlier than I normally would have given myself to get into downtown, because... yeah.

The pop-up library was fun. They had a tables set up with a bunch of different activities. There were, of course, manga to look through and read (but we weren't checking any out,) comfy spots to read, etc., but we were also hosting a raffle drawing and a button for a fact table. I ended up staffing the button table. The idea is, that if you write down a fact (any fact, doesn't have to be manga or anime related, it can be like, "I am attending Anime Detour") and in exchange you can pick up a fannish related button for FREE.

somehow I look fatter and dumpier in same outfit but now I am in front of a table with buttons on it

Somehow I look ten times fatter in this picture. Ah, well, such is life. You can at least see the table with the buttons on it.

I had to pick up Shawn right after my shift, so I didn't get much of a chance to wander around the con. I went into artist's alley, and glanced at stuff but decided I'd better get going, because rush hour. 

And then I couldn't remember where I parked my car.

Like, I was standing around in downtown Minneapolis thinking, "Oh my god, which one of these bazillion parking ramps is the one I went into???" I have a pretty good directional memory, so I knew approximately what street (turns out I had the right parking lot on the first guess, but I went in the wrong door so the interior looked different.) At one point I was thinking, what do I even do if I can never figure it out? Do I take the bus home and wait for them to impound it?? We only have the one car!  But, after much panicked searching, I did find it. I even SOMEHOW made it across town in time to pick up Shawn at the usual time.

So that was my day. I do it again tomorrow night.

Meanwhile, Mason is still roboting. He's got tomorrow, as well. I heard from Shawn that their team won a few rounds and seemed to generally have a good day. I won't probably head out to pick him up until after 6:30 pm. Long days for that kid. I'll have to post more of the pictures that they shared on their twitter feed.

lydamorehouse: (Aizen)
I turned in my apocalypse story yesterday morning. I will let you all know what, if anything, becomes of that. It was a good story for me to write. I normally DON'T use writing as therapy, but this one was a good vehicle to work out some of my feelings about my cats' deaths. It was kind of a "the world ends, but you go on anyway" sort of apocalypse.

Now it's time to turn my attention to Unjust Cause and getting that thing in order for Wizard Tower Press.

Last night, we had a guest. Mason has several close friends on his Overwatch Team. One of them is a young person named Græ (pronounced like Gray, and might even be spelled with a 'y' also. That is their online persona, but what Mason calls them, so...), who just happened to be in town with their parents visiting Macalaster College. Mason and Græ arranged to hang out and play video games in the basement. We ordered pizza, because of course, and also Græ is a vegetarian. We got to meet Græ's parents, who I absolutely ADORED. I mean, do you ever have that experience where you start talking to someone and you think, "Oh! This is one my people!" It was like that. Græ and Mason already knew each other, so they got on like a house on fire, as well. I think Græ was here from 4 pm to almost 10 pm, and then we all stood around the living room hanging out for another half hour when it was supposed to be time to pick-up because, yeah, they were all that great.

So that was a lot of fun.

While it Mason and Græ played video games and chatted in the basement, Shawn and I went upstairs and watched "Ant-Man and Wasp," which Shawn hadn't seen before. We started watching some Hong Kong drama called "Iceman," about time traveling Chinese warriors, but Shawn found that just too silly (many wires, much weirdness) and so we switched over to the MCU. Shawn had NOT seen the first Ant-Man, but was introduced to him via "Captain America: Civil War." She really loved the character Luis, so we're going to try and hunt down that first Ant-Man, because I do think she'll like the Luis bits, if nothing else.

Speaking of the MCU, I saw "Captain Marvel" and loved it. Only really a spoiler if you are living under a cave, but I respect cave-dwellers so... )

Over the weekend, we made a double batch of fleischkeukle, which, as my parents pointed out when they called, is something we seem to be doing more often. This is true, partly because we made the decision to make smaller batches more often. Otherwise, it takes ALL DAY. It only took MOST of the day this way.

Uncooked dough meat pockets, like slightly larger pierogi lining a baking pan

People on Facebook asked me what we fill these with. Shawn's family traditionally fills them with hamburger, onions, and spices. Very simple. The dough is really only special because it's a cream-based dough. They still manage to be very delicious, IMHO, particularly when eaten, piping hot, right out of the deep-fat frier.

Same meat filled pockets only deep-fat fried to a golden brown

My D&D group got cancelled on Saturday night, for reasons of a death in the extended family of one of our members. That made me sad for a number of reasons. I really look forward to playing, if nothing else, but the situation reminded me a lot of my (still living) first lover and all those complicated feelings that I will probably carry around my whole life, much like what our member described. 

The only other news is that we moved Shawn in to her new upstairs office on Saturday, while Mason was at work. Mostly this involved carrying plants and all the delicate things not normally trusted to workplace movers. I think her new office looks very nice, very IMPORTANT, befitting a State Archivist and Director of Library and Archives. The only thing she needs more of is art for the big beige industrial walls and she'll be set.

I think that's everything I know. I mean, I could squee at you all about my fannish life, wherein I have a fan of my fan work, who happens to be an artist and who has taken it upon themselves to make a manga-esque comic book out of on of my Bleach fics. As someone who always wanted to grow up to be a comic book artist herself, it thrills me no end to see my words put to pictures in this particular way. In fact, yesterday, I finished another chapter of this work and so I made sure to send a sneak preview to my artist ahead of time in the secret hope that they will feel inspired to draw something from the upcoming action. :-) I don't expect anyone here to be all that curious, but if you are, the permalink to my reblog is: http://junko222.tumblr.com/post/183671888942/aysmiro-comic-for-junko-and-her-story-forever (a note for those who are regular manga readers, this one reads English-language style, left to right.) The story of mine that 'aysmiro' is illustrating is linked to at the bottom of the three page panel spread, too, if you're inspired to check out my work, as well.

So cool.


lydamorehouse: (??!!)
 A complete dork in an even dorkier hat

You guys have no idea HOW LONG I have wanted a hat that mimics Renji's forehead tattoos and hair. I have met many knitters in my life and BEGGED all of them, bribed, cajoled, even attempted to seduce them to make me this hat. All to no avail.  Finally, my friend Anna in Canada took the plunge. She is also one of the last remaining Bleach fans in the world, so that might have helped matters.

Anyway, I think I look awesome and you can NOT convince me otherwise.

Yes, I wore this in public.

Also? The "hair" comes with a scrunchy, so it is fully play-with-able. I can braid his hair, or wear it down, or experiment with style, because, face it, my deeply jealous friends, this fancy-ass hat DEFINES style. (Not "defies," defines. This, my covetous friends, is the gold standard to which all style aspires.)

Yep. This is pretty much all I need to say today. Other than, ANNA, YOU ARE A GODDESS AMONG WOMEN, THE QUEEN OF KNITTERS.
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
 I'm NOT the best Duolingo user.

I don't always respond to guilt-trips, so their "Hey, you know you can only learn by constant practicing!" reminders get ignored by me nine times out of ten. They are also pushing me to learn new words/units, but I keep circling back to previous ones because f*ck if I can remember the kanji for 'inu' from one day to the next. 

Obviously, I'm not supposed to be using Duolingo as my sole source of language study, and, yet, I sort of am.

I mean, I legitimately have flashcards at home, but do I use them?  I bought a subscription to Japanpod101.com, but do I listen to a lesson every day, like I should?  I have Pimsler CDs in my car, but do I pop one in the player instead of listening to news that makes me want to pull my hair out?

No.

Also, if you can't tell from the above, I am a 100% auditory learner (thank you, mild dyslexia), which may be another part of my general problem with Duolingo. However, I do need to be able to read/sound out words in Hiragana, and Duolingo is the ONLY way I have learned any of that consistently.  So, for that, Duolingo has been good.

Probably what I need is a routine. I should have some set time, every day, where I sit down and do ten minutes of study there and follow that up by listening to a podcast and make Mason do flashcards with me. My brain resists foreign languages though, I swear.

Anyway, that's just me complaining. I know what I need to do. I'm just lazy. And, it's not like I have some kind of deadline. I'm learning Japanese just because I want to.  There is no trip planned for the future. I'm sure that's a big part of why I haven't managed to actively carve out space for study.  

Today, I'm going to go to the coffee shop and hang out with a bunch of my writer friends. My friend Eleanor has been trying to get me to commit to another day during the week (Mondays?) where we get together and actually write, since Fridays have become more about socialization than actual writing.  It's a good idea. I have a project I need to start working on, as I got a invite to an apocalypse themed anthology. It's a small press deal, but an invite is still an invite, so I'll take it. My deadline is April 2019.

I've been writing a TON of fan fic, but if you're a follower of junko on AO3, you're probably thinking, "No, you haven't, you big fat liar." But, actually I HAVE. I just haven't posted anything yet, because it's a collaborative project with Josey (cestus) that's an Aizen + Ukitake/Kyouraku (Bleach) epic. Unlike me, Josey doesn't like to post WIPs while they are in progress. So, we are waiting for more to be written before we post. She has given me permission to post one of the pieces because it's nearly a standalone in that it tells some of the origin story of how Aizen discovered Kyoka Suigetsu's shikai.  But, in the last few days I've been kind of struggling to put word on paper at all, and I have no idea why.  Normally, winter is my best writing time.

Last night I went to Tumblr just to see what was happening there. I scrolled quite a ways down my feed, and my personal feed now almost entirely consists of memes about Tumblr's implosion/random explicit tagging policy AND porn bots. Seriously, I hit three porn bots with live-action porn happening right in front of me with all the female presenting nipples being groped in a way I actually don't find very hot, and YET when I go searching on the #yaoi hash tags....

Tumblr's "oops nothing is here screen"

It's possible that all the NSFW yaoi artists and reviewers and text posters decided to go through their entire user history and delete the #yaoi to preserve their work, but somehow I doubt it. I would much rather be able to read someone's review of the latest yaoi post than see an actual, real life dick on my dash, personally--not that I have anything against people who want both (or neither.)

Sigh.

lydamorehouse: (Default)
I've been reading a lot of people's blogs lately. I don't know if this is a product of my pen-palling, but I find myself more and more drawn to the stories of people's lives and their various takes on things. This morning I ended up reading a mini-rant someone posted about a ship war in the Tokyo Ghoul fandom, and that inspired me to write my own mini-rant about the Trials and Tribulations of Being a Queer Otaku. I don't have anything particularly brilliant to say, but, what the heck, this is what blogs are for, right?

When I posted it to Facebook, a friend of mine came on and poked at the open wound that is my relationship to the ending of Bleach. She didn't do so intentionally, she just casually mentioned that she was find with Renji ending up with Rukia at the end because, for her, "it felt right." I don't even necessarily disagree, but in going back and forth with her, I realized that I might have been a lot better with that particular pairing (which absolutely had a foundation in canon, at least on Renji's part,) IF ANY queer couples had survived in tact. Read more... )

So, yeah, I might be less bitter about RenRuki--which I have always supported, even in my super gay fan fic--(I always make Renji bi), if the other queer characters in Bleach had not been so poorly treated.

But no one cares about that, but me.

In other, non-fannish news, Mason is expected home late tonight. I'm looking forward to hearing all the stories of Anaheim.  I did find out that their team did NOT place at the competition, but Mason had not expected them to, so he didn't seem the least bit disappointed. In fact, he kept say, "It was so much fun!"  I'm super-glad that we have somehow instilled in him this attitude.  It will serve him well all his life, IMHO.

We're packing to head off to LaCrosse tomorrow early.  Poor Mason will land sometime around midnight and then be bundled into a car around 7 or 8 am the next morning (or same morning, if it's after midnight, eh?)  But, as I told him, he can sleep in the car.

It's nice enough out that I mowed. I have to say that--knock on wood--the yard is looking half-decent this year.  Now I just have to keep it up, which is always the struggle, isn't it?
lydamorehouse: (Default)
 No doubt you're tired from reading all the stories and such that I've been putting out there, well, here's ONE MORE THING: our podcast --

mangakast.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/26-picking-up-sticks/
 


lydamorehouse: (Default)
Okay so the publishing schedule is messing with our podcast YET AGAIN. However, Mason read everything when he came home from school (and me, after fighting the traffic back and forth to the vet's office to pick up my kitty), and we produced #24: Otaku in the Basement.
In this episode, our 24th podcast, we reviewed Bleach 596One Piece 760, Toriko 292 and Hitogatana.

lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Seriously, this is why you need to be tuning into the weekly manga podcast: we have diaper bombs, devil forks, and a frank and serious discussion of who wore the mullet hottest in Bleach....

Why would you not what to listen to that??

http://mangakast.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/20-shipping-shippy-ships/

Also, we distracted by shipping wars. Because: fandom.  And, it turns out I have a secret IchiRuki shipper in my household (who knew?)
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Today is Wednesday, and that means that the new chapters of various manga have come out. So Mason and I have done our thing. Feel free to check it out: https://mangakast.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/sweet-sixteen/.

In this podcast, it's mostly me talking about SnK (Shingeki no Kyojin) and its various and sundry spin-offs. However, there was a very problematic section of Bleach today, which I'll discuss under the cut.

Read more... )
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Mason and I recorded our sixth MangaKast podcast, and it's up for your enjoyment.

http://mangakast.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/podcast-the-sixth/

unnamed

I kind of wish I could be slightly more articulate about why Ao no Exorcist is so awesome. I'd love to drag more people into that fandom and there are only 56 chapters to-date, so it wouldn't be hard to catch up.

In other news, there is a "wintery mix" falling on the ground right now. That's right: SNOW. I can hardly believe it. It's not right. At least my strawberries are still mostly covered by mulch, so I think they'll survive this. The question is: will Minnesotans? Because I think a lot of people are ready to weep (myself included.)
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Mason and I recorded our fifth MangaKast. It's here: http://mangakast.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/five-is-live/ (Remember the go button is easy to miss.)

This is another experiment that I could call failed, but I don't. I think the most ever hits our site got was 20 or so on the first day. We consistently get three now, I think (and I'm sure two of them are probably me.) But, this doesn't depress me in the least. Mason and I started this partly because I have podcast equipment around that was bought for the other failed podcast project and because, sometimes, he and I have really brilliant insights about the manga we're reading. Mostly, it turns out, at 5:45 am, we don't. (This is when I wake him to read the manga and get ready to podcast. I also usually and sipping down my VERY FIRST cup of coffee, and as people who have seen me at cons know, it takes me a while to warm up....) However, we never had grand plans for this. For me, it's a great bonding experience with Mason. For Mason, he gets to be making a show. How cool is that?

So no one has to feel pressurized to listen to us. This is totally a labor of love in the strictest sense... and it's really almost no labor. I edit almost nothing, only the most egregious gaffs or coughs or slurps of breakfast OJ.

I'm off in a few minutes to hang out with [livejournal.com profile] naomikritzer and Eleanor. We'll probably talk "Captain America: Winter Soldier" which I finally saw yesterday afternoon. If I have any thoughts that distill from that conversation, I'll probably write them up here.

Okay, that's it for today!
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Because I had to go to work this morning, I'm bringing MangaKast to you a little late. In today's episode, Mason and I discuss the newest, hot-off-the-presses/scantilation Bleach 575, Toriko 272, as well as my first impressions of Blue Exorcist and Mason's take on where he's at in One Piece.

http://mangakast.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/go-forth-fourth/

tumblr_n2r11lPQfF1tu1n2fo1_500

If you're so inclined, enjoy! (Remember the little arrow to start is kind of hard to miss, but it's right there at the top!)
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
If you're interested in hearing what Mason and I sound like when we're very sleepy and kind of ramble-y, we posted our newest Bleach/Toriko MangaKast.  Check it out here: http://mangakast.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/mangakast-the-second/ In it I lay out several of my theories: about Kenpachi's ban-kai and its name, about THE END and Ichigo's part in it, and about how I won't be surprised to find out that Aizen (or someone) has been messing with the timing of this final battle.

Of course, be warned that there are spoilers for Bleach 573 "I am the Edge".

I don't know that I have any additional thoughts.

Read more... )

Because Mason and I get up ridiculously early in order to do the podcast before school.  I suspect I'll always have my far more articulate thoughts much, much later.

If you're at all inclined, feel free to check it out.  Mason and I both ramble on a bit longer than we normally do... and I think we're going to try to make sure we're a little more succinct in the future.  Though, admittedly, I rather enjoy our nearly completely unedited dopey commentary for it's rambling uneditedness....
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Since my other podcast project was kind of a dud, Mason and I have decided that it'd be fun to do a very on-the-fly, slapdash podcast about Bleach on the mornings that the chapters come out.  We've decided to call it MangaKast (with a "k" as a play on the word mangaka, which is what one calls manga artists.)  We recorded it at about 6:30 am, before breakfast, before coffee, and before school.  So, I might not be the usual shining star that you may know me to be.  In the future, I hope to at least get up in enough time to make coffee so I'm not a complete moron.

If you want to take a listen, the first one is up at: http://mangakast.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/first-ever-mangakast/

When you get there you'll see just a very little, almost easy to miss arrow and pause symbol.  Press that and music will start.  We start talking shortly afterwards.  We don't even really do a proper introduction, but we decided that it's content over quality... yeah, that's it.

Anyway, enjoy if you will.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Saturday morning Mason has swimming lessons, so, rather than negotiate the back and forth, he came with me to MarsCON.  I stopped by registration for my badge and bought Mason a day pass.

This was Mason's first ever con.  I thought for sure he'd hook up with his friend Molly and that'd be the last I'd see of him, but he ended up sitting in the back of the panel room, which was Kruschenko's, so there were comfy chairs in a kind of antechamber.  So Mason didn't even have to listen to us drone on about "Getting into the Mind of a Fanatic."  Actually, the panel was pretty good, though there were a lot of panelists and we veered into the NAZI analogy, despite [livejournal.com profile] naomikritzer's valiant attempts to keep everyone on track.

The rest of the con was me showing Mason what a con is like.  Mason, being Mason, adored the demonstrations.  We watched a Korean sword martial art and we learned the difference between a Korean sword and a Japanese katana.  But, Mason and I were pretty excited to talk to the Sa Ba Nim of that dojon because, apparently, you get to learn sword at any belt.  We tried to win a sword, but, alas, we didn't get the prize.  I did, however, get to cut paper with a bokken.  That rocked.

Mason and I tried to go into the game room, but the rules of said game room kind of baffle me.  Like, it's not clear how one starts a game.  I presume that one can just sit at a table and open a game and people will join you, but every time we went in there were no open tables.  It was also unclear how one jumps in to a pre-running game, or even if one can.

So, we took some jelly beans and left.

Mason really loved the prop room, and if the picture ever makes its way through the aether fem my ridiculously un-smart phone I'll be posting a shot I took of Mason standing next to a very, very realistic looking Dalek.  Mason also really loved all of Umbridge's proclamations/rules from Harry Potter... and all of the Harry Potter props, actually.

Then when we came out of there the SCA people were doing a demo of their battles and Mason tried to watch that, but the SCA people were very... postalizing and kept wanting to TELL us things about their organization, armor, etc.  Mason just wanted to see the bashing of heads.

After that we just kind of killed time waiting for the Anime room party to start.  When it did, they'd started watching Wolf Children, which I adored.  Mason and I sat on the floor and ate girl scout cookies and commented along with everyone else.  This might be the moment that Mason realized that the world is filled with nerdy otaku JUST LIKE HIMSELF, because he was beaming through the film, his ears all perked up, like he finally felt, as the heroine of Wolf Children says, "like he found his pack."

Oh, and my furry friends?  YOU SHOULD WATCH THIS.  It will make you cry.  It made Mason and I cry, but damn it, I think it would be even more powerful for anyone in the furry fandom.  The basic message is not only 'you need to accept who you are," but also, "let your children be what they are."  And, bam! Right in the FEELS, if you know what I mean.

Also, I have to confess that they had an Anime quiz and Mason and I got THE ONE BLEACH QUESTION...

...WRONG.

Mason says he knew the answer but didn't want to speak up.  Meanwhile, I wrote down the year that the Bleach Anime came out wrong.  I remembered it had a "4" in it, but didn't realize it was 2004 (I might have put down 1994).

THEY HAD ONE BLEACH QUESTION AND I BLEW IT.

I may have to leave the fandom in shame....

So, today I'm off to go back to the con by myself.  I think I'm going to miss having Mason there.  He's a good companion for these things.  He and I have already agreed that he'll come along for at least one day for the rest of these.... and I couldn't be more proud.  Leap, my little wolf child!  Leap!

Fan Day

Mar. 5th, 2014 10:24 am
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Bleach 571 came out today, I know you're all as excited as I am…. and since I know you don't want to be spoiled, I'll be sure to put my comments about it under the cut.

Read more... )

In other news, my Solstice present from Shawn finally arrived.  Here's me in it:

squadlevi

So what am I wearing?  That's a Scouting Legion hoodie from Shingeki no Kyojin aka "Attack on Titan."  These are the characters who go out beyond the walled city and fight the "baddies" (jury is out, given how sympathetic many of the shifters seem to be.)  If you're not reading this manga or watching this anime already, I'm not sure I can entirely recommend it to you because… at first I was fairly traumatized by the action (though Tumblr fandom had warned me)… it's… uh, there are… well, let's just say the Titans eat people, like graphically.

However, it is the hot new thing all kids are into. And they're into it for a good reason. The story is strong and the characters are deeply compelling.  I find it interesting because it's not like the usual shougen manga because the hero fights with a team and teamwork is critical to winning battles.  Also, war sucks in a really UN-glorified way.  People die. People whose names you've learned, whose stories you know, who you've come to love and sympathize with, die.  And they don't just die HEROICALLY.  Sometimes, like in real war, their deaths are stupid and meaningless and awful.  In fact, one of my favorite characters, Jean is motivated to join the Scouting Legion because his friend (lover?) dies in a back alley and… they're honestly not sure it's him, he's been so disfigured.  No one saw him die.  And Jean becomes determined to go out in blaze of glory, because f*ck that.  I also love Jean because he's a coward and admits he's scared out of his mind every time they go into battle.  There's also a couple of shifter characters who bend my mind they're so awesome.

Also, if you're generally interested in non-binary gender representations in media, it's happening in SnK.  Here's a Tumblr post about this character. http://teacupsandcyanide.tumblr.com/post/60922728975/on-misgendering-hanji-zoe

In Real Life™ news, I got put on another panel at MarCON this weekend.   So, now in addition to the other Sunday (3pm?) panel, I'm also doing: Timing and Pacing, 11:00 a.m. Sunday, Krushenko's

See you there?
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
New Bleach chapters come out on Wednesdays (when Kubo-sensei is not on hiatus, at any rate,) and so I've decided that, for the most part, I'm going to give into my fannish squee one day a week and mostly just spend the day being a fan.

Chapter 570 was good, in case you were wondering.

Read more... )

Speaking of manga and chapters, last night, at work, I picked up Volume 5 of Ōoku: The Inner Chambers. [livejournal.com profile] naomikritzer bought volume one of this series for me as a Solstice/Christmas gift this last year because the premise sounds right up my alley (and it sort of is.)  The manga is an alternate history where sometime during the Edo period, the men of Japan are all afflicted with a disease that wipes out a huge percentage of the male population.  Women rise to power and men become, well, breeders, really.  Many are sold off to brothels, etc.  The main plot, however, revolves around the men in the "Inner Chamber," the shogun's own harem/concubines.  So there is political intrigue and lots and lots of men being "debased" for the shogun's pleasure.

YET, despite that fabulous premise, this manga could be a lot hotter than it is, honestly.  Despite the warning of "explicit content" there's only a little hint of m/m and most of the sex is a pan to the left and IMPLIED.

The other problem with the story, IMHO, is that there are a lot of time jumps.  Like, right now, I'm not actually sure where I am in the timeline.  It started when the female shogun was well established, but then jumped to tell a story of the first "Swain" (the concubine in charge of taking the Emperor's maidenhead and then falling on his sword) and then jumped again to tell of the rise of the first female shogun.  I THINK we've been moving slowly back to the "now" from that second story-in-a-story, but I'm honestly not sure.

Unfortunately, this is a two part problem, one that falls squarely on my shoulders, and the other I will blame on the mangaka (a woman named Fumi Yoshinaga).

The problem that's mine is that Japanese names don't stick very quickly in my head.  I have to be hammered with a Japanese name for several issues before I remember it (even when the characters are wildly different looking, like in Bleach--thank fate for the Bleach Wiki and the fact that Byakuya kept saying "Renji" over and over and people introduced themselves at each fight...) and... the second problem is that the mangaka seems to have one image in her head of "hot guy" and so the guys that catch the shogun's eye (even different shoguns) are all kind of the same TYPE.  Worse, everyone is sporting the same hairstyle, purposely copying the Hot Guy.  So, I've had a hell of a time figuring out if I'm following the first Hot Guy or a new Hot Guy.

BUT, despite this criticism, I'm still reading.  I even picked up the last two volumes 6 & 7, with the thought that I'll see this through.  The universe is interesting enough to keep me reading and the titillation is titillating.  (I've got a good imagination, after all.)

Plus, as Naomi well knows, this sort of set-up is a big guilty pleasure of mine.  I really enjoyed (far too much) Catherine Aasaro's LAST HAWK, because it's this same thing, only in that case the Hot Guy is a crash-landed fighter pilot captured and thrust into the harem of a matriarch on a matrilineal planet.  Similarly, I pushed through Wen Spenser's A BROTHER'S PRICE because it was a future where there was another plague that affected only men, and... yada, yada harems and brothels full of desperate men.  Similar-but-different, I really adored ABSOLUTE BOYFRIEND a six-volume shojo manga about a girl who mail-orders the perfect android boyfriend (from the future, but that's kind of a side story.)

Clearly, I love this set-up.  It's like some kind of gender-swap Slave Girls of Gor and I'm really not sure what it says about me.... and I'm not sure I want to know.
lydamorehouse: (ichimaru gin)
According to someone on Tumblr (so, you know, a GOOD source,) today is Tite Kubo's birthday. He's 36, which makes him EXACTLY a decade younger than me. If you have no idea who I'm talking about, Kubo-sensei is the writer/illustrator of Bleach, aka my fannish obsession. You may also wonder why I always add the honorific -sensei. He's was not *my* teacher (though, yes... in a way...), but mangaka (Manga writers) are always addressed with -sensei.

Can you imagine if we did something like this in the US/UK? The day after my first novel came out, you would change how you referred to me FOREVER. I wouldn't just be Lyda, I'd be Lyda-author (if we were close, and Morehouse-author, if not so much.) Except, I wouldn't be allowed this title in Japan, being a mere author of novels. This honorific would be the exclusive purview of people like my friend Christopher Jones.

Can you imagine respecting the comic book/graphic form that much? That you'd get to have a new honorific. My father had to get a Ph.D. to get the title "Dr." which, being an American, he often eschews in favor of his informal nickname "Mort." But, in another place, mangaka get an honorific bestowed on them JUST FOR PUBLISHING COMIC BOOKS.

How f*cking awesome is that??

Though, the title MAY go away after Kubo-sensei retires, I'm not sure. It may only apply to an active mangaka. Which is also weird to consider, given the voitale nature of publication both here and in Japan.

Anyway, the point is, happy birthday to a guy I have never met, but whose work I admire greatly.

I think I will celebrate Kubo-sensei's birthday by writing my own original fiction for a while and then play around in his universe this evening. But, then again, maybe there will be cake. There should always be cake.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
I came across something very interesting in one of the JUMPs I was reading last night. Keep in mind that both these pictures were published in English-language versions of this story. One came out in a magazine, the other was published as a Manga of the collected issues of the story that originally appeared in the magazine. Both, I believe, are owned and produced by VIZ Media in America/(possibly other English-language speaking countries.) Perhaps [livejournal.com profile] empty_mirrors can tell me if her Manga are different, but I suspect not.

The scene is set by the fact that our hero, who has been adventuring in the afterlife, left his physical body behind. That body has been inhabited by a subsitute soul, a character named Kon, who is immature and girl-crazy and... well, gross.

IN JUMP, when we (as readers) return to the Human World, we come across Kon this way:

jump censorship 004

The subsequent dialogue implies that Ichigo's return has woken Kon from a sexy dream about several of the female characters.

HOWEVER, IN THE MAGNA, what he's doing is a little more... explicit:

jump censorship 003.

Here, Kon is clearly masterbating


It doesn't surprise me that a scene like that would have been modified for an American audience, but what's weird to me is that TECHNICALLY IT WASN'T. Most of the teenagers I know, read Manga collected, rather than through JUMP (particularly now that JUMP doesn't exist in paper, only electronic.)

Thinking about it, perhaps this has nothing to do with America or English-speakers being percieved as more prudish. I feel like Bakuman (the Manga from which I learned all that is "true" about Manga-writing in Japan) implies that the editors at SHONEN JUMP feel like their audience is actually fairly YOUNG boys. In Bakuman, there's a whole arguement between the manga-writer/drawer couple and their editor about whether or not a subject matter is too dark for the percieved audience for JUMP, and are offered the option of a teen version of a shonen magazine. So, perhaps what we see above actually ocurred to suit the Japanese market, where JUMP is consumed by a LOT MORE people, many of whom are actually quite young (say as young as 10).

Regardless, I find it fascinating that by the time we get to the Manga version (which, in fact, came later, chronologically,) we have Kon being much more explict. Did Kubo-sensei redraw it himself? (Having seen how censorship occurs in US comicbooks, I suspect so, and he probably had this image in reserve.) And, was he able to use the clout he gained from the popularity of the Manga to get the original placed in the collected version.

If that's how it happens, it kind of changes the perspective that things are so MUCH LOOSER in Japan than they are here. Unless of course, this was done for the English-speaking world, though, then you have to wonder why they let it go in the collected Manga when they had a covered image already redrawn that accomodated English dialogue bubbles....

It's a mystery.

In other news, I found out that my first Loft blog is due tomorrow. Today I need to figure out what I'm going to write about. If any of you have suggestions, I'll happily take them. I was currently thinking about writing about what I like to call "the secret handshake" of submissions. I wrote something similar many years ago for SF Novelists, but it may be worth revising.

Anyway, if you have anything you might be interested in hearing me expound about for 500 words or so, let me know.

I do have to laugh, though. The blog coordinator wants me to include my twitter handle. Of course I have one as Tate, but I NEVER USE IT. I have my secret twitter account, but I've been reserving that for real friends, because I want to keep my feed managable. If someone wanted to follow my life, they'd be far better off following lydamorehouse on Facebook.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Did this cover work in Japan the way it does here? Do you suppose a lot of time and energy is put into recasting all the covers of JUMP to make them work in English? Or is this exactly how it ran in Japan?

haul 018

The other goodies I got for my dollar each include (but are not limited to):

An insert explaining the mysteries of Japanese sound effects!
haul 019

I also got several other black-and-white inserts that explain everything from "how to introduce yourself in Japan" (using a moment from Bleach) to "Case Files" for the Espada. I suspect a lot of these end up collected in things like MASKED and SOULS, the official guides to Bleach, but, hey, it's neat to see them in situ, as it were.

Also... a dollar? I would have paid several for this:
haul 022

And random pretty...
haul 023

haul 021

I will say that there's one set of color pages that made me laugh. It's in the middle of the Ichigo/Grimmjow fight and it's is a HUGE panel of blue sky with blood raining down from it. Yeah, that's what they blew their full-color page on. There are two tiny panels beneath that big one, showing close-ups of seriously intent Grimmjow (released in his Pantera form and looking beat-up) and glaring, determined Ichigo.

But, yeah. Blood.

Anyway, here is a picture of the large pile of goodies:

haul 024

In other similar news Mason is officialy all caught up. He, like me, is now reading the episodes as they come out either from our on-line JUMP subscription or from Manga Panda, a free fan site. So, that's a yay. There are no more cries of, "IMA! NO SPOILERS!" when I start talking about Bleach.

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