Boys, girls, and more

Miman Ren’ai is a kind of interesting read

Even if it is not that good.

Miman Ren’ai’s enunciation plays on a duality of levels. On the one hand, it is a simple story which interest lies in the mix of identification and amusement induced in the reader by that absurd but innocent love of a 30 years old loser for a cute middle schooler.

On the other hand, there’s something of a meta social commentary. Although the characters – particularly the female main – are very clearly 2-dimensional, it still asks the question of how the strange taste of otaku for youth and purity plays out in the real world, or more clearly what place the real life can concede to the reader – that is, to its helplessly otaku and sorry self.

die!!die!!color!!! – No Future But Good Remixes

Awesome, not as expected.

Two months ago, I was less than satisfied when I listened to the crossfade, as the remixes did not seem that good, and the original song wasn’t much to my tastes. Now that I have received and listened to the CD, I rejoice. The samples in the album preview must have been chosen unskillfully.

  1. LSD 撲殺少女工房 Remix: what you would expect from a BSK remix. That is, the original song melting down to some kind of crazy chaotic chiptune noise. It’s pretty fun to listen to, even if it wouldn’t replace the original for anything.
  2. Ride on track,Need your fuck MUSIK SERVANT Remix: not much to say about this one, as it is not very original nor surprising. Still, it’s good and is very dancing while keeping what makes the original so good. It’s also funny to hear one of the most punk-ish DDC songs turned into this. I liked it.
  3. Back to Zero The Groove Shadows remix: that’s were I’ve really been surprised. This remix is incredibly groovy and really fun to listen to. I liked it much better than CLARABELL’s remix of the same song on DDC’s previous album. It might be the best track on this album.
  4. Pressure AKIRADEATH Mix: AKIRADEATHキタ━━━━━━(゚∀゚)━━━━━━ッ. That’s the track I waited for the most eagerly, AKIRADEATH being maybe the most awesome Japanese digital hardcore band (or is it DDC?). Also, DDC’s remix on AKIRADEATH’s album was awesome, so I couldn’t wait to see what the other way round would sound like. I had found the samples not amazing but well, it looks like they had left the best part for the actual album.
    The first seconds sound like a typical AKIRADEATH song, except with Anna screaming, and then Akira Kanzaki enters and starts… rapping original lyrics? “OMG what is this this is insanely cool?” was my feeling on the first listening. Having spent the past days listening to Japanese amateur rap on niconico, there couldn’t be a better surprise. Even when ignoring the rap parts and Akira’s voice, the song is awesome, and the brutal but somewhat sophisticated sound of AKIRADEATH merges perfectly with the lively but violent melody and voices of DDC.
    Now what would be far past the upper limits of coolness: AKIRADEATH and die!!die!!color!!! on the same scene performing this together (and トラックで秋葉 too?).
  5. Nu-kegara Peach ippei remix: die!!die!!color!!! sounds strange with this gothic/industrial style. Nu-kegara has never been of my favorites, and this gives interesting turn to the song. Still, the effects sound overplayed, and the track is not terribly interesting to listen to in the end.
  6. LSD OZIGIRI ダメ!ゼッタイ!Mix: OZIGIRI really is too noisy/violent for me. His original songs are out of my league, but this being a DDC remix tones down the extreme brutality a little. Altough I have some difficulties enjoying the violent parts of it, the track is pretty chaotic and sometimes fun, and the some voice samples added in are a nice bonus. I loled at “人間やめました”, sure suits OZIGIRI.
  7. Bid Start 臨界モスキー党リサイタル mix: lol wtf is this. I didn’t knew the artist at all, altough he’s on m1dy’s MEGASHIT remix EP. Anyway this guy sure is funny, and as remixes are always better with original lyrics, I can only approve of this.
  8. Anytime,Anyplace: Well, I already knew this track because they posted the full version on their MySpace, and it’s certainly not my favourite DDC track. However, a better sound quality makes it a little better, and it’s certainly a quite lively/dancing track. I guess even DDC can not hit every time.

By the way, speaking of MEGASHIT, die!!die!!color!!! has released on J-CORE MASTERZ 7 their own version of m1dy’s many times remixed track, and it’s awesome. It’s my favourite remix of the song so far, and my only complaint is that it’s too short. I’ve became quite addicted to it in the past weeks, which wouldn’t be a problem if it didn’t cause a pressing urge to repeatedly scream OMAE NO MEGANE HA SHITTO MITAI DA NA at every moment of the day.

edit/post-scriptum: I find myself liking this album more every time I listen to it, so I feel a little silly for writing this so early, but well, I guess I’ll edit it after some more listenings. Let’s sleep nau.


Surprisingly enough, I was nowhere near crying when I finished reading Tsumugi Taku’s Hot Road. It may be because the last arc is a little weaker than the rest, but I think there actually is more to it.

It is interesting to note that the narrative styles most inapt at telling stories – those unclear in conveying what actually happens – are often the best when it comes to conveying feelings.

In fact, it would be tempting to call Tsumugi Taku’s narration bad. It is, indeed, often hard to understand what is going on. My friend Tetho claims that shoujo mangaka are ten years behind shounen mangaka on this matter, and even when taking Hot Road’s age into account, it is pretty easy to agree.

But rather than incompetency, the cause of this difference is that in our case, there are more important things to convey than the very storyline.

The story of Hot Road is indeed nothing too big: an adolescent girl gets in a conflict with her mother, enters the world of bousouzoku, falls in love with a boy. Things do happen, but they are not too far beyond the ordinary.

But rather than a love story, Hot Road is more of an ode to adolescence, and Tsumugi Taku’s stream-of-consciousness writing style is particularly suitable for bringing the reader to empathize, first with the main character, and then with a vague nostalgia of the mangaka’s youth, which her work is imbued with.

If, when I began reading the series, I could only feel how sweet and how much more subtle than in other shoujo manga the romance felt – and actually is – my attachment to the characters slid slowly from identification/empathy to nostalgia/contemplation.

The day which I finished reading the last volume, I was sitting in the train next to a girl who looked more or less my age. She was quite good looking, but I was surprised by how adolescent she looked. She was wearing shortpants jeans, a pink tank top under a light shirt, listening to her blue iPod with Hello Kitty headphones, her skateboard shoes nonchalantly resting on the front seat.
What hit me was how far from her I felt, how non-adolescent she let me feel. I’m quite young and still a student, so thinking of myself as an adult is still quite new for me, and despite having never been the kind of adolescent that she probably is – and despite being, as an otaku, eternally childish – looking at her made me feel a little nostalgic.

And there was something of the same feeling when I closed the last volume of Hot Road. While looking, amused, at this father two seats away trying to keep his four adorable children under control, I couldn’t help but recall the tormented but sweet adolescence of Miyaichi Kazuki and Haruyama Hiroshi, and smiled.

Thanks to owen for the proofreading.


Oh god I’m fucking sick. I guess I don’t eat enough or something.


  • I went to the cinema one week ago to watch 5cm per second. It had been nearly
    one year since the last time I had seen it, and I found that the emotional
    impact it has on my current self, much more than a reaction to the movie itself, is an echo to my past watching of
    this movie, its relationship with my anime fandom and my memories of the past few years.

  • Actually, I have not watched it a lot —
    it was the fourth time, maybe the third — but that’s mainly because I
    don’t have an habbit of rewatching stuff. I think rewatching things you like is important, but I generally can’t bring myself to
    enjoy it as much as the first time, even when I’m supposed to be a fan.

  • It had been a very, very long time I didn’t cry while consuming fiction — actually, I don’t remember when the last time was. It felt like discovering a new feeling. Crying is really painful.

  • I guess Oukashou, because of the painful waiting it tries imposes on the viewer, leaves more of an
    impression on the first watching.

    One thing that I noticed is how touched I
    was by the kissing scene. It somehow made me feel how much of a lonely otaku who longs for a relationship with an idealized version of the opposite sex I still am (although that feels very ironical, I guess). Yes, it’s an inappropriate reaction.

  • Although I think it is not the part that impressed me the
    most when I first watched the movie, Cosmonaut was the most
    stomach-wrenching this time, for I can identify quite deeply with Kanae — for reasons some readers can guess. That, added to the realization that it had been one year since the last time I watched the movie, and that so much has happened in between, and I can still remember the physical pain in my chest. I can actually feel it as I remember.

  • The third part, and particularly the insert song, is the natural time for crying, and it didn’t miss. The people around me may have heard me sobbing. I have watched this sequence hundreads of times, I think, and it’s still as heart-wrenching as ever — more heart-wrenching that it has ever been, actually.

  • On the same day, I watched Kara no kyoukai 1, Hirokazu Koreeda’s Hana, and a terribly boring selection of
    awfully boring Japanese shorts.

    Rewatching Fukan Fuukei made me realize how empty it is. Actually, it’s nearly completely meaningless from a non-otaku point of view. Well, it’s still kinda beautiful.

  • Demo

    I recently read Demo, by Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan. I bought it without knowing anything about it when Jaren told Twitter that it’s his second favorite book ever.

    It’s a collection of short stories about young Americans who have young American problems. Also, superpowers.

    I guess I lack most of the cultural prerequisites to really appreciate Demo. That is, I have about no culture of American comic books, and I can’t
    really identify with most of Brian Wood’s characters, despite feeling how
    sincere most of their stories are.

    As a matter of fact, my unfamiliarity with American comics has been a difficulty.
    I felt like the characters were posing, like their speech was spoken out of a script for some sort of action movie, and the whole thing made the story flow pretty unnaturally.
    Not that the way they speak is less realistic than what I use to read — is there
    something less realistic than the tirades characters of romance manga are
    able to pull off in moments of emotion?
    It’s more that, while in manga, characters take poses too, they do not take the same poses. Accustoming to the poses of American comic books characters happens to require some effort on my part.

    As a result, the chapters I appreciated the most where probably not the best ones, but the ones
    in which, voluntarily or not, their authors gave some characters elements of personality or appearance that pertain to — or look like — the moe image.

    Still, I think I can see how it’s a masterpiece. I guess reading it again sometime in the future might prove more successful.

From mt-i on Gay Pride

I should have written a follow-up to my post about the Gay Pride Parade, but this comment from mt-i sums up the issue in a much better way than anything I would have written, and I think it’s much more worthy of getting to people’s feed aggregators than my own posts.

Additionally, that’s pretty much how I feel when I see SOS Homophobie carrying their “Living one’s sexual orientation is a fundamental liberty” banner.

we don’t care about differences in sexual orientation or sexual identity; everybody should just live their life as they like, love if they want to and fuck if they want to, free from any repressive moral paradigm.



Except *those* people (or *those*, or *those* other ones), who belong in a mental institution (at best) for feeling the way they do. And don’t you dare suggest they have anything to do with *us*.

Gay pride

I went to Paris’ Marche des Fiertés on last saturday, and for some reason it gave me a huge philantropy boost.

I don’t think that their is any pride to find in being gay – or bisexual, for all that matters. I don’t hold the opinion that this pride is useful in the current French political and cultural context either. But I don’t think it’s harmful.

Anyway, I loved seeing all the different people, some costumed, some normal-looking, some totally extravagant, some heterosexual, some gay, trans, intersex, or whatever, everyone carrying the same message about universal love – we don’t care about differences in sexual orientation or sexual identity; everybody should just live their life as they like, love if they want to and fuck if they want to, free from any repressive moral paradigm.

It may feel silly, but altough the Gay Pride parade is about minorities, but I actually feel like it’s one of the most universal events that can be ; after all, it’s hard to find anything more universal among humans than love and sexuality.

Well, everything did not feel that perfect, but let’s forget that for a moment. Love is a wonderful thing.


My Girl, Cherish, and soon Usagi Drops (when I get my pay check).

I feel like every manga I buy in my native language nowadays is about parentality. No idea why or if this is a coincidence, I don’t have a desire – at least not a conscious one – to be a father. Maybe I’m just overwhelmed by the joy and courage that this kind of series communicate.

A note about The Road to Roma

I finished reading Hagio Moto’s The Road to Roma (ローマへの道), that I mentioned in my previous post. It was exceptionally good, and I must say I was quite surprised.

After posting last friday, I thought that comparing it with Lamartine was an error, and that if there is any comparison to be made, it is with Emile Zola. And it certainly felt like it, up to a certain point, so much that I was actually not expecting the end at all. And that end is, I guess, much more shoujo-manga-esque than the rest of the story. If the whole development feels pretty tragic, the end morality is that one can not wipe the wounds of their heart by trying to forget, but that only comprehension and love can heal them.

Stuff I have read recently

This is a quick review of things I have read lately, for no good reason. This article is shorter that it was initially because I decided halfway that reviewing shit I don’t like is bad, and therefore I commented out the bad parts. Oh, god, it’s still too long.

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If moé is the cancer killing anime, is yaoi the AIDS killing shoujo manga?

The weekend before the last, I spent one night and part of the following day to read the seven volumes of Mieko Koide and Akizuki Koh’s Yatteranneeze!. The manga is far better than most BL manga out there, even if it is not enough so to be good. Anyway, it was a tremendously enjoyable and nostalgic experience, as I felt like I was back to my old fudanshi days, some two or three years ago, when I loved “shounen-ai” and my affinity for (3D) guys was still a rather abstract matter.

In particular, I appreciated how the series tries to tackle several common subjects of anxiety in the life of real gay men. Unfortunately, for the most part, it does not work out very well

For example, the issue of one’s acceptance of their own sexual identity is a complex one, and it’s usually a pleasure for me to read about characters going through this kind of troubles. However, in Yatteranneeze!’s case, I felt like it was very overplayed and ended up making the uke protagonist quite disagreeable.

But one of the things that left me the most troubled is the series part were the characters have to deal with the possibility of having been infected with HIV.

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