This time of the year is a good time to buy DVDs, since a lot of retailers are dumping their inventory. Well, not that these mega stores don't have the option of returning DVDs back to the studios. They just have to throw their "Well, if we can't return your non-selling DVDs, we just won't order from you anymore" weight around. So I'm sure studios agreed to let the big box stores sell them below the wholesale price.
So while I may be bitter as a DVD-making-tiny-company manager, it's a great time for consumers.
One DVD I bought was The Crying Game.
It was a movie that was recommended by my AP English teacher when I was a senior in high school (yikes, that gives away my age). Of course Mrs. Manchester didn't tell us about the "secret" of the movie. I think she might have said it's a good film & maybe something about being an eye-opener.
So I watched it in the theaters with a group of my friends.
The "secret" part was shocking.
I left the theater with a bigger impact in my 17-year old heart (mind?).
The love between two people that goes beyond gender.
Now, 10+ years later, I thought... did this movie steer me to my eventual interest in yaoi manga?
I think I started reading shounen ai by the time I wrote a college paper on Japanese girls and their fascination with "boys love" for my Japanese pop culture class.
I think I first learned about the genre in a manga review magazine called Putao, published by Hakusensha. Then I discovered a website by Matt Thorn who wrote articles about it & was working on a doctoral thesis on the subject. And through Matt Thorn's website, I learned that Putao columnist Yukari Fujimoto (I never bothered to check her name in the magazine articles) is a manga hyoronka & has published books on the subject matter.
Though I'm not like Matt or Fujimoto-san, where I'm fascinated by the academic part of the genre. That's what got me started & made me a loyal reader of Biblos' Magazine BexBoy (Maga-B for short) until the company declared bankruptcy. Of course by the time company folded, I had evolved from an average reader to a business associate.
But back to the human love concept of gay romances. I still like the yaoi manga that has a good story about two people in love (and they just happen to be two men). So I really like Saigo no Door wo Shimero (最後のドアを閉めろ） series and Kawaii Hito (可愛いひと) series.
Both series make you cry.
It's that good.
And there are lots of good ones like that out there.
So I may take a break from reading manga this weekend & pop in The Crying Game. A part of me wants to keep the memory of the "impact" the story had, but another part of me wants to know if I'll still have the same feelings as I did 10+ years ago.
If I can re-read manga from 15+ years ago and still cry over the same story, wouldn't it be the same with movies?
But that's not really true.
There was a sale at Book Market (used bookstore) in Santa Monica Mitsuwa a few weeks ago, and we bought bunko versions of Pineapple Army vol 1-4 and Ponytail Hakusho vol 1-3. So I did do a lot of personal manga reading. Or at least all in one day.
Anyhoo, I just got my copy of Kisekae Yuka-chan vol 10 (きせかえユカちゃん).
A bit about Kisekae Yuka-chan.
It's a shoujo manga that runs in Cookie magazine & it's about a 6th grader named Yuka. She's tall, pretty & fashionable, so she's commonly mistaken for not being an elementary school girl. But she's also not very smart & eats a lot.
Her best friend Midori-chan is a short petite girl who dreams of becoming a fashion designer & likes to dress up Yuka. Midori-chan's mom owns a vintage clothing store, so the two girls spend a lot of time there.
But the best part of the series is:
1) Sadako-sensei - her real name is Sadaoka-sensei, but was nicknamed Sadako by her students b/c her long black hair hangs over her face when she gets upset. It's a reference to the movie "The Ring," although I don't watch horror movies, so I really don't know.
2) Yuka's mom - stay at home mom, but not your typical apple-pie baking mom. She's hard to describe in few words. Enka-loving, military-play-loving, likes to write scenarios for the unfortunate people around her, type of crazy mom.
There's also shota-heart tickling Masumi, Yuka's older sister Yumi & her boyfriend (now ex) Shige, Masumi's Japanese-western food restaurant owner/cook dad, slutty boin-chan... lots of funny characters.
Hm, I didn't even talk about Kisekae Yuka-chan vol 10 yet.
Well, what really inspired me to write here is actually not the main Kisekae Yuka-chan, but the short manga that they tacked on at the end of the volume.
Kisekae Yuka-chan is pretty short for a shoujo manga, running about 20-pages per month (most monthly shoujo manga run at least 30-pages). So I'm guessing the publisher wants to release the manga regularly & doesn't want to release a volume a year... so they took 8 months worth (8 chapters) and added two one-shot manga to release the volume faster.
According to the back of the book, the one-shot manga ran in Young You magazine. So they characters are a bit older & the story leans towards romantic-ness.
The first story is called Nomarechimauze Sugar Wave (のまれちまうぜシュガウェーブ). About a OL named Mori-chan who has a crush on the electrician who comes in to her office to fix the TV wiring. There's nothing extraordinary about the story, except the TV guy's line.
Mori-chan fantasizes about becoming a monster & destroying power lines, and how the TV guy would come and calm her down with a kiss. Truely lame fantasy (she says so herself), but decides to yank out the cables from the TV in the office so they'd have to call him in to fix it. After everyone in the office tells him that Mori-chan broke the TV on purpose, he tells her that the TV's not broken & she'd have to do more extreme things to break it.
Then he says:
"But you don't have to go that far. I'd come anyway. You can just call me up, and I'll come."
My translation doesn't do it justice.
Nose-bleed desu yo.
OK, calm down... me.
The second story is called Touryanse (とうりゃんせ), about Suwa-san who works at a reptile-only pet shop. She went to see fireworks with the pet shop manager, but they got lost from each other in the crowd. The manager tells her that in the Edo period, a bridge fell down when a bunch of people went on it to watch fireworks & about 1000 people died.
Kinda gloomy talk for a romantic interest...
But Suwa sees a dream about her & the manager seeing fireworks from the bridge, and the bridge falls. The next day, the manager says he saw a dream like it. And he's been seeing the same dream for a long time.
So it's a bit of a reincarnation story. Altho they don't make it that romantical.
The second story was so-so.
Maybe I just need to read it patiently & read more into it.
The manager wears glasses, but I couldn't get moe over him.
So the book info.
Author: Akiko Higashimura
Volumes: 10 (on going)
Likelihood of Company B to license: 0
I sound like a broken record, but it's Shueisha. Company B is like booger. Or ear booger (Americans would call that wax). And it's bit of a gag manga, which doesn't exactly translate well into English. And the art is cute but messy, and takes a little getting used to. But it's a fun read.