Fruits Basket Manga Read-Through: Collector’s Edition Volume Three

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Welcome back to the next post in my read-through of Fruits Basket, where I’m finally going back and finishing this series after years of not getting the chance to complete it. The new anime will be premiering next week, and I’m hearing good things from the people who managed to see the first two episodes in theaters yesterday. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it myself, but I’m super excited to see how they wind up remaking this series. But enough about that, I really want to delve deep into volume three’s story today. There’s so much going on in this series with each cast member getting their own intricate and often interwoven backstories, troubles, and growth. We haven’t even seen all of the zodiac members yet, but we’re getting there slowly, and I think that’s the best course of action for this story, to let it unfold slowly and let the pieces fall into place.

Volume three continues the story of the curse Sohma family. Cursed to turn into animals of the zodiac whenever they are hugged by the opposite sex, they guard their secret closely. That is until high school student Tohru Honda stumbles upon it and begins to get wrapped up ever tighter in their lives. The volume starts with the Sohmas — Yukie, Kyo, Shigure, and Hatori — taking Tohru to their family’s lake house for a vacation. But the chapters jump off from there and very soon we’re being introduced to the next member of the zodiac, Kisa the tiger. Kyo’s doujo master makes an appearance as well and we find ourselves delving deeper into Kyo’s past and the darkest secret of the zodiac curse. Continue reading

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Last Week in Geekdom – Your Weekly News Round-Up (3/18 – 3/24)

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Welcome back to another installment of “Last Week in Geekdom” where I comb the internet for all the news you need to know. Its looks to have been a slow news week in terms of major items to talk about but a massively busy week in terms of new anime announcements. I’m sure I missed some, but I made sure to list some of the majorly talks about anime announcements below. In terms of news for this week: Crunchyroll is upping its subscription price; Viz Media is calling for original graphic novel pitches for its new imprint; and KamehaCon is coming under fire after going back on its cancellation of Vic Mignogna’s convention appearance. Be sure to also check out the videos and articles below. I might be off next Sunday since I’ll be attending PAX East, but I’ll let you all know via here or Twitter if that is indeed the case. As always, have a great Sunday! Continue reading

Fruits Basket Manga Read-Through: Collector’s Edition Volume Two

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And I’m back with the continuation of my read-through of Fruits Basket as I try to remember if my childhood memories of this series are as good as I think they are. So far, we’ve read the first volume of the collector’s edition series from Yen Press which had chapters 1-12. Today, we’re continuing on to volume two which has chapters 13-24, and I have to say I’m worried I’m not going to have the time or space to really talk about everything that comes up in this volume. It’s backed to the brim with characterization, background, and meaningful moments and I really wish I could get to every one of them. I will try and get to some of the best and most important moments though, but I encourage you all to read along with me as we get closer and closer to the anime premiere.

Volume two continues the Fruits Basket story by introducing us to a new member of the zodiac right off the bat, the ox Hatsuharu. This volume is much like the second but slowly works its way deeper into the family drama lurking in the shadows of the Sohma family, peeling back the layers that is the influence of Akito, the true intentions of Shigure, and scattering hints to the traumatic events in Kyo and Yuki’s childhoods. Between these moments, Natsuki Takaya also inserts comedy and heartfelt relationship development as Yuki and Kyo grow deeper connected to Tohru. There’s Valentine’s Day, a hot springs trip, and the introduction of another new member of the zodiac who adds both comedy and drama to the story, Aaya the snake, and Yuki’s older brother. Continue reading

Fruits Basket Manga Read-Through: Collector’s Edition Volume One

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It’s been such a long time since I’ve thought about Fruits Basket. It was one of the first shoujo manga I ever read and I think I still have some of the original manga volumes. But manga was expensive for a middle-schooler in those days, rising to 10 dollars per volume in high school, so my friends and I would trade off buying volumes and pass them around to read at school. Because of this my collection of manga volumes isn’t complete. I think I’m missing a good chunk of them and I don’t think we ever got through reading the whole series, at least I don’t think I did. Other manga and books caught my attention and I just naturally moved on from series to series, getting sucking into the growing Toonami scene and fanfiction writing. Well I’m determined to rectify this problem this Spring and finally finish the whole series from start to end. With the new anime adaptation coming out in April, I figured it was as good a time as any to revisit this classic shoujo manga that has always held a place in so many manga fan’s hearts.

Fruits Basket has always seemed to me to be one of the quintessential shoujo mangas of the genre, embodying the aesthetics, characteristics, and thematic elements of what we should think of as a typical shoujo series. The story focuses on the naive but good-hearted high school girl Tohru Honda who has just lost her mother, and is left homeless as her grandfather renovates his home. Too much of a caring friend to impose on the crowded homes of her two school friends, she strikes out on her own in a tent in a forested part of her neighborhood that just so happens to be owned by the Sohma family, one of which is the Prince of her school. Caught without a home again after a landslide, she is offered a place at the home of Shigure Sohma where she discovers the well-kept and well-guarded secret of the Sohma family. Continue reading

Last Week in Geekdom – Your Weekly News Round-Up (3/11 – 3/17)

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Welcome back to another installment in “Last Week in Geekdom” where I comb the internet for all the news you need to know so you don’t have to. Apologies about the lack of news last week, I just realistically could not complete it in time after getting no sleep the night before. This week’s a little thin on featured articles and videos, but there are still a lot of news and announcements to go over especially in the anime area. The anime season’s coming to a close which means more announcements for upcoming shows. I haven’t captured them all, so let me know in the comments if I left something off that should have been mentioned. Also let me know in the comments if you found a particularly interesting article or video that could have been included here as well. As for highlights from this week: Adult Swim and Crunchyroll form a partnership; Netflix is releasing a ton of new anime original content; and James Gunn has been rehired for Guardians of the Galaxy 3. Check out the other content posted below and, as always, have a great Sunday! Continue reading

Three WebToon Recommendations for Romance Fans

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No matter the platform, comics have always been a staple reading material for me since middle school, especially webcomics. I got drawn in at a fairly early age due to one of my cousins creating his own long-running web comic for pretty much as long as I’ve known him. Slowly that love of comics branched off into other areas, and I have to admit, I haven’t been reading them as much as I used to anymore. Maybe it’s because of life getting in the way or maybe it just due to the wide breadth of other reading material I’ve gotten drawn into recently including manga and a random assortment of prose novels. But once in awhile I like to go back and revisit webcomics, and I’m always reminded why I love them each time. There’s just so much creativity and new and interesting ideas that I think the very format of webcomics allows to flourish.

Which brings me to WebToons, something I only just recently downloaded on my phone and started digging through for new comics to read. Most of them I think are from Asian authors since it’s affiliated with LINE, an app not many people in North America use, but there are still the occasional comic created with a Western setting. Over the course of the last half year or so I’ve managed to find some great romance comics on the platform, a lot of them autobiographical, but there are still quite a lot of them that delve into fictional worlds. Below are three recommendations of good romance comics I found on WebToons. Continue reading

What Did You Eat Yesterday? Manga Volume One Review

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There are few things I love more than cooking manga, except apparently cooking manga combined with gay relationships. What Did You Eat Yesterday is an interesting take on both cooking manga and boys love, though I guess you wouldn’t call it boys love since both main characters are 40-year-old men, but you get my point. I found this manga through I believe a recommendation on Twitter, which it seems is where I’m finding the most interesting recommendations now, and picked it up on a whim last week to finally check out. And while I wouldn’t say it’s the best or most interesting manga out there, I think how the mangaka, Fumi Yoshinaga, tackles big societal issues through the characters and their actions means I’ll be coming back for future volumes.

The story of this manga revolves around Shiro Kakei, a lawyer by day and gourmand cook by night, who lives with his boyfriend Kenji Yabuki, a hair stylist. Each chapter deals with a new issue surrounding being gay in Japan and a different made-from-scratch recipe. Whether it’s Kakei’s unwillingness to share the fact that he’s gay with his coworkers or the case of a male domestic abuse victim that comes to Kakei for legal advice. Each of the eight chapters in this volume pairs one serious issue with a recipe fit for food lovers. I can see why it was nominated for the first Manga Taisho Award and received a jury recommendation at the 13th Japan Media Arts Festival Awards. Continue reading

Last Week in Geekdom – Your Weekly News Round-Up (2/25 – 3/3)

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Welcome back to another installment of “Last Week in Geekdom” where I comb the internet for all the news you need to know so you don’t have to. It’s been a busy week, but I managed to get an extra post up last week, so if you haven’t seen my most recent Waxing Philosophical, I would suggest giving it a look. As for news items for last week: Japan Cartoonists Association has voiced some support and issues with Japan’s changes to their copyright code; Captain Marvel has been getting review bombed on Rotten Tomatoes; and manga sees a good year sales wise with Viz Media. Be sure to check out the articles and videos I’ve linked below, and as always, have a great Sunday! Continue reading

Taproot Paranormal Romance Comic Review

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It’s been awhile since I’ve done something other than an anime or manga review on this blog, so I think tonight I’d like to return to the world of comics, more specifically indie comics and graphic novels. Tonights review is a independent comic by Keezy Young called Taproot. I picked up this comic last October during a comic convention but never really got the chance to do more than read through it once. It’s such an adorable queer, paranormal romance that I couldn’t help getting drawn back to it this week and felt the urge to share it all with you.  Young combines her love of color, plants, queer relationships, and all things slightly creepy into a wholesome and lighthearted romance. Published by Lion Forge’s imprint Roar in 2017, the comic is apparently based off a webcomic (that I will need to check out later).

“A story about a gardner and a ghost” is how the subtitle for this comic reads, pointing to the basic premise of the story. On the back cover, the description expands: “Blue is having a hard time moving on. He’s in love with his best friend. He’s also dead. Luckily, Hamal can see ghosts, leaving Blue free to haunt him to his heart’s content. But something eerie is happening in town, leaving the local afterlife unsettled, and when Blue realizes Hama’s strange ability may be putting him in danger, Blue has to find a way to protect him, even if it means….leaving him.” Continue reading