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

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The last couple volumes that we’ve read have all been about seeing the kinds of scars children can develop when they’re abandoned by their parents and how they can slowly begin to recover through the support of loving friends and found family. Volume nine continues this theme but in a different direction, showing the kind of destructive mental and emotional issues that can arise from poor parenting and lack of emotional support. We’re shown these kind of life progressions through the lens of Akito and Machi’s differing ways of reacting to the pressure and issues that arise from their parents lack of support. Their two very different stories, but in a way tell a similar narrative of stunted emotional growth and destructive tendencies. There’s always so much to talk about with this series, and with every volume I feel like I find some new psychological concept to really dig into. I’m really hoping you all are enjoying what are turning out to be short almost essays of Fruits Basket. We’ve got three volumes left and the story is starting to move fast towards the conclusion.

Volume nine continues the story of the previous volume with the examination of Kureno’s relationship with Akito and the fall-out surrounding him finally watching the DVD of Uo in the school play. The story takes us into their past and present relationship and the reasons why Kureno feels like he can never leave as well as a look at the tension that exists between Kureno and Shigure, all revolving around Akito. But in Tohru and the younger Sohma’s world, graduation is fast approaching for all the third years at the school which means a flurry of preparations, many of which centered around the student council. In the background of all of this, Tohru can’t help but have a bad feeling because she hasn’t seen Rin in a while and no one seems to know where she is. Continue reading

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Last Week in Geekdom – Your Weekly News Round-Up (5/20 – 5/26)

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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. I know I’m a little late this week, but it’s just too nice outside right now to stay inside all day writing. I hope you all are having similarly nice weather this weekend especially those of you in the US who have tomorrow off like I do. Anyways, highlights for this week’s news are as follows: Warner Bros has released more information and a release date for the live action Akira movie; Controversy is brewing on twitter among the Unionize Comics crowd over the recently deceased Marvel colorist Justin Ponsor; and tons of new anime are coming to Netflix next month including the second season of Aggretsuko. Make sure you also check below for a ton of cool articles and videos from this week, and, as always, have a great rest of your Sunday! Continue reading

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

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In the first volume, Fruits Basket presents itself as this semi-wacky comedy shoujo about a girl who discovers that the family she’s living with can all turn into animals, but as the story progresses we begin to see this for what it truly is: a mask, a facade if you will. Fruits Basket’s true story lies within the family’s it follows. The shame, guilt, and abuse that sometimes hides behind closed doors, or in some cases is right out in the open. But it also speaks to us about the families and relationships between people who care and have cultivated a space of love through struggle and personal growth. I talked about this a bit last volume in how Yuki and Rin’s family dynamics shaped their current personalities and character growth arcs. Yuki especially we see yearning for any kind of parental and motherly love to the point of gravitating towards Tohru, seeing her as someone who can fulfill this emotional hole in himself. In volume eight, we see a bit of a continuation of this, but with more of a focus on the steps he’s taking to grow past it. We also delve deeper into both Kyo and Tohru’s past by taking a look at Tohru’s mother, Kyoko.

Volume eight continues where we left off last time with Yuki recounting and remembering his childhood and relationship with Tohru to Kakeru. We see more of his nonexistent relationship with his mother, the abuse he faced from Akito, and finally the mystery of the baseball cap Tohru keeps with her is solved. In true shoujo fashion, the story moves on to feature the activities of the culture festival, with a play performed by Tohru and gang to the sort-of story of Cinderella. With Kyo as Prince, Tohru as evil step-sister, and Hana as Cinderella, it manages to be both amusing and entirely relevant to the story and characters. For the rest of the volume, we get a look at Kyoko’s past and how Kyo winds up knowing her and then the beginnings of a look into Machi and Yuki’s slowly growing relationship. Continue reading

Last Week in Geekdom – Your Weekly News Round-Up (5/13 – 5/19)

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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. I’m writing this on Saturday night so I apologize if I miss anything that has been announced on Sunday. The anime and article sections are also a little sparse for news and content this week, but I expect more news will be forthcoming closer to the end of the anime season. In terms of highlights for this week: Penguin Random house is teaming up with Square Enix to release a new line-up of English-language manga; new developments are revealed in the Oni Press/Lion Forge merger; and Shinichiro Watanabe has directed a cool new music video with Flying Lotus that looks pretty great. Be sure to check out the other items and videos linked below and let me know if I missed anything cool this past week. As always, have a great rest of your Sunday! Continue reading

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

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How do children relate to their parents? What do they look for, want, or need from a family? What happens when that dynamic breaks down, when children no longer have someone to look up to or a stable place to call home? I think in a way, Fruits Basket has been slowly exploring these questions throughout the story, leading further and further into the worst possible scenarios. But it’s also a series that focuses heavily on recovery from trauma and the search for stable relationships. And it’s in this exploration and character growth that I think we get to see some of the most interesting aspects of the story. Volume seven takes us closer to exploring these questions, pulling out the family histories of Yuki and Rin into the forefront of discussion. In Yuki especially I think we begin to see his slow progress to maturity.

Volume seven picks up where we left off in the parent-teacher conferences at the end of the last volume. This time it’s Yuki’s turn to face both his future and his mother who thinks she has everything planned out for him already. But Yuki has his own ideas as the story moves on to his experiences with the Student Council and the kind of rag-tag family he’s been developing there. The volume then switches to Tohru’s quest to get in contact with Kureno for Uo’s sake and her run-in with Momo, Momiji’s younger sister who has no clue about their relationship. The other large story this volume centers on Rin and her struggle to find a way to break the curse and her personal struggle with physical and mental illness. We get a full introduction to her past and how her relationship with Haru came to an end. Continue reading

Last Week in Geekdom – Your Weekly News Round-Up (5/6- 5/12)

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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. I have returned from my short hiatus and am feeling much better, so I’ll be hopefully going back to a Wednesday/Saturday schedule of reviews with our regular Sunday news for the following weeks. If anything changes or I feel the need for another short break, I’ll let you all know. For now, the highlights of this week are: Lion Forge and Oni Press have merged leading to a bunch of layoffs in the industry; Funimation has hired ex-Crunchyroll exec to be their new GM; and Marvel topped 50% marketshare last month for the first time in nearly a decade. Be sure to check out the articles and videos I linked to below as well. There’s some good stuff this week, especially from Twitter. Let me know if I’ve missed anything, and as always, enjoy your Sunday! Continue reading

Our Dreams at Dusk (Shimanami Tasogare) Manga Volume One Review

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I’ve been seeing this manga floating around Twitter for awhile with some very high recommendations from people who either read it before it came out in North America or from people who got early copies of the manga before it released earlier this week. Well it finally came out on Tuesday and I figured with all the talk around this title, it must be worth trying out. I have to say, everyone was right. Our Dreams at Dusk is a fantastic Boys Love title worth all the hype I’ve seen surrounding it so far. The art and page layouts are visually appealing and often break the mold in multiple places. The story is one of adolescent sexual discovery with some deep emotions and questions being asked about the acceptance of gay and queer people in Japan and the kind of emotional distress and mental illness that can come from having this dissonance between public and private persona and identity. I highly recommend this manga and I really do think I won’t be able to do it justice here in this short of a space, so definitely pick up a copy if it seems up your alley.

Our Dreams at Dusk follows high school boy Tasuku who may just have been outed at school for being gay, one of the worst things that could happen to him. Faced with the jeering of him peers for being a “homo,” Tasuku tries hard to deny everything. But standing on the edge of bridge later that day, he feels his way of life was ended in that moment and contemplates jumping. Before he can do the unthinkable, Tasuku meets a mysterious woman who leads him to a group of people dealing with problems similar to his own. The manga is created by Yuhki Kamatani (creator of Nabari no Ou) and is published in English by Seven Seas. Continue reading

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

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We’ve finally reached the halfway point and what a journey it has been. I don’t know if I ever made it this far when I first started reading this series. I have to confess I did read ahead over my short two week break and have finished reading the series all the way through, and what a ride it has been. I am definitely so glad I picked up this series after all this time away from it, and now that the anime has been airing, I can’t unhear the English voice-actors while I’m reading through the dialogue, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And even though I’ve already finished reading through the series at this point, I think it would be beneficial to keep doing these reviews volume-by-volume just because of the vast amount of things to talk about in this series and all of the interesting character progressions and growth we get in each chapter (I’ll also try to keep spoilers for future volumes to a minimum). Volume six winds up being both the halfway point in terms of physical volumes as well as the kind-of metaphorical halfway point in terms of overarching story progression. I think we see a genuine crest or apex in the story during this volume in regards to the story and in regards to two of the main characters: Tohru and Kyo.

Volume six picks up where we left off in the last one with the Sohma’s and Tohru still at the family vacation home where Akito has decided to grace them with his presence. While the main members of the zodiac are called to spend time with Akito each day, Kyo and Tohru get the chance to spend some quality time together. But when Akito finally calls Kyo in to see him, their argument leads to changes in both Kyo and Akito for better or worse. As their summer vacation draws to an end, we learn more about Kyo’s past, finally get fully introduced to the last two members of the zodiac, and see Tohru confront Akito. After this confrontation, Tohru makes up her mind to find a way to break the curse before graduation. And as it fast approaches, everyone begins seriously considering their own futures, which for the zodiac members, becomes a challenge. Continue reading

[Blog Update] I’m back, but no news today

Hi All,

I’m back and feeling much better! These past two weeks of a break were definitely needed and I think I’ll be considering more intermittent breaks in the future or just having longer time between posts. I’m also testing out some things with my doctor, so hopefully I’ll start to feel even better in the future.

As for today, there will be no news, but I will be working on some more Fruits Basket read-through posts for this week. I got the chance to finish the whole series last week, and it was so good!

My blog’s anniversary is also coming up in about 2 months, so I’d love to hear if you guys want some sort of special post or a Q&A. Let me know down in the comments!

Thank you all for sticking with me, more posts will be up soon!

~Allison