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

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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

[Blog Update] Taking a Mental Health Break

Hi Guys,

I’m sorry to say I’m going to be going on a two week break starting now to sort some things out and focus on some self care. These last couple months have taken a lot out of me and I think I need to take a break from everything except work for a bit. You can still catch me on Twitter (@amziebka) or instagram (@am_ziebrah) chatting about the shows I’m watching and manga I’m reading. I’ll be back in two weeks with new content including the last half of my Fruits Basket read-through.

Thanks for sticking with me!

~Allison

Last Week in Geekdom- Your Weekly News Round-Up (4/8 – 4/14)

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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. Anime Boston is coming up next week as is Easter weekend, so the next news post may be cancelled, but I’ll let you know. As for news items this week: the Studio Madhouse employee who collapsed seeks compensation for more than 200 hours of unpaid overtime; Disney+ begins to announce the new Marvel series coming to its platform; and the Library of Congress considers digitizing its whole collection over the next couple years. Be sure to check out the articles and videos linked below and let me know if I’ve missed anything. As always, enjoy your Sunday! Continue reading

Kaguya-sama: Love is War Anime Review

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I think Kaguya-sama was probably one of the only romance anime that came out of last season to really capture my attention. There were definitely a few too many shonen harem anime during the winter, and that’s not usually a genre I know I’ll enjoy. But I think Kaguya-sama did a phenomenal job capturing the vast majority of anime fans in the US and Japan, making it arguably one of the stand-out hits of the season. I certainly enjoyed myself immensely, and I have a hard time getting both the opening and ending themes out of my head even when we’re now into the Spring season. A-1 Pictures did a great job with the animation, creating an aesthetic that is truly visually interesting and isn’t something I’ve seen for quite some time. And while the focus is certainly more on comedy than romance, there is definitely enough quintessential romantic moments throughout the series to be entertaining on both fronts. So if you’ve been holding off on picking this series up I would highly suggest checking it out especially if you’re looking for a good laugh.

Kaguya-sama follows Student Council President Miyuki Shirogane and Vice-President Kaguya Shinomiya who seem like they would be the perfect couple. Shirogane leads the school with his grades and is generally respected by the school and the community. Kaguya is the daughter of a wealthy conglomerate family, second only to Shirogane in grades. Both of them hold feelings for the other, but neither wants to be the one to confess first, because to confess would be to lose. So begins the war to make the other one confess their love first through trickery, mind games, or whatever’s necessary. Continue reading

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

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And we’re back with another look at Fruits Basket, this time volume five of the collector’s edition. I’ve been surprisingly having a lot of fun rereading this series and even more fun reviewing it. I’ve been loving taking these deep dives into each volume and pulling apart the different arcs of character growth and philosophical or thematic elements. I think it’s a really interesting series that not only is great to read but has made me think more about how I personally think about certain aspects of my own life and my own thoughts. And I think that is one of the main ways to identify if a series is truly great: if it makes you reflect on your own world and life views. Series like these are the ones that stick with us the longest because it builds an emotional attachment or adds an emotional connection. I don’t think I had this kind of connection back in high school when I first started reading this, so reading Fruits Basket now when I’m in a different stage of my life has created this new experience for me. But that’s a discussion for another day.

Volume five starts us off in the story with the onset of summer vacation. Yuki, the newly appointed president of the student council, sets off to meet his new council members and take care of business before the new school year begins. Meanwhile Momiji has made plans for all of the current Sohma zodiacs to have some fun in the sun at of the Sohma family vacation homes. Tohru, Kyo, Yuki, Haru, Kisa, Hiro, and Momiji all venture off to the beach while Shigure hangs back and plots from the shadows. His plotting leads to the surprise appearance of Akito at the summer home. In the middle of all of this we also get stories of Hana’s history with Tohru and her psychic waves, Uo’s meeting with the mysterious Kureno, and Hori’s history and relationship with his ex-fiancee’s friend Mayu. Lastly, we get two short glimpses of the last of the zodiac members, the rooster and the horse, Kureno and Rin. Continue reading

Last Week in Geekdom: Your Weekly News Round-Up (4/1 – 4/7)

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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. I’m finally back after a very long and tiring weekend at PAX East, but I had an amazing time and will be getting some more reviews up this week hopefully. My Fruits Basket read-through is still going on and volume five’s review will be posted sometime this week, so keep an I out or feel free to catch up on 1-4 if you haven’t already. In terms of news items this week: Studio Madhouse is in the news after one of thier employees collapsed from overwork; Netflix has announced the casting for the Cowboy Bebop live-action series; and Captain Marvel has hit the 1 Billion worldwide sales mark. Be sure to check out some of the articles and videos linked below and, as always, enjoy your Sunday! Continue reading

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

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It’s that time again, time to take another dive into some nostalgic shoujo romance, more Fruits Basket. Volume four brings us about a third of a way through this series with twelve volumes total to look forward to. The story is still slowly unfolding here, with more introductions and a closer look at the intimate lives of both the zodiac members and Tohru’s friends. This sort of mystique and dread that Akito inspires permeates everything in this volume and I’m sure we’ll be seeing that ramping up in later volumes as well. With the introduction of Hiro, the sheep of the zodiac, and Ricchan, the monkey of the zodiac, we’re getting closer to bringing together the whole cast and with it their histories and interlocking relationships. I’m enjoying myself immensely as I read through this story. It’s packed with discussions on mental health, psychological trauma, life philosophies, and societal issues. I think I’ve forgotten over time just how deep this series goes, and I’m really looking forward to getting pulled down further into the story.

Volume four (chapters 37-48) starts us off with another introduction to the zodiac cast, Hiro the sheep, who happens to be close friends with Kisa. We’re drawn into his story of jealousy as he sees Kisa hanging out more and more with Tohru after her struggle with bullying. Then a shopping trip turns into a look at Uo-sans past as a former gang member turned Tohru’s closest friend. But Fruits Basket doesn’t save the characterization for just the main characters, even the fairly annoying Yuki Fan Club president, Motoko, gets her own chapter to shine in as we learn just what makes her tick and her feelings about handing off the fan club to the next generation. The rest of the volume is filled with our introduction to Ricchan, the monkey, but we also get quite a bit of characterization and backstory on Haru, Yuki, Kyo, and Tohru as they all struggle with thinking about their future after school. Continue reading

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