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
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
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
Ah CLAMP, just reading any of their series brings me back to my early teen years of reading Cardcaptors and Chobits. Over the years, they have wound up becoming one of my all time favorite manga creators. Their wide breadth of titles and stories make it easy to find something entertaining for almost every reader, and their ability to create meaningful stories for both younger readers and older ones is hard to match. Wish is one of the few series from them that I actually never had the chance to pick up and read, so I was excited to learn that Dark Horse had started to publish the entire 4-volume series in one collected omnibus. It’s a challenge to read with it being at least two inches thick and pretty heavy, but the series itself is definitely worth it especially if you like cute and innocent love stories.
The story of Wish follows a young doctor Shuichiro who notices an adorable flying thing trapped in a tree on his way home from work one day. It just so happens to be the angel, Kohaku, who offers to grant Shuichiro any wish he desires in gratitude. The only problem is that Shuichiro has everything he could ever want, a good job, enough money to be comfortable, and a nice house. But that doesn’t dissuade Kohaku, and Shuichiro soon finds himself with a new roommate who just so happens to draw more angels and even devils to their home, becoming a sanctuary for those looking to escape both hell and heaven. Continue reading
A.B. Mitford’s Tales of Old Japan has in it an enchanting story of a very particular wedding, a fox’s wedding. He tells of two young, white foxes here: “Now it happened that in a famous old family of foxes there was a beautiful young lady-fox, with such lovely fur that the fame of her jewel-like charms was spread far and wide. The young white fox, who had heard of this, was bent on making her his wife, and a meeting was arranged between them. There was not a fault to be found on either side; so the preliminaries were settled, and the wedding presents sent from the bridegroom to the bride’s house, with congratulatory speeches from the messenger, which were duly acknowledged by the person deputed to receive the gifts; the bearers, of course, received the customary fee in copper cash.
“When the ceremonies had been concluded, an auspicious day was chosen for the bride to go to her husband’s house, and she was carried off in solemn procession during a shower of rain, the sun shining all the while. After the ceremonies of drinking wine had been gone through, the bride changed her dress, and the wedding was concluded, without let or hindrance, amid singing and dancing and merry-making.” Continue reading
The Other Side is a queer paranormal romance anthology largely funded by Kickstarter that debuted in Spring 2016. I first came across it when I attended a small indie comic expo in Boston where a lot of the contributing authors were attending. I was originally looking for pretty much anything in the romance genre that I could review, but The Other Side is unique like most anthologies in that it features a variety of authors and styles I can talk about. It features 19 stories from 23 different authors focusing on queer romance in a paranormal setting, so anything from the love between human and ghost or human and monster, though the stories don’t stop there. With primarily PG-13 content, this anthology looks to showcase underrepresented groups such as gay/lesbian, transsexual, and everything in between.
Nanami’s father runs off to escape his debts, leaving her behind alone and without a home to return to. While sitting in a park contemplating her situation, she comes across a man stuck in a tree trying desperately to shoo a dog away. When Nanami saves him, he places a kiss on her forehead in thanks, offering her a place at his shrine and – unknown to her – giving her his mark of godhood. Having no other options, Nanami makes her way to Mikage Shrine where she finds the ornery fox yokai, Tomoe, who just so happens to be her new familiar. Now she must take on the mantel of land god and all the responsibilities that come with it. But will Nanami and Tomoe’s relationship become something more than master and familiar?