Sailor Moon: Future Reunion

Sailor Moon- Future Reunion- CoverRight now a wonderful artist is writing a Sailor Moon doujin titled Future Reunion. The artist goes by the name Mangaka-chan on Tumblr, which is where I first found her work and fell in love. I had thought of doing a Web Crush on this artist and her story, but, as is so often the case with me, I started to fall behind on updates and didn’t feel I could accurately describe it for a Web Crush. The reason I’m writing about it now is because the artist is offering a great option for readers to catch up: a hard copy of the manga!

This is great for me because I prefer to read print rather than electronic works, especially for manga. From the picture of the cover, Mangaka-chan’s book looks like it will fit right in with Kodansha’s re-print of the series, which will also make me very happy because if it didn’t look right on the shelf next to the rest of my Sailor Moon series it might actually be a deal-breaker. Even though it’s a fan-made work the artist has put in the extra effort to make a polished product.

On a similar note, one of the things I love about this work is how much it really does look and feel like an extension of Takeuchi’s original series. The character designs are very similar to start with, but on top of that the actual structure flows the same way the original works did. The expressions on the characters’ faces, the settings, the use of onomatopoeia, etc. all effectively emulate the style used in the official Sailor Moon and Codename: Sailor V manga.

The story of the doujin focuses on Chibiusa taking on the full responsibilities of a Sailor Soldier and leading her team as Neo Sailor Moon. Much like the original series, there is a love story, which, in this case, is centered on the romance between Chibiusa and Helios. Helios is the human form of Pegasus, who was a key player in the Yume arc of the manga and who shared a very close bond with Chibiusa. Also returning from the Yume arc is the Amazoness Quartet as Neo Sailor Moon’s team, the Sailor Quartet. The Sailor Quartet was introduced in the manga as Chibiusa’s team and appeared in one of the musicals, but never made it into the anime, so it’s exciting to see more of them.

Sailor Moon- Chibiusa's Team

Chibiusa’s Sailor Team

If this story sounds interesting to you, I highly encourage you to read it! If you’re like me and want to have a print copy, purchasing information can be found here.

Manga Mondays: How to Melt/Break Rin’s Heart

Have you ever felt lucky? Maybe you found a good deal or managed to Fairy Tale Abyss Coversneak something in just under the deadline. Both of these apply to this wonderful doujinshi anthology that I came into possession of about three years ago. Often if you want to buy a nice quality anthology on ebay or the like it can cost you up towards a hundred dollars which, to be completely honest, isn’t usually worth it. I had been sitting on buying this for a while (see: months) when suddenly, low and behold, it went on sale. I’ll stop bragging for now, but let me go over one of my favorite pieces in Fairy Tales: Snow Version.

In this case, “Snow” refers to Keterburg, the area in Tales of the Abyss where Dist, Emperor Peony, and Jade grew up, and, what do you know, the anthology is focused entirely on them and Jade’s sister, Nephry. I love this group of characters because it’s so complex and has so many layers to it that there’s always something new to learn about them, whether it’s through playing the game again or seeing the characters from another person’s point of view.

On the first read through, I completely skipped over the context (and possibly this untitled story) by artist Kazune. It’s easy to do: the art style looks like an unfinished page from a sketchbook and there’s no dialogue what-so-ever. Since the story is also only about four pages long, it’s completely skippable entirely by accident, but there’s so many feels to be had whether you interpret it in a more positive light or the way I’ve come to.

We enter the story from Luke and Ashe’s point of view (I don’t really know why they’re in the story. I guess because they’re the main characters of the game) as they come across a row of snowmen. Upon a flashback, we

find that Dist has actually been buried in one of the snowmen by Jade and Peony and is understandably upset at being abandoned once more. After being excavated by the two boys, Dist directs the boys towards Nephry’s house as it is implied that they have received directions to go there, however when Dist enters he finds that a surprise party has been planned for his birthday. With that, the story ends on a “still frame” of everyone celebrating around a cake, smiling and basking in their friendship.

Like I said, the story’s really short and not all that complicated, but I find it a little bittersweet that this story was chosen to appear in this specific anthology. Of course, there’s the obvious reasoning of it starring the so-called Keterburg three and actually taking place in said city, but my thoughts go a little further than that. Think about the title of the anthology again: Fairy Tales. The rest of the stories that precede and follow this one all have a hint of the fanciful in them, as if it were an actual fairy tale. So, why would this one be included in terms of theme? Because it didn’t actually happen.

Of course, we could say that about everything that happens in a doujin, but I think placing this in a collection based off the idea of fairy tales tells the audience that it’s more what Dist wishes would happen rather than what would happen in reality. It’s true that once upon a time Peony, Dist, and Jade were friends and may have actually participated in this kind of thing, but that was when they were children. As adults Jade has distinctly tried to separate himself from Dist (who has taken up the evil genius trope) and where Jade certainly would have no qualms about burying him in a snowman, there would be no party afterwards.

As much as I love fluff, I have to admit that following this line of thought, this otherwise misplaced story fits in without a hitch. In addition, the sketchy style that Kazune uses adds to my hypothesis. Unfinished and blotchy, the art has a dream-like quality to it that really does make it seem as though it the true ending would be “and then I woke up.” It’s a little cynical and entirely bittersweet, but that would fit the characterization perfectly. This tiny vignette was a joy to rediscover despite the fact that I’ll be harboring some feelings for the rest of the day.

Manga Mondays: A Dash of Brotherly Love (For Real)

Now, I like slash and shipping as much as next doujin buyer, but I realize that I’m in one of the less catered to markets in general. You see, I make it my mission to find family/friendship/gen doujinshi as much as I can. It’s not profitable, but sometimes I just don’t want to read about bffsies boning each other. And between E-bay sellers giving nary a description of the comic’s contents and stores like Mandarake not letting you read before you buy, it’s a very dangerous game to play. I have some failures that I may go over in future but today is a day for the rare success story. Today we look at Crybaby Gil! Shocking! Baby Brother’s Confession by @nm°c.

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Manga Mondays: Waving the White Flag of Love

Good day, readers! All you USA-ers, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and to everyone else I hope November treated you well. Jumping back into the game here after a somewhat hectic holiday I come bringing a review of one of my favorite doijins I own. If you didn’t catch my last doujin review and have no idea what I’m talking about, take a look over here at my short explanation of the art form.

Our story this week comes from one of the larger fandoms on the internet at this time, Himaruya Hidekazu’s Hetalia. Depending on the people you hear from, this is either the most horrible/annoying/EVIIIIL fandom ever or a good one full of wonderful people. Given the mercurial state of all fandoms, I tend to look at it from a person-by-person account, but I digress. If unfamiliar with the series it can be summed up rather easily: personified countries have crazy hijinks during World War 2 (and sometimes other time periods). Given the sensitive nature of this topic, there are times that the show misses its mark and with the release of the dub (and the dumb direction they took it in) these issues have been inflamed by a wide margin. However, these issues are usually dodged in the doujin due to the very nature of the artform. Today we look at Nanka-Izuno-Uenohou (Mumu)’s I Am Yours!.

This story focuses on the Axis powers (Germany, Japan, and North Italy) as Japan tries to mediate Italy’s one complaint about his lover, Germany. In the series it is strongly hinted that Germany has a thing for Italy stemming from his childhood, back when he was the Holy Roman Empire, and having a crush on the much more innocent, adorable Italy. As with my last review, this pairing is exceedingly popular and almost canon to the point it hurts. Drawing from the source material, there is also an abundance of ways this relationship can play out in a realistic manner. So, how does Mumu do?

Surprisingly well! It is a fear of mine that when writing about a pairing that has such a power differential already (Germany is a BAMF, Italy is…a

tomato box fairy) the quickly eroding slippery slope into “stereotypical yaoi” land will always be taken because it’s easy and it works. However, in this case Mumu shows the complexity of not only the characters, but the issues in their relationship as well. Germany is not only a badass, he’s a badass that has problems admitting his feelings out loud because, damn it, they’re embarrassing and Italy should already know. On the reverse side, Italy is not only a silly man that acts in hyperbolic tears, he is also a man who just wants to hear once how much he is treasured by the man he loves and is afraid that he may never hear it. Japan also plays his role as the mediator wonderfully. He is quiet and patient, but not afraid to dish out some stern words when Germany is about to give up all together. The friendship between the three of them is shown so well in such a short amount of pages: it is truly an impressive feat.

As bland as the storyline seems (“I just want him to say he loooooves me!!!”), it really is a lot more interesting when shown through these characters. The story is short so the tension can rise, expressing what really is at stake if Germany cannot admit his own weaknesses—his relationship with not only Italy but Japan too, as well as losing respect for himself. It’s not complex, but the characters make it complex. Or as complex as one can get in 13 pages.

Since I love the story so much, I really want to love the art too. And I do, I just wish there was more. Again we have the background problem: background range from gradients to just plain white save for one panel with an actual wall and hallway. There are also no real objects in the setting either. However, the characters look good for the most part and their expressions are wonderful. I have a feeling that Mumu was trying to bring

attention to the characters and their expressive postures, but in leaving everything else out it creates a void so it almost makes it seem like this is happening in some sort of afterlife scenario. Juxtaposing the comfort of a friend’s house to the emptiness of a wish unfulfilled would have added another interesting layer to this drama sandwich, but I’ll take comfort in knowing that the resolution happens in a situation like that.

I would recommend this doujin simply on how well Mumu gets the characters and expands them into more complete roles. Also, on how they treat the relationship in a respectful, realistic manner rather than relying on the old stand-by stereotypes.

Manga Mondays: Doujin 101 & Beauty is the Beast

Today we’re going to explore the mystical realm of doujins. It’s a lot to absorb but stick with me! Being an anime fan for a vast majority of my life, I have experienced many things. I’ve seen really awful shock comics like Mai-chan’s Everyday Life. Silently observed ship (relationship) wars over characters so fierce they might have burned a hole in the internet itself. And, of course, I have seen really soul-wrenchingly bad translations and usages of Japanese. Not everyone wishes to take the language and that’s cool but for the love of god, if you don’t know what it means, don’t use it. And, above all else, don’t try to translate things.

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