Those Awaiting A Star Knew What I Was Waiting For Before I Did

It’s now officially Fall! …Or that’s what the calendar tells me, but the unwelcome persistence of 80 degree weather (that’s 27~ degrees Celsius to you Celsius-using folk) is weaving a different tale. In an effort to prove that temperature doesn’t rule my life–even when I’m dying and making offerings for those crisp fall days to come the fuck on already–I’ve started to dive into that good seasonal content. Of course, that means witches and magic!

Back in March of last year I talked about how excited I was for the upcoming anime adaptation of the manga The Ancient Magus’ Bride, and just recently the three part OVA, Those Awaiting A Star, finished airing in Japan. Despite being unaware that an OVA was even happening, I eagerly dove into the three 25 minute episodes. It was advertised as a prequel story, so I was a bit hesitant that the OVA would be focusing mostly on the situation that brought heroine Chise to her living arrangements with her fiance, the titular ancient magus; doing so would almost certainly mean focusing on the neglect and abuse Chise suffered, and three episodes of that sounds kind of like the worst thing ever. It’s impossible to avoid that completely, as the episodes focus on Chise’s childhood, but if you share my concerns, I’m here to tell you that the OVAs didn’t turn into the Chise torture hour. More importantly, Those Awaiting A Star subtly shows off the environment Chise comes to thrive in as well as her relationship to Elias (the magus) in a way that quells the worries I, as someone who hasn’t read the manga, had about that too!

Those Awaiting A Star Breakfast

They’re so cute and good, you guys. (Screenshot taken by me)

Spoilers below. Continue reading

Manga Mondays: Read or Die

imagesIf there’s one thing that appeals to me, by god, it is a queer heroine whose superpower is linked to books. That speaks to me on a nigh-religious level, and so it stands to reason that I’d enjoy Read or Die. Unfortunately, the manga series doesn’t deliver the level of awesome that you’d expect from that description.

Read or Die follows Yomiko Readman, a literature enthusiast with the power to telekinetically control paper. She’s deployed by the Library of England to deal with crimes related to books, such as rare book thefts or threats to popular authors. In the first volume, she’s sent out to protect Sumiregawa Nenene, a bestselling writer who’s also a high school student. In the first volume, Nenene is captured by a superfan who wants to rape… and… imprison her… forever? And Yomiko has to save her. Yeah, so this gets really terrible really fast. Later Yomiko gets into other problems that are less… rapey… but just as poorly plotted and melodramatic.


Hello, yes, 911? This page made me uncomfortable. Please do something about it.

Although Yomiko’s queerness is never really considered to be inappropriate or portrayed as wrong, what rubbed me the wrong way was that her attachment to books was drawn as creepily sexual. Like, the visual cues when she is holding a really rare book—the little drops of sweat, the huffed-out breath clouds, and the slightly watery eyes—make it look like she’s actually having an orgasm just from touching the book. And, like, I mean, if that’s what gets you off, then as long as you’re not hurting anyone, do your thing… but it’s like, aren’t there enough super-sexualized queer women in the world? Yomiko’s usual method of dress is a vest and button-down shirt, a long dark skirt, and a shapeless trenchcoat, so she escapes the usual problems of objectifying attire, but she just couldn’t escape being drawn in the throes of bookgasm in the middle of a battle.

Also, purely on a ease-of-reading level, the English adaptation in this manga is terrible, and it’s possible the original Japanese writing is nothing to write home about either. The sentences are blocky and poorly-worded, the exposition makes little-to-no sense, the dialogue is just super-awkward, and I’m not sure how much of it is due to poor writing and how much of it is bad adaptation.

I recall that a long time ago I watched the Read or Die OVA, on which this series is very loosely based. I recall it being significantly more enjoyable and markedly less skeevy, so if you’re interested in the concept of this story but not in this particular terrible adaptation, I’d recommend you watch that instead.