banner image, art by Akihiro Yamada for the lightnovel Twelve Kingdoms

A while back I got back into BL but I wanted to read something edgy, maybe more ero-guro/horror-ish, but like, you know, actually disturbing. Not something that has a disturbing plot but is portrayed in that "oh this is actually romantic" fashion. Which is usually my main gripe with BL lmao. So I went looking around and I found a manga with a very pretty cover, called Heartless.

The premise sounds cool enough, an incubus and his lover get hunted by a bunch of priest type exorcists. Plot wise, I honestly had a bit of trouble understanding what exactly was going on, and what relationship did the relation having priests (heh) actually share at first. Why are these guys having sex? What's going on? Why does this guy want to run away? This story didn't really leave me properly disturbed either, it was more like an action movie with chase and sex scenes, not a whole lot of horror. One good thing about it was the MC, Manuel, who's quiet for the most part of the story. A beat up quiet man? Sign me up! The biggest problem with this manga was the tone, but more about that later.

The next manga I stumbled upon was Color Recipe, by Harada. I'm mentioning this mangaka because I've seen this name pop up like 5 times in 2023 for some reason and I don't even hang around fujo spaces much anymore. I'm also not a huge fan of this... modern BL aesthetic, I don't know how else to describe it. This manga is about two hairstylists falling for each other, and without spoiling too much, one of them gets stalked and sexually assaulted and the usual psychological games ensue. Well, the ending was pretty disappointing and once again I felt like this manga also had a tone issue.

Now let's move on to this tone issue I keep blabbering about. Both of these manga have something in common - they come with the "disturbing, scary, psychological horror" label as described by the fans. Yet for some reason, both manga have moments where the most disturbing moments are coupled with this weird lightheartedness that completely throws me off. In the first one there's an actual, pretty abusive gang rape scene, but in the background there's a character going :) drawn in a funny-haha way?
not pictured to the left - a giant penis in the foreground lmao
This stuff drives me up the fucking wall. The second manga also had a few similar moments, coupled with a very lighthearted ending - all things considered. Add to that the very detailed sex scenes I'm not exactly sure whether I'm supposed to be disturbed, horny, or amused. You know, sometimes a serious theme requires a more serious tone, but when a disturbing story is handled in the same way a fluffy romance would be, I'm just confused lmao. I just wanted to see men actually suffering for a change. Anyway, I'm having a hard time describing this, but basically it feels like there's a certain disconnect between the themes covered and their portrayal, which is why I didn't fully enjoy either of these.

This is something I don't mention often when reviewing, but readability is something I find myself struggling with often when reading manga. Sometimes speech bubbles look like they're coming from nowhere and it makes it hard to tell who's speaking if it's a dialogue. Sometimes the unofficial translations are aso bad it's hard to keep up with the plot. Sometimes the panelling is messy or bad and it's hard to tell what's going on. Well, this manga stood out in how perfectly readable it was. The panelling was so crisp and clear, I never felt confused or had to read back a bit, the speech bubbles were always precise and I never had troubles with knowing who's speaking. It seems like such a simple thing so I don't mention it often, but when I think back on it I realize just how often manga tends to be messy and hard to read.

This manga was such a delight. The main characters were adults and their interactions and conversations were just so... chill to read, the story was interesting and the ending was satisfying. The story is about a bath hosue owner, Kanae, whose husband went missing with no traces left a couple months ago. As she's coming to terms with it she decides to reopen her bath house and she gets an assistant to help her with the maintenance. Eventually she tries to find her husband with the help of a private investigator. The story is very character driven and I loved the focus on dealing with a personal tragedy, and how hard it can be to let other people in your life know that such a thing happened to you, and how almost embarrassing it feels. We are also left with the message that it's really hard to truly get to know someone, and how humiliating and suffocating it must be to have your spouse go missing without you having any inkling of their whereabouts, possible reasons for it and so on. Personally, I think people often don't make enough of an effort! And this is also something Kanae begins to think about herself through the story. The humor was sparse but it was well mixed into this relaxing mystery.

The artstyle reminded me a lot of Yuki Urushibara's work, including the overall atmosphere and the way the story is executed. There's no light supernatural themes in Undercurrent but if you enjoyed Mushishi you'll probably like this story too!

This was a super enjoyable BL manga. I really loved how the story flowed. Apparently the mangaka wanted to include more BL elements but was advised against doing so and frankly... this turned out so great. There's just the right amount of romance, and the buildup is great. The characters aren't annoying in the slightest and they act like human beings, not like caricatures. No dragged out sex scenes full of flashing rods. When it comes to romance stories, this is the stuff I love the most. It was not frustrating at all and it didn't fall into any of the common tropes.

Besides being a BL story, this is also a mystery with an actual plot. You have 2 detectives, Asako and Kuroiwa working together. Asako has a special power of being able to "live through" someones death if he's standing where that person recently died. He bleeds out and everything. So immediately we have this set-up that allows for dramatic falling and Asako being held by Kuroiwa after going through a traumatic experience... You see where this is going right! It's so simple but so good lmao. I won't spoil the story that follows but I think the little conflict in the second half was perfect, and the ending was A+ as well.

Next, the art. Ohhhh the art. The hair, the suits, the long noses. At times Takahashi's art reminded me of a mix of Leiji Tatsumoto and the Year 24 group which is a super interesting mix in modern manga in general, and especially in BL which I feel like nowadays has a VERY specific aesthetic. I feel like this influence I mentioned earlier is especially apparent with Asako. The early yaoi/shojo influence was definitely there, mostly in the poses.

I loved the thick linework. Also fuck me, if there ever was a my type in manga then it has to be Kuroiwa.. He reminds me of my husband, yes I'm blushing, hope he never feels like reading my reviews ever again because he'll witness me comparing him to a BL manga character. I feel like Kuroiwa is a certain archetypal character you see pretty often (cold but caring detective) but UGH Takahashi did such a good job with him.

My final thoughts, this was some good shit. Takahashi knows how to make a good story with sensible characters and as a result I can actually enjoy the romance. I also liked another manga of hers called Yuki to Matsu, and it also had a decent story but it felt a bit more self-indulgent than Stigmata. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I prefer Stigmata over it because of the SUITS. I don't really have a huge thing for men in suits but when somebody appreciates men in suits you can really tell, it just rubs off on you okay. She has another manga with two dudes in suits so I'll probably go ahead and read that too lmao.

Do you ever read a manga and think to yourself "this must have been drawn by a man/woman" and then turn out to be completely wrong? There's certain artstyles I'll always associate with either sex and I can't help it.. This was one of those manga. I even read beforehand that it was made by a man but I had to double check anyway. There's this specific blobbyness/cartoonishness/softness to his art that also reminds me a bit of western female hobby artists which I find kind of endearing. Like I swear I've seen fanart of xyz shows drawn in this style so many times before. Either way, I really enjoyed the art in this manga. It was cute and expressive and it served its purpose well, it added to the overall sillyness of the plot while also making the few nsfw scenes feel kind of sterile which imo fits the alien theme so well lmao.

The plot is about two brothers who are actually aliens coming to Earth and evaluating whether it's worth colonizing the planet or not which includes studying humans up close. One of the brothers is seemingly much better at playing human at first, while the other is unsuccesful in this task but slowly gets the hang of it. As you might expect, at a certain point their roles kind of switch which leads to conflict. Throughout the story they experience the good and bad sides of humanity, pretty standard for this kind a story but I love the light we live in a society aspect of it. Yeah I'm a sucker for those.

The two main characters were pretty well done imo, especially Fuyunosuke. Outwardly he's friendly, flirty, happy, helpful, smart - almost perfect. But inside he's kind of a sociopath, well - he's an alien that's his excuse. Personally I love the "effortless a bit goofy pretty boy is actually devoid of empathy" trope because it seems to be true so often lmao. He basically served as a foil to his brother at first and in the middle, but I feel like he broke out of that role eventually which was nice. Side characters didn't have too much depth to them, because it was a short manga after all, but I liked their variety. Somehow I get this weird feeling from the mangaka - like he enjoys life and people, from the way he portrays the side characters and the environment. Even though you only catch a glimpse of most characters you could imagine what type of people they'd be like irl. I'm being weirdly sappy but that's the impression I got from his other work too.

After a few weeks of not reading anything this manga felt like a little treat, it was short, silly and enjoyable!

This is going to be one of those rambling reviews where I barely talk about the work, I apologize beforehand.

First of all, I accidentally read this before My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness, and that is because I'm an idiot and I started reading the first book first but then stopped somewhere mid pandemic on an accident, resumed with the one I'm currently reviewing, stopped again and finally went to pick this one up to finish it lmao. Look the covers just looked too similar. Anyway, the theme of having an exchange diary with yourself hits very close to home because I've been doing the same thing with myself since 2009 or so, through a page called futureme. I haven't done it in a couple of years now, and christ the new page design is horrid, but I used to love doing it so much. Sending myself a letter every 6 months to a year or so, seeing how much I've changed.. I need to go re-read those emails now. I used it the most when I was a 6th grader at the height of my NLOG phase, the e-mails are hilarious now. Ok done going through them, wew.

This manga is mostly about the authors anxieties. Well, it's more about how her life is pro(re)gressing, but it always comes back to the same couple of issues that keep plaguing her. It's pretty repetitive and the chapters keep circling around the same already stated points. It makes sense of course, since this is kind of a stream of consciousness technique in manga form, almost. I mean, can you say your thoughts are much different? I can't. I relate to many of the things the author feels, which is a bit frustrating. I feel a lot of compassion for her, but I also feel enraged by her. Well anyway, that is not the main thing I wanted to write about in here.

wow she's like, literally me!!!!!
The main topic I want to ramble about is basically how embarrassing it must feel to air out your dirty laundry for the whole world to see - and have your family be aware of it and be aware of the fact that they're included in that work of yours. How does one write something like that, and then continue on with their lives? This manga is the window into one such experience. Personally, if that was me, I'd find that incredibly stress inducing and judging by this work, Nagata did too LOL. In a way it's freeing, but at the same time... Man... What you share as an author, especially if you write auto-biographical stuff, seems like such a touchy subject especially if you're writing about it as it is happening. No hate to Nagata but I can't imagine being her parents and knowing she said what she said (and then changed her mind a couple of times) or being that girl she met online and almost kind of had a relationship with... I'm getting hit with that small-town mentality thing "WHAT WILL THE VILLAGE THINK???". Whenever I watch videos on tiktok for example and I find them funny or goofy, or I watch some kind of a pretty personal story time video and again I find it funny and agreeable or whatever - sometimes I find myself thinking - what if I knew this person making the video irl? If they were behaving the way they did in that video, I'd find them incredibly cringy, and as someone I wouldn't confide in. But somehow since its tiktok and I'm watching them as a stranger, I don't find it as hard to watch. My friend and I stalk this random girl from her town on tiktok from time to time. She makes ~aesthetic~ videos about how she's such an edgy poor student having a hard time (she's not poor), nothing too offensive, but to us it's rage inducing. Yet, if she was a random girl from idk, London, making those same videos I probably wouldn't give it a second thought, even if she was a rich girl larping to be poor. Well, this manga made me feel pretty strong second hand embarassment at points anyways, probably because I projected on Nagata a bit too much... Actually, I see her as a worse version of myself. Yeah that's probably it...
I went off on a tangent here, but I truly think this is a good piece of work dealing with this exact issue, and how doing something like this can make you feel like you made a rift between you and your family and friends, especially if you lack anonymity. This shit makes for an awkward situation no matter how you look at it.

Despite being really repetitive in its subject matter, Nagata tries to make it interesting with a ton of little allegories and comparisons, her illustrations are really cute, and they have a specific look to them because of her signature black/white + pink shading/coloring. Even still, I found this manga to be a hard read because of everything I mentioned earlier, which explains why I picked it up and dropped it twice. I'll try reading the rest of her work at some point too, but I have to get in the right mindset for it.

Billy Bat is a manga made through a collaboration between the great Naoki Urasawa and Takahashi Nagasaki. The manga follows Urasawas noticeable formula, a lot of characters, a grand mystery/conspiracy, timeskips galore, main characters switching and an ending that feels less grand than what the story led you to believe (or is it?!?!). It's 165 chapters long and it was serialized in the seinen magazine Morning from 2008 to 2016.

The story spans over several millennia, but is mostly set over a span of multiple decades that have massively impacted the course of history that lead us to today, aka from world war 2 and onwards. The story begins when the main character Kevin Yamagata, a comic book artist behind the popular Billy Bat comic, finds out he unintentionally plagiarized the main character Billy Bat and that a comic of the aforementioned character already exists in Japan. He sets out to Japan to find the original and... hijinks ensue. Ok not really hijinks, more like grand conspiracies and uncovered truths behind the human history and existence.

The plot covers multiple world shaking events that are shrouded in mystery, lies and conspiracy theories to this day (like the JFK assasination and 9/11 for example) and explains them in its own way. That aspect of it really adds to the overall grandness of the story, it's not really everyday you'll read manga about so much knowledge of the modern Western, well American, culture. That said, it does make certain things feel a bit cheesy lmao. Usually Japanese works feel very self-contained to Japan, and even when set outside of it you don't really notice. But this is what Urasawa is known for, after all. Despite that, I feel like later in the story these grand mysteries and real life events almost become redundant and side-lined in favor of The Bat (tm) and his shenanigans, whereas in the first half you felt like the two were more interconnected and there was more meaning behind what was happening. I wanted for the story to be more tied to these events through the Bat dangit!!!

Suspension of disbelief is something I usually have the least problems with when reading stuff. Well, depends on the subject matter but usually I can buy into all kinds of bullshit and get into the story. However with Billy Bat, I struggled a bit. For some reason the design of this totally not Mickey Mouse being a symbol of... everything it was in the manga, and the comic itself being regarded as something mindblowing, loved by people all over the world etc. I just didn't buy it. Since we have an actual real life counterpart in the form of Disney and The Big Mouse, we all know things wouldn't have went the way they did had Mickey Mouse been the sole and biggest property of Disney for all eternity. However the last part that is happening in the future, with the water resources etc? That was believable lmfao.

The characters were alright, although I feel like more could've been done with some of them, but this is the price you pay with such an enormous cast. Jackie and her daughter were the funnest, I love comic relief in the form of an anxious goofy woman, ok? Kurusu's whole arc was really well done too, and his ending was the strongest point of the manga to me. The rest I was pretty eh on. Both Kevins didn't really make an impact on me... Hitler and Einstein stuff was hilarious though and I wish we had more of that.

Lastly, the ending. A lot of people meme on Urasawas endings but I don't remember feeling dissatisfied with Monster or 20th Century Boys... however here? Hmmmm I'm okay with it. Especially because it was directly referenced much earlier in the manga and I feel like this is a nice callback to it. It feels pretty meta but not in an annoying way.

All in all hmmmm. It was an enjoyable ride. It was good, BUT... I liked his other works more! I'm almost done with Pluto so I'll be reviewing that soon too.

It's been a long, LONG time since I watched so much seasonal stuff. To be fair, around half of this list I wouldn't have watched had it not been for my husband and his sometimes disappointing taste in anime (sorry husband) but I felt like I should give those anime a short review anyway. Since the season isn't over just yet, not all reviews will be present. I'll mark any spoilers with spoiler text. Let's begin...

Vinland Saga Season 2

Now then. This is technically a winter 2023 anime but its second cour is a part of the spring season so it makes sense to include it here, I think. It's been four years since the first season, which is crazy to think about. I remember really enjoying the first season, especially the characters, especially especially Askeladd. He was an interesting guy and he really carried the first season imo. My knowledge of Viking history was pretty fresh at the time (because I used to study scandinavian history! until I dropped out of that degree lol) so it was actually kind of cool to see real world references, and to know what Vinland even is. From what I remember, the first season ended on a strong note. All in all it was a very solid anime.

The moment the first season ended I remember people being split on the next arc in the story, nicknamed Farmland Saga by everyone. Apparently the story does a 180 and drastically slows down, but it's not just the pace that changes, main characters go through massive changes as well. To top it off, we get a whole new MC at the beginning. I honestly am not the type that minds slow moving stories, or stories where nothing happens at all really so I didn't find this to be a problem. However........ I think the pacing in the anime was way too slow. I feel like this season could have been at least 1/3rd faster. A lot of the times scenes seemed to drag on and on which made me feel like an adhd monkey that just wants to see cool anime fights... which I know I'm not. While the first season was more of a revenge story, this season is all about peace and love and hardwork and pacifism and so on. Realizing killing isn't the answer, slavery is bad actually etc. I don't mind that really, Thorfinn's transformation is alright, albeit a bit preachy. I was surprised to see so many people (by people I mean teenage boys) be ABSOLUTELY mindblown by this season. I got flamed by a horde of angry boys when I said I found this season a bit boring because the pacing was horrid, because how could I not find BASED CHRISTIAN MENTALITY BROTHERHOOD RETVRN MANLY TEARS lifechanging and amazing. Like why did I not emphatize heavily with the whole cast? Which got me thinking, why didn't I? For some reason, I just wasn't that involved. I'm usually a crybaby and tugging on my heartstrings is an easy task, yet..!! I found this season kind of dull. Alright, but dull. Not sure what went wrong. Maybe it was the production, maybe 4 years since first season is too long for me and I forgot how I felt about xyz... But remember kids, killing is bad.

Dr.Stone: New World

I'll keep this one short. I'm sure if you've read my opinion on Boichi you'd know I'm not a huge fan of Dr.Stone. In fact I dropped the second season yet somehow, we picked this one up. It was actually not bad and I didn't even nap during any of the episodes. It was... okay! Dr.Stone is a very childish show, and for what it is, it's alright. I like all the little sciency explanations but the problem I felt would appear eventually has finally appeared. As the technology in the story progresses, my suspension of disbelief has to keep getting higher in order to buy it. All of a sudden things that would usually take days (paving roads, for example!) are done super quickly for the sake of the story. Not to mention all the machinery etc. Since it's literally an anime for kids though, I'm not going to question the logic behind everything too badly.

The weird sexism is still there, and I found it hilarious how Kohaku, a girl wearing heels and a skimpy dress at all times, is considered an unfeminine tomboy that can't act like a proper woman because... she's a warrior? I guess? To top it off, one of the rare non-sexualized female characters, Francois (or Francoise, apparently Ryusui doesn't mind either), is a being of AMBIGUOUS GENDER and OOOOoooOOOoooO she's actually nonbiney you guys. Sends a lovely message innit, you're only allowed to dress in a suit if you're not a female and if you do wear a suit, well, your gender is suddenly ambiguous and something to be questioned. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWN. It's also just soul crushing to see people hype up Inagaki for including nonbinary rep when female characters are portrayed and drawn the way they are. Doesn't that just make it a million (or should I say ten billion haha...) times more obvious how misogyny and gender woowoo go hand in hand? Sorry I cannot keep myself from sperging about this...

My Home Hero

The official hidden gem of the season. A suspense/thriller anime with HORRID animation (it didn't deserve that treatment) but it was so fun I didn't care at all. The story follows Tosu Tetsuo, a guy who killed his daughters abusive boyfriend and then proceeds to get in trouble with the yakuza. Here's the kicker though - Tetsuo is actually pretty ingenious and so is his wife. And together they do their best to trick the yakuza and save Tetsuos ass!!!
Finally a show where the main character involves their spouse, and they persevere together. I'm SO sick of all that "I need to protect muh family without telling them anything and always keep them in the dark" bullshit that happens in every possible show, book, film, whatever. Granted it seemed as if it would take that route a few times, but it was done in reasonable amounts and wasn't too annoying. Honestly this anime really goes full out, because you have a regular salesman killing and setting other people up for the sake of his family... Pretty brutal and it makes for a fun story. Nothing too deep or poetic, but FUN. Which is much appreciated!!

Tengoku Daimakyou

I have to be honest... I really enjoyed this anime, for the most part. I went in knowing only a couple of things. First - the author Ishiguro Masakazu. SoreMachi was the first work of his I was introduced to and I really loved it. Thing is, I watched it well over a decade ago and I don't really remember it all that well. In my head it was very unassuming and wholesome which is why I was surprised by the second work of his I read, Getenrou, which was a lot more... hmmm.. dark? Off? I really enjoyed it nonetheless. The second thing I knew before going in was how coom fueled this manga was, even before the adaptation was announced. I think I saw a thread on /a/, multiple times actually (and I don't even visit that shithole regularly anymore!), cooming over hints of pubes, nipples, women peeing, stuff like that. I don't mind nudity when it's a seinen manga (and this is published in a seinen magazine) but it does put me off when child characters are involved, or when it seems like the author just wants his fetishes to be included (consider this foreshadowing for later). Anyway, these are the only 2 things I was aware of, I managed to avoid all spoilers and plot points completely.

When I saw this was getting an anime adaptation, high budget at that, and I read the premise I thought it's worth giving a watch and honestly! It was. First I'll go over the nice things. I am a sucker for mystery, post apocalyptic and on top of that CONVERGING storylines from DIFFERENT TIMELINES?!?. So this really hit the spot. I think the worldbuilding is really great, all the characters have personality, there's some uniqueness there so the anime feels pretty fresh even though the storyline A is about a 20 year old girl (Kiruko) protecting a 15 year old boy (Maru) with a special power while killing monsters and travelling, and storyline B about test tube children being raised in a dome. The anime was also really beautiful. Just a delight to watch.

Next, problem number one. This next paragraph will spoil a major character plot point that gets revealed pretty early on but is still pretty important for the story and character dynamics so I'll hide it. Most people are aware of it though.


So the main character, the aforementioned 20 year girl, is actually not a girl (mentally) but instead she is her own brother! Her younger brothers brain got implanted into her body because the brother died a tragic death (and so did the sister apparently so they combined the working parts). As such many consider this to be a "trans" (LOOOOOOOOOOOOOL considering the next part) allegory especially because the problem of being attracted to a man in a womans body gets brought up eventually. Anyway, it just so happens that the younger brother had a major sister fetish because of fucking course he did, a japanese man without a sister complex is like an angel without its wings, like an abrahamic religion without massive womb envy, even!! So as fate would have it, he got to masturbate in his sisters body, and the weird scene in the first or second episode where the girl tries to kiss herself in the mirror gets explained!! Good foreshadowing, at least.. haha.. To add on top of all of this, the boy she's taking care of - the 15 year old kid, refers to her as his sister, I guess because she protects him. But still, because he was written by a horny japanese man, he also has to crush on the 20 year old girl that he sees as his sister, of course. I mean the second part makes sense but the sister part had to be inserted for good measure, I guess.

As for this being a trans allegory, fuhgeddaboudit. A physically female body and a brain (more like consciousness) belonging to a male person being combined into a person that also retains memories from the body is just not the same as a person struggling with gender dysphoria lmao. This is some pure sci-fi existential horror (well so is being trans I guess), when you remove the quirky coom part. One is a sci-fi cyborg, the other is a mentally ill person willingly giving themselves a hormonal imbalance. Both suck for the person involved. There is no such thing as a male or female brain. I swear every god damn review either talks about how this anime was insensitive towards trans people or good for introducing a trans story but like, it's not even the same thing, it's just a case of a classic brain + body switcharoo. Kiruko still sees herself as a man since she is a man originally and she was forcibly put into her sisters body while Maru sees her as a woman since that's the state he met her in. How you perceive yourself and how others perceive you after great change IS an interesting topic, but dear god, all the people trying to connect a siscon horny teenager that was put into his sisters body without his consent to the experience of being trans is kind of weird (don't say telling, don't say telling) to me. People will see a seemingly similar concept and go nuts about it just because it's currently trendy...

The next problem I had was in the ending, or the last two episodes. I don't consider this to be a major deal though since this is only the first season and the story is unfinished, so I can't really judge it properly. This is why I hate reviewing unfinished things lmao.


So the second to last episode features rape, but then the last episode almost completely shrugs it off and it comes across as if it only featured rape as an excuse for Maru to protect Kiruko. Kiruko almost laughs it off, which is reasonable considering the circumstances and what trauma does to a person, but I feel like if I look at the first season as a whole instead of a continuation, it's just a bad way of ending things. A bit more resolution regarding Robin would've came a long way imo. Or just a slight bit of rumination from Kiruko, like what the fuck was Robin doing there saying that weird shit during the rape. Like after Maru beating him up and Kiruko not wanting him to die, why not question him a bit, or try to get some information? Instead they just leave and let Robin get away with it. It just falls back into that "don't kill him, we're better than that". Yeah I know Maru struggles with feeling like a killing machine, but the whole sequence just feels incomplete to me honestly.

I'm getting lost in all these spoilers here.. Lastly I'll talk a bit about storyline B because I found it pretty interesting. During the duration of the anime I've seen people say that it's weird these children started falling in love with each other and getting sexual when they haven't been introduced to the concept of procreation and biological sex at all, but I don't see how that's weird. Animals know what to do and with what parts naturally, you don't need to explain it to anyone. Puberty will do its thing lol this is one of the things the anime does right. Does it have creepy vibes though? I don't know, nothing being shown was explicit and besides the initial confusion factor I think it got explained pretty well without getting too creepy.

So, final thoughts. I really enjoyed this anime but I fear I'll end up feeling about it the same way I felt about Made In Abyss and what ultimately stopped me from watching. Although Tengoku Daimakyou is definitely not pedos heaven like MiA is, I fear that my enjoyment of the world, the story and the characters will get overshadowed by the authors need to insert his fetishes where they're not necessary. Like I said though, I'm not opposed to nudity in adult manga in fact it's pretty whatever to me, but like I getttttt it man you have a thing for incest I geeeeeeet it can we MOVE ON, HWY DOES EVERY SLIGTHLY EDGY PIECE OF JAPANESE MEDIA NEED TO HAVE INCEST STOP. It's just not novel, interesting or weird anymore. Go spread your inbreeding propaganda somewhere else. It sucks because I'm really enjoying the way in which the story is being told, like it's done really well and I feel like a lot of modern media I end up watching lack that.

Oh yeah and how could I have forgotten, the weird feminist utopia where women keep men as breeding "seed pigs" (based?) but then of course they also view women with big breasts as enemies... crinj... Who would care about breast size in a world where there's no need to compete for mens attention and thus useles gender roles and behaviours get thrown away? Male author moment.

Oshi no Ko

Time to bravely shit on the most overhyped anime of the year. I actually was really opposed to watching it at first, and so was my husband lmao. Neither of us is into idol anime at all, and the premise sounded so stupid I couldn't understand why people are talking about it so much. Around when episode 6 or 7 came out though, I caved in. My curiosity got the best of me and I decided to give it a watch. Do I regret it? Not really, it was watchable, I'll give it that. However, it was absolutely overhyped. When anime like this blows up to the degree this did, it sure does remind me most anime is watched by children.

First things first, the author. Aka Akasaka, the guy that made Kaguya-sama: Love is War (which I never watched/read and know absolutely nothing about lmao) is the creator of Oshi no Ko. From what I've read somewhere is that he was allowed to go wild because of Kaguya-sama's success, and he could make any type of story he wanted. And a wild story he certainly did make. It seems like Oshi no Ko cannot decide what type of story it's going for. It's got supernatural elements that got COMPLETELY sidelined after the first episode, it's apparently a mystery but also kind of an idol anime. Basically there's a lot of shit going on. In my humble opinion, the weird supernatural part could have been written off and nothing about this story would change, it's completely and utterly pointless. Next, you can see that the japanese entertainment industry is interesting to this dude. I'm not sure how accurate his knowledge is but it does come across as something he's really into and that he wants to throw as much of this knowledge as possible into this anime. I almost feel like he created the supernatural part of the story because he didn't know how else to introduce massive exposition dumps to the viewer.

Next, the criticism of the entertainment industry. There's a fair bit of criticism thrown in, which is what led to this anime being compared to Perfect Blue on multiple ocassions but... while Perfect Blue actually focuses on the idol going through shit and suffering, Oshi no Ko just pussyfoots around the subject matter. All the otakus are somehow portrayed as kind and totally wholesome men (because how else will you get the audience for this anime lol) and even the main villain doesn't really come across as just an obsessed otaku, instead there's a bigger conspiracy there. This is like Perfect Blue, but for brainlets and hypocrites. While the message seems to be heading in one direction (all of this is fake and shallow and you have to lie to make people simp for you, idols go through hard times yadda yadda) all the characters just merrily carry on and still dream of being idols in a very typical sunshine and rainbows manner, so all the criticism just falls flat. There's just something hypocritical and really shallow about it, saying all that stuff while still making the anime about an idol group starting from the ground up and making their dreams come true or whatever, without any of the aforementioned hardship. This whole thing comes across as very juvenile to me as a result, even though it could be an interesting topic. Plus I feel like the idol stuff takes too much away from the original premise which is more of a murder mystery... If this anime was more about the behind the scenes stuff without the idol storyline and the boring relationship drama I think it would be a lot more interesting. Instead the idea of the show that you're given at the end of episode 1 just kind of dissapates. This anime wants to do too many things.

Lastly, the weird star/galaxy stuff in the two main characters' eyes is so cheesy (and each of them has ONE starry eye because their mom had two! uwu so cute). Lord, it's SO SO cheesy I can't get over it. And then when the characters get sad or angry, the stars disappear and go blank, but when they're being evil or scheming the star flashes in a dark and sinister way.... Just typing it down makes me shudder. I guess it's a spinoff of "hair obscuring my eyes when I'm angry"...

Kimetsu no Yaiba: Katanakaji no Sato-hen

Well uh... It was really boring is all I have to say. KnY is just such a bland franchise. I kind of liked the first season but everything after that has been pretty boring and flavorless. Most of the characters annoy me, it's just run of the mill shonen. I'm glad the author actually ended it in a timely manner though and I won't be exposed to it for years to come. I wouldn't have watched this if it weren't for my husband tbh. I honestly felt like I was in a daze for this whole season, because the fights dragged on and on and on and it seems the two fights (that edgy amnesiac long haired guy vs the vase demon dude and tanjiro and co. vs the emotion demon dude) took up the majority of the screentime when they could've been condensed. It kind of felt like being stuck in a 3 month loop, every time I tuned into a new episode it was the same shit as the last time until the big guys showed up and finally ended the damn thing.


I didn't want to watch this at all at first. In fact, I kind of napped through the first episode because I thought it would be completely generic and bland like KnY. And you know what, it's actually not super special in its setting and structure but the characters are miles more likeable and interesting and it slowly grew on me. The animation was low budget-y at times. I liked the fact that it seems more adult oriented so it's a bit more gorey. It's still pretty run of the mill but it was alright. I'm actually surprised to see all of the top reviews on MAL are so negative about it, but then I went to compare it to KnY and wow, the popular reviews for that are even more negative. I guess hating on battle shonen is finally seen as totally mainstream now? Well whatever, it was "okay", that's my verdict lmao.

I stumbled upon this manga by pure chance, and I was deligthed to see it was serialized in Garo, which is the magazine that published a good number of my favourite manga and hosted (is that a proper term?) artists which I find really interesting. If only more stuff from Garo was translated! That said when reading the afterword of this manga, which included the mangakas biography, I was surprised to learn that women barely participated in the alternative manga scene, with only a quarter of contributors being female. At this point in time (60's to late 70's), women were actually becoming pretty popular in the industry, but as Ryan Holmberg stated (the author of the biography) Garo was mostly made to serve mens angsty, psycho-sexual fantasies. Anyway, in the 80's and 90's this changed and Garo welcomed more than a couple of really great female artists, in fact one of the most popular manga that was published in Garo (in the west at least), Nekojiru Udon, was made by a woman. Anyway, this is where Murasaki Yamada comes into play, the author of Talk to my Back. She's been a part of Garo for a long time, publishing consistently from 1979 to 1986, and she even ended up very involved with the staff, befriending many of them and marrying the editor, yet her work didn't really quite "fit" the Garo style. Her work was mostly tied to feminism, motherhood and family life from the perspective of a woman that is an artist - but also a wife and a mother. Her art lacked the typical shojo style (she was completely aligned age-wise with the Year 24 Group, which should put things into perspective) and because of that it feels like she never got the credit she deserved and she remains overlooked to this day. However, publishing in Garo seems to have given her the total freedom she needed to address the difficulty of living as a housewife in Japan during the 70's.

This manga really made an impression on me. And holy shit, this mangaka was something else. I truly enjoyed reading the whole 30 page biography, and I think I'm going to include it in my articles eventually because I instantly fell in love with Yamada's character and her life's work. Honestly I am stunned that none of it almost made it out of Japan.

Ok ok, enough about the mangaka, what about the manga??? This is a 36 chapter manga, with the chapters being around 10-ish pages long max. The main character is a woman who deals with her life of being a stay at home mom, underappreciated wife, part-time worker with a short expiration date, and someone who decided to make money from her passions. The chapters are full of deep introspection and comical musings, they speak about a woman that loves being a mother but hates being seen as a slave and a volunteer. So many chapters made me think of my mother and how amazing of a job she did, I even shed tears during a number of chapters because of how close they hit. Such a coincidence I recently read Kim Jiyoung, born 1982, because these two works deal with very similar topics. I feel like many women struggle with losing themselves as they become wives and mothers, and this manga might help with such feelings. Yamada herself, while being critical of such women, wished they'd read her manga and shared her pain and anger with them.

I enjoyed the minimalist and simple artstyle a lot, it has a certain evergreen quality to it that makes it indistinguishable from similar art being made today. I mean, even the subject matter is still very relevant, and unlike many feminist inspired? manga I have read, this manga just doesn't shy away from it, the main character complains about issues that are still issues today and nothing is being approached in a touchy, delicate manner. I'm making this sound like some kind of an extremist work full of passion and angry monologues, but it's really not. It's not even preachy, or forced. It just comes across as very raw to me.

I usually hate reading unfinished manga because

  • I forget to keep up with it and reading chapter by chapter is too annoying
  • You never know when a hiatus might come
And yet.. AND YET... I knew this is a manga that's been on hiatus for 14 years now but the premise really gripped me! I love a good story about the pharma industry deciding to monetize on mind altering drugs! And actually, the fact that it's been on hiatus for so long might as well mean it's completed in my eyes.

After finishing this wild journey of a manga, I went to read a bit about the author, and he really stands out. All of his work is done by himself and him only, no assistants. He's very interested in drugs (very obvious in his work lmao) which is pretty out of place for a Japanese individual, and he recognises this as the reason why his work doesn't really hit as hard in Japan. After all, in his own words, Japan didn't have a hippie revolution in the 60's and the cultural and mindset changes that followed with it. Drugs never really took off in the same way as they did elsewhere. His inspiration lies in foreign artists like Moebius or other fellow Japanese artists inspired by Western art and style, like Katsuhiro Otomo.

Anyway, onto the manga. It's such a shame it was never finished, but I think it's a worthwhile read anyway, and with the way it ended - you could interpret it as a true ending. The art and the panelling is insane. The way the story flows through it is amazing, and I loved it all. The story is basically one big trip, and whether the storytelling is linear or non-linear is up to how you interpret it. I loved the part with the spaghetti and the flowing water merging into one event, the manga is FULL of fun stuff like that, and I mean, just look at it.

While I usually like trippy art and creative storytelling through it, I'm pretty picky with what I like. For example, while I enjoyed Soils trippy sequences, I found myself kind of getting tired of them at some point near the end, but I never got this feeling in Ultra Heaven. So if you're into this kind of stuff as well, you'll definitely enjoy it, I think.

Christ man idk where to begin with this one... So me and my husband were looking for a seinen anime to watch, maybe something a bit older you know, because why not. I was scrolling through MAL and there it was... a comedy about a single father, ex biker gang leader and newly turned salaryman! I do love some yakuza related comedies and I don't mind what would probably be some crude humor but man.... MAN...

First of all, I'd like to start with the main character. Kintarou is a single father because his wife died, I can't remember if it was post birth or a little after, oh and also, she was blind (wait now I can't remember whether it was her that was blind or another woman that was charmed by him later OOPS). Really shows how Kintarou is just the ultimate kind soul, which btw anime does its darn best to portray him as such. He's literally perfect and incapable of making a mistake, all women fall for him, young or old, and his luck is insane. A true Gary Stu, to a ridiculous degree.

Remember how I said his wife died and all women fall for him? Well, for the first few episodes we seem to establish the pattern that Kintarou is still mourning for his wife and it's been a few years since she has died. To which I think, damn, that's pretty commendable! Nice! Until like episode 5 or 8, can't remember, when he meets a boss lady of a hostess club (btw - the only woman in the whole anime that has some kind of a legit job that isn't a housewife or a secretary lmao, even though she's essentially just a glorified pimp but ok), who's fairly older than him, and hooks up with her the day they met. She instantly falls for him of course and they begin dating. Well, how does the anime go about this - seeing how he was mourning for his wife and all? He had a dream that night after he had sex with the manager lady that his wife has forgave him, in fact, she's urging him to stop mourning her! What an angel of a wife! So from this point on, the manager lady is his gf. Oh and also she has a 14 year old daughter that absolutely wants to fuck him too and through the rest of the anime the mom and daughter thirst and even compete for him. Yea! Oh and did I mention the 14 year old wants to be an idol and she did a nude gravure shoot with multiple men fawning over how womanly she is? At 14? Yeah!

Next... as I said earlier, Kintarou is a single father. He has a young son and nobody to take care of him while he works... He IS a salaryman after all... Well, his boss's wife took care of his kid! And when he moved to a different location, his female COWORKER took care of his child! I mean these women, they seriously have nothing better to do anyways!

Other than that the anime had a lot of that typical yakuza machismo stuff which I can definitely find funny and silly sometimes - it didn't really hit as hard here. The main character was just too perfect, all the female characters were just there to thirst after him or had a random caretaker role which whatever... But the anime was so ridiculous I was scream laughing a few times. Oh and the animation was awful, truly truly awful at times. Why did I watch it? I honestly wanted to see what kind of bullshit awaits next. I think it had potential because it dealt with corrupt businesses, inner workings of companies, government involvment etc but none of it mattered when the main character will just automatically be super liked by everyone and nothing will go wrong. It was clearly some kind of an insane power fantasy which, eh. Not my thing.

Oh wait, I forgot the best part. So in one episode, a woman gets sexually harassed on the train. She was surrounded by 3 men, one of them being Kintarou, and she blamed him for molesting her. He deduces that it wasn't him, instead it was the third, older guy and the dude runs away. So he chases him across town to beat him up, well, pretty nice of him huh? He even gets the police involved (because they chase after him for stealing a bike or something idr anymore)! Well, the sexual predator manages to run home, when Kintarou and the victim arrive there they see his family! The predator has a wife and a child! Think of what would happen to them if he got the guy arrested! It would ruin his reputation and his family would starve! So in the end, he decides to let the man go :) How kind! Lesson learned - if you want to be a rapist, make sure you have a family that depends on you - it's a get out of jail free card!!!! Of course this man later returned the favor to Kintarou, and he has truly learned his lesson and changed! Wow! Really riveting storytelling. Reminds me of how a guy in my country recently got half of a minimum sentence for rape because he's a war veteran. Truly, we need to punish men less! Think of the children! Thank you Kintarou ♥