Café Latte Rhapsody, Toko Kawai, June, 2010


Kinukitty does not always pick a winner – sad, but true. Let us try again.

Double Cast, Ellie Mamahara and Takana Mizuhashi, Digital Manga Publishing (Doki Doki), 2010

Well, it’s pretty. Kind of stiff and lacking in detail, but pretty. I never quite managed to buy in on our lovely and high-strung actors, though, and since I didn’t like them, it was hard for the cold, dark cockles of my heart to feel much warmth when these prickly idiots finally got together. So, meh again. Well, maybe meh+.

Your Love Sickness, Hayate Kuku, June, 2010

It’s called Your Love Sickness! It’s about fox spirits who love each other despite class issues! Awesome stylized fox-looking fox spirits, and awesome pretty-much human-looking fox spirits with soft, fuzzy ears and big, fluffy tails. Let us pause for a moment to think about how lovely this is.

Happy sigh.

That should be enough, shouldn’t it? Why do I need consistent art quality and interesting details? Why? Damned critical faculty, crashing in where it isn’t wanted.

That is a pretty page. They aren’t all that pretty. There isn’t much plot – this is more of a romp. I have nothing against romps, but this one didn’t have what it took to hold my interest. Despite copious amounts of fox-spirit sex. Too bad, that.

The second story, “Disappearing Into the Dew,” is much better. It’s still sort of a supernatural quasi-beastiality one-trick pony (as it were), but it works better – in part because there’s less of it. If your grasp is weak, shorten your reach. Or something like that. The story is simple – our protagonist, Yoshiro, gets lost in the woods (or does he? – cue spooky laughter and cracking thunder). It is “Kugira, the gathering clouds which protect the lightening.” That’s atmospheric, isn’t it? He gives our boy the tumble of a lifetime and disappears back into the heavens, leaving Yoshiro behind.

The mangaka says in a note at the end of the story that she wanted to evoke a sense of yearning, like a fairy tale. I find that poignant. I often love the little notes at the end, not because they help explicate the story – if we’ve reached the end and I need to read the little personal note from the author to get the point, that’s too little, too late. I’m not much for authorial intent, really. (Me and T.S. Eliot – we’re haaaard.) No, what I love about those little notes is that you’ve read the story and presumably had some sort of experience with it – engaged it in some way, if you will – and suddenly, unexpectedly, you meet the author for a moment. Not in some formal context, like a preface to a book, but in a personal way. You’ve just finished a heaving romance about whatever, and suddenly you’re reading a giggly little note about the author’s favorite bands or video games or cat. And these notes are usually quite charming. (I’d worried that I might be heading into a defense of Twitter, but this point blows that out of the water, for which I am grateful). I don’t know of any other literary form where this happens.

Oh, and there’s a third story, “Cheeping.” That’s a cute name. What the hell was it about? Oh, yes. The cute guy from the restaurant brings food by when the other guy is laid up with a broken leg. True love ensues. That’s OK. You know, benign. Gave me a bit of the warm fuzzies before I immediately forgot it again. And, good lord, there’s a fourth story? Where did that come from? “Cross My Heart,” and two chapters of it. (Brief pause while Kinukitty sadly flips through this one as well, since it would be wrong to just ignore it. Wouldn’t it?) (Er, no; it turns out that ignoring it is the way to go. Even though there’s a jolly yakuza character, which I love. In other books.)

So, we do seem to have transcended meh with this one. What’s a step above meh on the scale of absolute literary worth? Mmmm, I think.

You know, enough of this nonsense. I’m going to sit in the corner now and read The Prime Minister’s Secret Diplomacy.

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