Gangsta. 44 by Kosuke

The latest Gangsta. chapter came out yesterday.

I read it twice, but I still feel like maybe I’m missing something that might have been explained in the spin-off, Gangsta.:Cursed, which I admittedly gave up reading because it was so bloody (and I was having a hard time finding a scanlation of it. Looks like I could buy it on Amazon now. I may have to.)

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The chapter opens up with a crowd of Twilights demanding entrance to the Guild. The Guild has closed its doors, however. The only interesting thing about this scene is that we discover that normally a Twilight can buy the protection of the Guild.  When told to move along, one of the women in the crowd says, “Come on, let us in. We have money.”  Someone else complains that they are “the paying customers here” and that the Guild should fire its “useless commodities” to free up room.

This confuses me as to how the Guild works. To be fair, my only previous sense of it is that they kind of act like the military police for the Twilight population, as well as the “regulatory body” in that they are the ones (I think!) that issue tags and class designation.

Then we flash to a series of what I believe are Worick’s memories, possibly triggered by the presence of a fly. Or maybe the fly is just a dramatic/thematic image.

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I love the blood trail on the floor leading to the desk

The scene then shifts to Big Mama’s, where the girls are complaining about not being able to hear something (I’m not sure what) and Worick is standing in the background, looking grim, listening to reports on Marco, aka Spas. Just hearing about Marco, Worick gets a memory flash of Connie.

Mama must have the same thought because she suggests that they (the Destroyers?) are “tying up loose ends” from the Second Destroyer gang from 15 years ago using that woman as bait, she continues, suggesting that Tag-hating Uranos wasn’t officially involved, but she happens to know that the plan was to leave Spas at large with the hopes that he’d switch sides again.

Worick laughs at this idea saying, “That’s a huge miscalculation on your people’s part.”

As he’s saying this we get a series of images in current time of one-armed Connie and Bareta in the fight.  We also seem to get a panel of the fly’s legs, and I’m not sure what that’s supposed to signify–maybe that this whole thing is rotten? Or that there’s nothing left but death and decay?

The next several panels are the fight between Marcos and Striker. Striker continues to be gross and Marcos continues to tell the Destroyers to f*ck off.  It looks to me like Marcos gets a second wind and maybe actually takes out the rape-y lady (Bereta).

We get a couple of silent panels that are clearly intended to be meaningful that I think work better if you’re up on the spin-off.  Through the clearing smoke, we get an image of Marco rushing Striker. Then in grayed-out flashback we get what I assume is Striker’s memory of Marco/Spas leaving, and Striker reaching out a hand to him, as though to try to stop him or beg him to stay.

Next we get Connie struggling to her feet in real-time, shouting something not articulated, and then a grayed flashback to her (I assume) standing in a warehouse as a young girl, possibly when first reaching out to Marco, because she reaches for him now. This reach seems to be a symbol between them, since she did it earlier in this chapter, right before Marco got his second wind.

Then we get a full page spread of their hands clasping, which seems to be in real-time as those are the gloves Marco is currently wearing.

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After this line, which I believe is Marco speaking, saying that the only thing left of “that thing” (meaning Spas) is Marco Adriano, we flash to Worick continuing, “who is utterly worthless,” by which I assume he means to Uranos’s cause, because Worick insists that Marco won’t return to those guys ever.

I’m going line by line here because this plan of Uranos’ literally makes no sense.

To be fair, I only read the first chapter of the Marco spin-off, but I can tell you that from what I read? Spas’ life was grim af. Why on EARTH would anyone want to go back to that kind of living where you kill women and children for sport? Also, only a moron would think that Marco is just screwing around with Connie, she was WEARING HIS RING around her neck.

Also, why is Marco such a hot commodity? He’s not a Tag, he’s one of the superhuman normals, who, if I remember this correctly, have Twilight superpowers without the drawbacks (some better form of Celebre? That part is a little lost to me, but I do remember that the surprise is that Monroe has this, too, and has some kind of mind control ability associated with it, since he could control Delico to shoot Yang in the back, and something weird happened a LOOOOONG time back involving Worick and Monroe’s “smell,” anyone else remember that? It was shortly after Striker was introduced.)

And, maybe that’s it? Maybe Uranos and Monroe were/are counting on whatever brainwashing Marco had at the start to kick back in?  But again, what for? What does having Marco gain them, except possibly a full cadre of Destroyers?

Because then we shift to Loretta Cristiano, whom we discover is the figure collapsed on the desk (I had initially thought it was Worick). She’s calling the Guild head, Paulkee, and apologizing for the delay but telling her that “the person our organization was trusted with managing” Marco/Spas will be terminated / disposed of.

Which leaves me feeling super confused again.

Let me see if I understand what’s going down with Marco.  Somehow, Uranos and Monroe thought hurting Connie would make Marco return to the Destroyers and that was something they WANTED?

Meanwhile, the Guild and the Cristiano gangs have some OTHER connection to Marco (well, we know the Cristiano one, he was basically her bodyguard/mentor/father-figure,) which involved an agreement that would somehow self-destruct/sniper Marco if he gets out of hand?

Okay, I get Cristiano’s stake in Marco, but why the f*ck is the Guild involved?

Marco is not a Twilight. He’s a super-human. Granted, I have long suspected that the Destroyers are part of a government sponsored/initiated program to eradicate the Twilight ‘problem.’  I feel like a government connection was pretty strongly hinted at in the first chapter of Gangsta.:Cursed, and as soon as the Destroyers first showed up in this.  So, perhaps the Guild is keeping an eye on Marco, because they believe he could be turned back to his wicked ways?  Maybe Cristiano looks so depressed because she thinks she’s lost him and now must destroy him?

I guess I could buy that if the idea is supposed to be that Monroe and Uranos think that Marco has some kind of brainwashed trigger built in to his programming that guarantees he’ll switch sides, no matter what.  I’m still not sure why they want that, unless they really feel that Marco + the Destroyers can wipe out all of the Twilights. To be fair, we have certainly seen evidence that the Destroyers are good at this particularly nasty job. They came damn close to taking out Nic (and they got Doug — *sobs*)  But, what we haven’t seen is what would happen if someone like Paulkee or her lover, Ginger, who are at least S/0 class goes up against these supped-up humans.

It also doesn’t entirely explain why the Guild has closed its doors to the Twilight population of Ergastulum.  Unless, Paulkee has decided that she’s only going to protect those who can protect her interests? (But what ARE her interests if not the Twilights of Ergastulum?)  Anyway, seems to me like a dumb strategy. I’d personally take all comers, even whatever’s below D class, with the idea that there’s strength in numbers.

I suspect, as I said above and throughout, I would probably understand why Marco is the lynchpin here if I’d been keeping up with Cursed.

Scum’s Wish/Kuzu no Honkai by Yokoyari Mengo

Sometimes I confuse ‘seinen‘ for josei because both deal with mature subjects, but it seems pretty obvious to me that Scum’s Wish/Kuzu no Honkai was written with a male audience in mind.

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Yokoyari-sensei knows what boys want: boys want girls who are sexually available, but emotionally distant.

The set-up goes like this: Awaya Mugi and Yasuraoka Hanabi are, to everyone at their high school, the perfect couple.  Each harbors a secret, however. They’re in love with someone else, someone unattainable.  For Mugi, it’s the music teacher at school.  Hanabi wants her ‘onii-chan’ who is thankfully not ACTUALLY her older brother, but someone who functions that way (he might be a step-brother, I’m not 100% clear on that.)  Onii-chan is also a teacher at the high school, who happens to have a huge crush on the music teacher.  Mugi and Hanabi decide to date each other based on their mutual sexual frustration.

As the song says, “If you can’t be with the one you love; honey, love the one you’re with.”

Maybe I’m sexist, but this is where everything starts to feel like a big dude wish fulfillment thing to me, because Scum’s Wish get’s pretty darned explicit.  Whenever the two of them are frustrated over the romance between the objects of their affection, a lot of sexy times ensue. Mugi claims he won’t have sex with Hanabi at one point, but there’s an under-the-covers hand job that happens, so I guess by ‘sex’ he means the traditional tab a into slot b thing. (If that’s the only definition of sex, then as a lesbian, I’m a virgin. And, maybe you think I am, but over here we just call that being a “gold star lesbian.”)

Speaking of lesbians, the story get complicated because there’s all sorts of unrequited love flying around including Ebato (Eci-chan) Sanae, Hanabi’s very best girlfriend who really wants to be a girlfriend of the romantic, rather than platonic, variety.  She was my favorite character, of course.

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D’uh! YOU!!!

Of course, when this question comes up, Hanabi instantly guesses that the answer is “yes,” but never figures it’s her.  So, of course, her next suggestion is, “Let’s have a sleepover!” ostensibly to talk boys, but of course this is torturous for Eci-chan and she ends up kissing Hanabi… who gets a LOT of action for someone not into anyone other than her onii-chan.

But, even this lesbian affair seems to have the male-gaze written all over it. Eci-chan really just wants to get into Hanabi’s pants at any cost, even her self-esteem, because she offers herself as a female version of a sex toy, since she’s found out that Hanabi isn’t all that into Mugi.

I think the other problem I have is with this is the “bad apple,” (that’s her chapter’s title), the music teacher, Minagawa Akane. Her entire chapter is devoted to showing the reader that Akane will sleep with anyone because she has an almost sexually-motivated desire to play people. She especially likes stealing men from other women, which is why she’s working Hanabi’s onii-chan.

Is that gross or sex positive?  Currently, for me, that feels kind of gross.

Like my sense is that the women in this manga are getting kind of a short shrift.  I’m not sure how I feel about it.  There’s something, like I said, that puts me off a bit, yet, I have to admit that I read all 15 chapters available at MangaReader in one sitting.  So… there is a kind of soap opera appeal to it all.

Maybe I should go watch the 12 episode anime or the live-action show?  I guess the anime is available on KissAnime.  You can watch the live action on YouTube.

Oishinbo by Tetsu Karina / Akira Hanasaki

Cover art of Oishinbo: Japanese Cuisine

Food! Glorious food!

There are so many manga about food, and Oishinbo: Japanese Cuisine (January 20, 2009; à la Carte volume 20) and Oishinbo: Ramen & Gyoza (May 19, 2009; à la Carte volume 2) are only a couple (–and the only two in this seven volume series that my library had.)

As I read them, I had to wonder: what is the appeal of reading about people appreciating good food?

This is a phenomenon true of things like The British Baking Show and The Iron Chef and a whole slue of cooking competition shows, too, and I’m not sure I entirely understand it. I APPRECIATE it, because I always end up getting deeply sucked into these things, but I’m really not sure what it is about them that makes them at all compelling.

Is it because food is so universal?

We all have to eat.  Most of us, even those of us with unrefined taste, would love to eat delicious food, prepared by experts.

Certainly, for me, reading about Japanese food as a Westerner has the extra layer of getting to learn new things about stuff I’m deeply curious about.  (To be fair, that’s the appeal of any slice-of-life for me.)

Plus, most of these food-centric manga also provide some kind of story in the background.  Even if it’s the kind of gentle concerns of regular life, like you find in What Did You Eat Yesterday?/Kinou Nani Tabeta. Obviously, there are high-drama food-centric manga, too, like Toriko and Food Wars!

Oishinbo is more in the vein of What Did You Eat Yesterday? in that it follows the day-to-day adventures of two food critics/food experts, Shiro Yamaoka and his partner, Yūko Kurita, particularly as they try to gather ideas for a feature article on the “Ultimate Menu.”

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There’s not a lot to spoil in these manga.  They really mostly are about two food critics that work a prominent food guide, going about their business, eating a lot of food, and discussing it.  There are mini-arcs that involve little dramas, like the two twin sisters who married two twin brothers who used to run a ramen shop together until they were awarded a third star and began to argue about who deserved credit for the upgrade. Their fight became so acrimonious that one of the brothers opened up a shop across the street both claiming to be the “original,” and they’re destroying the remains of their customer base by always arguing in the streets.  Shiro sweeps in and discovers that actually their ramen is terrible separately, but amazing together.

A very special ramen episode!

I also really liked the story where a hapless friend of Shiro’s has finally found the girl of his dream.  The problem? She comes from a fancy, upperclass family and he knows nothing of fine dining.  He begs Shiro and Yūko to double-date with him, so he doesn’t flub it.

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As you can see, the art style is very clunky and old-fashioned.

Shiro gets his friend through the meal, but the pressure of it all breaks him. At the end of the meal he shouts, “No! This is dishonest! I’m not this kind of person, I’m just a simple ramen and rice guy! I can’t do this fancy stuff!”  Yūko suggests that if this was so dishonest, maybe they’d better try again at a place he feels comfortable.  So, a few days later he takes them to a hole-in-the-wall for an amazing meal of simple fare.  The love interest has never been to a place like this because all her paramours think she needs the fancy stuff, and so she makes her love confession, and everyone lives happily ever after eating the authentic food of their social class!

There’s an overarching story of the deep rivalry between Shiro and his father, who is a master of all arts (calligraphy, pottery) and also famous for his culinary genius.  Shiro is forever being corrected in the proper Japanese way of doing things, and dad is always being surprised by Shiro’s clever, foodie innovations (though he won’t admit it.)

Alas, none of these volumes are available on-line anywhere I could find; Baka-Updates implies no one is scanlating them.  Otherwise, I would recommend them if you’re interested in food and liked What Did You Eat Yesterday? but wanted a tiny bit more “action” to the plot. If you’re super-curious, you can download a sample chapter of it from its official site on Viz Media. (And of course, they’ll let you buy it right there, if you decide you like it!)

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Haikyu!! (Vols. 1 & 2) by Haruichi Furudate

This is another anime that I love that I decided to read a manga.

Cover image of Haikyu!! Volume 1

Sports is not a thing that usually gives me Feels.

In Real Life ™, I tend to find sports very boring. I would rather watch grass grow or paint dry than sit though football or soccer or baseball (live or on TV).  Plus, sports kind of traumatize me, generally. I was a nerd all through high school. Participation in gym was required and so I suffered through it. Gym was always the one class this A-student was perpetually on the verge of failing.  I always the worst at everything, always picked the very, very last because absolutely no one wanted me on their team.  When Calvin of “Calvin & Hobbes” described gym class as “state-sponsored terrorism,” I felt a deep kinship.

Thus, it shocks me how much I love this manga.

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I should definitely hate Hinata, Haikyu!!‘s main character.  Often described as freakishly athletic, he’s nothing like me–well, outside of being short, but his character profile puts him at 5’4″ which is two inches taller than I am. He’s the kind of jock for whom the sport is LIFE.

But, Hinata is SUCH a shounen hero, I can’t help but love him.

Hinata is spellbound after catching a glimpse of a high school player called “The Tiny Giant” in passing on a TV in the window of an electronics shop. After that point, he pursues his goal relentlessly. Very shounen.

Hinata is so shounen, he’s even prone to giving in-game speeches to rally his teammates like this: “Listen, the most important thing to remember about volleyball is that EVERYBODY on this side of the net is your ally. NO EXCEPTIONS!”  Which, because Hinata isn’t actually that smart, is literally something he’d been told by one of the upperclassman not five minutes ago. But, that’s the thing about Hinata: if you tell him a thing, he BECOMES it.

Like a good shounen hero, Hinata (or the entire team) will also get power-ups as needed during critical moments during a game.  When Mason and I were first watching this anime, Mason mocked the heck out of this trope.  He was actually almost a little turned off by how over-the-top some of this shounen stuff gets.  Me? I ate it up!

Plus, look at these action shots!

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Aitsu! (That guy!) Am I right?

But, what I love about Hinata is that, outside of these natural bursts of athleticism, he’s not actually very good at the game. He doesn’t really even understand all the rules, and certainly doesn’t have any sense of strategies.  Hinata has mostly been practicing on his own, because no one in middle school was as into volleyball as he was.

A classic rivalry is set up when Hinata manages to get enough of a team together to play in a middle school tournament.  It’s a disaster.  Especially since they’re up against the team who has a naturally gifted “setter,” Kageyama.  Kageyama has the nickname “King of the Court,” but for all the wrong reasons. It should mean that he’s the star, but his teammates all see him as a greedy tyrant who wants everything done his way. Even so, Kageyama’s team wipe the floor with Hinata’s.

Hinata vows to get better, because all he wants is to spend time in the game!

Of course, when high school rolls around, Hinata and Kageyama find themselves as teammates.  A good portion of the first volume is them figuring out how to be allies, instead of enemies.

Can I admit something?

I’m enough of a sap that when we learn Kageyama’s origin story (basically he became such a tyrant that no one was there when he set up the ball) and Hinata vows to ALWAYS BE THERE, I might have teared up a little bit.

What?

Look, I sign up for shounen because this is what I want. I want people fighting together, for each other, and giving it their all, and making vows to ALWAYS BE THERE, and Haikyu!! might be a little over-the-top melodramatic in its shounen-ness but that’s LITERALLY what I want from shounen.

Bring it!

Gekken Shoujo Nozaki-kun (Vols. 5-7) by Tsubaki Izumi

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A few weeks ago, a reader accused me of having crappy taste because I don’t like anything popular. Well, here’s an exception for you.  At least according to Wikipedia, Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun consistently places in the top 20 of Oricon’s weekly manga list (which appears to be analogous to our Billboard 100.)

My taste might still be crappy, but I share it with a lot of Japanese folks, because I think Gekken Shoujo Nozaki-kun is incredibly cute and charming.

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Volume 7, which is available in English (despite what it looks like in the image above,) brings the reader to chapter 71 (out of 85, at least on MangaReader).  Volume 8 will be officially available from Yen press on July 18, 2017.

As I said above, I’m still enjoying the heck out of this manga.  Normally, humor doesn’t work for me in text, but something about Nozaki-kun breaks through and I’m able to enjoy it. There are still puns that sail over my head, but I like the characters and the tone of this manga enough that not getting it doesn’t bother me as much as it usually does.  It’s very possible that I’m still able to enjoy the written humor because I was so very, very fond of the anime —which I can NOT recommend enough, keeping in mind my fondness for slice-of-life. If you prefer high-octane action, this is not for you.  But, say, if you liked Free!, I would think Nozaki-kun would be a good bet for you.

One of the things I’m charmed by in the manga is how, over time, you see the rest of the high school accept Nozaki-kun and Sakura as a couple, even as the two of them continue to be blissfully… well, not exactly unaware of the sexual tension, since Sakura is still in full-pursuit mode, but more like… blissfully unaware of how comfortable they’ve become with each other in the way of Real Life ™ lovers.

Maybe this is why Nozaki-kun is getting the designation of ‘shounen’ despite being a romantic comedy.  The relationship is, despite the humor and classic rom-com antics, really very realistically portrayed (even while all the shoujo tropes are being parodied by Tsubaki-sensei).

The other thing I love about it (and the anime) is its gentleness.  For all of the shoujo send-ups, there’s hardly a mean bone in any character’s body and you can easily root for all of them.

Of course, being me, I also appreciate all the insights into the editorial and production processes in manga publication.  There’s a scene in volume 5 or 6, where the two editor characters Ken Miyamae and Mitsuya Maeno are in a planning meeting for a themed issue of the magazine “Let’s Fall in Love” (Nozaki’s manga) is serialized in.  I found that, and their “all-nighter” in which they wait for a mangaka’s overdue pages to come in (not Nozaki, he would never do that), totally fascinating.

This is the kind of slice-of-life stuff I live for.

I would suspect much of it is fairly accurate since Tsubaki-sensei not only has a lot of experience as a mangaka herself (her other long running series is Oresama Teacher), but, apparently, she has a sister who is also a mangaka (though Wikipedia did not say who that was, exactly.)  She also started publishing while in high school, just like Nozaki-kun. So, that’s kind of a fun detail.

 

Flaver by Sachimo

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Instead of a meet-cute, this yaoi gives us a meet-skeevy.  When Shimojou comes across Kuze, Kuze is being beat-up in an alley.  He’s possibly homeless, but definitely a hustler.  Shimojou scares off Kuze’s attackers, brings him home for a shower, and Kuze offers to pay Shimojou back for his kindness with sex.  Shimojou says, “If you’re doing this for money, how about you let me keep you as a pet?”

Alrighty then!

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Except the mangaka decides porn is not its own reward (wrong!) and complicates what could be deliciously naughty plot-what-plot with a complex backstory. Apparently, Shimojou is kind of an evil genius with a penchant for blackmail. Because of this, he’s always been able to get whatever he wants out of life.  The only time he was ever thwarted was back in high school; the hottie popular kid beat him in the race for class president.

Hey guess who that class president was?

In the coincidence that snapped the suspenders of disbelief, it’s none-other-than KUZE.  And, apparently, it isn’t enough to discover that your old rival is currently a homeless gigolo, AND to rescue him and get a blowjob in return for the favor…. no. No, Shimojou apparently wants to make “bringing Kuze down” his mission in life.

Good luck, dude.  Kuze kinda already seems like he scraping the bottom of the barrel, but okay, if housing him, feeding him, sexing him up, and giving him pocket change is your idea of “bringing him down” sounds more like sugar daddy good to me!

Alas, as I say above, this manga stops just as its getting started, which is a shame, honestly. I think I would have loved this whole mission of Shimojou’s.  I guess I will have to fill in with my own fantasies about the degradation Shimojou will put Kuze through….

But “Flaver”? What is that? Some kind of attempt at a hep-cat “Flavor”? Or a “Japanlish” misprint?

Perhaps Sachimo-sensei intended “Flava”?

Hmmmmm.

Maybe it’s just as well that’s NOT the title, eh?

Kuragehime/Princess Jellyfish (vol. 4) by Akiko Higashimura

The library coughed up the two-in-one volume 4 of Kuragehime/Princess Jellyfish, which takes me up to Chapter 44, “If She Turns Around, Is it Love?” or, alternatively translated in the official volume, “I Turn Around and Find Love” (which, given the translator’s notes is the appropriate title, since it’s specifically a reference to a Nobuhiko Obayashi film of the same name, “Furimukeba Ai.”)

 

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According to one reviewer on Goodreads, this volume does begin to diverge from the anime.  Having read the episode synopses, I will say, instead, that my sense is that the manga is actually still back in time in some respects, but fills in the story more.  For instance, there is the introduction of  an Indian garment company and its employees: Prez (for president) and his little sister, Nisha.

Enough orders for dresses have come in from the fashion show that Kuranosuke realizes that there’s no way the Amars can do this on their own, not if they hope to get them produced in any decent amount of time.  So, he asks a friend in the fashion business, who tells him that most dresses are made overseas, anyway.  India is the best.

A lot of this two-in-one volume involves winning over Prez and Nisha to the idea of doing a little charity work–or at least giving the Amars a deep discount.  Kuranosuke also manages to get Shuu, (his nii-san), to give him an extended loan to cover the capital investment.

The other big development is how much Shuu has changed his tune. He’s still being forced together with land-shark lady by his politically-minded father, but in this volume he really only has eyes for Tsukimi.  In fact, so much so, that Kuranosuke ends up accidentally outing himself at the fashion show because he shouts for Tsukimi to have eyes only for “this boy!”  (I’m guessing he used the pronoun ‘boku,’ and actually said something less awkwardly constructed like, “Keep your eyes on me!”)

The Amar slowly come to realize that maybe Kuranosuke is a guy… ? It’s not entirely clear they GET it, because, mostly, they seem just as comfortable to keep thinking of him as her.

The other bit of plot is that we discover that Kuranosuke’s mom is still alive. I’d gotten the distinct impression that she’d died, but it might be that she was simply banished because she was the mistress.  Regardless, she makes a reappearance in these volumes.  After having seen Kuranosuke on TV in one of the Jellyfish dresses, she calls up nii-san, Shuu, and places a secret order.  She wants one of those dresses for herself.  Shuu is put in an awkward position, but decides to use Tsukimi as a go-between.  They have more cute interactions, including one in which she ends up hiding with him under a table at a coffee shop.

Given how many pages there were in these two volumes (about 355), I was surprised how little plot was actually advanced.  Land-shark lady continues to be the villain, but she doesn’t really do much in these chapters other than call up Tsukimi to congratulate her on the success of the fashion show and to taunt her by saying it’s all ‘useless’ and how they’ll never get enough money to halt the wave of development and progress.  Tsunami is enough of a nerd that the taunt breaks her, and then she sends the rest of the Amars into similar depressions when she confesses what’s bothering her.

At the end of the volumes, it sort of looks like the Amars are broken up, because with the Indian company taking over the dress making, Tsukimi and Kuranosuke are the only ones with Jellyfish business to occupy them. The rest are feeling a little used and abused.

Tsukimi is still obsessively making dress designs and even when approached in a kind of peace offering (without being explicit, of course)…. she turns down hotpot night!

Dun dun DUN!!

I don’t know. Given what I’ve read in the episode guide, it sounds like there are other plot developments to come that we haven’t hit yet. In their place we got reams of fashion talk, including Tsukimi being dragged out to experience fashion so that she can better choose the fabrics she wants the Indian out-sourcing dressmakers to use. I have to admit that I skimmed a lot of the fashion stuff. That doesn’t interest me in the LEAST.  I like the nerds and the otaku commune and I’m moderately shipping Tsukimi and the elder brother, Shuu. I’m sure I’m supposed to ship Tsukimi and Kuranosuke, but I kind of would prefer it if Kuranosuke were gay or ‘new half.’  But believe me, the author spends several panels making absolutely clear that there is NO HOMO here. Crossdressing is just a hobby (and, you know, that’s fine–in fact giving straight, cis men a chance to crossdress is cool with me.–but Higashimura-sensei, you told us already… several times.  Put down the ‘no homo’ spray, we get it.)

But that does lessen my enjoyment of this manga.  The only queer characters left are not explicitly so, so…. and given that this manga seems very determined to pair-up and feminize our otaku ladies, I’m not holding my breath for any queer canon couples. Alas.

It’s still fun, though.