Watashi ga Motete Dousunda (Chapter 50) by Junko

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So, yeah, I’m following this pretty religiously now, and I am not sure what to make of that.  If you want to join me, you can read the latest chapter here on MangaHere.com.

SPOILERS

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The chapter opens with the former-harem trying to figure out how to help History Guy (Mutsumi) and the heroine (Serinuma) get back together.  Klutz (Shinomiya) suggests starting a write-in campaign to have the anime kill off Serinuma’s favorite character.  This is quickly squashed by the Prince/Princess (Nishina), who is also a fan of the show.

These wacky hijinx are interrupted by Seinuma, who shows up in tears, claiming that gay boy (Yashiro) has stolen her man, Mutsumi.  When everyone asks what’s wrong she tells them she saw them kissing. As other people are kind of stunned by this sudden queer turn of events, Nishina asks where they were kissing?  When Seinuma says it was the rooftop, Nishina, who reads BL/yaoi, becomes convinced that this is a classic yaoi set-up and they could be “doing it” right now.

Everyone rushes to the roof.

The boys are just coming downstairs.  The confrontation is a cold one. Yashiro is ruthless and reminds Seinuma that she really has no place rushing in, since she still hasn’t answered the question: “who is more important, your RL boyfriend or your anime husbando?”

The “are the boys together” shtick continues, as Shinomiya happens to come across them after a bookcase has been knocked over and it seems like they’re on top of each other. Meanwhile, Yashiro and Mitsumi are  playing a lot of Japanese chess, Shogi. Dark-haired sporty dude (Igarashi) stops by one of their sessions and asks for a quick word with Mitsumi.  He wants to know if he’s done with Serinuma because he’s going after her, if so.  This riles up Mitsumi and tells him nope.  Igarashi says, okay, fine, I’ll stay away for now, because I respect you, man, but get your damn act together.

Mitsumi is so fired up he wins the shogi match in one move.  Yashiro, seeing how upset he is, asks Mitsumi to accompany him on an out-of-town trip to a shogi competition… you know, not to get you away from that girl or anything, just as a change in pace.

….which somehow Mitsumi does not see as the ACTUAL YAOI SET-UP THAT IT IS.

Back to Serinume, who is despondent.  She can NOT pick between IRL boyfriend and anime husbando.  Who could???? Luckily, her oldest friend, Ah-Chan (who is an otaku like her, but who has managed to have a boyfriend this whole time) shows up ready to kick some sense into some nerd butt.

The solution is pretty clever.  Ah-Chan whips Serinume into a frenzy over opposing ships to her anime husbando.  Could you see him with so-and-so?  NO!!! NEVER! Could you see him with this other guy???  ARGH, I WOULD RATHER DIE. MY OTP IS THE ONLY PERFECT MATCH FOR MY ANIME HUSBANDO.

Exactly, Ah-Chan says.  No one should be with your anime husband other than your OTP pairing.

Not. Even. YOU.

The choice is easy.

But, when Serinume goes to call Mutsumi with her answer, Yashiro picks up his phone.  They’re at a ryokan…. out of town…. TOGETHER.

The final scene is Yashiro making his move:

 

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Oh noz!

This is, of course, a huge threat, because, as we all know from our extensive reading of yaoi, if Yashiro gives Mutsumi a taste of Teh Gay, there is literally no way Mutsumi can retain even a shred of Teh Straight. Even a single kiss could potentially awaken Teh Gay in Mutsumi and he might suddenly start to notice how cute Yashiro is and then, literally, there is zero hope of any part of his straightness ever surfacing again.

These are the facts, ma’am.

Except, yeah, I can only hope that Junko-sensei will simply just have Mutsumi look at Yashiro and say, “You’re cute. Kissing you was nice, but I’m in love with someone else.”  A beat later: “Sorry! Also, still straight!”

I mean, as a queer reader, I do love it when people have moments of queerness, but the gay guy as threat to Mutsumi’s virtue is… well, let’s just say, gay predator is not a helpful stereotype–though incredibly common in yaoi.

So, I would rather Yashiro was rebuffed kindly and thoughtfully.

And that he stepped back, kindly and thoughtfully.

Probably it will be played for humor. I could be mad about that, too, but since this manga is literally about girls who love BL/yaoi/slash it’s kind of nice to have an actual gay subplot happening with one of the boys.

There has been decent moments of cleverness and thoughtfulness and kindness in the writing so far, so I’ll hold out a little hope.

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P.S. On a side-note, when I posted my review of this manga on Facebook, I got a couple of people suggesting that if I liked this, I would like Genshiken.  Once again, when I went to Crunchyroll, I accidentally ended up watching the first episode of the second season (although, as it happens, that’s all they HAD.)  I tried to hunt up the first season, but, wow, the art…. I… yeah, I dunno.

I might try reading it, though.  But, I have a bunch of others in my reading queue, so we’ll see. I offer the link here, in case any of you are interested.

 

 

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My Hero Academia / Boku no Hero Academia (Vol. 1) by Kōhei Horikoshi

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When my son saw that I was reading this, he asked me how I liked it. When I told him I was enjoying it so far, he gave me a funny, vaguely skeptical look.  “Really?” he said, “Because I know how you are with things that are popular.”

Ouch.  But, I can’t really argue there.

I do, however, often have a weakness for superhero stories.

Plus, I learned my lesson from One-Punch Man.  This looked like it might have a lot of humor and parody, so I watched two episodes of the anime of My Hero Academia before delving into this tankōbon.

SPOILERS

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The story takes place in a world, like Tiger & Bunny, where superpowers are commonplace.  It’s so common to have a “quirk,” in fact, that the fact that our hero  Izuku “Deku” Midoriya  was born without one makes him stand out.

This being shounen, not having any power whatsoever and being a total weakling doesn’t stop Midoriya from wanting to be a hero, though.  In fact, he’s kind of a hero fanboy, a hero otaku, he’s so desperate to be one.  He’s been keeping notes on all the heroes and their powers since forever. Despite knowing there should be no way in, Midoriya strives to get into the elite hero school, U.A.

This devotion to what seems to be a lost cause annoys his arrogant friend, Katsuki Bakugo.  Bakugo got his quirk at the usual time. He also lucked out and actually pulled a cool one (as opposed to randomly sprouting a tail) where he can make energy blasts from the sweat on his palms.  He’s sort of a natural brawler, so this suits his temperament, which is… well, temperamental.  Bakugo is kind of a classic red oni, heavy on the oni.

It’s Bakugo that gives Midoriya his nickname “Deku,” which comes from a reading of the characters of Midoriya’s name which can mean a ‘scrub,’ as in someone who isn’t skilled.

The relationship between these two middle school friends/rivals is the core of the first volume of My Hero Academia /Boku no Hero Academia (and the first couple of episodes of the anime), because Midoriya manages to pass the entrance exam to U.A., despite being “quirkless.”

I have to admit that when I first heard about this set-up, i.e. someone with no superpowers in a superhero school, I was hoping that what this meant was that Midoriya had no powers whatsoever.  I figured the whole gimmick would be that he was basically Batman, a really smart guy who could hold his own against Superman because he’s just that brilliant/devious/clever.

That’s not actually what’s happening in My Hero Academia.

It sort of is, but as it turns out, there’s an aging superhero known as All-Might who is in need of a ‘vessel.’ He has an extremely rare quirk called “All For One” that can be passed down from generation to generation.  He’s never found anyone worthy, even though a crippling injury from a fight against a super-villain has necessitated that he speed up the process of finding an apprentice.

After seeing Midoriya run towards danger when Bakugo is being attacked, All-Might figures he’s found his vessel.  The only problem is that Midoriya isn’t transformed by this gift. He’s still a ninety-eight pound weakling, and any time he uses the “All For One” power it nearly kills him.

But, it is enough for him to gain entry into the elite academy and his journey towards becoming a hero begins.

I should note that the story structure varies wildly between the manga and the anime.

The anime starts* with Midoriya already in the Academy, squaring off in a training session with his frenemy Bakugo.  Some of the other main characters are introduced in situ: Ochako Ururaka (float girl) is Midoriya’s partner in the exercise and the serious, bespectacled Tenya Ida (speedy) is Bakugo’s.  All-Might is already an instructor and is, in fact, sort of presented as the headmaster (not as the brand-new teacher starting the same year a Midoriya, as he is in the manga). The backstory comes as flashbacks in between all the action.

The manga is a much slower build.

In the manga, the reader is introduced to the world of the quirks, like, literally from their beginning in “Keikei City, China.” Then the story jumps to when Midoriya and Bakugo are still in middle school, and they stay in middle school throughout most of the chapters collected in the first tankōbon (1-7).  We also get the adoption/apprenticeship/training of Midoriya by All-Might (the discovery of his secret, etc.) in “real time,” as well.

In fact, the volume ends on orientation day at U.A. We meet Eraserhead and have a few tests that Midoriya naturally fails miserably. Then, All-Might introduces the idea that there will be battle in the next class (and we see the characters finally dressed as we first see them in the first episode of the anime.)  In the manga, there is also the hint that a mysterious group of villains in on the move, targeting All-Might.

I’m not sure how I would have reacted to this with just the manga, honestly.

The first two episodes of My Hero Academia are very compelling. Bakugo is presented in his full raging a$$holery bada$$ness, but we immediately see how torn up he is by his defeat at Midoriya’s hands in the training exercise in a way that makes him much more immediately sympathetic than his middle school bully persona.  Getting his arrogance in small doses via the flashbacks made me think of him as tortured and broken, rather than just a completely horrible human being.

The manga also breaks the fourth wall regularly in order to point out how “differently All-Might is drawn” from the rest of the cast.  (He is, in fact, always more heavily-shaded.)

There aren’t exactly overt panty-shot type fan-service moments, but the costume of Mt. Lady hugs her butt pretty darned closely, and she’s almost ALWAYS seen in a provocative, slightly bent over, butt-centered pose.

Mason may have had a point.  I could see myself having bounced out of this manga pretty easily if I had not first had the backbone of the story introduced to me via the anime.

Thus, my recommendation to anyone new to My Hero Academia (if such a thing still exists?) would be to follow my lead. Either just watch the whole anime, or start with a few episodes before picking up the manga. Midoriya is a very compelling character if you like the shounen trope of the guy who fights his way to the top by sheer force of will… and I do.  A LOT.

So, I’m definitely going to stick with this.

I just finished watching the 25 episode season of Pandora’s Heart’s anime, and so I think I will put the two seasons of My Hero Academia into rotation.  When I go into work today, I’m going to see if I can pick up the next several volumes of the manga.

I mean, what the heck. I can like something popular now-and-again, can’t I?

 


Edited to add:  * I am apparently a moron and started watching episode one, season TWO. So, my bad. Too bad that’s not how the anime starts, though, because it totally hooked me!

 

Oreimo / Ore no Imōto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai by Tsukasa Fushimi / Hiro Kanzaki (Vol. 1)

Who decides which manga my library gets? Are they COMPLETELY perverted????

Okay, so there I am in the backroom.  The library I’m at is fairly busy, but, at the moment, there’s a lull.  Once again, I hunt around the back room for any manga that hasn’t been shelved yet that has a volume 1.  What do I find?  Oreimo, a.k.a. My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute / Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai or often, simply Ore no Imouto 

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Are you as afraid as I am about what this is about?  Yeah, well, you’d be right.

What we have here is onii-chan, Kyōsuke Kōsaka, a self-proclaimed normal seventeen year old boy, who happens to think his younger sister is super-duper hot. He tells us early on, “If someone told you she was a magazine model, you wouldn’t doubt it.”

His imoutou (younger sister) is Kirino, with whom he’s had a barely functional relationship for several years running.  They hardly speak to each other.

One day, however,  Kyōsuke runs into Kirino in the hallway of their house. Like, literally, they crash, and her purse spilled out.  She gives him the usual disdainful: “Don’t touch my stuff” scoops up all her belongings and runs off.

Kyōsuke later finds a DVD of a magical girl anime. He’s kind of a dope and can’t figure out who it would belong to (really? You found it in the hallway almost IMMEDIATELY after running into your sister!!)–because no one in their household is into that stuff.  There ain’t no otaku here, damn it!

It gets weirder when he opens up the case–ostensibly to look for a name that might indicate who it belongs to–and discovers that the disc does not match the case. In fact, the disc is an eroge, an erotic game.

Weirder yet, it’s a game in which younger sisters seduce an older brother.

Uh-oh.

Look, incest is a kink.  I get that. You are always, ALWAYS welcome to your kinks in my house.  I’m not going to kink-shame you. What you get up to in your own head is your business.

But, personally, this is not for me.  I kept reading the manga for a while because, I kept thinking…. are they really going to go there?  At first it seems like maybe not.  The younger sister, Kirino seems to be far more into pursing the girls in the game because they are so, so very moe and kawaii.

But then there’s all that blushing that goes on between Kirino and Kyōsuke, and that scene where she crawls up his body with her boobies practically hanging out and drawn lovely, perfectly framed for the male-gaze.

Yeah, nope. For me, that was all she wrote.

Peace out.*

 

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* SPOILER ALERT: Since I didn’t finish this one, I did a little research into it.  I was curious to know if I was wrong about where this was headed. I’m not.  Apparently,  Oreimo is based on a light novel and there is an anime.  The Interwebs tells me that the OVA makes it pretty clear that the siblings are a romantic couple at the end in some kind of happily ever after (?)

Watashi ga Motete Dousunda / Kiss Him, Not Me (Chapter 49) by Junko

I got a notice that the newest chapter of Kiss Him, Not Me is out.  Apparently, I am now following a monthly shoujo.  Worse, it’s so accurate to my life that I can’t even.

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Just fill in: “Who is more important Renji or me?” and it me.

When last we left our intrepid harem (which has collapsed into a couple), Mutsumi (history guy) has discovered that Serinuma (our heroine) has skipped out on a fairly important date with him–he was taking her to his family’s grave–to go to some fan event or another because Yashiro (white-haired chess player) had an extra ticket.

It had been looking like we were going to be adding a sixth to our harem in previous chapters, but, it turns out, Yashiro only has eyes for Mutsumi.

Ironically, finally, one of the boys ACTUALLY wants to kiss another boy.

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I could not be happier with this turn of events.  The coming full-circle of this is just too, too perfect.

However, the pain Serinuma is experiencing in this chapter is very real… maybe a little too real for some of us.

For the most part, fannish obsessions are treated very kindly in Watashi ga Motete Dousunda, and for his part, Mutsumi seemed like the perfect guy who would understand (or at least deeply tolerate) Serinuma’s otaku heart.  But, Yashiro, did, in fact, blow open the problem with obsessiveness: it’s obsessive.

For some, fannish interests can act like a compulsion or an addiction.  Not just in a “oops, I stayed up until 4 am reading that entire manga!” kind of way, but more of a “I know I promised to do this other thing, but.., but, my anime thing!!!” which… I’m pretty sure we’ve all done both, right?  Blowing of stuff for myself, but also blowing off my friends and responsibilities and family and…. you know?  The stuff that doesn’t just hurt myself, but also other people…?

And I think this is why I find Serinuma’s plight so HARROWING.

It’s a real life problem. There does have to be a balance, and that’s a legitimate struggle in my life.

Serinuma was very seriously schooled in this chapter that her obsessive fannishness is acting like an addiction. She LIED to Mutsumi to get out of their date in order to accept the ticket from Yashiro.  She avoided calls from him because she KNEW she was sneaking around behind his back.  This is a pattern that Junko-sensei has been establishing for some chapters.  There were littler moments, when it was more of, “Oh, I want to do that thing with you, but my show is on,” or, “Oh, I forgot our thing because I was arguing about a plot point on Tumblr for three hours” (oh, wait, that second one might be me.)

We’ve been seeing the toll this has taken on generous, kind-hearted Mutsumi.  We also know from previous chapters where his player-older brother was introduced, that Matsumi isn’t going to push back.  He’ll bend over backwards so far he breaks, if he feels like doing so will make someone ELSE happy.  Mutsumi is making himself sick being so understanding. He’s starting to get nosebleeds. (And not those kinds, either!)

So, Igarashi (dark-haired sporty one) isn’t wrong when he suggests that maybe they aren’t the most ideal couple.

It’s going to be interesting to see where this goes from here.  Junko-sensei has no shame and has been happily playing up the boy’s love part of this.  The ending scene in this chapter is Serinuma walking in on what looks like a kiss between Yashiro and Mutsumi (but is actually Yashiro trying to get something out of Mutsumi’s eye.)

I suspect this ‘gag’ will go on for several more chapters, but how Junko-sensei going to resolve the bigger problem of otaku obsessiveness, I’m not sure.  Mutsumi has always been portrayed as the one who loved Serinuma from the start. He knew her when she was plump and took her transformation into hottie with a shrug and, “So she’s lost some weight, then?” which, of course, instantly endeared him to every human being who has ever struggled with their weight, ever.

However, he’s not a fan.

He’s followed along in the various dates that involved fannish things, and was the first voice to remind the harem that if they’re after Serinuma, they should do what makes her happy.  That being said, he’s never tried reading the manga, like even sporty-this-was-way-out-of-his-comfort-zone Igarashi did.

I have long thought that Nishia (the Black Butler cosplaying prince-girl) was by far the better match.  They get each other on a fandom level. However, as this manga isn’t labeled ‘yuri,’ I don’t think that Junko-sensei is going to go that way, so what Serinuma really needs, actually, is a straight version of Yushiro.  A boy who is actually in the same fandom.

Yeah… I know. Good luck with that.

At this point, presuming straightness on Serinuma’s part, Igarashi actually has my vote.  He has proven willing to try to embrace the fandom…. at least enough to talk plot with Serinuma.

I mean, he also seems to be the one who most clearly just wants to get into her pants, however, so there is that.

My guess–and if I were the Junko writing this, what I would do–is that the Mutsumi/Serinuma couple will collapse and we will all go back to our happy poly drama of the harem.

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No, but seriously, that was part of what was fun about this manga. I adore that the five-some has stayed together, despite the coupling, but they’re going to have to move on at some point if this becomes all about whether or not Serinuma and Mutsumi get back together.

Also? I will feel deeply betrayed if Serinuma gives up her anime-obsession in favor of love. It may happen that she will be shown “growing out of it,” but we will all know that’s a lie.

Ten Count (Vol 5) by Rihito Takarai

I continue to be amazed that my library not only has this manga, but keeps on buying it:

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And, of course, I keep reading it.

SPOILERS

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Volume 5 spans chapters 2533, plus the shorts “Kurose Shirotani and Difficulties” and “Ten Count Drama CD 3 Session Report.”

The story picks up just where it left off: in the elevator.  Kurose continues to blow hot and cold. First, barely talking to Shirotani and acting like they’re going to go their separate ways, and, then, after Shirotani returns a CD Kurose accidentally leaves in the taxi (sure it was an accident!) he has his wicked way with him.

I’m still struggling to like this guy.  I mean, their dubious consent sex is pretty hot, but Kurose is baffling to me. Like, would it kill him to be consistent?

In this volume we get Kurose’s tragic backstory.

Apparently, his family home life was fine, except that his parents pretty much ignored him. They clothed and fed him, but there just wasn’t a lot of affection tossed around in this selfish upper-middleclass household.  Kurose resorts to trying to pull dirty tricks to get his mom to notice him, but she just couldn’t even be bothered to get riled up about her fancy new dress getting an ink jar spilled on it.

So, Kurose starts doing random vandalism, including tossing a baseball through some guy’s window.

The maid makes twelve year old (? definitely pre-teen) Kurose apologize to the owner of the apartment with the broken window, a recluse germaphobe named Nishigaki.  Kurose starts showing up at Nishigaki’s apartment and hangs out with him, uninvited, but tolerated.  Kurose gets attached to Nishigaki because he’s an adult who at least seems to notice him. This attachment seems to turn into lust, because they’re getting along pretty well until one day when Nishigaki’s loneliness triggers Kurose to… lick him.

On the abs.

On the naked, under-the-shirt abs.

Nishigaki who is not only a germaphobe, but also at LEAST a dozen years older than Kurose freaks out and says, “What the hell is wrong with you? Get out!”

I feel like this is a pretty reasonable response. It’s really not clear why Kurose went there–like to sex.  I don’t get the sense that he only seen his parents giving each other affection that way, except that maybe he just doesn’t know anything about how to be affectionate since they’re so empty.

What is clear, is that he’s feeling possessive of Nishigaki.  When Nishigaki is feeling like maybe Kurose had acclimated him enough to having people around that he might consider getting a better job and getting outside to see the world, Kurose doesn’t want him to. He tells him that the world is nothing special. He wants to know why things can’t stay the same, since Nishigaki should have everything he needs in Kurose.

After being banished from Nishigaki’s place, Kurose reads up on germaphobes and shut-ins (a hobby he already had).  Though his mother’s gossip circle, Kurose discovers that Nishigaki has disappeared: there are rumors he ran away or maybe killed himself.

Kurose, naturally, blames himself.

He becomes determined to never make this mistake again and gets a degree in psychology.

The problem I have with this tragic backstory is that Kurose is determined never to make another mistake like the one he made with Nishigaki, he’s not exactly going in the right direction.  He’s still super-possessive and goes right to f*cking = therapy/love.  Literally the stuff that killed Nishigaki–or sent him packing, whichever. (I do wonder if we’re going to have a reappearance of Nishigaki in future volumes.)

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Does Shirotani look comfortable to you? But, you know, just keep on holding tight there, Kurose. Those germaphobes just need you getting super close–breathing and sweating on them–like that to get over it!

Seriously, where did this guy get his therapy license? Off the back of a matchbook?

It doesn’t help, of course, that Shirotani does seem to be more of a masochist than he is a germaphobe, so this cruel-to-be-kind “therapy” seems to be working.

The sex is super-hot, though. So, I might be complaining about the alpha lead a lot, but I’ll be reading the next volume ASAP.  I mean, I don’t need my yaoi couples to be perfect human beings (obviously, if you’ve read any of my fan fic), so Kurose’s foibles are more of an intellectual curiosity to me, not a deal-breaker.

Would I recommend it? Hesitantly.  You really have to be not only okay, but kind of into dubious consent for this one to work for you.

Watashi ga Motete Dousunda / Kiss Him, Not Me by Junko

A friend of mine made a passing comment that a fan relationship I was having reminded her of an anime she’d recently watched called Watashi ga Motete Dousunda / Kiss Him, Not Me by Junko.*

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Having now read all 48 chapters, I’m seriously considering my life choices.

Watashi ga Motete Dousunda / Kiss Him, Not Me is the story of a Serinuma Kae, a fujoshi (a “rotten girl,” the sort of female otaku who is into yaoi/Boys’ Love and m/m shipping, in general,) who loses weight after going into crisis after her favorite anime character dies.  This sudden transformation makes her super-cute and Serinuma becomes the object of attention for a reverse-harem made up of mostly boys, but also one girl.

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Normally, I’m not a harem sort of manga reader, but this group is particularly compelling.  These guys look out for each other, while also relentlessly pursuing our heroine, Serinuma. Plus, since I’m not a regular harem reader, I don’t know how typical it is to include a female rival, but Nishina is definitely a type I’ve seen before: ‘the prince.’ She reminds me of the character of Kashima Yū from Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun. When Serinume meets her, she’s cosplaying Sebastian from Black Butler at a comic-con.

One of the things that made Watashi ga Motete Dousunda fun for me is all the insider references to fandom.  There are cons, fan fic, doujinshi, voice actor obsessions, anime musicals/fan shows and, of course, fan wars…. and I adore the fact that even though Serinuma changes physically, mentally, she’s still a fujoshi/otaku.  The boys–at least two of whom are typical jocks (Igarashi and Nanashima)–struggle to relate to the anime obsession.

There are a series of arcs that are also send-ups of shoujo tropes, too: there’s a sento ‘episode,’ a lost on the class trip episode, there’s a beach episode, there’s a dating game episode… And, of course, our heroine and all her girlfriends really would rather see the boys kissing each other, so there’s a lot of humor to be had in getting the guys into awkward situations.

Probably my favorite arc is the one that I’m sure made my friend think of me, in which our heroine, Serinuma, and Nishina, the cosplayer girl, discover a new anime and have a HUGE fight over which iteration of the same pairing is better.  Our heroine likes one guy as the top; the cosplayer likes the other as the top.  They nearly break-up over this. Only some quick thinking and tough talk from the other rivals gets things back on track.

What’s nice is that in Watashi ga Motete Dousunda being an otaku isn’t set up as being a bad thing. One of the big themes is loving Serinuma for who she is, which includes her weird obsessions (and, actually, her former figure, which she reverts to at several times during the course of the manga.)  Interestingly, in this final arc, the mangaka is exploring the downside of fannish behavior–the sort of things that makes a person set aside their social obligations for their obsessions.  The last chapter ended with the question: “which is more important, your anime husbando or me?”

This is a legitimately difficult question for an otaku to answer.

It’ll be interesting to see if Junko-sensei stays true to Serinuma’s character in the next installment.

Because, really, we all know the answer should be: there is no one more important than one’s anime husband.

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*No relation.  My fannish name happens to also be “Junko,” but, alas, I am not the mangaka of Watashi ga Motete Dousunda.

Princess Jellyfish (vol 05) by Ahiho Higashimura

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This volume contains chapters 45 to 54.  Considering that MangaHere has 81 chapters, we’re only at about the halfway point.

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I keep waiting for the plot to progress beyond what I skimmed in the Wikipedia’s entry for the anime, and it’s really not rushing to get there.

Mostly, this is becoming a romance.

Tsukimi and Shuu (with the help of the smooth-operator chauffeur, Hanamori,) go out on a bunch of dates which culminate in an awkward proposal.  They end up on a rooftop restaurant during a blustery evening and their hands touch while both reaching for a falling candelabra:

Save_the_candlesticks_romance.jpg

She says ‘yes,’ but, of course, she’s not sure how to deal with all this romance being a geek girl.  I do like that for the majority of their ‘dates,’ Tsukimi dresses like her authentic  self, glasses and all. I have no particular ship in this armada, and I like Shuu well enough. I was fairly charmed when he decided he needed to buy ‘cute’ stationary upon which to write his letter of marriage proposal.

Kuranosuke is trying his best not to feel sidelined. Instead, he focuses on the fashion plot, in so much as there is one.  A lot of the ‘plot’ in this installment involves how expensive it is to launch a fashion line, how much money they’ve already lost, and thinking up ways to circumvent this problem.  ….Something involving a casual line? Knock-offs? I’m really not invested enough to follow that closely.   The thing that’s interesting about that for me is how Kuranosuke is desperately trying to find out how to give the Amars a fashion that they would actually enjoy, since what he really wants to to spread the love of his fandom (being stylish) to the rest of the world (like any fan.)

I also thought the self-talk Kuranosuke gives himself about how, in this story, he’s the wizard and the wizards never get to run off with the princesses and he should comfort himself that at least he has his fashion magic was clever… if….

…Very josei.

Which is to say sort of settle-y and depressing.

Meanwhile, the eviction plot also moves at a snail’s pace.  The land-shark lady (Inari) continues to woo the kimono nerd’s (Chieko) mom who owns the place into selling. There is a rather hilarious protest that the Amars stage that involves cosplay. I kind of adore that all of the resident nerds have “always wanted to protest.” This was me, in the 1980s. (Now, it is my life.)

For whatever reason, the humorous asides worked a bit better for me in this volume (maybe I’m getting used to Higashimura-sensei’s stye… or it’s Stockholm Syndrome.)  The playboy chauffeur, Hanamori, is fast becoming my favorite.

The romance is really the only plot moving at speeds.  It jumps leaps and bounds in these chapters and it seems to be heading in a very straight line, one without any unexpected curveballs. The only surprise is that, so far, Kuranosuke isn’t deciding to fight for the princess, too.  Given that there are a lot more chapters to go, I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t eventually make a play and possibly win her hand, but I don’t know. Josei, being what it is, could be heading for just what it looks like: Kuranosuke sidelined and okay with it.

Honestly? I would actually be quite happy if that were the outcome. There’s nothing wrong with the Shuu/Tsukimi romance. If they just followed along the usual path and got married, that’d be fine with me. There seems to be mutual, genuine affection between them, even if Tsukimi’s side is filled with princess fairytale fantasies.  *shrugs*  I mean it’s alien to me, but common enough a trope.

I _do_ love that when the Amars finally tell the resident recluse mangaka about the romance, she writes back a bunch of ‘bloodthirsty’ replies outlining how Tsukimi could be used to their advantage in the eviction fight and against the politician (Shuu is the PM’s eldest son). So, there’s room in the plot to go that direction, if Higashimura-sensei eschews the traditional battle royale between the two rivals for the princess’s hand in marriage.

I kind of hope she does, because, frankly, the other has been done to death.

So, it retains my interest. I will read the next volume as soon as the library has it.