Bitansan Ekisu / Essence of Fine Carbonic Acid by Fuduki Atsuyo

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It’s probably time to do another vampire round-up.  I keep stumbling across these odd vampire stories and they’re probably not all worth an individual write-up.

Bitansan Ekisu / Essence of Fine Carbonic Acid, however, is an anthology, with a number of stories that are NOT vampire-related.

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The first chapter is the titular one, “Bitansan Ekisu / Essence of Fine Carbonic Acid.”  I kind of adore the fact that this one-shot gets its title from the main character, Shinge, when he tries to describe the feeling of love.  He says he feels all bubbly, like he’s a fizzy soda inside.

The vampire in this story is Yasuome. He’s a guy that Shinge picked up at a goukun (a group date) who claims he survives on ‘essence.’ Shinge’s essence is especially powerful, because he’s a virgin.

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Also, Shinge has the weirdest taste in shirts. (Perhaps this poor fashion sense has contributed to his virginal state?)

This is another one of those stories that’s both kind of sweet and a little baffling.  Like, it’s not initially clear that Shinge is gay–clearly he thinks Yasuome is pretty, but he seems surprised when Yasuome slips him the tongue during the ‘essence gathering,’ a.k.a. kissing.

Yasuome seems to be staying over, but they’re not lovers…. partly to keep Shinge’s essence so yummy, but also because maybe they’re not into each other? Except, they obviously are doing all the couple stuff, except the sex.

Classically, it takes Shinge seeing Yasuome out with someone else for him to get jealous enough to kick him out.  It’s the whole, if “I’m just food, forget it.”

The guys work their way back to each other and Yasuome decides that virgin blood isn’t all that, and, in fact, at the end, he suggests that Shinge’s blood is still amazing because it tastes like–wait for it!–a carbonated drink.

Aw! The taste of love!

The second chapter is “A Temporary Contract With Him,” about two salarymen who make an interesting work wager. Hibikitani is a terrible salesman.  His company gets a new manager, Sakakibara. Sakakibara is kind of anal and, you know, has the company’s interests in mind, so he scold Hibikitani for his poor performance. In a fit of pique, Hibikitani basically says, “Fine, I land this sale, I get to have you for the night.”

Obviously, he’s suddenly motivated and is gonna get the sale.

So, in the meantime, we actually get the scene of how Hibikitani first realized he was hot for Sakakibara:

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Guy who is hotter with his glasses off = one of my favorite tropes.

Also, my absolute favorite part is that Sakakibara briefly looses his glasses on the top of his head and Hibikitani finds this so adorable, he can’t even.

I was weirdly happy when these two got together.

The third chapter “The Legendary Inhabitant Room” is a fake-out ghost story. For the longest time Oonuma is convinced that his dorm is haunted. In fact, he starts to think that his mysterious roommate Teraiwa might be a ghost. After all, he says things like he was majoring in literature, which is suspiciously past tense.

Oonuma is adorably jumpy and ends up in Teraiwa’s arms a lot.
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Things go on like this until Oonuma discovers he’s going to be getting a roommate. This confuses him because Teraiwa has been his roommate this whole time, hasn’t he?

Or HAS he?

Dun-dun-dah!

There’s a twist ending and a hilarious bit of “what’s all that moaning?” from the other people in the dorm. (Spoiler: it’s SEX.)

The next chapter, “Restraint,” is about exactly what you hope it is.  The set-up is that Shizuka really wants calm and cool Manabu to show a little heat, particularly in his eyes.  So he contrives to tie him up and torture him with sex!

It works!

Their big emotional moment is when Manabu says that Shizuka can tease him with toys and objects all he likes, but he’ll never be satisfied unless…

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Aw…?  Yeah, kind of.  For what is basically a smut set-up, it’s a nice enough moment.

The next chapter had, for me, the sweetest story.   “The Stars That Fall in the City,” is about a older salaryman who is basically a player. All he wants is casual sex.  But, then a younger guy, Soeda, starts working for him and suddenly there’s a desire for something more.

Problem is, Soeda is a country boy at heart.  He’s a steady, romantic sort. In fact, he tells the older salaryman that what he really misses about his hometown is the sky–all the stars he could see at night. Tokyo has too much light pollution. You can’t see the stars.

Wakamiya, our businessman, has a moment of brilliance.  When he finally realizes he doesn’t want to lose Soeda, he shows him the stars of Tokyo…

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…the city lights.

Which he lovingly explains are like the stars, because each one of those lights is someone’s home.

I liked that a lot. It totally would have worked for me.

The last chapter, “A Cruel Man,” is basically a story of two guys who use each other for sex… and are waiting for the other one to throw them away. It’s kind of psychological, I suppose.  But, I had to laugh at the scene where the subordinate has asked the bespectacled manager out on a goukun (which is kind of mean, since they’re the two lovers), and the manager makes his excuses.

All I could think when I saw this was:

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“I can’t. I have yaoi hands.”

This was my least favorite in the collection. There was kind of hot sex in the storeroom, but not a lot else to keep me going. It’s also a departure from the other stories which are, at least, somewhat romantic.

Would I recommend this collection? Well, I spoiled a lot of the good moments for you, alas. The only thing you might have left to enjoy is the sex, which is fairly graphic in places.  The art style was, in my opinion, very hit and miss.  So.. 50/50?

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Akujiki no Dinner / Bitter Relevé by Ogawa Chise

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Akujiki no Dinner/ Bitter Relevé could be described as a one-shot based on the concept of crossing some foodie show like “The Great British Bake-Off” and vampires.

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The concept is simple. Vampires used to walk in the shadows, but now, for some never-revealed reason, they’ve been reclassified as a subset of human being and walk among us, totally accepted–if considered a little weird for their tastes, as it were.

Our hero, Kanjina, has some kind of disease and he eats a lot of fruit to cover the smell of the medicine he takes for it.

Geena, a vampire, considers Kanjina’s blood a delicacy.

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Geena shows up in Kanjina’s life and pesters him into becoming a donor.  It’s really unclear why Kanjina agrees to this, except that, in this world, vampires’ saliva contains an addictive aphrodisiac (and there’s some semi-nakedness for those of us tuning in for that.) So… it’s no like Kanjina gets _nothing_ out of the deal.

Except, we see him going back to the doctor trying to figure out how to cure his disease, so maybe he wants out?

It’s not entirely clear, especially since he does seem to enjoy Geena’s possessiveness.

From what I can tell, the one-shot is kind of a mediation on the connection between food and ecstasy, which probably is more profound in the original Japanese.

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ブルー!ブルー!ブルー!/ Blue! Blue! Blue! by Amamiya

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ブルー!ブルー!ブルー!/ Blue! Blue! Blue! kind of makes me regret my policy of reviewing any manga I read.

There’s nothing wrong with it, per se, it’s just sort of ‘meh.’

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The summary reads:

When Takiya Kippei, the brother of two older sisters, realises that he desperately needs money to buy a birthday present for his lover, he decides to live and work onsite at a ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn). There, he meets the well-educated Honjou Masumi, a man who is neither too strict nor too lenient, and who has a charm which embodies the word ‘mature’. “This is the first time I’ve met someone like Honjou-san” – as Takiya continues working at the ryokan, he starts to become interested in Honjou…

It’s hard to judge a manga by its first four chapters, but I guess I’m going to anyway…?

Right now, I either wanted a faster romance or more life in the slice-of-life.  This one is still being scanlated regularly and, thus, ends rather abruptly, and so maybe the exciting bits are just around the corner?

As it stands I’m not feeling the chemistry.

Takiya (or, more likely, Amamiya-sensei) has a different sense of what constitutes ‘charmingly mature’ than I do. That’s not to say that Honjou doesn’t have his charming moments (more on that in a bit), but currently the only thing that sets him up as more mature than Takiya is his age and the fact that he manages the ryokan… oh, and that he smokes.  Otherwise, he kind of seems to be clinging to bits of his wilder youth, like motorcycle riding and an unrequited thing for an old (straight, or at least married,) high school chum.

I did find the fact that Honjou keeps putting off Takiya’s advances really VERY charming.

This series of panels made me happy:

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So, I mean, it’s possible that, once complete, I’ll have fewer complaints.

There was a series of shorts that I read long ago, before I kept track of such things (which is partly why I started the policy of reviewing EVERYTHING), that this reminded me of.

The collected stories I’m remembering were these very… I’m trying to think of the right word. My brain keeps reaching for ‘realistic’ or ‘mature,’ but neither of those is quite right. They were quiet, reflective romances, where the hook-ups were very… grounded?  Like, there was one in this series where a guy returns to his hometown for a festival and ends up having sex with one of the drummers in the stands after hours. There’s both not a lot of reflection about the characters’ emotional state, while also being oddly atmospheric.  There was a lot of wordless staring at the object of affection/lust.

So maybe it’s the tone of this manga that reads as ‘mature’?

Like I said, I ended up feeling ‘meh’ about it in the end, but it might be worth returning to once its complete.

Bagjwi Sayug / Raising a Bat by Jade

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Bagjwi Sayung / Raising a Bat might be one of the sweetest vampire manhwa I have ever read.

The official summary reads like this:

“Park Min Gyeom is a human with a disease that makes him produce excess blood. Kim Chun Sam is a half-vampire who needs blood to live. So begins an unusual symbiotic relationship between ‘predator’ and ‘prey.'”

Every once and awhile I wish that I could work for various scanlators/official translators.  Raising a Bat is a terrible title for this manhwa. Having read the whole thing, I know what they were going for.  There’s scene when our hero, Park Min Gyeom, sees a stray cat and is tempted to give it a bit of the sausage he’s having for a snack. The owner of the restaurant Min Gyeom is working at, sees him and says, “You don’t want to do that. Once you feed ’em, they’ll expect you to ‘raise’ them.”

What is really meant here is obvious. In English, we normally wouldn’t call that particular relationship ‘raising’ an animal, but ‘taming’ it.  So, I would have offered that this manhwa be titled, “Taming a Bat” or even “Adopting a Bat,” given that there is a strong theme of ‘what makes a family’ in this manhwa, too…. which is why I suspect they went with ‘raising.’  But, the connotation of raising is, in English usage, at least, about having had  responsibility for something since birth. You raise chickens and children.  You tame strays.  You adopt a pet.

Okay, enough with the English lessons.  On with the story.

 

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In the opening scene, we’re introduced to the idea that Min Gyeom has a rare disease that causes him to produce too much blood.  He regularly donates to a blood bank in order to maintain his health.  I think this is a made-up disease, if only because he doesn’t seem to have any other health risks due to it.  Doesn’t matter, because clearly this is a match made in heaven for a vampire.

It just so happens that, recently, on the streets of Seoul, there have been attacks reported which leave the victims with two puncture marks on their neck.

Dun-dun-DAH!

Min Gyeom is attacked and is left with the tell-tale sign.

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This sucks (pardon the pun) because it’s his first day at a new school and now he has to wear a turtleneck under his uniform.

Yeah. This was his biggest concern.

At this point, you can tell that 1) Min Gyeom is super gay and 2) has had a seriously sh*tty life up to this point, because he’s been ATTACKED in the dark and is all, “Well, f*ck, there goes my ensemble!”

Why Min Gyeom didn’t, say, go to the police after being attacked, I don’t know. I mean, maybe Korean police are useless? But, honestly, to do think this is an intentional clue that he’s just used to waking up feeling like sh*t and going on with his life.

He gets to school an who does he end up sitting next to?

His attacker, Chun Sam.

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Again, Min Gyeom rolls with this.  Maybe because Chun Sam is so… listless. He spends much of class time asleep and he faints a lot.

Turns out, that’s because he’s starving.  Chun Sam is a half-vampire. (In an interesting twist, we later discover that full vampires actually have an easier time of it. They can drink animal blood. Full vampires can eat extremely raw food and/or blood-infused food.  Half-vampires can’t–and they have to have HUMAN blood only. It’s nice to see the half-vampires have the restrictions.)

The point it, the two boys quickly establish a symbiotic relationship.

Min Gyeom initially has the upper hand.  Chun Sam is the one with the need and the secret, after all.  He doesn’t take advantage in the ways you might think–mostly, he just bosses Chun Sam around.  He’s a little cruel, because Chun Sam is very innocent… almost childlike.

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I think we don’t see a true sadistic side come out because, it turns out, Min Gyeom has a Tragic Backstory ™ that involves being starved and bled by his father.

Dad, we find out, is an A-#1 jerk. It’s not explicit in the text, but Min Gyeom’s mother died during childbirth possibly due to complications of his blood illness.  Dad never wanted a kid, anyway.  He seems to hope that with enough neglect–literally only setting one place at the table, for himself–Min Gyeom will just fade away and die.

Until, one day, Min Gyeom is in an accident and dad finally figures out that Min Gyeom has some use.  Dad, you see, is a scientist who needs human blood for research.

These scenes–where Dad comes to harvest blood–are totally drawn like molestation.

Dad creeps into Min Gyeom’s room at night, even after Dad is remarried and Min Gyeom ends up with a stepsister who is thrilled to have a big brother. (She’s the only one. We also find out that the reason Min Gyeom lives on his own in high school because the new wife is the classic wicked stepmom and wants Min Gyeom out of the house and the family ASAP.)

So, this new relationship with Chun Sam is… triggering.  It’s very easy for Min Gyeom to think his only value is being bled out.  Yet, this same goofy innocence that Min Gyeom mocks Chun Sam for starts to worm its way into Min Gyeom’s heart.  Chun Sam likes him.  He doesn’t have ANY friends, and he really does follow Min Gyeom around like a pet, like a stray who has been shown the first ounce of kindness.

The manhwa is very much a slow burn.

There’s moments when the boys almost make their love confessions when circumstances rip them apart.  There’s also a Predatory Bisexual ™ who Min Gyeom initially turns to for love advice, but who ends up seducing Min Gyeom when he thinks he’s been dumped by Chun Sam.

I was initially very excited to see the Bisexual dude as ‘gay mentor.’  He was as UN-repressed in his sexual identity as Min Gyeom was repressed.  He was clearly attracted to Min Gyeom when they first met, but I had been really hopeful that he would be an All a Big Misunderstanding ™ guy instead of a sexual rival.

Nope, the moment it seemed that Min Gyeom’s confession had been rejected, he pounced.  I wouldn’t have even minded that (because, look–we’ve all been there gay, straight, bi, queer, etc.) BUT it’s revealed that he had a lady on the side that he had promised to stay faithful to and, for whom, he dumps Min Gyeom like a hot potato… without telling the TRUTH.

Visually, one of my favorite scenes is the moment that Chun Sam sees the bisexual dude off with his ‘real’ girlfriend and knows just how badly Min Gyeom is being treated.

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That’s more than side-eye, friend. That’s Side-eye of DOOOOOOOM.

Chun Sam is, in this scene, trying to respect that Min Gyeom has said he’s dating someone and so has gone out on a date himself with a girl from his class who asked for his phone number.

That’s one of the things I like about Chun Sam–and the whole manhwa, for that matter.  It feels much more like a real life scenario, because they do these things where they try to go on.  And when Min Gyeom thought his love confession was being rejected Chun Sam actually just got tongue tied and screwed up trying to say, “Yes, let’s, but I want to go slow, I want to be friends first again,” but instead just blurted “Let’s be friends first.”

Who can’t relate to that?

This whole thing is weirdly relatable, despite there being vampires who can legit sprout wings AND a bear daddy (Chun Sam’s actual dad, the vampire) who just happens to be the famous, bestselling author that Min Gyeom adores.

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Do I recommend this one?  YES, whole-heartedly.  There’s even an extra that contains  Min Gyeom and Chun Sam’s first sexual encounter, so, even though this is mostly romance/relationship, if you want the smut, you can have it.

I also really love all the stuff that circles back to families and what constitutes a real family…. and how your made/found family can be the true bonds, etc.  I adore Chun Sam’s parents.  At one point (thanks to evil scientist dad), they end up housing Min Gyeom and there’s a whole lovely bit about the difference between feeling like a guest in someone’s home and being HOME.

It’s also, unlike a lot of things I read and recommend, complete at 52 chapters, all of which have been scanlated.  If you go to the Manga Rock site I linked to at the beginning you will see 86 chapters because there is also a complete side story about how Chun Sam’s folks got together.

So there’s not only a good story, but a whole (LONG-ish) story to enjoy.

我成为了BL漫画家的助理 / I Love BL Comics by Li Zhiheng and Mei Dajiong

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How could I resist a title like this?  I Love BL Comics.  It seems sort of made for me, doesn’t it?

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Our somewhat hapless hero, Ly Chee, is an unemployed artist, who is desperately seeking work as an assistant in the manhua business.

In the opening chapters, he tries a number of places and gets results that are very familiar to any freelancer in the creative arts.  Well, I mean, I’ve never been asked to wear a maid’s outfit as part of the job, but I have been asked to work for free:

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Still funny, even though the translation is VERY rough.

Finally, Ly Chee ends up finding what seems to be the perfect job.  He finds it a little odd at first that all of his potential bosses are women, until they reveal that they write BL/Boys’ Love.

Then the tabes are turned, they wonder if he can handle the subject matter.

He stares at the sketches of naked men for a long time, looking stricken, and they become more and more convinced he’s far too disgusted to work there.  Until this moment:

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He makes a huge, impassioned speech about the purity of the relationships in BL (he must be reading different things than I am,) which causes the ladies to make an obvious assumption about our passionate Ly Chee.

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Perhaps…. the boy doth protest too much.

Ly Chee insists that he’s straight as an arrow, which is an assertion that is put to the test in the following chapters. I suspect, in fact, it will be the main drama going forward.

There are, to-date, only 6 chapters available.  Buka Manga, which for some reason shares authorial credit on most sites, is the only translator of this manhua… which, is a bummer.  Their grasp of English grammatical construction is tenuous at best.  The words are all there, but, obviously, “I am for job here,” is not how a native English-speaker would that they are here for a job.

Yet, I’m not entirely convinced that this detracts from the story. It might make it unintentionally funnier in some cases, and this is meant to be comedy.  More importantly, it’s not IMPOSSIBLE to parse what’s being said.  It just takes me a second or two to mentally correct it, which, should they ever take a dramatic turn, might lose me as a reader.

The art styles are, as you see, also vary wildly.  Normally, where there are two mangaka listed, I tend to assume that one is the writer and the other is the artist.  My guess is, in this case, we actually have two writer/artists.

On the other hand, I think that helps them pull off scene like this one, where Ly Chee is showing off his artistic talent to his bosses:

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My artistic talent in a nutshell.

It’s interesting how often this sort of handicap is shown in comedic manga/manhua about manga/manhua writing.  At least, there are similar gags in Gekkan Shōjo Nozaki-kun/Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun.  Apparently, there is hilarity to be found in the idea that artists might not be capable of drawing All The Things (which, as someone who dabbles in art, seems really LEGIT.)

If you read this, be warned that there were moments of “???” that might be lost in translation or ‘humor works differently in different cultures’ kinds of things for me.  As you know, gentle reader, the broader the humor, the less likely *I* am to appreciate it.  So, as always, grain of salt any problems I have with the funny bits.

Would I recommend it?  I’m kind of intrigued by the fact that Baka-Updates gave it a ‘smut’ designation (however, they seem to also assume it’s shoujo ai/Girls’ Love? So, maybe that’s just a mis-tag.)  The cover also seems to imply that there might actually be smut/romance between the two others in the picture, though I will tell you (even though it’s a GIANT spoiler) one of them is decidedly NOT human… which might be a kink for you?

No judging.

So, a hesitant yes.  I do wish the translations were a little smoother, but the chapters are short.

和女儿的日常/Grow Up With My Daughter by Chen Yuanfeng

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In my never ending quest to find things to read that are about absolutely nothing, I have found this charming manhua, Grow Up With My Daughter. This is not just a slice-of-life about a man and his daughter, it’s autobiographical.  Each chapter ends with a picture of the daughter in question.

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Can you spoil something this wonderfully simple?  I’m not sure.  A man hangs out with his daughter, doing family things, often with humorous results.  My biggest caveat would be that it’s possible the humor could bounce off anyone who has not spent sufficient time around toddlers (or who flat-out doesn’t like them.)

You do kind of have to find toddlers innately charming.

Or parenting sort of ridiculous.

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I still indoor too much, thanks.

There are only four chapters of this so far, but it’s well worth checking out. I mean… it’s little vignettes about stupid things parents do to amuse their kids, etc.  But, you are talking to the person who read all of Yotsuba to! /Yotsuba&! and kind of wished there had been more than 13 VOLUMES.

So, yeah. With a grain of salt.

Sapuri / Suppli (Vol. 1) by Okazaki Mari

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I normally don’t judge a book by its cover, but I thought the cover of the first volume of Sapuri / Suppli was unusual and gorgeous af.  It did its job; the artwork got me to pick up the tankōbon and read it while bored at work last night.

As unusual and standout as the cover is, I found the storyline to be the opposite–very… well-tred and stereotypical.

“Minami Fujii is an employee at a high-powered advertising firm. She’s good at her job but finds herself torn between the pressure and expectations of her career and her attraction to two of her coworkers: the younger, arty Ishida, and the classy, put-together Ogiwara!”

Except Sapuri / Suppli is a little bit more than a torn between two lovers story, but I’ll get to that after the spoiler break.

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In manga, Japanese women seem to worry a lot about not getting married.

I mean, I guess we see something similar among the older gay men in Fumi Yoshinaga’s work–this preoccupation with having to reach a certain pinnacle of traditionally-defined success by age fill in the blank, but usually 30.

There is a thing that happens to a lot of people around the age 28-30.  In astrology it would be defined as a “Saturn Return,” but a lot of people do some kind of “what am I doing with my life?” soul searching at that age.  It’s a fairly common/universal conundrum.

My problem with how it often seems to end up being portrayed for women, in these particular manga, is that there’s a lot of unexamined, internalized misogyny.

Our heroine in Sapuri / Suppli, Fujii talks about not wanting to ‘dry up’ and basically turn into ‘an old hag.’ Fujii worries about not being cute any more, and tries to glam it up at one point (and gets mocked for trying to dress young by her officemates).

There’s a successful businesswoman in the office, who, on the surface (at least in the first volume), seems happy enough, who is the fear of every office lady. Don’t end up like her! Alone at 40!  Like that’s some kind of death sentence.  Worse, the older lady herself participates in this myth, by telling Fujii to go out to karaoke one night because, “you don’t want to end up like me!”

This might be more poignant, if she was was actually portrayed as sad. The only time we see her out of the office, she seems to be happily shopping for houseplants by herself.  (Is that a cultural metaphor? If so, I didn’t get it.)

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My version had her Fujii’s boyfriend saying, “Isn’t that the woman you always say you don’t want to end up like?”

To be fair, a lot of this particular drama bounces off me as a queer woman.  We get perceived this way a lot: washed-up, frumpy, alone (even when we’re not. In fact, given this scene and Fujii’s loving description, I briefly wondered if this was going to end up a yuri romance!)

But this whole drama also bounces off me as a nerd, a geek.  We never like the things we’re supposed to, we’re also often seen as weird and lonely (again, even when we’re not.  Lonely, I mean. Of COURSE we’re weird af.)

I think the last time I worried about ‘fitting in’ or participating in culturally-defined success was 1983, when I was in high school. (No, strike that, by 1983, I’d already found Gay Comix at the local head shop.)

This is not to say that I can’t sympathize. There is a secondary tension in Sapuri / Suppli about the pressures of work versus keeping any kind of social life.  For Fujii, that means trying to continue to date, but it’s generally relatable in terms of how in your mid-20s (and, really, almost at any point in one’s life) the struggle of “does this job define who I am?” is real.

I am also endlessly fascinated by the work culture in Japan.

There’s actually a diagram in the manga, at one point, about how to form a stable napping platform out of three wheel-y office chairs. Fujii also demonstrates how to wrap your blazer around your skirt so you don’t accidentally give your officemates a free show, while you nap in the boardroom.

Fujii is regularly shown staying overnight at the office.

I can’t even.

There is no job on the planet I like this much. Even when I was writing full-time, I always took the weekends off (unless my deadline fell on a Monday.)

I’ll be honest, too. Despite her traditional obsessions, Fujii is a sympathetic character. The manga is well written.  Enough so, that I ended up spending some time last night after I finished the first volume trying to find out how easy it might be to get the rest. Scanlation sites don’t seem to have much of it–the first few chapters of the first volume, at most.  Amazon has English-language versions up to volume 5 (out of the 11 published in Japan.)

So, I mean, I might be able to pressure my library into at least finishing up the run of what they started (at least up to what’s currently available in English), but… I just don’t know that I’m that interested, especially if it ends with some kind of underscoring of traditional societal norms, you know?

It’d be boring to me if Fujii ends up leaving her career for marriage.  Or, worse, if she settles with some dude just because she doesn’t want to grow old alone.  That’s what people do in real life.  Yawn.

What I’d rather read is the story of the career woman who is happily single, despite all the pressures to be otherwise.  That’s a bit more edgy to me, a bit more exciting.  I mean, smash the patriarchy, sister. Even if it’s just to defy everyone’s expectations and be a happy, well-adjusted singleton.

However, Sapuri / Suppli was apparently made into a J-drama, so perhaps you might like to consume it that way? I couldn’t find it on Crunchyroll, but it looks like a fan site might have it for you.

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So, am I recommending this or not?  I don’t know.  It kind of looks like from the description of the J-drama this ends up a straight-forward romance.  I guess we can all be relieved that Fujii won’t end up a lonely, old woman, eh?