Skip Beat 248

I don’t even know if I ever mentioned Skip Beat, but I’ve been reading it ever since my brother’s first girlfriend introduced me and that was ages ago. It’s quite amazing how little this manga developed story wise in this period of time.

skip_beat_44_8You see, when I stated reading Skip Beat, it must’ve been around 2005, so it’s been a long time. In these 12 years, I’ve read and finished so many manga while this is is one of the few that I’m actually still reading from this period of time. Skip Beat has easily always been the manga I’ve complained about the most about it’s speed of development story- and character-wise. The fun part is, I’ve also always been reading Detective Conan and there’s nothing happaning at all, very few instances when we had a bit of actual story, but it’s not much.

The difference is, Conan is designed very periodic, so we usually have a couple of chapters revolving around a case. The case is finished and we move onto the next one, so every few chapters we have some kind of resolve and we accomplish something. It’s a weekly manga, so it’s usually between a months or two before we finish one mini-arc.

Skip Beat drags on a lot more. First and foremost, it’s monthly and it’s not just monthly, it also has a very small page count for a monthly manga. You know, I’m used to the Fullmetal Alchemist type of monthly manga around 40 pages per chapter, sometimes even close to 50. Skip Beat has about 25-30 ish pages per chapter and as you can see: huge difference. Okay, this can be thanks to different art style, working conditions, health issues with the manga-ka, whatever, you know, there are many reasons why we skip_beat_78_25have less pages per chapter and if 25-30 works good for Nakamura, then that’s fine.

Unfortunately, Skip Beat has not exactly been the most regulary released manga on the planet, skipping a month here and there. Actually, it used to be released bi-weekly, which might be the reason why the page count is that low for a monthly release, and was moved to a monthly release a few years ago if I remember correctly. Which is fine, again. I’m sure there are reasons I don’t know about and I don’t have a problem with that.

Now take all what I’ve said so far about page count and not-as-regular-releases-as-we-would-like and add a painstakingly slow narrative to it – THIS is where it starts getting annoying. I swear to god, Akagami no Shirayukihime managed at least twice as much substance in 85 chapters than Skip Beat managed in 248 chapters. I constantly feel like we’re walking on the same spot without getting anywhere, as if we’re stiped to a conveyer belt or something.

We did make some progress over the time, no question. Kyoko went from hating love after being mistreated by Sho, to admitting to herself that she’s in love with Ren. She also developed into a capable actess, even though she’s still officlally an idol and head chef of the Love Me section, but I actually think she was surprisingly good right from the start. I skip_beat_241_4mean, she was never “bad” at acting, she had the talent all the time and impressed people all over the place even with her early works.

Thanks to the amazingly slow narrative, the mini-arcs in Skip Beat take years to finish, which can drag on a lot. For example: Kyoko was talking with Moko-san about the role of Momiji, that she’s currently auditioning for, 14 chapters ago – that’s 14 months, if a chapter was released every month during that time. I think the whole thing actually started even further back, but that’s already over a year and she still didn’t get the part just yet. It looks like she will get it very soon and Ren has come back from Guam earlier only to see a picture of Sho and Kyoko kissing, which is not that good, I guess…? I mean,  Ren is 21 years old currently and Kyoko is 17, which officially makes then illegal. Sho and Kyoko are of the same age, so at least Sho is not breaking the law.

Akagami no Shirayukihime has been dragging on a lot lately as well, because Shirayuki and Zen have been separated for a while now and I’m dying to see them together again. At least they’re an official pair, that’s much more than Skip Beat can claim to have. I’m also dying to know what Ren will give Kyoko as a White Day’s gift. He sent everyone a gift, except Kyoko and Yashiro mentioned months ago that he knows what Ren got for her, so I think it’s certain to say he got her something special and wants to give it to her skip_beat_219_8in person. That was, before he saw that picture of Kyoko and Sho kissing, which might delay thing a tiny bit… and by that I mean probably another half a year.

Yeah, that’s one way to keep your manga running, but apparently there’s still enough people interested, or Skip Beat would’ve suffered the same fate Bleach had and would’ve been axed. At least we still have a chance to see a proper end to this.

Too many interests

I have way too many interests… and still waste my time onthe internet doing nothing most of the time.  You know, like writing a blog noboidy is going to read anyway about my crazy interests nobody is going to find interesting, even if he stumbles into it.

So, as I just mentioned, I have a lot of interests and I often find myself very much into something for a short period of time, before I move on to another. I just can’t do everything at the same time, but unfortunately I tend to neglect something, if I’m currently into something else.

Hold your horses, I’m a responsible person (at least I hope so), I will always care for my guinea 817625d7a583fdd7195478de3d4194a21835ca6cpigs as best as I possibly can and if that includes feeding my big girl 7 times a day again, like I used to when she was growing up very ill, than I will do that. Our pets are part of our lifes, but we are our pet’s entire life. These are living creatures depending on our care, no matter what happens I will always provide the best possible care for them. I love them to death, I wanted to have them for at least 10 years before I finally got them and they are certainly not just a phase of mine, but treasured pets and part of my family.

I’m talking more about stull like… movies, games, anime and manga, stamp collections – this is all stuff that I like. I also have a full time job. And guinea pigs, including a very high maintance individual, that needs special care and a special diet. I also love doing postcrossing, something that I really really need to pick up again. I’m into photography, but I need to get my lazy ass outside more to actually take photos of… well… something. I love to go to the zoo and basically love everything connected to animal care. I have a huge book about the green tree python and one about the genetics of corn snakes, but even though owning a snake is something I can imagine, I will probably never actually own a snake.

I also have books about strawberry poison-dart frogs, dwarf hamsters and box turles – I’m not going to own any of those for sure. I’m interested in it, though. I have to admit I hate learning oophaga_pumilio_blaubeiner_hifor exams, but I do love learning about the stuff that I like. This is what I loved about the time I went to University: I was able to do what I really wanted to do for the most part. I was able to attend a lecture about the origins of the universe, starting with the big bang all the way until the development of the first cell on earth, as part of my studies. No, I did not study astrophysics, I studied biology for teachers. How does that make any sense? I don’t know, but I do know the universe is finite and still expanding to this day, thanks to that lecture.

Surprinsingly, I’m not into US TV shows at all and even though I’m a pretty nerdy girl, I don’t like US comics.

A few thoughts

Okay, first of all: Where’s Yuri on Ice season 2? WHERE IS IT? I need my gaylicious babies.

tenorApparently, everything was planned from the start and nothing was changed in favor for a possible second season. I’m not entirely sold on that, but whatever. From what I heared a second season will be made, if the DVD/BluRay sales are good. Judging by the huge waves the TV broadcast made, I’m hoping sales will be good enough. Since Yuri now lives and trains with Victor in Russia, this is the perfect opportunity to get more background on Victor, who’s still more of a walking mystery than anything. Also: more Victor skating, please? God, this man is just too delicious for his own good.

 

Akagami no Shirayukihime. I mean, I love this manga. Contrary to what I initially believed, I absolutely love it. It’s one of the sweetest romance stories I’ve read in a while and quickly advanced to become one of my favorite romance manga. If Yuri and Victor are a pair of sexy gay deliciousness, Shirayuki and Zen are a cute bubble of innocence. I love seeing them together, even though I think it’s quite ironic Shirayuki flees from her home country to escape from a prince who wants to marry her and ends up in another country in tumblr_nuom06w3vx1qfjlbzo2_500the arms of another prince who wants to marry her.

Either way, the latest chapters are great and all, but I really miss my cutsey dose of Shirayuki/Zen love. I get it: Zen is trying his best to be able to stay with Shirayuki permanently together in the castle where his mother is currently “ruling”, taking over her place. This needs time and preparation. Yeah, but… I remember getting impatient when we haven’t seen Ed in Fullmetal Alchemist for half a year after he was massively injured and the story focussed on something else, before he gloriously reappeared (seriously, that was freaking amazing, but that’s FMA for you), but if I’m not mistaken we’re getting close to 1 & 1/2 years since Shirayuki was sent on her mission away from Zen. They met somewhere in between and currently the focus is more on the aids and as much as I adore Mitsuhide and Kiki and their own little love story, but I really really really miss Shirayuki and Zen being lovely dovely.

 

Shokugeki no Soma took a very sudden turn in events and now it looks like it’ll be over relatively soon. Judging by the popularity of the manga, I’m a bit surprised by that and I’m not liking the decision of this new Shokugeki. I mean, that’s just bending the rules to have some plot convenience. I know that happens a lot in shounen, especially in long running a2bac6b4ce94598a5870839c7355ca76sounen, but it still kind of bothers me. It’s like saying: by the way, the ultimate weapon against all of our problems have been there the entire time, if someone would’ve just been nice enough to bring it up, which strangely never happend. Yeah. Stange, isn’t it?

Saibas backstory was pretty cool, though. Why do I seem to like the backstories of father figures in shounen so much? Isshin had a damn awesome backstory in Bleach as well. On the other hand: Isshin as well as Saiba are some pretty cool dads. I don’t think Saiba has been a very good father, though. He’s cool, but not a good father. He loves Soma, sure, and it’s not like he did everything wrong, but some of his decisions regarding Somas upbringing are very questionable.

 

Ballroom e Youkoso is back to a regular release and it’s as great as always. I don’t even know what else to say. It’s back, that’s awesome! And the two chapters released since it’s comeback have been awesome. Not much dancing, but more character and the right dose cdmkwwcuuaejszeof humor sprinkled in here and there. I love Akiras and Chii-chans relationship, I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of it, even after this competition is over. Furthermore we got a glance at the possibility how easy it is to loose for Chii-chan and Tatara. Rememeber: they promised to break up, if they don’t win and winning will be a miracle, if they don’t get it together soon. Thank you Hyoudou for ripping Tataras shoulder apart, so instead of being too stiff he’s too loose now. … great…

Best of 2016

Now that 2017 has arrived and is still in it’s baby shoes, I’d like to make quick list about my best manga, anime, game and movie of 2016. Last year I made this huge individual lists, but I’m not feeling well, so I’m going to keep it shorter. The same rules apply as last year:  on going franchises are allowed & also titles I’ve seen/read/played 2016 but premiered ealier are allowed as well.

Best Game of 2016

As for best game, unfortunately there was no Zelda this year, so no Zelda for best game either. Spoiler alert: Zelda will be best game of 2017. I’m actually very tempted to go with Super Metroid, even though it’s very old, but it’s so damn good. Even after so many years, it’s still such an amazing game and I haven’t played it on SNES back in the days, I played it first on the Wii U. However, if a 22 years old game is better than recent games, that would be sad, even if Super Metroid is one of the best games ever made.

So, what else to choose? I played Yokai Watch, which was nice. Bravely Second was very good as well and I also liked Legend of Legacy and Pokken. Unfortunately there’s no game like Xenoblade Chronicles X that stood out among the rest as much as XCX did (I still love this game, it’s fucking amazing), but I was positively surprised by Kirby Planet Robobot. I already liked Triple Deluxe, but Planet Robobot was even better. Kirby is doing good lately!

sun-moon-box-artEventually, I guess I have to go with Pokemon Sun/Moon for my game of the year 2016. When I first started the game I couldn’t help but wonder just how far the franchise has come in the past 20 years and I’ve been a part of it the entire time. They dared to change up the formula and it payed off. Even though Gen VII doesn’t have the best Pokemon designs (in my opinion), they’re fine and I love the concept of regional forms of old pokemon.

Best Movie of 2016

This is a hard one. I think I watched a lot of great movies in 2016. I loved Creed, The Hateful Eight, Rogue One, The Martian, Zootopia, The Danish Girl, Deadpool…. the list goes on. However, when it comes down to it, I guess two movies stood out and even though the winner is very clear, I’d love to point out the runner up, because it surprised me that much. The runner up is Southpaw and it surprised me, because I thought it’s just a Rocky-clone, but it’s not. I didn’t like all the decisions made in the story, but it’s more about a broken man who tries to fix his relationship with his daughter after his wife’s death and tries very hard to get her back, than it’s about boxing. He just happens to be a boxer. Yes, there’s a training montage and yes, it’s awesome. Also, kudos to Jake Gyllenhaal, I think he did a great job.

Now, for my movie of the year, it’s easily Whiplash. Why didn’t I see this movie earlier? whiplashIt’s so intense, it caught me completely off guard. I heard it was good, but damn it was downright amazing. It climbed right into the league of best movies I ever watched. It’s clever, dramatic, cruel, intense, strong characters and an awesome soundtrack. If you haven’t watched it: go watch it.

Best Anime of 2016

For me, 2016 was a good year for anime. Lot’s of shows I enjoyed: Akagami no Shirayukihime Season 2, Haiyku Season 2+3, Hai to Gensou no Grimgar, Soma Season 2, Battery, Bungou Stray Dogs, Noragami, 3 gatsu no Lion, Fune wo Amu, Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari.

I don’t think it comes as a surprise when I say, my personal anime of 2016 was, easily, Yuri!! On Ice. I just jumped into the fandom and was going along with the hype. It was gaylicious, it was fun, it was one hell of a ride and I don’t think I’ve been that much into an anime ever since Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. This doesn’t mean, it’s as good as FMA:B, I don’t like some of the decisions in episode 11 and 12, but it’s just breathtaking yuri-on-ice-02-6how episode 10 suddenly made the entire anime look in an entirely different way. Awesome plot twist right there. Also, as cheesy as it sounds, Yuri!! On Ice really did make history: it boldly portrayed a homosexual relationship in a world without discrimination as something entirely normal and it was done so incredibly well. I’ve hardly ever seen heterosexual relationships done that good and Yuri!! On Ice simply takes it to an entirely different level. We need more romance like that, we need more couples like Victor and Yuri and we need more media open enough towards homosexuality to treat it completely normal. It should not be that big of a deal to have a same sex couple treated like that. I hope, someday, our world can be as understanding and open towards homosexual relationships and other kinds of sexuality as the world in YOI is.

Best Manga of 2016

This is easily the hardest choice. First of all, I completely forgot what I read this year. I mean, besides the usual suspects. Some manga I’d like to point out are Vinland Saga, Skip Beat, Our Relationship is…, Piano no Mori, Until Death Do Us Part, Chihayafuru, Arte, Shounen Oujo, Do Da Dancin’, Kounodori, Nijiiro Days, Vagabond and Shinobi Quartet. Once again, I’d like to point out two manga more. The first one is 10 Dance. I’m a sucker for sportsmanga and ballroom dancing is so amazing. Maybe it’s because I learned it before and actually do know how to dance (not competitively, but at least I don’t make a fool out of myself at weddings), but I love manga about ballroom dancing and the two I enjoy the most are 10 Dance and Ballroom e Youkoso (after more than a year on hiatus, it’ll finally be back in just a few days and we’ll also get an anime, awesomesauce).

The story of 10 dance is rather simple, but I can’t help but love seeing the two Shinyas dacing together. It looks so good, the dancing itself is just awesome and it doesn’t hurt they boys are damn sexy and their personalities are so different it’s fun seeing them working their shit out together. I’m super thrilled the manga is published ihn my country 181140lnow, too.

As for manga of 2016 I’m going with a manga I’ve just recently discovered, but I absolutely fell in love with it and hope it’ll continue doing well. After just 8 chapters there’s not that much story yet and I’m guessing it’ll stay on the lighter side, but it’s a cute romance and I really need that right now: Otonari Complex. It’s cute, it’s light, it’s well done. Nothing of the huge big title like Whiplash in my movie section, but a manga that made an impression and I think it could become something like Lovely Complex, but that’s yet to see.

Ballroom e Youkoso will be back!

raw

After more than a year on hiatus, Ballroom e Youkoso is finally comming back! Apparently the manga-ka is healthy again and a new chapter is supposed to be released January 6th, which is about 2 1/2 weeks from now.

celebrate

Strangly, after such a long time of waiting, 2 1/2 weeks feel very long now that I know it’s finally happening. And yes, I know, most of the fandom has no idea this is happening, but I freaking love this manga and this is literally the best news in a loooong while for me.

waiting-so-long

The End of Bleach

It feels awesome being able to write that title.

tumblr_o0b87ktmtn1u7zinco1_500

I know I’m super late with my reaction to the final chapter of Bleach and I honestly didn’t even intend to write one, but since I’ve been ranting about Bleach much more than I ranted about any other manga I ever read, I guess here I am writing about Bleach 686.

First of all, the main reason I refused to write anything about it, is because after a short period of unimaginable rage I felt like the end to this manga doesn’t deserve this much time and energy. It’s bad enough Kubo had to end the manga within 6 chapters all of a sudden, but the last one was literally the worst.I jonwdon’t quite understand why Bleach was suddenly axed at all, it only had a few more months of life in it anyway and sales have been going downhill for ages, so why axe it after 15 years of serialization only a handfull of chapters away from the finish line? Personally, I think that’s a very strange decision.

I understand why it got axed, but I don’t get the time they chose to do it, because they either should’ve done it much earlier, or just let Kubo finish the final strech of his manga the way he intended to do it. Either way, it got axed and we’re left with an even shittier ending than I was already expecting.

Everyone who knows me and my shipping obsession knows I’m a die-hard IchiRuki-fan. I’m not even kidding, I read Bleach for the last years only caring about Ichigo and Rukia, because the rest was crap anyway. Okay, I admit the relationship between Nanao and Shunsui turned out to be pretty cool and after the first shock, after learning Shunsui is actually Nanaos uncle, I managed to like this idea. And yes, I’m still strictly against incest, but Nanao and Shunsui just absolutely belong to each other no matter what happens and I’m not going to let that piece of information ruin my ship for me.

So, yeah, the entire IchiHime-is-canon thing alone already ruined the last chapter for me. tumblr_nc3osue5t51qjnfano1_500I get why Kubo did it, so he could reinact the first chapter with the Ichigos and Rukias kids, so he has at least a somewhat rounded end, but that didn’t really work out. First of all: IchiHime has absolutely no chemistry. Yes, Orihime has been in love with Ichigo since forever, but Ichigo never showed any signs of romantic interest whatsoever. He never showed interest in Rukia either, but their meeting has be described as “fate”, Rukia is stopping Ichigos “rain”. Even though it’s not romantic, Ichigo and Rukia share a relationship on a much deeper level than Ichigo does with any of his friends.

Personally, I wouldn’t even have needed a canon pairing at the end. A shounen manga that doesn’t focus on romantic relationships at all simply doesn’t need to establish a clear canon pairing. I know Fullmetal Alchemist did it, but Fullmetal Alchemist is Fullmetal Alchemist and unlike Bleach, FMA is a fantastic manga. Since Bleach had to rush it’s last chapters, I would’ve liked it much better if Kubo actually tried spending the precious pages he still had left in solving at least the biggest issues and problems of the story. How about we start with… how did the fights end? What happend to the Soul King? How did they zydnynoqwxrestore Soul Society? etc pp

There were so many questions left unanswered, I don’t think answering the question of IchiHime or IchiRuki should’ve been top priority. Or reinacting the fatefull meeting of the first chapter, which could’ve been a nice way to end the manga, if we didn’t have this much other important stuff left hanging in the open, that desperately would’ve needed to be solved. The last chapter felt like its pages were completely wasted.

Yes, of course I’m damn pissed about IchiHime and I still think they don’t match at all and even though an IchiRuki outcome would’ve been more satisfying for me personally, the end would’ve still sucked, because of all the unanswered stuff. I’m honestly happy it’s over, but I’m a bit sad at the same time, because that’s not an end any manga deserves.

I have to accept this final chapter as canon, of course. As shitty as it is, but it’s honestly no use to rage over it. After my rage-preiod, I don’t feel that strongly about it anymore. Maybe it’s because Bleach had become so bad as further it went and I didn’t expect a good ending anyway, but I don’t expect it to become an eternal problem for me like Digimon 02 got to be. IchiHime will be a sore thumb in my shipping heart, but I don’t think it’ll be as bad as Sorato. I don’t think I will ever be as continuesly mad about any end as I was about Digimon 02 and the fact Taiora didn’t happen. I’m still shipping Taiora, even after 17 years, and I will continue to ship IchiRuki no matter what.

I guess Bleach is over now and I feel like it doesn’t deserve to be raged over for months and years to come.

giphy

Recent turn of events in Hajime no Ippo

395full-hajime-no-ippo-volume-73-fury-cover

Okay, so after 20 years of serialization we’ve come to a point where… our main character is broken. This doesn’t really come as a complete shock, a) because the possibility of getting hit by too many punches has been in the room for a very long while and b) Hajime no Ippo is obviously inspired by Ashita no Joe, who also suffered brain damage (and eventually died).

m018Still, I always expected this manga to end on a more positive note, maybe because it has been very happy-go-lucky in it’s early stages with many dirty jokes and the classic hard working shounen type of sportsmanga. You don’t see it very often in sportsmanga that human limitations and illnesses are addressed, especially in shounen manga where the sport is usually glorified and all’s good, if it’s a semi realistic manga. Then there’s manga like Kuroko no Basket that we don’t even need to start talking about, because it’s so far away from anything realistic.

Ippo has always been on the more realistic side and the possibility of brain damage is nothing new, like I said. I actually really like how this topic has been slowly made more and more prominent. Ippo noticed himself he has problems, but he brushed it off and therefore the reader also brushed it off. Now that the cast is openly talking about Ippo being broken and Punch Drunk, it still fells like this manga has suddenly turned into a very dark direction. It’s not like this hasn’t been foreshadowed, it’s more like until now it hasn’t been a real threat to Ippos career and at least I didn’t expect it to affect him this badly before his shot at a world title match.

Takamura is fully aware of Ippos state. He straight up told both Ippo and the coach. What b004else is he supposed to do? Beat Ippo to a crap so he can’t lift a finger anymore? I think this situation is very complicated for Ippo, Takamura and the coaches. Ippo may have managed to draw a straight line in front of them, but he’s well aware that he was damn lucky, because the last time he tried at home, he horribly failed. And I’m pretty sure Kamogawa doesn’t trust the line Ippo drew, he has a bad feeling himself and he also trusts Takamura. The odds are simply against Ippo.

It looks to me as if Ippo is crumbling under the high expectations he set upon himself and is loosing his grab on reality. On the one hand he’s telling himself he’ll stop before it gets bad, so he can still take over his family business, on the other hand he’s straight up lying to Kamogawa so he can step into the b013ring again. As things are right now, I think if he wants to avoid being unable to take over his family business, he needs to retire RIGHT NOW.

We are heading into the direction that Ippo will step into the ring again and he will take punches again. His condition will gradually worsen, the only question is how long can Ippo fool his coaches and go on. The happy-go-lucky manga from 20 years ago is long gone, this is about Ippos health and his brain is already damaged, maybe even permanent. To continue with boxing equals self destuction at this point. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ippo ending up in a vegetative state, instead of taking over a fishing boat.

Do I think Ippo might die, like Joe? No. I don’t think this will happen, but I really welcome this turn of events in this manga. It’s finally interesting again and actually ending with your main character broken and severely ill after 20 years of serialization is a brave move – inspired by Ashita no Joe or not.