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.

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…

Yuri on Ice Finale (ep 12)

victor-is-loveAnd with this, the gaylicious ride that was Yuri on Ice, is officially over. And what a ride that was: fun, crazy, gay, beautiful, Victor-you-damn-perfect-human-being, medelas, rings – what 12 episodes those were.

Now that it’s over I’m a bit confliced. I was pretty sure Yuri was meant to win gold and retire at the peak of his career. He wanted to retire for a year now, repeated numerous times thoughout the episode and the GPF gold was the one declared goal. Neither happend, though.

My theory includes the ending has been sacrificed in favor of a second season. I’m relatively sure Yuri was supposed to win, retire and live happily ever after with Victor. Well, he’s still living with Victor, that one worked out, the rest…. not so so much. Having Yuri loose by 0.12 points is downright cruel. He got the world record, which is awesome, but not the gold medal, which is annoying. Also, Victor making a comeback at his age and wants to train Yuri at the same time is pretty much insane, so that’s another sore thumb in my chest.

I mean, Victor skating? I’m all in, but he’s pretty old for top level competitive sport and yuri-on-ice-finale-victor-crytraining someone else at the same time is more or less impossible, realistically speaking. This anime has been pretty much stuck with realistic competitions so far, or until the real life short program world record was beaten my 8 points at least (I’m still a bit sour over that, because I think that’s a bit too much). Well, I guess I just have to live with that and at least we’re having Yuri and Victor train together in Russia now – whatever that may turn into.

The one thing I asolutely loved to death about this episode was the pair skate. I was dreaming of a pas de deux since episode one and I was literally screaming of joy when they pulled it off! And it was so beautifully done, too. The contrast to Victor’s original performanc was stunning: not only were they wearing blue and red costumes, they also wore silver ornaments – after Yuri won silver at the GPF. When Victor won the world championships, he wore golden ornaments. The song was originally a solo, yuri-on-ice-finale-victor-and-yuribut now it was a duet. Furthermore, when Yuri starts off alone, everything is blue – cold and lonely-, but as soon as Victor enters, everything turns magenta – warm and happy- while they dance together. I would’ve loved to see them training for that, because they even included some lifts, but since they had barely enough time to show the character development properly, that’s really too much to ask.

Overall, it was a great anime. Very short and rushed, they barely had enough time to squeeze Yuri’s character development in between all the competitions, but still pretty good. I would’ve liked if it was 24 episodes and more detailed on the characters, but nobody could’ve imagined the show turned into such a huge hit and is now even getting a second season that was never planned.

My personal favorite part of this anime is not Victuuri, not the pair skate, not the kiss, none of those things. My favorite part of this anime is the society in this world, that accepts a homosexual relationship without any second thought. A world where everyone can love whoever they want is a truly wonderful world to live in and one I wish we could see in real life as well. I think Yuri on Ice set a bold statement by showing off a world like this where love is universal and all types of love are equally accepted. It’s not about men and women, it’s simply about love and nothing else and everyone just accepts this fact. This is wonderful and while many people have been arguing Yuri on Ice made history by including a homosexual pairiung into a non-BL sportsanime, I think what they really made history with is how normal this relationship was portrayed.

Overall, I guess I give this anime a very subjective 8/10. It could’ve been a 10/10 judging by yuri-on-ice-pair-skatehow much fun I had with episode 1-10, but episode 11 and 12 really went down into a direction I didn’t like in favor of a second season. Yuri on Ice was gayliciously awesome and even though I’ve been criticizing the decision to alter the ending in favor of a second season, I hate to admit I can’t wait to see said second season.

Digimon Tri Kokuhaku

tumblr_nnxtm1qtsl1qjy21oo1_500Like basically every other kid from the late 90s/early 2000s, I’m absolutely in love with Digimon Tri. After seeing Saikai I already wrote that this anime pushes all the right buttons and two movies later, it still does. It has the right amount of 90s/early 2000s vibe to it, but still modern enough to not feel “old”.

I think the main reason why Digimon Tri is as good as it is, is because the anime knows it’s audience damn well and the audience is the same audience from 17 years ago. It’s not meant for teens or adults and it’s not meant for just any kids, it’s meant for the kids from that time who’re now adults. Of course this anime is very well watchable for kids as well, but let’s be honest: to understand what’s going on generally speaking, you need to know Digimon in some way or the other. To understand the more specific character relations and plot developments, you need to have seen Digimon Adventure and Digimon 02. Digimon Tri explains absolutely nothing and this is a very strong indication who this anime is meant for.

After 3 movies we’ve now reached the halfway point. It’s progressing real slow, because tumblr_ny4u76golr1r72ht7o1_500we have to wait for months between every new movie/batch of new episodes, but the wait is so much worth it. The moment I hear the intro, I’m sold, I forget my impatience and just enjoy the ride. I have to admit, the second movie Ketsui was lacking the wow factor a litte bit, because it had a lot of build up going on. It was still very good, though.

Saikai benefits from the massive waves of nostalgia after seeing these characters and Digimon again after so many years. The second movie doesn’t really have that so much. Kokuhaku on the other hand has it again, because that’s when the Digidestined go to the Digiworld again. So far, the humans have stayed in the human world, but now they’re all back into the Digiworld! That’s so exciting! And the way they did it, too! They didn’t care about the possibility of not coming back home, because they’ve already gome through this when they were in elementary school. I just loved it when, I think it was Joe, said by waiting they’re just going to turn into adults. That really hit my inner child, it’s like telling the audience that even though it’s been so long and we’ve all gotten older, it’s okay to be a child again and do what you love.

I have to admit the return to the Digiworld, even if it’s just the rebooted one and apparently not the same from the past, because we see noticable differences, was my absolute highlight of the third movie. I felt like my 13 years old self again, being glued to the TV. That was a straight nostalgia jab into my face and I love this anime for doing that. I honestly think Kokuhaku was the best movie so far. We saw how much the Digimon love their humans, how much they all evolved, we finally got a better glimpse of our actual opponents, the entire reboot idea was simple but effective and Tentomons megaevolution was so cool! Besides, Takeru and Patamon … right into the feels.

giphy2Talking about feels! You can’t talk about Digimon withou shipping wars. We finally got a hint of Takari, which was cool. We all know Takari was that one pairing, that absolutely needed to happen ever since we saw these two adorable kids in Digimon Adventure. Besides, their brothers are Yamato and Taichi, who used to fight so much, the alpha-males of the group so to speak, and now they’re totally best friends, but I would just love to see Taichi getting jelous over Takeru for steeling his baby sister away. We haven’t seen anything from Takeru that specific, but he was very occupied with Patamon in Kokuhaku, so he’s excused. I hope it’ll come.

On the other ship that totally should set sail, there has not really been going on that much. I do feel the love triangle between Taichi x Sora x Yamato is being hinted on and slighty teased every now and then, but it’s very low key. The shipping wars have been huge in this fandom and I think it would be cool, if they acknowledged it a bit by teasing it slightly more. Not too much, they don’t have to go the Avatar road, I mean they were just cruel to their fanbase. Admittedly, they were nice enough to clear it all up at the end and even though a good portion of fans was still unsatisfied with ALTA, everyone’s pretty cool with Korra. How often do you have a lesbian endgame ship? I’m totally shipping Makorra and I still think that end was cool.

Either way, Digimon Tri is the ultimae chance to right what’s wrong. It’s the chance to free me from my ultimate shipping nemesis Sorato and finally make Taiora canon. Please, Digimon Tri, MAKE IT HAPPEN!

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The End of Bleach

It feels awesome being able to write that title.

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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.

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Bleach 670

Okay, we all know Bleach was at it’s best before Aizen turned into a butterfly. The Rukia Rescue Arc was awesome, but after that it went downhill. Too many characters, too many backstories (of characters about to die… really?), fights dragging on for much too long, questionable plot choices…

Let’s say the best part of Bleach ever since the Rukia Rescue Arc ended was Isshin’s backstory. It was short, on point, interesting and informative. It was great and I’m even overlooking that Ichigo got revealed to be a human/quincy/hollw/shinigami-hybrid. He was fine being a substitude shinigami, was that necessary? Whatever, Isshin’s backstory was still great.

tumblr_mn73tbsfF21sqknc4o1_500Now, however, this manga has reached new levels of ridiculous. Especially in more recent chapters, Bleach has taken many turns for the worst – even more than before. Sure, Ukitake was a character who could be killed off, because he was dying of tuberculosis anyway, but I dare you didn’t kill off Urahara Tite Kubo.

I admit I’m shipping IchixRuki so I’m biased as hell, but even if you don’t, they have an amazing dynamic going on between them and I’m really missing that. It was old fashioned and overdone, but the friend-cycle Ichigo was in worked great and the manga had a good balance between action, character development and frienship moments. Even when Ichigo want and rescued Rukia, there was still more to it. Now, for a while, it’s been nothing but fights and sidecharacters.

When was the last chapter Ichigo had some screentime? It’s been a while. I want to see thefuckmore of the core characters, I want to see the story progressing… and finally finishing. After giving Kenpachi a Bankai and Hitsugaya puberty, I’m so far done with this, I’m reading it for the laughs and this is sad, because Bleach used to be good.

Case in point, let’s have fun instead of just crying over how stupid this manga has turned out to be. Everyone thought Hitsugaya’s Bankai would disappear when the last petal melts, because it was said he had an unfinished Bankai due to his young age achieving it. Fun side note: Yachiro is much younger and is the one in charge of controlling Kenpachi’s Berserk-Bankai. How exactly does that work? Another fun side note: am I remembering things wrong, or didn’t Hitsugaya’s Bankai actually fall apart before when the petals all melted?

If even that’s true, it’s easily explained, so not a big deal. I would really like to know, if Matsumoto and Hinamori know about his adult-state-Bankai-mode. That’s comedic gold on a silver plate right there. I need to see their reaction. I mean, he quite literally just turned into the hottest guy in the entire cast. So much for forcing his head between your breasts, Matsomoto. You sure, you wanted to do that all the time?

Romance in Ballroom e Youkoso

It’s finally done: the latest chapters have been translated and now the big wait begins. Apparently the manga-ka is ill and therefore the manga has been on hiatus ever since. Let’s hope he makes a full recovery.

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The lastest two chapter 41 and 42 heavily focussed on the background of Akira and Chinatsu and apparently Akira is in love with Chii-chan. Ever since grade school she wanted to be her only partner and refused to learn the male steps, so she can funktion as Chii-chan’s only female partner when the other girls became interested in other things. Chii-chan on the other hand wanted to dance the girl part as well, but Akira wouldn’t let her.

tumblr_o0g7259mkw1tk1u0yo1_1280Even thought the current relationship between Akira and Chii-chan seems to be very bad, Akira is still in love with her former partner and boils with jealously over her relationship with Tatara. What brings me to my personal highlight: since I’m shipping TataraxChi, of course I fully support Akiras jealously, after all, if there is nothing going on and everything’s safe, there’s no need to become jealous. After only 4 months Chii-chan and Tatara have already developed a better and much more dynamic relationship than Akira and her partner and arguably even a closer relationshion than Akira ever had with Chii-chan.

Back in their grade school days, Chii-chan hated boys and she said it was disgusting to dance with them or hold hands. Now she’s finally dancing the female part she always wanted and even though she still has trouble not being the leader and accepting Tataras dance, those two have come a pretty long way already and in some rare occasions of unity their dance is simply astonishing. There’s so much insane potential in this pair, I would cry in frustration if they broke up – and they promised to break up, if they don’t win this competition. They can’t do that!

Tatara has already evolved so much, he’s not the same person he used to be when he danced with Mako. While they used to be a good couple, I don’t think they would fit that well anymore. And yes, Mako has a crush on him, but it’s guaranteed that’s not going anywhere. Tataras crush on Shizuku is a more serious matter, but even though I shipped them before Chii-chan came into play, I would rather have her and Hyoudou funktion as rivals for Tatara and Chii-chan rather than breaking the couples up and re-arranging tumblr_nzd9akXjch1soj3yeo1_1280them.

To sum it up, so far we have these confirmed romantic interests:

  • Mako -> Tatara
  • Tatara -> Shizuku
  • Akira -> Chinatsu

Throw Gaju into the mix, who’s protective over his sister, Makos jealously over Chii-chan, Akiras jealously over Tatara and Chinatsus own very unindentified feelings, we have a nice bag  full of teenage love problems. I think it’s interesting to see where Shizuku and Hyoudou are going. I’m rooting for them, they’ve known each other for a very long time and their inner timer clicks the same. As for Tatara, I personally think his crush on Shizuku is a result from his admiration for her as a great dancer.