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Fang-tan’s Big Shoujo Jamboree

I can’t think of a more appropriate time to finally finish and post this than Valentine’s. I actually wanted to post this before Christmas but I got so bogged down that I kind of forgot about it. And good thing! Because I read a ton more stuff in that time.

There’s actually an order. My favourite to least favourite. And a separate category for stuff that is licensed and available in North America since supporting the creators and the industry is a good thing I guess yeah.
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The Mystery of Oninagi (and Final Impressions?)

Oninagi Volume 4

I’m doing a post about Oninagi after all these years not because Oninagi is particularly good or anything. No, it’s painfully average despite it’s cool artstyle. No, it’s because Oninagi is a series that Yen Press had shrouded in mystery. It’s just that I thought that I would never own volume four and even when that finally happened, it wasn’t even normal.

It was a mystery that puzzled me for years. This was around the time of Del Ray going under so I have many unfinished series in my collection now but it was always this one that was most puzzling. Why did Yen Press suddenly stop publishing it? On the last volume, at that.

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12 Days of Anime: #01 – Days Gone Bye

I went with a Walking Dead reference because I couldn’t for the life of me, think of a better reference from The Stand (I tried). The fact that this has any reason why it would NEED a reference from The Stand is reason enough alone for it to be on the list this year. Incidentally, look forward to my kickstarter in 2015 to fund an adaption of The Stand with Marina Inoue as Frances, Yuki Kaiji as Stu and Junichi Sawabe as Larry. Do you think we’ll ever see an anime with Stephen King’s name attached? That would be wild.

Anyways, The Stand only is only referenced twice in Gakkou Gurashi. Once is blatant, with one of the characters reading the actual book when they’re first introduced. The other is that a big company involved with the zombamby outbreak is called the Randall Corporation, a reference to the villain of said book. It’s not because of these things (even though I love the book and it’s the only thing I like by King) that this is on my list, however.

It’s because Gakkou Gurashi is so damn good.

Gakkou Gurashi sounds like it should be awful. It sounds like it should be some how worse than Highschool of the Dead. Cute girls doing cute things while surrounded by zombies? Yeah, how could that be good. And sure, you know what, yeah there are times when the series dips into the realm of ridiculousness by actually having the girls do cute silly activites but this only serves to make the many, many dark moments so much more striking and brutal.

There aren’t any details on when the anime is coming out (which is the whole reason I read this in the first place so many months ago) but if you don’t plan on reading it before hand, stay well away from spoilers. There are so many amazing twists and turns in this story that it would be such a damned shame to have them ruined without experiencing them in either the anime or reading them.

Discovering and reading Gakkou Gurashi was definitely a highlight of the year for me. It’s surprising, intense and full of despair. If you want a zombie story that’s more like 28 Days Later rather than The Walking Dead, one that focuses on the mental wearing down of survivors and features the rarely seen (at least in my experience) perspective of someone who became a zombie, you absolutely cannot go wrong with this fantastic series.

Teppu (chapters) 1-28

There is one sports series I really, really like. Chihayafuru. I love Chihayafuru. I haven’t yet read the manga but perhaps I will, one day, when it finishes. Assuming we’re living in the very sad world where a third season really doesn’t happen.

This is perhaps the opposite of Chihayafuru. In terms of sports and main characters.

Well Chihaya is a josei and this is a seinen so there are those differences there and even ignoring the different sports, Natsuo and Chihaya are total opposites.

But I brought that series up for a reason. I thought it was interesting that the two sports series I ended up liking feature two unconventional sports. Keep your cycling and basketball manga, I’ll take the good karuta and mma stuff.

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Mahou Tsukai no Yome (chapters) 1-9

I think I went into this expecting too much. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great. Not as great as I had hoped, anyways. As someone who has visited the 人外×少女 tag on pixiv for a long time (and as expected there is a TON of this series in it now), I thought the idea of a series that was this tag embodied would be pretty awesome! So I guess that’s just why my expectations were so dang high.

But hey I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt. Nine chapters isn’t very much, after all.

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Gakkou Gurashi! Chapters 1-25 Impressions

It’s not often I write about any of the manga I read. Recently, I’ve finished Oyasumi Punpun, continued reading Koe no Katachi and started reading Inside Mari online. In real life, I finished reading the Ouran books. While I enjoy all of those in different ways, something completely unexpected caught my eye.

Bored with the selections summer and fall seemed to offer, I had a peek at the TBA section on Anichart. There were only a few things I was looking forward to (besides Girls Work because that is never coming out) and I rolled my eyes at the start of this description until I got to the zombie part. It had seemed like another “cute girls doing cute things at a vague sounding club”. Except here its with the twist that they’re survivors of a zombie apocalypse and the only ones left alive in the school.

I was amazed at such a premise! I always want more zombie anime, so much that I sat through the godawful Highschool of the Dead when it aired years ago. And so out of morbid curiosity I started reading the manga because I was just too excited (and after all, there’s very few details about the anime currently).

Though I must say that whatever I was expecting… it was not this and it was certainly not this good.

(Spoilers for the first 25 chapters)

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Puella Magi Madoka Magica LOVE! Sayaka & Kyoko ver. Impressions

This book actually came out in December and I knew of it’s existence then but didn’t order it until January. It was some good timing because I ordered it from CDJapan (since Hobbysearch and Amiami, my first choices, were both sold out) and shortly after it was listed as out of print.

I thought the idea of them having to dedicate a book solely to SayaKyou (there exists a MadoHomu one but who cares about that) after the movie kind of silly and adorable. Well, considering the content of the movie and all. There’s one scene that just, for me, bumped the pairing from undertone to pretty much canon.

So my curiosity got the best of me. It didn’t hurt that the book was only like 1500yen and came with a few extra goodies.

Very small spoilers for the Rebellion movie follow.

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12 Days of Anime: #04 – The Shape of Voice

Koe no Katachi

I try to stay away from one-shot stories because sometimes they end up really good with interesting characters that you want to see more of but, well, no, that’s the end of it. Because of that no matter how interesting the story sounds (perhaps ESPECIALLY if it sounds that interesting) I don’t read them. This is an exception though since at the time, absolutely everyone was raving about it. It’s highly likely I might have even read the original Koe no Katachi one shot in 2012 but it wasn’t until the summer of 2013 that an actual series happened.

It doesn’t manage to completely evoke the emotion that the one shot did (maybe because it was so short?) but I adored the original so much that I love this one as well. It fleshes the characters out in new, unexpected ways. Ending up a little darker than I had imagined (but since Punpun ruined me, nothing to really blink at as well).

While Koe no Katachi might not be one of those oneshots that I was vying for more of, it’s still a refreshing, bittersweet story that I love. So even if it didn’t need to be continued, I’m still anticipating where these two characters might go. From what I’ve heard, the series hasn’t been doing so bad either. Would hoping for an adaption one day be too unlikely? I don’t know if I’d be able to handle that but my excitement would never end.

12 Days of Anime: #02 – The End of this Train Ride

There isn’t too much I can say about this that I haven’t already said in my last post about it. I loved Kieli. Yen Press sent me the first volume as a contest prize and I was eternally glad that they did. I never saw Kieli in stores and had to always order it from the kiosks or cashiers in a book store, from Right Stuf or from Amazon. Had Yen Press not sent it, I would never have gotten the chance to read it and that would be a shame.

While I wasn’t super thrilled with the ending and the more I thought about it, the sadder it got, I was still happy to be able to see this through to the end. I was also grateful that Yen Press continued publishing it after four or so long years even though I’m sure they couldn’t have possibly had the best sales on it.

It’s also a bit of a shame since I have no light novels to look forward to anymore. Unless I caught up on Spice and Wolf or wanted to start reading Sword Art Online that is…