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Just a little taste of journey (1)

  1. 1. "To the onesthat really matter" 本 当 に 大 切 な 人 達 へ
  2. 2. Just a Little TasteThe Beautiful World of Journey diaries of 旅の少しの味 two travelers volume Articles from the years 2011, 2012 1 Athens 2013 Athens 2013
  3. 3. CreditsAll articles were written by Neko-kun and Foxy Lady Ayame Table of Contentsduring the years 2011-2012.All articles were edited by Phoenix, with Katans assistance, in 2012. What you will read in our little bookCover and book layout was designed by Neko-kun. Preface IntroductionAll illustrations in the chapters Introduction, The Travelers, Spice & Wolf and 9 The Journey goes on are official artwork for the animated series Spice & Wolf.Artwork used in The Beautiful Sinners and the images The Travelers 37, 39 and 44 belong to Kaori Yuki. 11The images in the article Left Unsaid were taken from Reiko Momochis Confidential Confessions, volume 1, the story called The Door. One: EditorialsImages used in A History Lesson from Hyōka as well as image 41 are taken The Beautiful Sinners from the animated series Hyōka, property of Kyoto Animation Studio. 15All artwork in Natsu no Zenjitsu is the design of Motoi Yoshida for the manga Natsu no Zenjitsu, volumes 1 and 2. Left UnsaidAll cover designs and manga pages used in the articles GLorious love and BLazed 17 passion belong to the mangakas and manga mentioned in the articles.The headers for GLorious love and Blazed passion were designed and belong to sizh. Two: Reviews A History LessonThe header for The Red String belongs to Yuki Urushibara Spice & Wolf from Hyōka and it appears in Mushishis vol. 4 cover. 27 21Images used for Offering a Prayer is taken from official artwork from the animated series Simoun. Natsu no ZenjitsuImages for the Genshiken Diaries, parts One and Two are from unknown 31 sources. If you know the original creators, please notify us.Image 38 is the work of Yasuhiro Nightow for the series Trigun. GLorious loveImage 40 is the work of Matsuri Akino for the manga Pet Shop of Horrors. 35Image 42 is the work of Akira Amano for the series Hitman Reborn!Image 43 is the work of Toei Animation for the series Mononoke. BLazed PassionImage 45 is the work of Kiyohiko Azuma for the series Yotsuba&! 39All of the people whose we used for this book deserve your financial Three: Commentariessupport, thus we encourage you to buy their wonderful products. The Red String 45Terms & ConditionsThis book is a non-profit product. The Beautiful World grants Offering a Prayerpermission to every reader to freely distribute its content as long as credit is 49provided to The Beautiful World and the illustrators/mangakas/variousothers whose work is used in Just a Little Taste of Journey. Four: Journal The Genshiken Diaries Part One 55 The Genshiken Diaries Part Two 59 Epilogue The Journey goes on 61
  4. 4. IntroductionAbout this bookT his book, called Just a Little Taste of Journey, is a collection of articles written by Foxy Lady Ayame and Neko-kun, a dedicated love couple who constantly tries to be creative and inspire others with its work. It is the result of three year work on writing and designing for the blog, The Beautiful World.When The Beautiful World first got on the internet, we wished for it to be a sanctuary forus and the things we shared. As we were getting older, our tastes evolved, mostly to moreotaku oriented themes; proof for that is the fact that almost all articles’ starting point comesfully from anime and manga.What I believe is our trademark as a team of writers is our effort to speak our mind for morethings than one. That is, as far as I can see, the purpose of art; to communicate thoughts andemotions. This book is our little contribution to this cause, thus what you will find here isnot simply reviews of great shows but essays about important political and cultural subjectsanalyzed from our point of view.Just a Little Taste of Journey would not have come to life without a great deal of profes-sional work from our editor, Phoenix. She was truly great and her enthusiasm inspired us totry harder and harder. An honorable mention should be given to our mate Katan, for helpingus out with the article on Angel Sanctuary and always disagreeing with us about the bestmanga and anime out there. Last, but not least, many thanks go to the, too many to mentionyou all, wonderful people we have met during our few years as otaku.Finally, we would like to thank you for picking up Just a Little Taste of Journey. It is ourchild and diary, our way to make the people we love smile. It is our important treasure thatwe are happy to share.Neko-kunMarch 6, 2013 8_9
  5. 5. The TravelersFoxy Lady Ayame & Neko-kunT he authors: Partners in life that met by chance, struggling to get over distance. Each of us has unique interests and preferences, in anime/manga and other things, but thankfully that has always been a source of inspiration rather than dispute. We love being together and that keeps our creativity going.Foxy Lady AyameShe has studied pedagogics and currently works as a foreign language teacher. Not very sureabout her career but without a doubt an avid animanga fan and an art-nouveau lover. Sherecords her inspiration in My compass on her field trip* and its extension on springpad.The nicknameHer original one was Kitsune, because she loves Horo from Spice & Wolf who has quite redfur and resembles a fox instead of a wolf. Kitsune are also fascinating as mythological crea-tures. But since at the time there was another person using that nickname at WordPress, shechanged it to Foxy Lady. Ayame was the handle used for commenting on WP, so for practicalreasons it ended up the way it is now.Neko-kunHe is a graphic designer and illustrator who works for a publishing house. He was born inCalifornia, thus a crazy Lakers’ fan. He’s a bibliophile and nuts about old good video games.Oh and he loves sleeping. The member of this blog who, unfortunately, doesn’t write often.The nicknameNeko stands for cat in Japanese. Cats are cute, playful… and lazy. They seek caresses andhugs but they can also have mood swings and be sulky. Pretty much like this young man. Postscript* http://compassonmyfieldtrip.wordpress.com 10_11
  6. 6. The Beautiful SinnersAngel Sanctuary & DiversityT 01. Angel Sanctuarys epic company of friends and rivals. o be called a sinner is one of the hardest accusations a person can face throughout Written by Neko-kun • Published on 07/21/12 • Category: Essay his lifetime. Sinners, throughout mankind’s history, have been punished repeat- edly for their actions and desires. Yet, it often seems to me that sin is a blessing; the road to happiness. In this article I am trying to prove my point by usingAngel Sanctuary (天使禁猟区, Tenshi Kinryōku), Kaori Yuki’s masterpiece and my personalfavorite, as reference material.The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft;hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, or-gies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdomof God.Galatians 5:19-21As the religious quote above suggests, to sin is to listen to what you feel, be it lust, rage, greedand all other human desires, then act according to it -pretty much what Setsuna Mudo didin all the adventures he got himself into. His desire to fight against everything standingbetween him and his younger sister Sara is considered an act worthy of severe punishmentbecause in the eyes of the Divine Father being a loyal subject means to be innocent andlove Him.What I love about Angel Sanctuary is that it shows us how love and sin are connectedway deeper than love and God’s holiness. The reason for this is the diversity of sin’s nature.Love in the way of the "damned" has so many forms that naming them all would be impos-sible. One cannot forget Zaphkiel’s affection and tenderness towards Raziel. Or the greatnessof Katan’s dedication towards Rosiel. The protective feelings of Setsuna towards Sara. HowNidHeg’s emotions were so strong that he managed to forgive Lailah for her cruel betrayal.Also, the sinners very often seem to be the innocent. "All we did was to love, to fall in love."Kurai speaks this truth many times during the story. This is true for her and almost everyother character in Angel Sanctuary. This is also true for those of us who, reading aboutSetsuna’s adventures, seem to find a fragment of ourselves in each character. 14_15
  7. 7. Left Unsaid Mangaka Kaori Yuki Volumes 20 (Viz Media) Voluntary Death Cast "What I love about Human Angel Sanctuary Katou, Yue is that it shows us Kira, Sakuya Mudo, Sara how love and sin Mudo, Setsuna are connected Angels way deeper than love Alexiel Anael and God’s holiness." Djibril/Gabriel 02. Perhaps Neko-kuns favorite Kaori Yuki illustration of all time. DobielOne cannot say that all sinners managed to meet salvation. Not all sins have a good ending, Rosielnot all actions can be positive at all times. But none of those who tried to follow authority in Katanorder to create a perfect, "pure white world" or receive the approval of God had a decent end. Kadmon, AdamSevothtarte never found salvation and Rosiel lost his most important treasure. The holy road Kirieto salvation may, in the end, be only a path downwards the inferno of one’s soul. Lailah Michael 04. When the eyes of youth burn.Love, innocence, friendship, dedication and loyalty, all can be wonderful in unnumbered Metraton Preface Written by Neko-kun • Published on 08/06/12 • Category: Essay Raphaelways. Let no one tell you that there is only one way to pursue happiness, that if you run after This is the first post of a series of articles called Left Unsaid. The project will be dedicated Raziela forbidden love you are cursed, that you are a demon if you do not limit yourselves as to on analyzing various social and personal aspects of life, mostly subjects of ambiguous debate. Sandalphonwhom you love, that you are ugly because you do not look and live according to the rules We wish to use this series as a tool to go deeper into our own experiences and to help other Sarielof an "enlightened" being. We have passions. As human beings, angels and demons, we are Sevothtarte people through mutually beneficial discussions. We believe that the world is beautiful andmade of such. In the same way that Setsuna and his friends never gave up going after what Sheatiel we wish to make it even better. This is part of our contributions to this effort.they needed, let us follow their example and be the beautiful sinners we deserve to be. Teialiel/Teial Uriel IntroductionMore works by Kaori Yuki Zaphkiel As a teenager I remember a word very intriguing to me: death. When I truly started to think andBoy’s Next Door (少年残像, Shōnen Zanzō, 1997, Hana to Yume Comics, Hakusensha, Demons analyze the world around me, the majesty and absolute power of death seemed overwhelming oneshot) Arakune to the eyes of this young boy. Like many other kids my age, I felt like it was something I desiredGodchild (ゴッド チャイルド, Goddo Chairudo, 2001–2003, Hana to Yume Comics, Boyz & Noyz to experience. On this article, I am using volume one of Confidential Confessions (問題提起 作 Hakusensha, eight volumes) Kurai 品集, Mondaiteiki Sakuhinshū) and the story of its heroines, Manatsu and Asparagus, to talk aboutLudwig Revolution (ルードヴィッヒ革命, Rūdovihhi Kakumei, 2004–2007, Hana to Yume Lucifer my own experiences and explain how manga art treats one’s wish to voluntary abandon life. Comics, Hakusensha, four volumes) Prince AbaddonGrand Guignol Orchestra (人形(ギニョール - Ginyōru)宮廷楽団 Ningyō (Guignol) Kyūtei Seven Sins Chapter One: How it begins Gakudan, 2008–2010, Hana to Yume Comics, Hakusensha, five volumes) Astoreth Both in real life and in the world of the manga, family ties matter a lot to a teenager. If they Asmodeus are strong and based on willing participation, they can be a source of power; if they are weak Barbelo or non-existant, they can hurt a person for the rest of his/her life. I can understand that very Beelzebub well, for there were times I felt my family breaking down and I could do nothing to help it Leviathan -or so I thought. Not being able to count on your parents in days of crisis means that you Mad Hatter cannot do the things you need in order to improve yourself as a person; to share thoughts, Mammon ask for advice and learn from the experience of others. You cannot confess the things truly Other important to you in such a situation. Doll Enra-O NidHeg When there is no way to release the negative feelings, they grow roots deep inside one’s soul. YHWH It will turn into self destuctive energy in no time, as mighty and hard as an olive tree. That is, I believe, where the wish to kill oneself begins to sprout in one’s heart and mind. For an adult it may be easier to use past experiences as a defensive mechanism, but it is not the same for a teenager. When one has never chopped down a tree, it is very difficult to find out the proper way to do it without getting hurt. 03. Love, sinful or not, prevails.The Beautiful Sinners_ Just a little taste of Journey 16_17
  8. 8. Chapter two: The state of a suicidal life MangakaWhat sort of things may one wish to share? For Manatsu, that was her loneliness and lack Yuki Urushibaraof self esteem, her worries. For her friend Asparagus, it was bullying and her need to be ac- Volumescepted as a person. For me, it was the indecisiveness of sexual orientation. For every teenager 6 (Tokyopop) In the end,who fantasizes death, there is a different wish, sometimes bizarre, sometimes commonly un- Cast (vol. 1) when faced Asparagusderstood as extremely serious. One of the adults’ grave mistakes is that they always underes- Manatsu directly with death,timate the needs of these young girls and boys. Like Manatsu’s mother told her "what makes most people real-you think you can commit suicide?" Little do people understand that the urge to prove thatyou can do it and hurt them is only growing this way. ize they do not really wish to die. 06. I don’t want to die!Suicidal teenagers see the world in very simplistic terms. Such is their ignorance, that theythink they know everything. That sort of arrogance can easily make you believe in a doctrine become so desperate for that dark shelter that it becomes as much of a need as food. To feedas absolute as "suicide is not the end, it is the beginning!" Just ask Manatsu. But for people that hunger most suicidal teens are eager to do almost anything. I was willing to try to drinkwho think of themselves as holders of the meaning of life, suicidal teens have many questions my father’s medicine, to stop caring about cleaning and taking care of my body. Asparagusunanswered: used cutting as a potion. The girls had no hesitation to even sell their urine to an old man. The list could be endless.Would my parents hurt?Would my friends care? It is important to note though, that it is not, for example, the repeated hearing of death metalWhat if no one noticed? or Marilyn Manson that makes one wish to die. It is how you use these "tools" that helps youWould I be missing this life? reach to that state of mind. Once upon a time, I used biblical teaching and religion as a toolCould it be that the future of the world would change without me? to justify and increase my paranoia and tendency to harm myself. That does not make neces-What if my death would be for everyone’s good? sarily religion a hurtful tool -even though my opinion on that institution remains negative ever since I stopped being a believer.The natural tendency of a young life to question every rule of this world can lead to disasters.Some of these disasters can, unfortunately, include self destruction. The more life experience Not all people put themselves in danger on their own will. In cases like Asparagus’ bullying,one gains, the more one eludes such a danger. it is even harder to change one’s path because that person has to deal with his/her weaknesses and the cruelty of others. In a way, it is like trying to stop your murder. Chapter Four: A Therapy for Pain When I was fifteen, I really wanted to ask questions of the kind that you read above. I think most suicidal teens have the same inclinations. But there are many ways to express such con- cerns and not all of them are negative. I found more and more inspiration for my art from that dark wish of mine. Manatsu preferred to collect pieces of her dead skin and keep them in a diary. Every mind needs to express its needs and very often that is a way to survive. Art, whether through creativity (painting and sketching) or joy (music, films and anime) had given me the will to live many times. If one tries to stop that expression he/she actually hurt the person in need. That is what Manatsu’s mother did and led her daughter to cut her wrist in front of her. In the end, when faced directly with death, most people realize they do not really wish to die. They simply want their life to change towards a different direction and someone to show them how to overcome its obstacles. I remember that in every single attempt I tried, no mat- ter the different ways, I wanted someone to step in, save me and hold me dearly, to tell me they wish for me to live. 05. To the young, what shocks may also seem attractive. EpilogueChapter three: Deeper in the wounds There is always a reason to live. As Manatsu had to find out through a painful loss, suicideThe toughest thing about being suicidal is addiction. Worshipping death can be a dear habit does not give you a solution to life’s problems. It is similar to a rushed ending for a film thatafter you have repeated it long enough. It can become the very first and last thought of the never got completed. Thankfully, neither I nor Manatsu ever got to write that ending our-day. Intellectually, being near death can be hurtful but, for many people, it also becomes lib- selves, thus we can breathe freely, taking it one day at a time. It is my wish that people goingerating. If your problems grow and you are as emotionally fragile as CC’s girls or myself, you through the same, or even worse, difficulties manage to do the same.Left Unsaid_ Just a little taste of Journey 18_19
  9. 9. A History Lesson from Hyōka New historical perspective H 07. Hotaru Oreki: A beautiful mind working in complicated ways. istory: a word that probably causes shivers to most people and especially stu- Written by Foxy Lady Ayame • Published on 06/23/12 • Category: Essay dents. No wonder, since this subject is traditionally tied to a list of dates to remember by heart, heavy books that scare you just by looking at them, and a teacher who keeps talking ’till you get drowsy. But it shouldn’t really be this way. History isn’t just something totally disconnected to us; it isn’t just the story of dead glorious people. "History is who we are and why we are the way we are" said David McCullough.1 History is the search for the truth of important or every day people, of epic battles and life during peace times. It should be interesting. It should cause people’s eyes to sparkle with excitement, ask questions and discuss with each other. Much like in Hyōka (氷菓, Hyōka), because these kids were conducting historical research on a small scale. Chapter One: structures, conjunctures and events What we see in episodes 4 and 5 of Hyōka are historians at work and the perspective of the new historiography. In contrast to the Old History, which focused on the narrative and con- sidered the sources to provide the truth in raw form, New History emphasizes on analysis and interpretation, and supports a critical approach towards the source material. The latter also is concerned not only with big narratives (national history) but also with smaller narratives (local history), such as Kamiyama’s school festival incident. According to the Annales School,2 a style of historiography developed by French historians in the 20th century, history should be studied in three layers: structures, conjunctures and events. Braudel,3 who suggested this framework, wanted to show that time moves at different speeds and one can say that he divides time into geographical (long span), social (medium span) and individual (short span) times respectively.4 Structures exist in the long span, and they may last hundreds, even thousands of years. They refer to the underlying social patterns which provide continuous constraints on our actions. They may represent patterned cultural, economic or political modes of reacting to natural phenomena or perceiving social realities. We can see in the series that Kamiyama, in GifuLeft Unsaid_ Just a little taste of Journey 20_21
  10. 10. prefecture, is surrounded by green, that farming is still taking place, and that the families Directorwho have big parts of land, like Chitanda’s, possess a pretty high social status. It would be Yasuhiro Takemotosafe to assume that these characteristics were pretty much the same 45 years ago and the Studiomentalities accompanying rural areas are also maintained. Structures dont make an appear- Kyoto Animation "New History emphasizes onance during this first arc of the series and don’t seem to play a significant role to the solution Episodes 22 analysis and interpretationto the mystery, yet, they are still there. Cast and supports a critical approachWhat we do get to see in episode 4 is the presence of conjunctures. Conjunctures lie between Hōtarō, Oreki towards the source material" Chitanda, Eru 09. Lets work it out.structures and events and represent the cyclical rhythms within the normal fluctuations of all Fukube, Satoshistructures. A conjuncture in our story might be the "uprising" against authority, in particular When: June 1967. "Cultural Festival Discussion Meeting". Conflict. / October 1967. Sekitani’s Mayaka, Ibarathe government and, secondarily, the teachers. Yes, the student movement of the 60s that Jun expulsionFukube mentions first and their hypotheses up to that point take a whole other meaning. Where: Kamiyama High School Who: Sekitani Jun and the student bodyThe event, of course, is what happened to Kamiyama High School 45 years ago, and to be Why: Students’ independence was forfeitedmore precise, the past of the Classic Literature Club and the past of Sekitani Jun. How: Violence wasn’t used What:? Chapter Two: how do historians seek the truth? a. Phase One Questions though towards the source and the "story" would be just inadequate and pointless The answer is by following certain steps. First of all, they search for available sources, keep- without activating "filters" and setting in motion our critical thinking. ing in mind the topic of interest at all times. They categorize and evaluate the sources and choose those that are considered more valid. As students, the available sources for a very While analyzing the text, the researcher also asks who wrote each source, to whom and for specific topic can be limited, but more than one source is always important in order to do a what purpose. This phase is kind of omitted, but Fukube does make a remark on Ibara’s text, cross examination. Chitanda focused on "Hyōka’s anthology, vol.2" introduction note, Ibara since it seems prejudiced in favor of revolutionists. The feelings and the intention of the au- searched the library and found "Unity and Triumph, vol.1", Fukube dug up the archives of the thor might distort the truth and mislead the researcher."Wall Newspaper Club’s Monthly Report", and Oreki sought some official records and brought information from "Kamiyama High’s 50 Years of Journey". All of them are primary sources. b. Phase Two Critical thinking entails, among other things, the ability to fill in the gaps using logic andThen comes the analysis stage. The texts are carefully read, the important facts are singled previous knowledge from outside the sources. For example, Oreki corrects Ibara when sheout, keywords and thematic of each text are highlighted and the first hypotheses are formed. claims that the revolution was violent, because if one talked about a punitive act, SekitaniBy going through more texts, facts are added, doubted or confirmed and the hypotheses are Jun would have been expelled immediately and not five months later. Reading between thecorrected. And most importantly: questions are asked. lines and comprehending/clarifying ambiguity is crucial, too. Do you remember when Ibara pointed out that the "legendary protest" and Sekitani Jun’s incident are one and the same— otherwise there would be a visible distinction? That’s making use of linguistic rules. Similar are the cases of the puns/homonyms/heterographs discussed among the four characters (sac- rifice-offering, Kanya-Sekitani, hyōka= ice cream-I scream). And, of course, we shouldn’t forget empathy. In the historical context, the concept of empa- thy is much more than just seeing a person, idea or situation through the eyes of another. It is rather a much deeper understanding of the circumstances and concepts surrounding the event. In other words, empathy is "wearing one’s shoes" and reconstructing a situation/an era. Oreki seems to excel in it. If there are still holes in the conclusion, the researcher might need to revise his/her sources or search for more. Texts aren’t the only type of sources available. Paintings, artifacts, cloth- ing, even buildings are considered sources of equal value. Hyōka’s cover is a very good ex- ample that was unfortunately mentioned in the afterward of the conclusion. Its symbolism could be easily decoded and supplement or testify for the theory they’ve formed. The Niece of Time arc ends with the interview of an eyewitness, namely Ms. Koriyama Yōko, the librarian. As shown, finding an eyewitness can be elusive, especially when it comes to women who drop their maiden name after marriage. Usually, it is even more elusive- they 08. What matters is not what you see but how you interpret it.A History Lesson from Hyōka_ Just a little taste of Journey 22_23
  11. 11. had great "luck" that she was still around town and, moreover, working in the school fromwhich she had graduated. Eyewitnesses are valuable but they can only present their point ofview, which isn’t always sufficient when someone tries to approach the truth as objectivelyas possible.EpilogueThat’s how history is written in simple words. I hope you had a fun ride reading this and Iwish that you can see history with Chitanda’s eyes from now on. 10. Watashi kininarimasu! Footnotes 1. David McCullough is one of the most widely respected modern historians, famous for his bi- ographies of American presidents Harry Truman (Truman, 1992, Simon & Schuster) and JohnAdams (John Adams, 2001, Simon & Schuster) and other writings on American history. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and studied English Literature at Yale University where he graduated as one of the best students. 2. The Annales School was a group of historians associated with a style of historiography de- veloped by French historians in the 20th century. It was named after its scholarly journal"Annales dhistoire économique et sociale", which remains the main source of scholarship, along with many books and monographs. The school has been highly influential in setting the agenda for historiography in France and numerous other countries, especially regarding the use of social scientific methods by historians, emphasizing social rather than political or diplo- matic themes, and for being generally hostile to the class analysis of Marxist historiography. 3. Fernand Braudel (24 August 1902 – 27 November 1985) was a French historian and a leader of the Annales School who has been considered one of the greatest modern historians who have repeatedly emphasized the role of large-scale socioeconomic factors in the making and writing of history.A History Lesson from Hyōka_ Just a little taste of Journey
  12. 12. Spice & Wolfa story of two traveling companionsS 11. The fun part of being a traveler is that you can live life your own way. pices: precious cooking material that enhances foods flavor, giving it an extra some- Written by Neko-kun • Published on 03/17/12 • Category: Review thing. Only a few centuries ago, they were a very good reason to go to war or to travel to the end of the world, as Christopher Columbus would tell you. Wolf: One of the most mysterious creatures in the mythology of all peoples.Independent, yet societal, lonely but caring, a killer yet not a beast. When on werewolf formit is depicted mostly as an aggressive, blood-thirsty murderer or a split personality to fightoff his savage part.In economics, when two powerful elements combine and create successive booms, it is onlya matter of time before we find ourselves in a huge bust. In the case of Spice & Wolf (狼と香辛料, Ōkami to Kōshinryō) however, we seem to have discovered a system of excessive growth,stability and productivity without any hard depressions- only a few recessions. Are you readyto read about one of these bloggers’ favorite anime?What makes Spice & Wolf special?Chapter one: The storySpice and Wolf’s story revolves around Kraft Lawrence, a 25-year-old traveling merchantwho peddles various goods from town to town to make a living in a stylized historical set-ting with European influences. His main goal in life is to gather enough money to start hisown shop; he already has been traveling for seven years while gaining experience in thetrade. One night at the town of Pasloe, he finds in his wagon a pagan wolf-deity girl namedHoro who is over 600 years old. She appears to be a 15-year-old girl, except for a wolf ’s tailand ears. She introduces herself as the town’s goddess of harvest who has kept it blessed withgood harvests of wheat for many years. Despite her responsibility to watch over the town,she wants to go back to her homeland in the north called Yoitsu; she believes the people havealready forsaken her and that she has kept her promise to maintain the good harvests. Also,Horo wants to travel to see how the world has changed while she has remained in one placefor years. She manages to bargain her way out of the village by making a deal with Lawrenceto take her with him. As they travel, her wisdom helps increase his profits, but at the sametime, her true nature draws unwanted attention from the Church. 26_27
  13. 13. Director The fact that we do not see her character develop much is, in my opinion, justifiable. She is, Takeo Takahashi after all, some thousands years old. She has met too many creatures to change her attitude Studio in such a short time. Her honest ways more than make up for the lack of development. Even Imagin gods have weaknesses in the end. Episodes (s.1) 12 (+1 extra) What I love about Horo is that -spectacular as she may be- she is never over the top. In reality, Episodes (s.2) I see in her the personification of the ideal female anime character: she goes after what she 12 (+1 extra) wants, yet longs to feel her lover’s care. That does not mean she is going to take advantage of Cast that care. Her encouragement of Lawrence to go after his life’s dream is one that only a true Horo lover and an honest person would show. Lawrence, Kraft Chloe Arendt, Norah b. Lawrence Cole, Mark The second member of the main couple does not have the shine and Boland, Eve star-like appeal of his companion. Even so, Lawrence is the perfect hero for this story and the best possible mate for Horo. Shy when it comes to women and thoughtful, Lawrence makes a slow entry into the show but updates his status and character regularly, without any inconsistencies. For that reason, one could say he is the most com- plex character of the story and also the most developed (in deep contrast to Horo): from a greedy, wandering merchant to a sensitive lover and fellow traveler. 12. Our favorite couple.It is very rare to see a combination of the elements Spice & Wolf tries to pull together. This is not the only way he is different from Horo. He is not so good when it comes to judg-Medieval history, except for that of Japan or China, is usually depicted as a comical or tragic ing people for anything besides profit. He has known no place to call home, while she stayedperiod in the anime market. Spice & Wolf tries a great deal to present this period in a more in the same village for centuries and longs to return to her birthplace. Remember how manyrealistic way. Its people are not saints but they are not monsters either. Merchants are greedy short-term risks Lawrence took through the first sagas? Now, do you also remember how inbut this fact does not erase their morality or conscience. They pursue the best possible deals, the end he turned his back on his dream for Horo – as if there were two different people eachyet still seek human care, attention and friendship. Human beings are not obsolete. time? In many ways Lawrence is defined by Horo, because her actions reveal new aspects of his character. Recall the case of Amati saga where, because of her attitude, Lawrence wasNeither are economics, an element of Spice & Wolf I remember having found in no other forced to change his behavior?anime. I am not acquainted with medieval economics, since they refer to a world I do notknow of and whose main concerns were the –mostly hideous- actions of the Church, the All of this means that Lawrence is a bit of a passive character (when it comes to romance atvalue of metals such as gold and silver, and trade through carriages. It is obvious though that least). He is just a man whose life changed radically thanks to the strongest magic of themHasekura Isuna has done his research and is able to create extremely interesting plots. all: a woman’s magic. We love him for being kind, slightly clueless and passionate. Oh, and his improved verbal skills in season 2.Chapter two: The characters a. Horo Chapter Three: Many pluses and one minus From her amazing introduction to Lawrence, one can understand On its other aspects, Spice & Wolf remains a strong and unique anime. There we can find that Horo –or Great Sage Wolf Horo- is truly a memorable character. some high level animation, attractive character design and great music. The music creates Her appearance is what first attracts the audience into the series, for succesfully a medieval feeling, be it more festive, dramatic or melancholic. The openings and she is unique in her original design and works perfectly as a mascot. endings of both season 1 and 2 are very very good - with the openings bringing a nostalgic However, good looks are not the only thing Horo has to show. Her feeling and the endings closing off each episode with jolliness. character is one we rarely see in anime- a strong, independent yet sensitive woman. Horo is much more open than any other charac- There is hardly anything to add for the pluses, since almost all aspects of both seasons are ter and smarter, too. She proves that in many cases, but I think her stunning. The script is really something and it’s to be expected since we talk about a novel most remarkable moment was in episode 8 of season 1. adaption. Here are some quotes and dialogues.Let us recall that one scene where she cleverly finds out about the merchant’s fraud, thus -- Horo: All men are jealous and stupid, and all women are stupid to be happy about it, idiots are ev-giving Lawrence the opportunity to take advantage of him. All that thanks to her sharpness. erywhere you look...What was even sharper though was her way of communicating her thoughts to Lawrence. Ido not think a goddess can be any more elegant and graceful than she was at that scene. -- Horo: A bunny that gets eaten by the wolf every night, surely knows the wolf well...Spice & Wolf_ Just a little taste of Journey 28_29
  14. 14. Natsu no Zenjitsu -- Lawrence: You’ll be killed if you’re caught! How does that balance out? Horo: Loneliness is a fatal disease. It’s balanced enough -- Lawrence: You... There are things you can and cannot do! tender passions and soft bites Horo: Didn’t you tell me to act cute when asking for something? Lawrence: I told you to be honest about it! I didn’t tell you to resort to feminine wiles! -- Horo: If I wore rabbit’s fur, I’m sure you’d fall into my trap instantly. Lawrence: In that case I’ll carry around some apples so that I’ll get caught in the trap.The only minus I can mention is the design of Horo in the second season that took awaymany of the things that made her one of my favourite female anime characters. We all knowsexy ladies are a big trademark for every series. But that does not mean that turning a mature,smart goddess like Horo into a loli/moe looking female makes her sexier. Rather, it turns herinto something more common and less interesting.ConclusionSpice & Wolf is one of the few anime out there that has no competitor, because it belongsto its own category. It is a must watch for everyone that is looking for a combination of slice I 14. Ones first time comes with many surprises.of life and fantasy, along with lots of intelligent stories and a sweet, romantic couple. I knowI did not regret watching it, the same way I do not regret putting a generous investment of t is cold but two people are warm. It is hot outside, the shadows are thick. A pretty lady Written by Foxy Lady Ayame • Published on 02/24/12 • Category: Reviewspices to make my every meal more tasteful. Without such delicacies, life would worth very enters the art supply shop in order to post some art recommendations on a speciallittle indeed. place in the shop. A handsome young man who works there, offers to help her. That’s how they met. And some days later they run across each other again in a field under thePostscript sky that was so blue and high that is was suffocating; he paints and she watches. Their pathsWe will certainly buy the novels when they are all out. continue to cross until a night that the rain wouldn’t stop... and then... Chapter One: The Story Natsu no Zenjitsu (by Yoshida Motoi) began serializing back in 2008 and runs in a bi- monthly magazine. Up to now, there are 3 volumes out in the stores. The scanlations are even slower since someone not reading Japanese can only find the two first volumes. Yet, patience delivers fuzziness in the heart each and every time. A few words from the mangaka seem like the best introduction to the story. Although it humbles me to just mention his name, there is a song called Natsu no Zenjitsu by Mr. Kōji Takimoto of new age folk band, Tama. The title of this piece of work was borrowed from the name of that wonderful song. Although the world of the song and what I am drawing are completely different, I agonized lengthily over whether I could make this phrase my own and whether I would be able to carry the burden of its existing reputation. I hemmed and hawed over it as a tentative title for this series, until it reached the point that a decision had to be made. It was probably because "Editor S" talked a lot about Tama with me during our telephone conference that I finally gathered enough courage to make the deci- sion. Sorry for all that trouble. Whereupon, when I began drawing out the manga’s title page, I realized that no other title would be more fitting for the series and decided to follow through with my initial instincts and name the series Natsu no Zenjitsu. Of course, although people reading my work could hardly be concerned with it, the desire to make the series live up to its namesake certainly has been a strong motivating factor when writing the manga. I was thinking of writing about this matter in the previous chapter, but since it was the big pre- miere of passion between Aoki and Aizawa, I held back. I’m trying my best. 13. The girls of Spice & Wolf.Spice & Wolf_ Just a little taste of Journey 30_31
  15. 15. The story is an adult romance story and as such it explores job related issues which shed a light Directoron the characters and their interactions. I underline the adult part not only because the pro- Motoi Yoshidatagonists are over the age of 18 but because the whole relationship is more mature and not just VOLUMESin the sexual explicitness department (yes, there are extended sex scenes). The heroine makes 3 (not finished)her move in chapter 1 and already in chapter 2 the protagonists get physically intimate. The VOLUMES Kodansharelationship isn’t as clear as it usually is in (heterosexual) shōjo; there are complex situations Castand perplexed feelings. And that’s really how adult relationships are most of the time. Aoki Tetsuo Aizawa AkiraBut by labeling the story adult, by no means do I imply rough intercourse or nasty porn. HanamiAlthough there is tension and passion bursts from several pages, their love in all its forms is Mori Atōtender. We get many panels with sweet kisses on the face -not only on the lips-, hugs, caresses Riko Inoueand tangled legs. There’s foreplay communication and teasing between them while in bed. Ihaven’t encounter such scenes in other manga. You really get warm on the inside from thishonesty; from watching them explore their bodies and please each other. 15. Lets make up!The art does help a lot, despite the fact that, according to the scanlators, the "brightnessand contrast" tool used by them has decreased the impact of the art. The expressions are who fell for him. (Pay attention on the notes on the side of the manga; they usually expressawesome and well-defined. The crosshatching is, in my opinion, what establishes intimacy Tetsuo’s thoughts). In the omake where everyone gets an animal to represent him/her, Tetsuoand warmth - it’s perhaps how it encircles the characters and fills in the space in the panels. is a panther.Akira’s lustrous hair and soft, curvy body and Tetsuo’s not very edgy face and lean, strongframe ooze sensuality. Body language is used very effectively: from the lonely and/or ner- "Do you know? there’s a way to erase your own existence. If you avert your gaze and avoid making eyevous back of Tetsuo to the embarassed pose and hands of Akira. Realism is emphasized by contact, you can disappear from the field of vision of others. That’s a way to be transparent."the presense of Akira’s pube hair and Tetsuo’s hairy legs. Every character is designed in a waythat speaks volumes for his/her character. "A person’s body... sure is warm. The first time we touched... inside her... Her voice and her smell... every- thing was so soft." Chapter two: The Characters a. Aoki Tetsuo b. Aizawa Akira A 4th year talented student at an art university, he almost always She is an elegant lady at her early thirties, working for an art gallery wears an intense gaze like being angry permanently and, in spite of as well as an art critic. She’s always in a kimono and she may carry a the fact that he has even won a prize, he isn’t confident or a bit con- parasol during sunny days or cover herself with a shawl during cold tent about his art (mainly impressionistic works). One could say days. Her style is classic but not very strict. Her A-line hairstyle Tetsuo is turmoiled by existential angst. Confused and frustrated, he makes her really cute and allows her alluring, smooth white neck to doesn’t know what he should do in the future. He’s quite lonesome, show. Under the kimono she hides beautiful curves and I must say an introvert who faces problems communicating his thoughts and that she is among the few manga characters with rich assets that I sometimes can be abrupt and rude. His face rarely cracks a smile as really like- the physique is less played for the fanservice and morehe puts up walls between himself and the others. His long hair bangs kind of function like a to indicate a mature body.wall. This trouble of expressing himself might create the wrong impression of him. He isn’tstone-cold; he wishes to be tender towards Akira and that is shown through small gestures, She seems a woman that knows what she wants and pursues the object of her desire withoutlike handing her a ginko leaf, and through his thoughts. Smoking is a bad habit of his, but it minding what others might say about her. She’s confident and spontaneous: Akira was theappears it’s his way of letting steam off. He’s observant and yet this trait of his doesn’t trans- one who took the initiative to visit Tetsuo while working on a painting, she gave the first kiss,late to apprehension of feelings - his or others. Tetsuo has a certain pride when it comes to she led him to embrace her, she was the one who caressed his erection through his boxers.his independence. He doesn’t like being helped in any way, even if it’s for something small. That doesn’t mean she is promiscuous; she gets shy and embarrassed too, and states thatTherefore, he is hardworking and runs several part-time jobs (he works at an art supply store) Tetsuo was the first person entering her bedroom. Akira is such a dynamic woman, she evenand one-time errands (eg. construction worker). expresses her wish to support him financially. She really is a nurturing creature that wants the best for the person she loves, playing with the possibility of getting her heart hurt in theHe has also become competent at house chores like cooking since he struggles to make ends process. Among other things, she’s playful and enjoys the moments she shares with Tetsuo.meet. He seems to feel inferior compared to his brother who already works at a bank and Of course, when the time calls for it, she can get the most serious expression. She is seen oncemakes money. Tetsuo was not a high-achiever in school, you see. He makes up with his tal- being demanding from a subordinate of hers. Akira can also get a bit ugly when she’s jealousent that isn’t restricted to painting - he is in a music band along with Mori- but he doesn’t and her eyebrows become like arrows of death. This implies that she can get insecure fromappreciate his abilities. In the course of the story and when he is with Akira, he opens up time to time when it has to do with Tetsuo. We know Tetsuo thinks highly of her (and he goesslowly, he relaxes, seeks consolation in body warmth, blushes and gets hungry for the woman as far as doubting if he deserves being together with such a fine woman), but he doesn’t haveNatsu no Zenjitsu_ Just a little taste of Journey 32_33
  16. 16. GLorious love Yuri Manga 16. Akira-san is truly a wonderful person.the guts to confess his love, a thing that Akira is a bit sad about. In the omake she is depictedas a cat."I like your eyes. That look in your eyes when you are drawing. I want to see that all the time.""If you wouldn’t mind, I want you to be with me, embracing me. Every day. Is that what you wanted to hear?" I 17. Girls kissing can be an amazing, elegant sight. c. The others Hanami is the "flower girl" (she’s often seen carrying flowers) that n August, Pride Festivals around the world came to an end for the year 2012. The Written by Foxy Lady Ayame • Published on 08/2/12 • Category: Review has caught Tetsuo’s eye and interest. She’s introduced from the be- Beautiful World had the honor to be present at Athens Pride Festival. This wonder- ginning when she carries some big sunflowers and bumps on Tetsuo. ful experience inspired us to write about some yuri manga that take their protagonists’ We don’t know much about her yet, apart from her being an art stu- sexuality very seriously. dent that both paints and photographs. Hanami’s smile is radiant and only once she is seen a bit melancholic. She hangs around with Title: A San Francisco Story (Part of the short another girl and goes to a cafe from which Tetsuo passes by. She has story collection Applause (アプローズ ー喝采; ブルー even shopped once at the art supply store. Although Tetsuo thinks ヅュ -アプローズ-) he wants to be friends with her, the fact that he is rarely interested Mangaka: Ariyoshi Kyōkoin another person and that he mentions her in his diary in contrast to Akira (who isn’t men- Volumes: Oneshottioned at all) is quite ominous. spoiler: the mangaka’s first two manga feature Hanami and Hotness: 1they are tagged as prequels to Natsu no Zenjitsu. There we see Tetsuo paired with Hanami.I really hope that Natsu no Zenjitsu is a spin-off rather than a sequel. I don’t want a bad Summary:ending for the couple. It’s very unfair, if you consider that in Koi Kaze, which is an incest In A San Francisco Story, a woman goes to visit an oldstory with the man being the oldest in the couple, the ending was optimistic for them, but friend whos an out lesbian living in San Francisco.here where the woman is older, she’s probably doomed to disappointment. Written in 1981, A San Fransisco Story, bears theMori Atō is an underclassman of Tetsuo who’s the complete opposite of him. He’s always ethereal semi-realistic art of the era (just look at thecheerful to the point of sillyness. He’s carefree (you can notice his unshaved beard and his magnificent eyes above!). Yūko, a journalist, is on ageneral slack way of dressing), likes alcohol and company. We get a comment about him and business trip to San Fransisco and stays at Megumu’swomen: he’s kind of a womanizer. He carries his guitar around and sings (he appears to spend place. Megumu is an old friend from their all-girlsmuch time rehearsing songs, though we also see him painting). In the omake he is a bear. school, and at the moment worries for her partner, Chelle, who is hospitalized for stomach cancer. Tracy, a friend of Megumu, who is also lesbian, passes by to check how things go, andRiko Inoue is a small-framed tomboy graduate student that really loves art. She’s a mangaka ends up providing a mini guide-tour to the queerness of the San Fransisco Pride Parade forand at the same time wants to continue painting. She organizes croquis gatherings and seems Yūko. She also stays with her for the night since Megumu returns to the hospital. Revelationsgenerally an active person. She says she had really enjoyed putting up her works alongside and realizations dominate the latter half of the manga that lead to a charming open end.with Tetsuo and shows an honest interest and admiration in his works. She herself is prettygood. We see a nude self-portrait and I think that’s telling about her self-awareness and Although some parts of the story are a bit cliché, the setting is quite innovative and in theself-image. Of course she worries she needs improvement, but she doesn’t nullify her work few pages it occupies, the significance of the Parade, the nature of homosexuality, the queerlike Tetsuo does. It came to me as a surprise that she smokes, although not heavily. She also fashion choices, gender roles and identities are discussed honestly. As for the characters’drinks but gets easily tipsy. In the omake she is a rabbit/hare with glasses. feelings, they are conveyed effectively through the appropriate panel layout, the close-ups,Natsu no Zenjitsu_ Just a little taste of Journey 34_35
  17. 17. 18. A San Fransisco Story 19. Pietathe multiple facial expressions and the body language. It might not be something that stirs help to retain an air of realism in the work with all the medical and psychological terms theystrong emotions, but A San Fransisco Story definitely has its own merits! use without overdoing it. Doctor Shoumitsu’s theory, that the two girls with high levels of sensitivity are a step forward on the evolutionary ladder and they need each other to survive Title: Pieta along with his comment on how Rio and Sahoko stand out like unicorns (an lgbt symbol), Mangaka: Haruno Nanae gives a sweet twist on the notion of lesbianism, and I like it. It’s a nice contrast to Doctor Volumes: Two Kyoko’s first doubts and keeps the right balance. Hotness: 1 Pieta has such a unique atmosphere that at the end of the story it feels like a fluffy warm Summary: blanket is wrapped around you and a soft breeze grazes your face. A story about two classmates, Sahoko and Rio. Rio is de- pressed and self-abusive due to lack of loving relationships Title: Indigo Blue with her "family", which consists of her negligent father, over- Mangaka: Yamaji Ebine bearing, selfish stepmother and stepbrother; and Sahoko soon Volumes: Oneshot becomes her only comfort in life. Sahoko on her part has a Hotness: 2 frigid relationship with her overprotective parents, and lives with her aunt by consequence. Summary: Rutsu is content with her life. She has a budding career as Pieta never mentions the word lesbianism, yet I could a novelist and a functional relationship with her boyfriend/ not leave this title out of this list. It simply rejects la- editor, Ryūji. However, when she meets Tamaki, a lesbianbels with sincerity; they are too constrictive -especially for Sahoko and Rio and their story. Rio fan of her work who sees homoerotic subtext in her writ-has been given too many wounds on her soul from a very young age and thus she has adopted ing, Rutsu is forced to reconsider her sexuality and what shea "je m’en fous" facąde and appears cold-hearted while the truth is that she has difficulties wants from life.sympathizing with others. And then comes Sahoko who has trouble being herself and notjust impersonating given roles. The unloved child finds the young lady who has received lots Love triangles are usually used in manga to createof love and the two of them fit each other perfectly. While Rio’s previous date had sexual un- drama and stregthen the main couple. It might bedertones, her relationship with Sahoko is full of tenderness whose nature is hard to pin down played for the laughs or as an excuse for more titilat-with only one word. Both, she and Sahoko found a person to open up to. ing sex scenes. This manga doesn’t follow any of these roads. Indigo Blue is about the com- plexity of sexual attraction, romantic feelings and the compatibility with your partner; aboutIt is a little dramatic, with themes like attempted suicide, parental abandonment and the cheating, guiltiness, bitterness, jealousness and break-ups; about people struggling to findevil stepmother stereotype so, whoever is sensitive should take out some handkerchiefs. what they want in life. If we use modern labels, the protagonist is a bisexual woman that isThankfully, it doesn’t descend to mellow thanks to the wonderful side-characters Rio’s doc- aromantic in her heterosexual relationships. Yamaji Ebine talks to us with simple words thattors are. The man is more of a romantic while his wife is the rational "pure" scientist, but both convey Rutsu’s confusion or clarity of mind. She uses minimalistic art and takes advantageGLorious love_ Just a little taste of Journey 36_37