Dec 272011
 December 27, 2011  Posted by at 11:04 am Reviews Tagged with:  1 Response »

Ok for the sake of ease, I’ll be abbreviating the title to Sekakoi.  Coz I can!

Before I begin, I wanted to state that I really liked Junjou Romantica – by the same mangaka, and I liked the beginnings of Sekakoi for similar reasons.  The artwork was sweet, the fluffiness adorable.  The characters were cute and angsty enough to keep me interested because, lets face it, I like cute and angsty.

But perhaps it was Junjou that ruined my capacity for the problems of Sekakoi.  So, there are a few points I want to address regarding this anime.  These points were inspired by the following links (thanks Precious for showing them to me).

Both of these posts address the incidence of rape=love in yaoi, and I have to agree that in some cases, yaoi is feeding our rape culture but that’s not the reason I’m writing this ‘review’.  The two rather good blogs linked do that well enough already, and I recommend the read.

Rather, I wanted to address the point that made me stop watching Sekaikoi for now (I think I got most of the way through the first season before it got too much – perhaps one of you guys can tell me if it gets better).  That point is this:

I really really really wanted the two main characters to just get over themselves already.

Come to my place for cheese and rape.

The main premise of the story is that the two main guys met and fell in love in high school and dated for a while.  Due to a misunderstanding, they split up and never saw each other for years.  Much later, they meet again.  Much angst ensues (we like angst).  The problem is that even after it comes to light why each of the characters is upset with the other, neither of them makes any kind of move to reconcile, apologise or even try to understand. (We like angst to eventually be resolved, comprendez?)

It’s like they’re still teenagers – too stubborn to get over themselves, too set in being ‘right’ and in being the one who was most wronged, as if this was some kind of game.  And the winner would get what?  Black eye-liner and a lip ring to prove what emos they are?

I mean, I fancied myself in love in high school, but if I saw that person now in the street I probably wouldn’t fall to pieces over it.  I certainly wouldn’t a) avoid him at all costs or b) try to rape him.  Instead, like the grown up person I am (who no longer thinks like the teenager I used to be) I would walk over and say hello.  We would talk, catch up, make small talk for a few minutes, get a bit nostalgic and then probably part ways amicably, like mature adults.

Why?  Because in the X years since we have left high school, we have learned that grown-ups don’t cling to perceived insults.  In fact, we would make an effort to understand the other person’s point of view.  Discuss things, get it all out in the open, and hopefully merely agree to disagree and put the past behind us.  Possibly start over, or if not, get on with life no worse for the wear having not ‘won’ our argument.

The adults in Sekakoi could not get over their perceived insults.  Instead, one tries to avoid the the other to the point of madness.  The other becomes creepy, raping, stalker.  Even after the reasons they were hurt come to light, neither tries to discuss it with the other, they merely continue their path, clinging to their self-righteous, misguided stupidity, in a bid to win the Emo Of The Year Award.

So instead of getting over it, they fester and rot, like two kiddies throwing a tantrum.

And yes, the incidence of rape=love in yaoi is rediculous, as those two blogs detail.  I dislike it, and I think the yaoi fangirl’s propensity to forgive it is rediculous.  But I think the yaoi fangirl’s propensity to overlook idiocy in main characters is the root of all these evils.

As a yaoi fangirl, I am probably also guilty of this sin.  No, I don’t watch yaoi for realism, I watch it for escapism.  However, even I can only suspend my disbelief so far before getting annoyed at the flimsy plot that just never gets resolved.

Or possibly, I’m just impatient for resolution of angst.

The other couples in Sekaikoi are much easier to understand and enjoy.  For them, I recommend this anime, but be prepared to tolerate stupidity by the main two.

Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi the manga is available at MangaFox.   Or you can watch it on Crunchyroll and Aarinfantasy.

Nov 262011
 November 26, 2011  Posted by at 9:29 pm Featured Articles, Reviews No Responses »

Review by Parow/WantSome, Originally Published on SocialInfection

Star Rating: 4/5
Author Website: Mira Grant
Available at: Our Store (there is a print or kindle version, I think)
Read the First Chapter Online

OK, after I wrote this review I realised how friggin wordy it is. So –
Tl;dr: Not your average zombie fare, highly recommended, part 1 in the Newsflesh Trilogy

The Premise:

In 2014, two completely antonymous groups of scientists were working on projects to cure the common cold and cancer, respectively. Through a series of unfortunate events these two cures somehow broke out, escaped, and merged to form an even more unfortunate super virus called Kellis-Amberly – KA for short. Soon after that, the first reports of the dead rising from their graves to chew on their living friends began to spread like wild-fire.

The story of FEED takes place in 2035, 25 years after The Rising. It centres around Georgia and her brother Shaun who grew up in a Post-Rising world where civilisation, albeit much reduced and confined, still thrives regardless of the constant threat from the dead. This threat is brought home to you from the beginning, when the first chapter opens showing Shaun poking a zombie with a stick to get a reaction for video to go on their blog, leading to a hair-raising scene of escape. Of course they escape in the first chapter! Otherwise this would be a very short novel and it isn’t.

There are a few things that set this novel apart from your average Zombie fare.

First, total annihilation of civilisation does not factor in here. People survived, the government and authorities took action (late, but enough) to preserve life and society. Now people live in safe neighbourhoods in cities and towns carefully fenced and guarded by the military. It means that moving between safe zones and not-so-safe zones requires a blood test, a sterilisation, and very careful logging of all movements to prevent an outbreak. It also means they still have electricity and internet, which is convenient considering our heroes are bloggers – spreading news of their adventures and discoveries through their website After The End Times. The fact that society did not collapse and people are not living without power and running water and heating is explained so simply, and seems so obvious, that it left me wondering why so many other zombie novels/movies/games work on the premise that there has been a total apocalypse. In this story life, only slightly different, goes on.

Second, everyone is infected. In fact, not just everyone, but every mammal over 40 pounds in weight is infected. The science behind this novel is very carefully researched and explained easily and believably through small snippets of information scattered liberally throughout the story. It works like this (without giving too much away) – the virus lies dormant in your body until you die and ‘go into amplification’ where the dormant virus goes live and re-animates your corpse, or you get bitten by an infected thing and the live-state virus is introduced to your bloodstream. Both ways, live-state virus = Zombie. The good news is this virus also kills all other viruses (good-bye common cold and AIDS) as well as mutated cells (bye-bye cancer). The bad news is, you will eventually become a zombie. You can only hope that you have someone who loves you enough to shoot you in the head when you die the first time.

Third, zombies are not the only thing that can kill you, and they’re not the only ones who might want you dead.

The Story:
Mira Grant tells the story through the eyes of Georgia, a news-oriented blogger, who travels with her brother Shaun, an adventure-oriented blogger, through the USA on the presidential-election campaign trail. The cover boasts the RSS Feed logo on the cover – so we’re talking about more than one sort of ‘feeding’ going on… The small team of bloggers sets out to tell the truth, delivering the news as they see it from the campaign trail. Unfortunately they stumble across a few rather enormous lies that they set about unravelling, making few friends and several enemies on the way.

Although this is a zombie novel, Mira hasn’t forgotten human nature, which, it seems, hasn’t changed much since The Rising. Her character building is superb, taking a slow and steady approach, and letting you make up your own mind about the cast as you go along. She keeps you on your toes, with liberal, heart-stopping action sequences, dotted with sudden background information just to change the pace and build the tension. I found myself screaming ‘JEEZ JUST GET ON WITH IT I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT’ several times throughout the novel.

That is possibly the only area in which I can fault this novel. Much of the science was very interesting, but didn’t need large sections of text to explain. The rest of the novel was enough to help me suspend my disbelief to the extent that I didn’t need to be further convinced by science that this world could be real. I have, on the other hand, found myself reading other books that don’t have enough focus on the why’s and wherefores of the story, making it hard to believe and thus hard to care about the outcome for the characters. I guess there’s just no pleasing me in this respect.

Overall, this book makes it so easy to live the story with the characters and feel for them as intensely as if you were there, and just when I was starting to get comfortable, Ms Grant threw in some totally unpredictable plot twists that had me reeling. I highly recommend anyone who enjoys reading novels that are meaty in plot and characters, heavy in action and tension, and page-turningly addictive. The story can stand alone but is actually the first part in a trilogy. I have already read and enjoyed part two, Deadline, and can’t wait for the third part which is out next year.

If you ever read it, let us all know what you think here, and also tell me: Do you like the idea of a different-but-still-in-tact society post-apocalypse such as this novel poses, or are you more a fan of the total-annihilation-of-life-as-we-know-it scenario posed by media such as Zombie Land and The Walking Dead?


Note: Myra Grant is a pseudonym for Seanan McGuire

May 152011
 May 15, 2011  Posted by at 2:29 pm General Tagged with: ,  No Responses »

You say I split you
The moment
We touch
My soul
My body
My heart
My mind
Is no longer mine
It’s shared
It’s halved
It’s split
It’s divided
It’s you
Tears me in two

May 152011
 May 15, 2011  Posted by at 2:28 pm General Tagged with: ,  No Responses »

You are an artist, my love

Your mouth is a musician’s mouth, your lips his tool

My body is the instrument you play, drawing forth the music that is our passion.

My cries are the melody, your groans are the lyrics,

Our bodies come together and beat the rhythm of our song.

Your breath hushes me, my moans do not obey

My hair whispers on your skin in silken sigh,

While your clever fingers wring from me gasp!

Our voices mingle in perfect harmony,

As, together, we sing the wordless song of our love

May 152011
 May 15, 2011  Posted by at 2:25 pm General Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »

What if I kissed you?
I would push you away
What if I pushed you?
I would remain unmoved
What if I insisted?
I would resist

What if I fight you?
I will prevail
What if I attack you?
I will defend
What if you started to fade?
I am eternal
What if I faded away?
I would remain unchanged.

What if I embrace you right now?
It would make no difference
What if I comfort you?
I am inconsolable
What if I hated you?
I cannot be hated

What if I befriended you?
I advise against it
What if I persisted?
It would be to no avail.

What if I loved you?
I am not to be loved
What if I made you love me?
I am unable

But, Control, I am an unstoppable force
And I, Passion, am an immovable object

May 152011
 May 15, 2011  Posted by at 2:24 pm General Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »

Credit to Yashi-san!

A mouse in my house
Thinks warmth in autumn is good
Sake is better

Roses grow on you
Sake makes you see springtime.
Tadpoles don’t say kneedeep.

“Posting” is only two syllabubs and don’t rhyme wiff nuffink.

The sun is warmer
than the moon was last evening
the sake is gone.

You may have no more
sunshine is too bright to share
lay off my sake

Mulberry flowers.
Sweet morning air in Springtime.
Silk Filtered Sake.

Winter draws around.
Ghost essence becomes sake.
Nature is clever!

You may be able
to remove freckles but can
you see common sense?

I’m dreaming of a
White Christmas. Winter? Summer?
Sake is just cool

Driving with sake
Car falls softly in deep snow
Farmer’s arms are warm

Ice come quietly
Winter holidays to start
Give boss some sake!

Desert wind blows hot
Cactus flower in the night
Put sake on ice

The door to sake
may be barred to those who wait
Open springs the lock!

May 152011
 May 15, 2011  Posted by at 2:20 pm General Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »

There’s a girl outside my window
She watches as I go about my daily chores
Sometimes she waves. I think she wants to come in.
But I’m a little afraid of her.

There’s a girl outside my window
Sometimes she makes a sad face
She’s cold outside. I want to help.
But I’m a little afraid of her

There’s a girl outside my window
She hurts a cat and grins, I know it’s a trick
She wants me to run outside and save it.
But I’m a little afraid of her.

There’s a girl outside my window
She’s getting angry, now. She’s ugly.
I want to run and hide but she’s always there
And I’m a little afraid of her.

There’s a girl outside my window
I think she’s a little lonely
She wants to come in where we’re happy.
But I’m a little afraid of her.

There’s a girl outside my window
She’s eating cake in a party dress. She’s beautiful
She smiles at me. Come to my party.
But I’m a little afraid of her

There’s a girl outside my window
She’s angry with me. She is screaming,
She stomps her feet. Why won’t I be her friend?
But I’m a little afraid of her.

There’s a great big crack across the window
I can’t see the girl anymore. She’s gone.
Mommy says ‘Throw it away;
What’s the use of a broken mirror’

There’s no girl outside my window
I wonder where she’s gone
She could have been my friend
But I was a little afraid of her.

May 152011
 May 15, 2011  Posted by at 2:19 pm General Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »

Your laugh is hollow, you lying motherf*cker
Your smile is shallow, you cheating wh*re
Your mask holds no water, surprised I didn’t spot it sooner?
Your story is so unconvincing I can’t take it anymore

What made you choose my family?
Did we seem an easy target?
Leave us alone, f*ckwit
Let us be, or you’ll be the one with regrets.

Yes, I might look meek and mild;
Too little to reach the handle, too weak to close that door
Careful, now, it’s a fool who takes me for a child.
Beware, “Daddy”, your kitten has finally found her claws.

May 152011
 May 15, 2011  Posted by at 2:18 pm General Tagged with: ,  No Responses »

Like running

Like watching a scary movie

Like laughing too much too hard

Like crying too much too hard

Like hiding

Like forgetting

Like when you go

Like when you return

You leave me

May 152011
 May 15, 2011  Posted by at 2:17 pm General Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »

Pretty Kitty
Precious Kitty
Cute and Lovely, Darling Kitty

Velvet toes,
warm wet nose.
Fluffy tail,
sharpened nails.

“Feed me, mummy.
Love me, mummy.
Scratch behind my ear,
and here and here, and here!”

How easy it is to love

this Pretty Kitty
Precious Kitty
The kitty to whom I belong.