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Film Friday- Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits

Film Friday- Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits

A 26-episode anime television series adaptation by Gonzo premiered on April 2, 2018 and was announced in November 2017. The series is directed by Yoshiko Okuda at Gonzo, with scripts handled by Tomoko Konparu, characters designs done by Yōko Satō and music composed by Takurō Iga. It premiered on April 2, 2018 on the Tokyo MX and BS Fuji stations. It will run for two cours, in which 3 episodes released in 8 of its DVD/Blu-ray release, as the ninth release has 2 episodes for a total of 26 episodes. The opening theme is “Tomoshibi no Manimani”, performed by Nao Tōyama and the first ending theme is “Sai -color-“, performed by Manami Numakura. The second opening theme is “Utsushiyo no Yume” by Nano, and the second ending theme is “Shiranai Kimochi” performed by Megumi Nakajima. Both Crunchyroll and Funimation are streaming the series. A stage play adaptation was announced in March 2017 during a pre-screening event for the anime adaptation.

Oryō

A Snow Woman servant of Tenjin-ya who works as a guest room attendant and appears to function as the Head Maid. She considers Aoi an unfit bride for Odanna out of jealousy. She further considers it her duty to prevent Aoi’s marriage to Odanna. She is in love with Odanna and has been known to call herself his mistress. After disgracing herself trying to get Aoi killed she falls ill with a fever and her unpopularity with the other servants is revealed when Aoi is the only one willing to look after her. Following this she becomes closer to Aoi and treats her like a friend.

Akatsuki

Tenjin-ya’s clerk known for his rough and meddlesome behaviour. He has a younger sister named Suzuran. His Ayakashi form is a giant purple spider with thick legs and red eyes.

Byakuya

A wise and strict servant in charge of Tenjin-ya’s finances. As Aoi frequently makes no profits running Moonflower he thinks she should give up and marry Odanna. He hated Shiro with a passion because not only did he owe Odanna 100 million yen he also cost Tenjin-ya enormous amounts of money over the years on broken furniture, unpaid bills and the theft of food and alcohol from the kitchen.

Chibi

A type of Ayakashi known as a Kappa with the appearance of a green turtle with a blue shell that acts similar to a pigeon but can speak. Chibi is a specific Kappa Aoi is fond of feeding in the park. She thinks of him as sly and ends up taking him with her to Tenjin-ya as a pet.

 

 

Manga Monday- Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits

Manga Monday- Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits

Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi is a Japanese light novel series written by Midori Yūma and illustrated by Laruha. Fujimi Shobo have published seven volumes since 2015 under their Fujimi L Bunko imprint. A manga adaptation with art by Wako Ioka has been serialized in Enterbrain’s josei manga magazine B’s Log Comic since 2016. It has been collected in four tankōbon volumes.

Viz Media announced at their Anime Central 2018 panel that they had licensed the manga.

Plot

Aoi Tsubaki is a college student who has the ability to see Ayakashi, a trait she inherited from her deceased grandfather. One day, when Aoi walks past a torii shrine, she sees an Ayakashi sitting there who announces that it is hungry. However, after giving it food, Aoi is kidnapped by the Ayakashi, an Ogre named Odanna. He takes her to the Hidden Realm, a world where all the Ayakashi live. He tells Aoi that her grandfather owed him a debt, and as compensation, she must marry him. Aoi negotiates with the Ogre instead, asking to work at Odanna’s inn, the Tenjin’ya.

Characters

Aoi Tsubaki

A human girl who inherited the ability to see Ayakashi from her grandfather, Shiro, who also taught her how to cook from a young age. She has a caring personality but has shown she can be stubborn and brave, preferring to work to pay her grandfathers debts rather than marry Odanna. Her greatest regret is that she was unable to share a final meal with her grandfather and that his last meal was poor quality hospital food.

Ōdanna

An Ogre who runs the inn Tenjin-ya in the Hidden Realm. He is known to be cold and merciless but is also loved and respected by his servants because of his kindness and large heart. He knew Shiro, Aoi’s grandfather, for many years and considered him a friend. As a result of Shiro owing him almost 100 million yen Odanna accepted Shiro’s offer of marriage to Aoi as payment. Other Ayakashi refer to him as either “Ogre God” or “Master Innkeeper”.

Ginji

A Nine-tailed fox Ayakashi who was the first Ayakashi in the Hidden Realm to show Aoi real kindness. He can shapeshift into any of nine physical appearances including a handsome man, a young boy, a beautiful woman and a baby fox with nine tails. He runs a small restaurant in Tenjin-ya’s annex building but does not receive many customers. He asks Aoi to take over the restaurant after tasting her human style food. He has a closer relationship with Odanna than the other servants, close enough that he is able to use his adorable young boy form to trick Odanna into buying him treat.

 

Film Friday- Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time

Film Friday- Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time

An English version was licensed by Viz Media under the title Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time. The storyline initially follows the characters and events from the first installment of the video game series. An anime series titled Harukanaru Toki no Naka de ~Hachiyou Shou~ was developed by Yumeta Company with Aki Tsunaki directing, with 26 episodes broadcast from October 5, 2004 to March 29, 2005. The anime received an English dub titled Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time: A Tale of the Eight Guardians.

Characters

Main characters

Akane Motomiya
A modern high school girl, Akane is transported to the Heian era and recognized as the Ryuujin no Miko, or Priestess of the Dragon God. She carries the power of the Dragon God within her body such that she can purify impurities from contact. Though reluctant to use her powers as priestess, Akane is determined to do the right thing. She is innocent and kindhearted, which sometimes leads her into trouble.

The Eight Guardians

Minamoto no Yorihisa
One of Princess Fuji’s bodyguards, who comes to protect Akane as well. He becomes one of the Eight Guardians, as Seiryū of Heaven. He is the strong, silent type and will do anything his mistress asks of him.
Tenma Morimura
A little bit of a tough guy, Tenma is Akane’s close friend from school. He is one of the Eight Guardians, as Seiryū of Earth. He cares deeply for Akane and loves her, but doesn’t really show it in the beginning. As the series progresses, he begins to reveal his feelings. He has a sister named Ran, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances.
Inori
A hotheaded young man whose one goal in life is to destroy demons for ruining his and his sister’s lives. He is Suzaku of Heaven, one of the Eight Guardians.
Shimon Nagareyama
One of Akane’s good friends from school, Shimon is a smart, cute, and very loyal. Along with Akane and Tenma, he is transported to the Heian era. Besides confused as an oni at first, having traits such as blond hair and blue eyes, he is recognized as one of the Eight Guardians, Suzaku of Earth.
Fujiwara no Takamichi 
Hardworking, studious, and chivalrous to all women, Takamichi works in the palace archives in Kyou. He becomes one of the Eight Guardians, as Byakko of Heaven.
Tachibana no Tomomasa
Tomomasa is a general in Kyou, known for being flirtatious, nonchalant, and popular with the ladies. He is one of the last to become a Guardian, as Byakko of Earth.
Eisen
Eisen is the younger brother of the current emperor of Kyou. Though he had been eligible to inherit the throne, Eisen gave up his position to become a monk. He is an accomplished musician and is a sweet, thoughtful, timid man. Eisen fell deeply in love with Akane when they first met, and is willing to sacrifice his life for her safety. He is Genbu of Heaven, one of the Eight Guardians.
Abe no Yasuaki 
A cool,intense guy and one of the Eight Guardians as Genbu of Earth, Yasuaki is a gifted apprentice to the famous sorcerer Abe no Seimei. Despite his expressionless exterior, Yasuaki is childlike in the sense he doesn’t quite understand emotions; He even shed tears with a blank face when Akane was upset with him on one occasion. He holds Akane with high regard, and develops a certain fondness for her.

Oni Clan

Akuram
The leader of the Oni Clan, who summoned Akane to Kyou in order to utilize her power to gain full domination over the city. Akuram is said to be the most powerful of recent leaders of the Oni Clan, and his power stretches to such a level that even his close associates aren’t sure how to deal with it. Akuram inherited the mask of the Oni Clan, allowing him to lead them, because he had the greatest potential to do so as a young boy. Even now he is still young despite his position. On one occasion the mask is shattered, breaking his spell and forcing him to retreat, and it seems that the mask itself is a way of focusing the magic of the Oni.
Akuram’s motivation is not always clear. Sometimes it appears that he simply wants to dominate all of Kyou, however on occasion he suggests that part of his motivation is revenge for the deaths of many of his kinsfolk over the past generations of conflict between the Oni and the people of Kyou. His interest in Akane seems to be predominately a matter of obtaining power, although he often refers to her as ‘his’ Miko, and gets quite angry when any of his subordinates bring harm to her without his permission.
Ikutidaru 
Ikutidaru is Akuram’s right hand man and probably the oldest of the surviving oni. Of all of the oni clan he has the greatest sense of conscience, and is often torn between his loyalty to his people and his love for Inori’s older sister Seri. In the anime, he once disobeyed Akuram and had his eye removed as punishment for the crime (although in the manga it is not yet explained how he came to lose his eye). Despite the fact he does not always agree with the things Akuram orders, he often carries them out with resolute seriousness, even though at times it makes Kyou’s predicament worse. He has a strongly protective – almost paternal – instinct where Sefuru is concerned (although Sefuru is rarely appreciative of that fact). In the ongoing manga, Ikutidaru is currently working with Akane and Yorihisa against Akuram as they try to break the curse Akuram has placed over them. His defection was inspired largely by the way in which Sefuru was injured by Akuram when he was discarded.
Shirin
The only female among the surviving members of the Oni Clan, Shirin holds a strong affection for Akuram which will allow her to do pretty much anything he tells her to do. She is very jealous of Akane because of Akuram’s interest in her, and on one occasion goes behind Akuram’s back and assaults the Miko because of this jealousy. Akuram seems to have no affection for her, discarding her from the clan towards the end, however in the anime conclusion Shirin offers to exchange her life for Akane’s in order to be with Akuram in the afterlife. Although this ending only occurred in the anime, not in the manga. Shirin’s key power is the ability to use her beauty to seduce and then manipulate the actions of men, and therefore she is angered by Takamichi who refuses to submit to her seduction spell. She and Takamichi maintain a chemistry throughout the story on account of this, with Takamichi once saving her life despite her attempts to kill him. Shirin’s physical attacks often involve a rose, whose vines and thorns she can manipulate at will.
Sefuru
Sefuru is the youngest surviving Oni, probably no more than fourteen or fifteen years old. He is technically half and half, since his mother was a normal resident of Kyou. Sefuru is bitter and hates the people of Kyou because his mother abandoned him based on his appearance when he was just a small child. It was at this time that Akuram took him in and began to train him to use him for his own purpose. For this reason, despite his half blood, Sefuru has been accepted as an Oni by the rest of the clan. However, he has a deep rooted fear of being abandoned and alone again, which often drives him to desperate acts. At one point he befriends Shimon, thinking that he’s an Oni in the same situation, though he becomes indignant when he thinks that Shimon has betrayed the Oni by joining up with people in the city and is even more perturbed when he discovers that Shimon is one of the Hachiyou. Despite his aggression, however, Shimon is sure that Sefuru is more hurt than anyone by the encounter, and refuses to bear him a grudge. In the end, Sefuru is shown with Ikutidaru, Seri and their new baby, indicating that his hatred is based in his loneliness, and all he really needed was a proper place to belong. In the manga, which is still ongoing, Sefuru is discarded by Akuram and taken in in his injured state by Inori’s sister Seri on Ikutidaru’s request.
Morimura Ran
Technically not a blood member of the oni clan, Ran is actually Tenma’s long lost sister from modern day Kyouto. She was summoned into Kyou by Akuram some time earlier, but was too frightened to be able to connect with Ryuujin and become Ryuujin no Miko. In her despair, she reached out instead to the black dragon Kokuryuu and became engulfed by its power, erasing her memories of her past life and putting her under Akuram’s control. Ran continues to battle with her alter-ego throughout both manga and anime, though perhaps more significantly in the manga. Probably on account of her association with the oni clan, Ran’s name is also occasionally written in Katakana as and features this way on the anime credits. However, in the manga it is given in kanji, as shown above.

Manga Monday- Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time

Manga Monday- Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time

Harukanaru Toki no Naka de is a Japanese shojo manga series written by Tohko Mizuno who also worked on the video game of the same name, which was developed by Ruby Party and published by Koei. The manga was serialized in LaLa DX magazine from July 1999 to January 2010, and published by Hakusensha in 17 volumes.

Setting

Although an exact time period is not given for Akane’s arrival in Heian Kyou, it seems likely that the story is set in the earlier part of the era, when families such as the Tachibana-ke, Fujiwara-ke and Minamoto-ke were all in some prominence. Though the Fujiwara-ke and Minamoto-ke continued to hold significant position through until the Genpei war, the Tachibana-ke faded out of favor during the 9th and 10th centuries. This suggests that Harukanaru Toki no Naka de is set sometime in the 9th or 10th centuries. This would also fit with later continuations of the Harukanaru Toki no Naka de plot, since Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 2 is set a century later, and features prominently once more the Fujiwara-ke and Minamoto-ke, as well as the Taira-ke. The third installment, Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 3 is set in the period of the Genpei War, which came to an end in 1185. If it can be considered that the third installment is set a century on from the second, this would indicate that the original Harukanaru Toki no Naka de storyline is most probably set in the latter half of the 10th century.

Plot

On her walk to school, ordinary Kyoto High school student Motomiya Akane hears a voice calling to her from an old well in an abandoned historical estate. The voice is that of the oni leader Akuram, and Akane finds herself summoned into another world that resembles the city of Kyoto during the Heian Period (approx. 800-1200). Here she is asked to be the Ryuujin no Miko, a legendary figure who possesses the power of the gods. Akane is told that she must defend this world, called Kyou, from the encroachment of the Oni Clan before she can return home. Fortunately, her school friends Tenma and Shimon are on hand to help her out and along with six Kyou natives they become members of the Hachiyou, a group of specially chosen men who act as the Miko’s protectors.

 

Film Friday- The Story of Saiunkoku

Film Friday- The Story of Saiunkoku

The anime adaptation series, produced by Madhouse and directed by Jun Shishido, was broadcast on the Japanese television network NHK on Saturday mornings. The first season began airing on April 8, 2006, and completed its run on February 24, 2007, airing a total of 39 episodes. The second season, titled Saiunkoku Monogatari Second Series began airing on April 7, 2007 and consists of another 39 episodes, ending its run on March 8, 2008.

Produced by Madhouse and directed by Jun Shishido, the anime adaptation of The Story of Saiunkoku premiered in Japan on NHK on April 8, 2006. The first season ran for 39 episodes until its conclusion on February 24, 2007. The second season, referred to as Saiunkoku Monogatari 2nd Series, premiered on April 7, 2007 and ran for another 39 episodes until its conclusion on March 8, 2008.

In May 2007, Geneon Entertainment announced it had acquired the license to releases the anime in North America with English language options. In September 2007, after only two volumes had been released, Geneon closed its North America operations. In July 2008, Funimation announced that it will distribute several Geneon titles, including The Story of Saiunkoku.

The series uses three pieces of theme music. “Hajimari no Kaze” by Ayaka Hirahara is used for the opening theme for both the first and second seasons. For the ending theme, “Saikō no Kataomoi” by Sachi Tainaka is used for the first season, while “Asu e” by Teruya Miho is used for the second season.

Shūrei Hong

is the daughter and only child of Shōka Hong. She is sixteen years old when the story begins. As a descendant of the direct line, she has the title hime, which means ‘Princess’ or ‘Lady’. Despite the high social status of her family, Shūrei grew up in relatively impoverished circumstances. Her father’s job brought little income, and much of the wealth of their family home was given to the needy during the devastating war for the imperial succession eight years ago. Without domestic servants, Shūrei became adept at household chores such as needlework, cooking and cleaning, traits unusual in a lady of her theoretical rank. She has also held a number of odd jobs to earn money, such as professional erhu player, accountant at Kōchō’s brothel in the Red Light District, and teacher at the local temple. When she is taken to the imperial palace, she becomes the concubine of the Emperor, who only likes males, as the rumors say. Slowly, a relationship begins to form.

Shūrei is the first woman in the history of Saiunkoku to have taken and passed the Imperial Exams with the third highest score, allowing her to obtain the “Tanka” spot. Along with Eigetsu, she was appointed by the Emperor as the new governor of the Sa Province. Shūrei later accepts a position as an official in the Censorate or Inspector in the capital.

Ryūki Shi

is the reigning emperor of Saiunkoku, Ryūki Shi is nineteen years old when the story begins. As the youngest of the previous Emperor’s six sons, each from a different mother, he had been an unlikely candidate to ascend to the throne. In childhood, Ryūki was badly treated by his mother and most of his half-brothers, who would beat him and lock him in a storage house for days in a row. Second Prince Seien was the only member of the family who showed kindness to him. Ryūki often took refuge in the garden or the imperial archives; in the latter location, he first encountered Shōka Hong, who tutored the young prince and encouraged War General Sou-Taifu to teach him swordsmanship.

Ryūki ultimately rose to the throne due to his father’s dying wish, after Seien was exiled for treason and the other four princes killed each other over the succession. Secretly hoping for many years that Seien would return and take his place as Emperor, Ryūki play-acted as a stupid Emperor and avoided any involvement in politics or government, wandering the palace for hours so no one would be able to find him. He even spread rumors that he preferred the company of men to fuel speculation he could not produce an heir.

His avoidance of responsibility comes to an end when he meets Shūrei, who tells him of her dreams of making a better life for the nation’s people. Charmed by her earnest and nurturing personality, he decides to undertake the task of becoming a respectable Emperor. Ryūki’s devotion to Shūrei reveals a capacity for subterfuge and cunning that may have helped him survive the fight for the succession. He initially pretended to be ignorant so that he could study along with Shūrei. Although he has an extreme fear of darkness and solitude because of his childhood experiences, he uses that fear as an excuse to sleep in her room at the palace. When someone tries to poison Shūrei, Ryūki conceals the plot from her and even takes the poison in her place, as part of his plan to identify the culprit. After she returns home, he passes a law allowing women to take the official exams, which brings Shūrei back to the palace and enables her to pursue her dreams.

Ryūki’s romantic pursuit of Shūrei has been complicated by his lack of experience in courting women, as well as Shūrei’s initial belief that he was homosexual and therefore more interested in Seiran. Even after discovering Seiran’s true identity, Ryūki harbors some jealousy that Seiran spends more time with Shūrei and is a closer confidant of hers. After she leaves the palace, Ryūki sends her many absurd gifts such as boiled eggs, blocks of ice, and even a straw voodoo doll. Before sending Shūrei to Sa province as co-governor, Ryūki privately tells her that she is the only woman he wants to marry.

Ryūki eventually tells Shūrei that he cannot wait for her forever because part of his responsibilities as the Emperor requires him to marry. As a result, he extracts a promise from her that he can convince her to marry before a specified time, she will become his consort. After years of convincing Shūrei, he finally succeeded and Shūrei finally accepted Ryūki’s marriage proposal. Shūrei eventually dies soon after she gives birth to her and Ryūki’s daughter.

Seiran Si

is a young man in his early twenties and is the sole remaining retainer in the personal household of Shōka Hong, who took him in thirteen years ago. Since then, Seiran has repaid that kindness by protecting Shōka’s family, performing repairs on the house, and taking small outside jobs to earn money. He is a very skilled fighter and swordsman, and despite his amiable disposition, can be ruthless to those who endanger those he loves. He has known Shūrei since her childhood and is very protective of her, but prefers to watch and help from the shadows.

Seiran is later revealed to be Seien Shi, Ryuuki’s second-eldest brother, who had been known as the “flower” of the royal princes due to his physical and intellectual superiority as well as for his kind heart. Ryuuki deeply admires and cares for him, recalling that Seien had been the only brother who had shown him kindness as a boy, and the possibility of Seien’s return is one of the reasons why Ryuuki does not take his responsibilities as a king seriously. Because of Seien’s qualities, his maternal relatives conspired to make him the next Emperor. The plot failed, resulting in Seien’s exile along with his mother, Lady Suzuran, who was later killed by assassins sent by the other imperial concubines to kill them both. Left alone in the distant Sa province, he joined Satsujinzoku, a murderous band of thieves who nicknamed him “The Little Whirlwind”. Ensei Ro joined the group as well, and the two destroyed the band from within. Afterward, Shouka found the young prince in the wilderness and took him in, giving him the new personal name ‘Seiran’, as well as the surname ‘Shi’, which was homophonous with his original surname.

Seiran has since embraced this new persona and does not discuss his past, although some characters become quietly aware of his former identity. Though he claims to be 21 years old, he is actually 26 years old at the start of the series.

Manga Monday- The Story of Saiunkoku

Manga Monday- The Story of Saiunkoku

The Story of Saiunkoku is a series of Japanese light novels written by Sai Yukino and illustrated by Kairi Yura. As of July 2011, the eighteenth and final volume was released, concluding the series. Four side story anthologies have also been released, collecting stories originally published in The Beans magazine.

A manga version, also illustrated by Kairi Yura, is serialized in Beans Ace, which is published by Kadokawa Shoten. However, when Beans Ace ended, the manga was moved to Monthly Asuka. Currently, nine tankōbon volumes have been released. The series has been licensed by Viz Media for an English release in North America as part of their Shojo Beat imprint.

Plot

Story

Saiunkoku is a world of eight provinces or houses, each named after a different color.

Set in the fictional empire of Saiunkoku, the story centers on Shurei Hong (Kou), a descendant of a noble family that has fallen on hard times. Her father works as a librarian in the Imperial palace, a post which offers prestige and respect, but little compensation. Shurei teaches in the temple school and works odd jobs to make ends meet, but her dream is to pass the imperial examinations and take a post in government, a path forbidden to women.

The new Emperor, Ryuuki Shi, has gained a reputation for being uninterested in courtly matters and for flaunting his love for men. So the Emperor’s Grand Adviser makes a startling offer for her to join the imperial household for six months as the young Emperor’s consort and teach the Emperor to be a responsible ruler. She easily accepts the invitation as she will receive a reward of 500 gold coins if she succeeds. The mysterious Seiran, a young man who was adopted by her father, goes with her as Ryuuki’s bodyguard. Entering the imperial palace revives Shuurei’s dream of being a court official.

The story details the hardships of creating change, especially as a woman, Shurei’s growing relationship with the Emperor and other members of the court, the intrigues of imperial politics, and her commitment to better herself and her country.

Setting

According to legend, Saiunkoku was once infested by demons who threw the country into turmoil. A brave young warrior named Gen Sō (蒼玄 Sō Gen) gathered together the Eight Enlightened Sages of Color and drove away the demons.

Sō Gen then forged the nation of Saiunkoku and became its first emperor. After Sō Gen’s death, the eight sages disappeared, but according to legend they still exist among the people. A beautiful shrine was built for the Eight Colored Sages and still stands within the Imperial City.

Saiunkoku had always been divided into eight provinces named after colors of the rainbow. Six hundred years ago, the Emperor commanded each ruling clan to change its name to match its province. Commoners were forbidden to use the same family names as nobles.

List of Saiunkoku’s provinces
  • Ran ( Ran, Blue) — The most powerful clan in Saiunkoku, it plays a dominant role in national politics.
  • Kou ( , Crimson) — Equal power to Ran clan, with which it is known as the ‘highest of nobility’.
  • Heki ( Heki, Jade Green) — The family known to master both arts and literature.
  • Ko ( Kō/Ki, Yellow) – This clan is known for being the merchants capitol. During times of war they are known as War Merchants, for selling weapons and so on.
  • Haku ( Haku, White) – Military family
  • Koku ( Koku, Black) – Military family
  • Sa ( Sa, Brown) — The clan which held the least power in the land, trying to take their family honor higher up to a powerful degree.
  • Shi ( Shi, Purple) — The Imperial family.
  • Hyou ( Hyou, Light Indigo) — A mysterious clan with a talent for sorcery, although rarely playing any political role it also had one of great influence over the people. It was founded by the first emperor’s sister. Women from the Imperial Family are sent there to practice on how to become well-mannered.

Light novels

Written by Sai Yukino and illustrated by Kairi Yura, the light novel series The Story of Saiunkoku has been serialized in The Beans since 2003. The individual chapters are collected and published in full novel volumes by Kadokawa Shoten with the first volume released in Japan on October 31, 2003. As of April 2010, 16 volumes have been released for the series.

Manga

Written by Sain Yukino and illustrated by Kairi Yura, a manga adaptation of The Story of Saiunkoku began serialization in Beans Ace in 2005 where it continues to run. However, on October 9, 2009, the magazine ended its publication and the series continued in Monthly Asuka till 2012. The individual chapters are published in tankōbon volumes by Kadokawa Shoten, with the first released in June 2006. As of April 2012, nine volumes have been released. The series has been licensed by Viz Media for an English release beginning in November 2010.

Side stories

Sai Yukino has written a series of short side stories for The Story of Saiunkoku which are published in collected volumes by Kadokawa Shoten. The first volume was released in April 2005; as of May 2009, four volumes have been released.

Film Friday- My Little Monster

Film Friday- My Little Monster

An anime adaptation by Brain’s Base aired from October 1 to December 24, 2012. It was also streamed on Crunchyroll during its original run.

Anime

An anime adaptation was announced in the July 2012 issue of Kodansha’s Dessert magazine. The series was produced by Brain’s Base under the direction of Hiro Kaburaki with Noboru Takagi as script supervisor. It aired between October 1 and December 24, 2012. An OVA episode was released on DVD with the final manga volume on August 12, 2013. NIS America licensed the anime for release in North America. The opening theme is “Q&A Recital!” by Haruka Tomatsu and the ending theme is “White Wishes” by 9nine.

Live-action film

A live-action film adaptation is planned for release in April 2018. It stars Masaki Suda as Haru and Tao Tsuchiya as Shizuku.

Main characters

Shizuku Mizutani 
Shizuku is a high school girl who focuses all her time on academics so that she can have a future career with a 10 million yen annual income. She has considered cold by many for her no-nonsense and blunt attitude, and has no friends, but after encountering Haru, she starts expressing more of her emotions, standing up to situations that seem wrong like when Haru had been used by his alleged friends for money. Although she is bothered by Haru and his antics, some of which are romantic gestures towards her, she develops feelings for him. She is proud of being number one in her class, but after meeting Haru, whom she thought would be her academic rival, she no longer enjoys the thrill of topping that list. Her classmate Asako Natsume calls her “Mitty”and becomes her first female friend. Although she styles her hair in pigtails and dresses rather plainly, preferring wool underwear and clothing that she gets from sales from retail stores, there are occasions where she has let her hair down, although Haru prefers the tails because he would be unable to find her.
Throughout the story, Shizuku often questions why she is attracted to Haru and likes him so much. In the manga, she admits to Haru that she was jealous of his personality and that he will never understand her feelings. When Haru runs away, she blames herself for it. However, when he returns, he wants her to share to him her feelings. Haru tells her that he is going away for a year, so she is without him for her third year of high school. Nevertheless, she stills remains faithful to Haru and continues on with her life. She marries Haru after college, and there is a teaser at the end of the manga that shows her working at a legal agency.
Haru Yoshida 
Haru, the title character, has a reputation of being a trouble maker, having been suspended from school for getting in a scuffle with schoolmates, and staying away from school even after the suspension was lifted. When he meets Shizuku, the first schoolmate to ever do something for him, he immediately considers her his first real friend and does many antics to be with her, following her around at school, and pulling her away from her routine life. He tells her that he likes her and might even be in love with her, which often flusters Shizuku. He has a spontaneous and carefree personality and often takes his frustrations out physically on other people. Academically, he is very smart, having entered high school as the top-ranked student but skipping out on the entrance ceremony, having studied most of the high school curriculum while he was sitting out most of middle school, and frequently topping the school’s exam scores, much to Shizuku’s frustration. He has a rooster named Nagoya, later bringing and housing it in school (with the reluctant approval from his teacher).
He cares for Shizuku deeply, and gets jealous of Yamaken’s interactions with Shizuku. Later on, he and Shizuku end up in different classes for their second-year of high school, but this does not change their romantic intimacy. He shuns his father’s rich and famous family background, and went to live with his aunt Kyoko (Mitchan’s mother) who had been cast out of the family. It was from Kyoko that he started learning how to find someone to love. When he attends his brother Yuzan’s birthday party with the socialites, he and Shizuku have a falling out and he stops attending Shizuku’s school. But he eventually comes back and reconciles with Shizuku. He then takes the entirety of the third year off to work with his aunt’s research group and also as a deep sea fisherman. In the final chapters, after Shizuku has gone to college, he and Shizuku get married.

Manga Monday- My Little Monster

Manga Monday- My Little Monster

My Little Monster is a Japanese manga written and illustrated by Robico about the relationship between a girl named Shizuku Mizutani and a boy named Haru Yoshida. It was serialized in Kodansha’s Dessert magazine from August 23, 2008 to June 24, 2013.

Plot

My Little Monster focuses on the relationship between Shizuku Mizutani, who has absolutely no interests except in studying and her plans for the future, and a boy named Haru Yoshida, who sits next to Shizuku in class but rarely attends school. After Shizuku is tasked with delivering class printouts to Haru’s home, she meets Haru, who immediately greets her as a friend, starting their new relationship. Nicknamed “dry ice,” Shizuku is renowned as a girl who is emotionless and cold. However, when she met Haru she was touched by his innocence and his lack of knowledge towards human relationships. Though known as a violent and uncontrollable monster, Haru is actually kind and gentle. Haru immediately declares his love towards Shizuku, but it takes much longer for Shizuku to realize and accept her own feelings towards Haru. Together, as two previously unsocial beings, they help each other learn how to care for each other and relate with their friends and family.

Manga

The manga series is written and illustrated by Robico and published in the Kodansha magazine Dessert. It was serialized between the September 2008 issue, published on August 23, 2008, and the August 2013 issue, published on June 24, 2013. The series has also been released as 13 tankōbon volumes between January 13, 2009, and August 12, 2013. A limited edition version of the final volume was bundled with an OVA episode of the anime series on DVD. The series has been licensed in North America by Kodansha USA, who released the first volume on March 11, 2014. A spin-off manga series was published in Dessert between August 24 and November 22, 2013. Its chapters were collected in a 13th volume, released on January 10, 2014.

Film Friday- Lovely Complex a.k.a Love Com

Film Friday- Lovely Complex a.k.a Love Com

The story has been adapted as a live-action movie released in 2006, a 24-episode anime television series broadcast in 2007, and an adventure game released for PlayStation 2 released in 2006. Two drama CDs have also been produced. The manga and the live-action movie are licensed in North America by Viz.

Anime

The anime television series was produced by Toei Animation and directed by Konosuke Uda, with music by Hironosuke Sato and character designs by Hideaki Maniwa. The opening theme songs were “Kimi + Boku = Love?” by Tegomass (episodes 1–13) and “Hey! Say!” by Hey! Say! 7 (episodes 14–24); the ending themes were “Kiss ~ Kaerimichi no Love Song~” by Tegomass (episodes 1–13) and “Bon Bon” by Hey! Say! 7 (episodes 14–24). It was broadcast on TBS, CBC, and MBS from 7 April 2007 to 29 September 2007.

The Italian distributor Dynit licensed the anime for a DVD release. In Italy was broadcast on 24 October 2010 on Rai 4 and ended on 17 April 2011.

In April 2012, Discotek Media announced that they will distribute the Love Com anime on DVD in North America in one subtitled boxset.

Movie

Love Com was adapted as a live-action movie directed by Kitaji Ishikawa with screenplay by Osamu Suzuki. It starred Ema Fujisawa as Risa Koizumi and Teppei Koike as Atsushi Ōtani. It was released in theaters on 2006-07-15, and on DVD on 2007-01-01. A subtitled DVD was released in English in North America by Viz Media on 2008-02-19.

Risa Koizumi

is not your average Japanese high school girl. Standing 172 centimetres (5 ft 8 in) tall, Risa stands taller than the average height of Japanese boys let alone Japanese girls (the average height for a female is 158 cm (5 ft 2 in)). In the anime she states that she has always been the tallest person in her class. Ironically, her surname means ‘small fountain’. She and other characters compare her to a giraffe. Risa can be impulsive and strong-willed at times, and is rarely willing to display her softer side. She had a crush on Suzuki before he started dating Chiharu. Risa starts developing feelings for Ōtani and soon admits to herself that she likes him. She then starts trying to confess. Failing the first time, Nobuko and Nakao try to help with Nobuko often giving Risa advice on what to do. Finally she very directly tells him. She immediately regrets it, and tells Ōtani to pretend it never happened, but in spite of herself she tells Ōtani once again that she likes him. Ōtani responds that he cannot see her as a girlfriend yet, so her new goal is to make Ōtani regret that and make him like her as well.

Atsushi Ōtani

is one of the main characters. He is very short for a boy, standing 156 centimetres (5 ft 1 in). The average height for a male in Japan is 172 cm (5 ft 8 in). Like Koizumi, Ōtani’s surname (roughly, “big valley”) is a pun on his diminutive stature. He can be thoughtless and rude but he is kind and a little silly at heart. Ironically, Ōtani also happens to be the star player of the school basketball team. He reveals he wants to go to University after graduation to get his teaching certificate. He dreams of teaching basketball to elementary school students.His ex-girlfriend is Mayu Kanzaki, the manager of his middle-school basketball team. She broke up with him for a much taller boyfriend, and this is one of the reasons Ōtani is sensitive about his height. He later finds out that his lack of height wasn’t the reason that she broke up with him; it was because she was in love with someone else already who just happened to be tall. He doesn’t know quite yet how he feels about Risa when she confesses her feelings for him, and responds that he can’t see her as a girlfriend (yet). He later realizes that he does care for her, and he kisses her. Later on in the series, Ōtani gets the wrong idea when Risa keep doing suspicious things with her co-worker Kohori, and then breaks up with her. However, after seeing how devoted she is to him, Ōtani reconsiders and they make up on Christmas Eve.

Manga Monday- Lovely Complex a.k.a. Love Com

Manga Monday- Lovely Complex a.k.a. Love Com

Love Com, also known as Lovely Complex, is a romantic comedy shōjo manga by Aya Nakahara. It was published by Shueisha in Bessatsu Margaret from 2001 to 2006 and collected in 17 tankōbon volumes. The series is about the romance between a tall girl and a short boy who are treated as a comedy duo by their classmates. In 2004, it received the 49th Shogakukan Manga Award for shōjo.

The manga was written and illustrated by Aya Nakahara. It was initially serialized in Japan by Shueisha in the shōjo manga magazine Bessatsu Margaret from September 2001 to December 2006. The untitled chapters were collected in 17 tankōbon volumes. The manga is licensed in English in North America by Viz Media, with 16 volumes published as of January 2010. The Viz edition is licensed for distribution in Australia and New Zealand by Madman Entertainment, which released volume one in May 2008. The series is also licensed in France by Delcourt, in Italy by Planet Manga, in Mexico by Grupo Editorial Vid, in Spain by Planeta DeAgostini, in Taiwan by Tong Li Publishing, in Hungary by Mangafan and in Vietnam by TVM Comics.

Plot

Love Com is a love story between a boy and a girl in Sakai, Osaka. The girl, Risa Koizumi, is 172 centimetres (5 ft 8 in) tall—much taller than the average Japanese girl. The boy, Atsushi Ōtani, is 156 cm (5 ft 1 in)—way below the height of the average Japanese boy. Because of this, the pair are called the “All Hanshin Kyojin” after a popular comedy duo that has a similar height difference. The difference in their heights is extremely exaggerated (in the opening credits of the anime, for example, the top of Ōtani’s head doesn’t even reach Risa’s chin when it should be approximately level with her mouth.)

During summer school, a very tall student named Ryouji Suzuki (from another class) shows up and Risa immediately falls for him because he is tall. There is a girl that Atsushi likes as well, so Risa and Atsushi decide to put aside their differences and help each other get their love interests. Their efforts fail spectacularly as Suzuki and the girl whom Ōtani had a crush on – Chiharu Tanaka – end up becoming a couple. All is not lost though, since Risa and Ōtani become close friends. As they get to know each other better, Risa’s feelings for Atsushi begin to blossom, and her love life gets complicated from there on.

One notable fact about Love Com is that instead of speaking standard Japanese, almost all characters speak in Kansai-ben. Many native Osakan voice actors are employed in the anime. While having one or two characters speaking Kansai-ben is common in many anime shows, having all characters doing so is unusual in media produced for a nationwide audience.