Browsed by
Tag: shojo

Film Friday- Wolf Girl and Black Prince

Film Friday- Wolf Girl and Black Prince

Wolf Girl and Black Prince is a Japanese shōjo manga series written by Ayuko Hatta. It was adapted into a drama CD in 2013. In 2014, the May issue of Shueisha’s Bessatsu Margaret magazine announced that an anime television had been green-lit. The anime ran from October 2, 2014 to December 21, 2014 lasting twelve episodes. The opening theme is “LOVE GOOD TIME” by SpecialThanks and the ending theme is “Wolf Heart” by Oresama. An OVA was released on 4 October 2015.

Live-action film

A live-action film adaptation directed by Ryūichi Hiroki premiered in Japanese theaters on May 28, 2016. It was grossed US$10,639,039 at japan box office.

Characters

Erika Shinohara
The main protagonist of the series. Erika often tells tall tales about her having a boyfriend and takes a photo of a random guy to show as proof. However, the guy turns out to be Kyoya Sata, who also goes to her school. After some pleading, he agrees to pretend to be her boyfriend under the condition that she become his “pet dog.” She eventually falls for him, despite his cruel attitude towards her and desperately tries to win his affection.
Kyōya Sata 
At the beginning, when Erika suggested her idea of faking lovers, Kyōya agrees to it with a “Prince Charming” attitude. However, shortly after, he blackmails, torments and makes her his “dog”. Gradually, he starts to genuinely care for her and becomes jealous whenever she gets close to other guys. He also develops a protective attitude towards her. As the series continues, he realizes his actual feelings for her and that she is not just a way to “pass time”. He is actually more of tsundere hiding under the disguise of a sadist. Once Kyōya learns that he could lose Erika to Yū, he goes after her during their date and confesses his feelings for her. Kyōya also has an older sister who more or less shares his sadistic tendencies, and a fun-loving, rather hare-brained mother.
Ayumi Sanda 
Known also as San-chan, Sanda is a short-haired girl and initially the only one of Erika’s friends to know the “fake boyfriend” situation. She is the complete opposite of Erika, being mature, self-reliant, and quiet. She is also the classmate of Kyouya during their first year. Though Sanda had a short interest in Kyoya, she considers her friendship with Erika to be more important than her crush. Later into the series, she also becomes close to Takeru.
In the film adaptation, Sanda studies in a separate, all-girls, school from Erika, making her a stranger to Kyoya.
Takeru Hibiya 
Kyōya’s best friend from middle school who is inheriting his family’s cafe business. He is a hot blooded man with a simple and clear personality. He fully supports Erika and Kyoya’s relationship, being relieved that Kyoya is finally able to befriend someone other than himself. Later into the series, Takeru becomes close to Sanda, which initially causes Nozomi’s jealousy, as he thinks that their and Erika and Kyoya’s relationships will make him the only single in their group.
Nozomi Kamiya 
Nozomi is a super flashy guy and belongs in the same year as Kyouya and Erika. Also, he is a sort of a playboy type. He can easily remember the names he just acquainted to, especially cute girls name. When he first sees Kyōya, Nozomi believes he is the same as himself, even when he learns that Kyōya and Erika are dating. He tries to get him to come around to his way of thinking; that it is no fun being held down by one girl. However, Kyōya refuses and says how pointless it is to have meaningless flings with various girls, causing Nozomi to give up. He also decided that he should find someone special to him as Erika is to Kyōya. Since then, he becomes a part of their group and even briefly becomes worried that he will be left as the “third wheel” after finding out that Takeru and Ayumi are attracted to each other.
In the film adaptation, Nozomi’s personality is combined with that of Yoshito Kimura, a minor character who wants to date Erika just so he can get his revenge at Kyoya. Because of this, he never befriends Erika nor becoming a part of her group.

 

Manga Monday- Wolf Girl and Black Prince

Manga Monday- Wolf Girl and Black Prince

Wolf Girl and Black Prince is a Japanese shōjo manga series written by Ayuko Hatta.

Plot

Erika Shinohara is a high school student who desperately wants to fit in a clique so she would not become lonely. However, because her clique consists of girls who have boyfriends, she has to resort to tell lies about having one herself. To make them more authentic, Erika takes a photo of a random guy in the street. Unfortunately, the guy, Kyoya Sata, turns out to be the most popular boy from her school. Erika asks him to pretend to be her boyfriend, which he agrees to under one condition: that she become his “Wolf Girl” by acting like a pet to him.

To her dismay, Erika discovers that Kyoya is far more dark-hearted than the “princely” personality he feigns towards others; he frequently gives snarks, insults, and generally has a cynical view of the world. Despite this, Erika is slowly attracted and eventually falls in love with him. Kyoya in turn softens and finds out that he is attracted to her as well, something that is cemented when Erika quits being the Wolf Girl after a misunderstanding, which he responds by “promoting” her to become his actual girlfriend.

Erika and Kyoya go through their high school years as a couple while having to face many challenges, including love rivals for each other, misunderstandings, and jealousy. They also learn to understand and change for the benefit of each other. In the process, they befriend three people who form a part of a group: Erika’s self-reliant best friend, Ayumi Sanda; Kyoya’s hot-blooded best friend, Takeru Hibiya; and the flamboyant Nozomi Kamiya, who becomes their classmate during their second year. Near the end of the series, the couple also have to face the truth of a long-distance relationship when Erika has to move to Kyoto to attend a vocational school for glass making; the two ultimately decide on working it out somehow.
Seven years after graduation, the group have attained each of their preferred professions, with Erika herself becoming a glass maker. She has also married Kyoya, with whom she has a daughter, Yuina.

 

Film Friday- We Were There

Film Friday- We Were There

We Were There is a Japanese romance anime by Yuki Obata. It is licensed for an English language release in North America by Viz Media. It was adapted into a 26-episode anime television series which aired from July 3 to December 25, 2006. A 2-part live action film adaptation was released in Japanese cinemas in 17 March 2012(Part 1) and 21 April 2012(Part 2), starring Toma Ikuta and Yuriko Yoshitaka.

Anime

We Were There was adapted into an anime series by Artland which premiered in Japan on July 23, 2006. It aired for twenty-six episodes until its conclusion on December 25, 2006. The episodes were released to nine Region 2 DVD volumes by Pony Canyon, with each volume containing three episodes, except the final volume which contained two. The first volume was released on October 4, 2006 and the last on June 6, 2007.

Film

In May 2011, production on a live-action film adaption of the manga was announced. The film will be released in two parts. The film is being directed by Takahiro Miki and stars Ikuta Toma and Yoshitaka Yuriko. It is expected to be released in Japanese theaters in the spring of 2012.

Characters

  • Nanami “Nana” Takahashi
    the series protagonist, is a girl who falls in love during high school with the popular Motoharu Yano. They struggle with issues of trusting one another as the shadow of Yano’s dead girlfriend, who was with another guy at the time she died, looms over them. In the manga it is shown that Yano stopped contacting her after half a year following his departure to Tokyo, which eventually led to their breaking up. She eventually begins dating Takeuchi, Yano’s best friend, but is unable to forget her former love. She is shown to be very sweet and caring, and she supports Yano unconditionally, even putting her own feelings and needs aside. At one point, Yano even confesses to Takeuchi that he believes she is strong enough to carry on without him. She is described as having a “baby-like” face by both Yano and Takeuchi and being cute rather than beautiful.
  • Motoharu “Moto” Yano 
    is a popular boy whose girlfriend was killed in a car crash while out with another guy. He has a hard time trusting Nanami, and displays jealousy and possessiveness, but he is also shown to be really childish and willing to receive affection (Nanami even compares him with a cat at one point). As the series progresses, he wrestles with his feelings for his dead girlfriend versus those for the living Nanami, whom he even calls “Nana-chan” at times. Yano moves to Tokyo with his mother, Yoko, but after half a year he stops contacting Nanami, effectively breaking up with her. Eventually it is revealed that his mother killed herself, after which he disappeared. He reappears four years later, living with Yuri Yamamoto but still remembering Nanami. The tragedies he had to cope with left him in a deep state of despair, making him blame himself and believe there is something wrong with his way of loving. He eventually manages to recover with Nanami and Takeuchi’s help.

 

  • Masafumi “Take” Takeuchi 
    is Yano’s close friend and becomes a friend and confidant for Nanami after she begins dating Yano. As the series progresses, he finds himself falling in love with her, leaving him unsure how to proceed. When Yano breaks up with Nanami, they begin dating. He eventually proposes, but she turns him down. He is a really understanding, calm and nice person and cares deeply for both Nanami and Yano (whom he calls “Moto”). After being rejected by Nanami, he decides to do his best to support her and bring Yano back to her.

 

  • Yuri Yamamoto
    is the younger sister of Nana, Yano’s late girlfriend. She suffers a lot because of her unrequited love for Yano. A week after Nana’s death, Yano had sex with her. She originally believed he was simply using her, but later suspects he was pitying her. After Yano begins dating Nanami, she becomes an obstacle for their relationship as Yano continues displaying some closeness with her. After her mother gets sick, Yano moves in with her. When her mother dies, she decides to let Yano go and ends their relationship. She also reveals to Yano the truth about her sister’s feelings for him (her sister actually loved Yano but wanted to tell her ex-boyfriend about it, thus, she decided to go on a drive with her ex-boyfriend but they died in a car accident).

 

  • Akiko “Aki” Sengenji
    is Yano’s former classmate from Tokyo. She is also in love with Yano, but is well aware of the fact that he only sees her as a friend. Therefore, she does not see Nanami as a rival. She is the one who reveals Yano’s whereabouts to Nanami and is shown to have a hard time dealing with the whole story – she confesses at one point that she would be unable to wait for someone as long as Nanami did.

 

  • Nana Yamamoto 
    is Yano’s girlfriend who died in a car accident before the start of the series. Despite the fact she was older than Yano, she had a really childish personality, therefore being considered stupid by most of Yano’s friends. She was the first woman Yano ever loved, which made her one of the most important obstacles in the relationship between him and Nanami.
Manga Monday- We Were There

Manga Monday- We Were There

We Were There is a Japanese romance manga by Yuki Obata, which chronicles the relationship between Motoharu Yano and Nanami Takahashi, starting from their teenage years and continuing during their early twenties. It has been serialized in Betsucomi from 2002 to 2012. The series went on hiatus in early 2008, but resumed publication in June 2009. It is licensed for an English language release in North America by Viz Media. In 2005, the manga won the Shogakukan Manga Award for shōjo. The manga has sold over 10 million copies in Japan.

Manga

Written and illustrated by Yuki Obata, We Were There has been serialized in Betsucomi since its debut in 2002. The series went on hiatus after the January 2008 issue, and resumed serialization in the July 2009 issue. The individual chapters are collected and published in tankōbon volumes by Shogakukan, with the first volume released on October 26, 2002. Fifteen volumes were released. The last chapter appeared on the February 13 issue of Betsucomi.

The series is licensed for English language release in North America by Viz Media, which released the first volume on November 3, 2008 under its “Shojo Beat” imprint. Four volumes were released in English. It is licensed for regional language releases in France by Soleil Productions, in Germany by Egmont Manga & Anime and in Argentina and Spain by Editorial Ivrea.

Plot

Nanami Takahashi, a teenage girl in her first year of high school, hopes to make new friends quickly. The center of attention at her school is Motoharu Yano, a very popular boy, whom Nanami dislikes at the beginning, due to his apparent superficiality. However, she soon falls in love with him, but Yano is still affected by the loss of his girlfriend, Nana Yamamoto. Nana was killed in a car crash a year before the beginning of the story. Because she was with her ex-boyfriend at the time of her death, Yano suspects she was cheating on him. Due to this, he is unable to trust people or to talk about his relationship with her; instead, he chooses to pretend he does not care very much about the situation.

Nanami confesses her love to Yano, but is rejected when he is unable to tell her if he loves her back. Despite that, she is still willing to support him and reassures him she will always be by his side. Soon, Yano realizes he has fallen in love with her as well, so they start going out. However, Yano’s secrets (including the fact that he slept with Nana’s little sister, Yuri, after the accident and his unwillingness to talk about his feelings for his dead girlfriend) make Nanami unsure to the point that she decides to end the relationship, believing she is unable to make him happy. The story becomes even more complicated when Masafumi Takeuchi, Yano’s best friend, also falls in love with Nanami and becomes Yano’s rival.

Due to these circumstances, Nanami is confused over whom she should choose, but she soon realizes that Yano is the one she genuinely loves. She agrees to start going out with him again, on the condition that she can find out more about the relationship between Nana and Yano and his true feelings about what had happened. Their romance takes an unexpected turn when Yano finds out that his mother, Yoko, wants to move to Tokyo. Upon hearing this, Nanami tells him to make a decision without taking her into consideration. The anime ends with Yano’s departure; however, the two of them decide to continue their relationship.

The manga picks up four years later. It is revealed that Yano and Nanami kept in touch for about six months, then he stopped contacting her and disappeared without a trace. Tired of waiting, hurt and confused, Nanami starts a relationship with Takeuchi. Even so, she is still in love with Yano and unable to forget about their common past. She befriends a co-worker named Akiko Sengenji, who is revealed to be one of Yano’s classmates from the Tokyo high school he transferred to. In a series of flashbacks it is shown that Yano was forced to work part-time when his mother was diagnosed with cancer, but kept everything hidden from Nanami, not wanting to worry her. Following an unexpected visit from Michiko, her former friend and wife of Yano’s father, Yoko became increasingly paranoid, fearing he would leave her. When Yano announced his decision to go and visit Nanami, she accused him of being insensitive. After a short, but violent fight, Yoko hung herself; as in Nana’s case, Yano blamed himself for her death and therefore decided to sever all the ties with his past.

Sengenji is also in love with Yano, but, despite this, she sees Nanami as a friend, not as a rival. She is the one who reveals Yano’s whereabouts to Nanami (including the fact that he adopted his father’s name, Nagakura) and later the fact that he lives with Yuri Yamamoto. As a result, Nanami rejects Takeuchi when he proposes to her, feeling that it wouldn’t be fair to marry him. Upon meeting Nanami for the first time in more than five years, Yano claims he is in love with another woman. However, when he and Nanami meet again, she tells him that she knows about the relationship between him and Yuri. He then admits that he only stays with Yuri because her mother is dying and he feels he can’t leave her alone. He also tells Nanami about his mother’s suicide, and also about his panic attacks. During this meeting, it is hinted that he’s still in love with her.

Meanwhile, Takeuchi decides to continue his relationship with Nanami, but only as friends. He tells her that she will eventually reach Yano and asks her to wait for him. He also starts to push Yano to admit his own feelings for Nanami and points out that no matter how strong she seems, she is unable to deal with the situation by herself. Nanami and Yano have an unexpected meeting, during which Yano finally confesses he wanted her to hold him back instead of letting him leave with his mother. Shortly after, Yuri’s mother dies, which prompts Yuri to end her relationship with Yano. She reveals to him that her sister Nana never cheated on him and that she only wanted to have a proper break-up with her ex-boyfriend at the time of the accident.

Yano decides to start over with Nanami and tries to contact her on the telephone. He fails several times due to her busy schedule, but eventually reaches her. During their conversation, a severely over-worked and anaemic Nanami falls down from a flight of stairs and is brought to the hospital injured and unconscious. Terrified by the possibility of losing her as well, Yano rushes to her side – as a result, the two of them are reunited. The finale of the manga shows Yano proposing to Nanami and then visiting Yamamoto Nana’s grave site with her.

 

Film Friday- Banana Fish

Film Friday- Banana Fish

Banana Fish is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Akimi Yoshida. Serialized in Shōjo Comic from 1985 to 1994 and adapted into an anime television series in July 2018, the series follows Ash Lynx, a teenage gang leader in New York City. It takes its name from the J.D. Salinger short story “A Perfect Day for Bananafish”.

In October 2017, an anime adaptation was announced as part of Yoshida’s 40th anniversary commemoration project. Produced by MAPPA, the 24-episode series premiered on July 5, 2018 on Fuji TV’s Noitamina block in Japan, and Amazon Prime Video internationally. The production staff includes Hiroko Utsumi as director, Hiroshi Seko as script supervisor, and Akemi Hayashi as character designer. The adaption revises the setting of the series from the 1980s to the present day, adding modern references such as smartphones, and substituting the Vietnam War with the Iraq War. The opening theme is “found & lost” by Survive Said The Prophet, while the ending theme is “Prayer X” by King Gnu.

Main characters

Ash Lynx  

 

The alias of Aslan Jade Callenreese, a seventeen-year-old leader of a gang of teenagers in New York City. Formerly a sex slave, enforcer, and heir to the criminal empire of Dino Golzine, Ash joined the mob at the age of seven after running away from his home in Cape Cod. Ash breaks from Golzine to solve the mystery of “banana fish,” which drove his brother to insanity in Vietnam. Ash commands extraordinary intellect, charisma, and tactical foresight, in addition to being an expert marksman and knife fighter. His physical appearance is based on Stefan Edberg and, as the series progresses, River Phoenix.
Eiji Okumura  

 

A nineteen-year-old Japanese college student and former competitive pole vaulter, Eiji was forced into early retirement due to injury, and now works as Ibe’s assistant. He travels to New York to complete a report on street gangs, where he becomes a friend and close confidant to Ash. Eiji is kind and gentle, though frequently stubborn and naïve. Ash’s closeness to Eiji is frequently exploited by his enemies, who correctly intuit that Ash’s willingness to sacrifice himself to protect Eiji is his sole weakness. Eiji’s appearance is based on the actor Hironobu Nomura.

Ash’s and Eiji’s affiliates

Shunichi Ibe (

 

A Japanese photojournalist who comes to New York City to do a report on street gangs.
Max Lobo

 

The alias of Max Glenreed. A Vietnam War veteran, freelance journalist, and former New York City Police Department officer. Deployed in the same platoon as Ash’s older brother Griffin, Ash initially blames Max for his brother’s mental illness, though he later becomes one of Ash’s closest confidants in his investigation of banana fish. His physical appearance is based on Harrison Ford.
Griffin Callenreese
Ash’s older brother. A veteran of the Vietnam War, Griffin became severely mentally handicapped after being used as a test subject for banana fish. Later killed in the crossfire of a confrontation with Golzine’s men.
Alexis Dawson
A pathologist at the University of California. As a student, he and his brother Abraham accidentally created banana fish while attempting to synthesize LSD.
Jessica Randy
A journalist and Max’s ex-wife. Jessica takes Ash’s group in during their investigation of banana fish, and later joins the group for their final battle against Golzine. She and Max reconcile their relationship towards the end of the series.

Corsican mafia

“Papa” Dino Golzine

 

A kingpin in Unione Corse who aims to expand his power by selling banana fish to the United States government. Ash’s former patron and later adopted father, he has groomed Ash since he was a child to be his sex slave and heir to his criminal empire.
Frederick Arthur

 

A vindictive and cruel ex-member of Ash’s street gang, who allies himself with Golzine in order to usurp Ash.
Abraham Dawson
The younger brother of Alexis, who defied his brother’s wishes to destroy banana fish, and continues to develop and weaponize the drug for the Corsican mob into his adulthood. As a doctor during the Vietnam War, he tested banana fish on unknowing soldiers, including Griffin.
Manorheim
The director of a federal mental health facility secretly funded by the Union Corse, who experiments on violent criminals to observe the effects of banana fish.
Blanca

 

The alias of Sergei Varishkov, a Kazakh assassin and former KGB lieutenant who defected from the Soviet Union after his wife, a political dissenter, is murdered. Prior to the events of the series, he is employed by Golzine to train Ash to become Golzine’s heir. He subsequently retires to the Caribbean but is called out of retirement by Golzine to capture Ash. A highly effective killer who dutifully carries out any contract he is hired for, he is hired by Yut-Lung to murder Eiji, but refuses to do so and defects to Ash’s gang.
Eduardo L. Fox
A sadistic mercenary and former member of the French Foreign Legion, hired by Golzine to capture Ash.

Chinese mafia

Yut-Lung Lee

 

The youngest son of the Lee family, the largest crime family in China. Possessing an encyclopedic knowledge of herbs and poisons, he allies with Golzine to determine the chemical composition of banana fish. Yut-Lung possesses a deep grudge towards his brothers, who raped and murdered his concubine mother, and eventually violently deposes them. He is hostile towards Ash and Eiji and frequently attempts to capture and murder the latter.
Shorter Wong

 

A Chinese American gang leader who controls Chinatown. A close friend and ally to Ash, the two met while in juvenile prison together. Shorter is sociable and gregarious, in contrast to Ash’s stoicism. He is injected with banana fish by Golzine’s men and ordered to kill Eiji, though he is able to ask Ash to kill him before he is able to do so.
Sing Soo-Ling

 

A fourteen-year-old Chinese American boy who assumes control of the Chinatown gang upon Shorter’s death. He becomes a reluctant ally to Ash, after initially blaming him for Shorter’s death. Though outwardly child-like and carefree, he is a skilled tactician and leader.
Lao Yen-Thai

 

Sing’s half-brother. Though Sing forgives Ash for killing Shorter, Lao continues to distrust him and resents Sing’s deference to Ash in the ongoing gang war. In the final scene of the story, Lao stabs and kills Ash.

Street gangs

Alex
The second-in-command in Ash’s gang.
Skip

 

An African-American boy, and member of Ash’s gang. Killed in a confrontation with Golzine’s men.
Bones
Lieutenants in Ash’s gang assigned to protect Eiji.
Cain Blood
The leader of Black Sabbath, an African American gang that controls Harlem. Though initially neutral, he later allies with Ash in his battles against Arthur and Golzine.

New York City Police Department

Jenkins 
A diabetic homicide detective assigned to investigate deaths caused by banana fish.
Charlie Dickenson

 

A homicide detective. A friend of Max, the two met while in a police academy. In a romantic relationship with Nadia, Shorter Wong’s older sister.
Manga Monday- Banana Fish

Manga Monday- Banana Fish

Banana Fish is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Akimi Yoshida. Serialized in Shōjo Comic from 1985 to 1994 and adapted into an anime television series in July 2018, the series follows Ash Lynx, a teenage gang leader in New York City. It takes its name from the J.D. Salinger short story “A Perfect Day for Bananafish.

Banana Fish was first published in May 1985 in a supplementary issue of Shōjo Comic, and ran until April 1994. The series was collected in Japan as nineteen tankōbon and eleven bunkobon published by Shogakukan, who also published an official art book titled Angel Eyesas well as Rebirth: The Banana Fish Official Guidebook.

North American publisher VIZ Media licensed two editions of an English-language translation. The first, published from 1999 to 2002 and spanning the first seven volumes, features flipped artwork and censors some expletives. The second, published from 2004 to 2007 and spanning the full 19 volumes, is printed in the original right-to-left format and includes a re-translated script. The series was additionally printed in both of Viz’s now defunct manga magazines, Pulp and Animerica Extra. In 2018, shortly after the release of the anime adaption of Banana Fish, Viz announced plans to reprint the series.

Side stories

A total of five side stories were published. In Japan, these stories were collected in a single bunkobon titled Another Story, while the 19th volume of the VIZ Media English-language translation includes Angel Eyes and Garden of Light.

Fly Boy in the Sky

Originally published in 1984 — a year before Banana Fish was first published — Fly Boy in the Sky tells the story of how Ibe and Eiji met. During a high jump competition, Eiji attempts and fails a complicated jump. Ibe, watching a televised broadcast, is impressed by the performance but notices that Eiji appears to be depressed. Ibe seeks out Eiji to interview him, and to photograph his jumps for an exhibit.

During the interview, Eiji opens up about how he has fallen into a professional slump. When Ibe asks Eiji about why he looks sad when he competes, he responds that it is because he feels nothing when he jumps. Upon viewing the photos Ibe has taken of Eiji’s jump, both men observe that what Eiji is really feeling is a sense of weightlessness; Ibe remarks that the bliss on Eiji’s face looks like a “home run ball up in the sky.”

Ura Banana

A comedic fourth wall-breaking story, where Ash and Eiji discuss fan mail the series has received with creator Akimi Yoshida.

Private Opinion

A prequel that tells the story of how Blanca and Ash met. Golzine, seeking a private tutor to break Ash’s rebellious streak, blackmails Blanca into taking Ash under his tutelage. Initially, Blanca is convinced that Ash is too violent and unruly to be trained. When he encounters Ash after he has been beaten and sexually assaulted by one of Golzine’s men, Blanca decides that he will protect Ash by teaching him how to fight. Blanca concludes that Ash’s ruthless streak stems from having been deprived of love and that only through finding love will his true potential be unlocked.

Angel Eyes

A prequel that tells the story of how Ash and Shorter Wong met. Ash is admitted to juvenile prison when Golzine refuses to post his bail, where he is made cellmates with Shorter. Shortly after Ash’s arrival, rumors begin to circulate that Arthur has placed an assassin in the prison. Shorter suspects the assassin to be Ash, after observing him single-handedly fighting off Ricardo and Frankie, two prisoners seemingly targeting Ash for prison rape. Ash tells Shorter that he knew Frankie was an assassin sent by Arthur to kill him; knowing that being under the protection of another inmate would complicate any attempt on his life, Ash had sex with Ricardo to force Frankie to make a move. When Shorter tells Ash that his manipulation makes him no better than the people he hates, Ash lashes out, though the incident prompts him to open up to Shorter. When Shorter is released from prison several months later, Ash happily bids him goodbye as a friend; Shorter notes that it was the first time that he ever saw Ash laugh and that Ash’s face when he smiled was “angelic.”

Garden of Light

A postscript set seven years the events of Banana FishGarden of Light follows Akira Ibe, the niece of Shunichi Ibe, as she visits New York City. She stays with Eiji, now an accomplished photographer living in Greenwich Village, as he prepares for a major gallery show. Eiji has remained close friends with Sing, now a student at CUNY who continues to run the Chinese mafia with Yut-Lung. While viewing Eiji’s photo albums, Akira notes that there are multiple missing pictures marked with the letter “A”. Akira learns that these are photos of Ash, and is told the story of Ash’s death and his relationship with Eiji. Eiji takes his photographs of Ash out of storage and places a portrait of Ash in his gallery show.

Plot

The main story of Banana Fish consists of six parts, published across 19 volumes:

  • “Prologue” (volume 1)
  • “The Mystery of Banana Fish” (volumes 1–6)
  • “Ash’s Counterattack” (volumes 7–11)
  • “The Return of Golzine” (volumes 12–14)
  • “The Final Battle” (volumes 15–18)
  • “Epilogue” (volumes 18–19)

Part 1: Prologue

During the Vietnam War in 1973, American soldier Griffin Callenreese fires on his own squadron in a dazed frenzy. He is subdued when Max Glenreed, a friend and fellow soldier, shoots him in the legs; as Griffin collapses, he speaks the words “banana fish.”

Part 2: The Mystery of Banana Fish

12 years later, Griffin — now severely mentally handicapped — is cared for by his younger brother Ash, the leader of a gang of street kids in New York City. One night, Ash encounters a mortally wounded man who gives him a vial of an unknown substance and an address in California; the man utters the words “banana fish” before dying.

Ash begins to investigate “banana fish,” though he is impeded by Dino Golzine, a Corsican mob boss who had groomed Ash as a sex slave and heir to his criminal empire. In the course of his investigation, Ash acquires several allies: Eiji Okumura and Shunichi Ibe, who have traveled from Japan to report on street gangs; Shorter Wong, a gang leader who controls Chinatown; and Max Glenreed, who Ash encounters in prison while detained on a false murder charge. When Griffin is shot and killed in a fight with Golzine’s men, the group sets out to solve the mystery of “banana fish” together.

Ash and his allies travel to the address in California, finding a mansion occupied by a man revealed to be Yut-Lung Lee, the youngest son of China’s largest crime family. They later encounter the home’s true occupant: a doctor who informs them that “banana fish” is an untraceable drug that brainwashes its users. Golzine intends to sell the drug to the United States government, which seeks to use it to overthrow communist governments in South America. The group is subsequently captured by Golzine’s men, who inject Shorter with banana fish and instruct him to kill Eiji. When Shorter begs Ash to kill him in a moment of lucidity, Ash fatally shoots him.

Part 3: Ash’s Counterattack

The group, with assistance from Ash’s and Shorter’s gangs, escape Golzine’s compound. Ash uses stock manipulation to destroy the value Golzine’s legitimate businesses and withdraws $50 million from their accounts, making it appear as though Golzine has embezzled the money. Golzine is forced to leave the United States to answer to his superiors in France.

In the power vacuum created by Golzine’s absence, Ash secures promises of neutrality from Cain Blood, the boss of Harlem’s street gangs, and Sing Soo-Ling, who has taken over the Chinatown gang. He begins to methodically take out the Corsican-affiliated street gangs, emerging victorious but gravely wounded in a final battle. He is placed in a psychiatric facility for treatment, which is revealed to be funded by the Unione Corse, who fake Ash’s death so they may use him as a test subject to observe the effects of banana fish on a live brain. Ash is able to escape from the facility, just as Golzine returns from Europe to reassert control of the Corsican mob.

Part 4: The Return of Golzine

Yut-Lung, having used banana fish to put his older brother in a vegetative state, enters into an alliance with Golzine. Yut-Lung eliminates Golzine’s co-conspirators in the banana fish project, while Golzine eliminates the other members of the Lee family syndicate, making the two men the de facto leaders of the Corsican and Chinese mobs.

Golzine and Yut-Lung contract Blanca, a retired assassin who trained Ash, and threaten to kill Eiji unless Ash returns to Golzine and ends his investigation of banana fish. Ash agrees to their terms, accepting that he cannot defeat Blanca, and is reunited with Golzine as his advisor and legally-adopted son. At a party thrown by Golzine, Ash is rescued by Eiji, with the support of Sing’s, Cain’s, and Ash’s gangs.

Part 5: The Final Battle

Ash retreats to the American Museum of Natural History, though Eiji and multiple members of Ash’s gang are captured in the ensuing chase. Ash captures Yut-Lung and releases him in return for the freedom of the hostages.

Ash and his allies later repel an assault by Eduardo Foxx, a mercenary hired by Golzine, though multiple members of their gang are captured. The group tracks the prisoners to the psychiatric facility where Ash was previously imprisoned. In a climactic battle, Foxx and Golzine are killed, and all evidence of the banana fish project is destroyed.

Part 6: Epilogue

Max publishes an investigation of Golzine’s child sex ring in Newsweek, prompting a massive scandal in Washington that implicates multiple politicians.

Sing convinces Yut-Lung to end his pursuit of Eiji and Ash. The two agree to work together to reassert control of Chinatown.

Ash, wracked with guilt over the violence he has exposed Eiji to, ceases contact with him. Eiji and Ibe return to Japan, though just before his departure, Eiji entrusts a letter for Ash to Sing. In the letter, Eiji says that while he understands why they can no longer see each other, “my soul is always with you.” While distracted by the letter, Ash is stabbed by Lao Yen-Thai, Sing’s lieutenant who never forgave Ash for killing Shorter Wong. Ash dies, smiling and clutching Eiji’s letter.

 

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.