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Manga Monday- Gokusen

Manga Monday- Gokusen

Gokusen is a manga series by Kozueko Morimoto. The story follows Kumiko Yamaguchi, the granddaughter of a yakuza boss and teacher at an all-male private high school. In 2008, an SP manga was out, featuring some of Yankumi’s (Kumiko) old students who are by now working adults.

In 2002, the manga was adapted into a television drama with Yukie Nakama in the title role. A second series was produced in 2005. The third season of the (live action) series was aired as Nippon Television’s 55th Anniversary Program in 2008.

A 13 episode animated adaptation by Madhouse ran on Nippon Television from January 6, 2004 to March 30, 2004.

A movie as part of the drama series was released in Japanese theaters on July 11, 2009.

Plot

The plot revolves Kumiko Yamaguchi, the granddaughter of a Yakuza boss, Kuroda of the Kuroda Ikka. Her parents died when she was at the age of seven, and her grandfather had no other descendants, so Kumiko is next in line to head the family business with the title of Ojou. However, her lifelong dream has been to become a teacher. While her grandfather approves of her choice, others in the family want her to become the next boss.

Kumiko becomes home teacher of class 4-2 in mathematics at an all-boys private high school where she is known as Yankumi. Her class is full of delinquents, but she tries her hardest to teach them not just academicly, but about lessons of life. Though she’s forced to keep her family a secret from the public, her Yakuza upbringing gives her the strength and the experience to reach out to her students, while also providing comedic situations.

Film Friday- Karneval

Film Friday- Karneval

Karneval is a Japanese manga series by Tōya Mikanagi which originally started serialization in the monthly Josei Manga magazine Monthly Comic Zero Sum published by Ichijinsha on August 28, 2007. There are currently twenty-one volumes released in Japan. A 13-episode anime adaptation by Manglobe aired between April and June 2013.
An anime adaptation was announced in April 2012. The anime premiered on April 3, 2013 on ABC. It was later licensed for streaming by Funimation in North America and premiered on their streaming service April 8, 2013 at 12:35pm EST. The anime was released by Bandai Visual on Blu-ray and DVD volumes with English subtitles, with the first volume being released on May 28, 2013. The opening theme is “Henai no Rondo”  by Granrodeo while the ending theme is “Reason” by Kamiyu.

Circus

Yogi 
The Second Ship’s Fighter Yogi is an eccentric 21-year-old man who’s always bright and cheerful. He is Hirato’s subordinate. Despite his age, he tends to act like a child. He wears a white allergy patch on his left cheek, that, when removed, causes him to become extremely violent, as well as changing his hair color. While he states that battles make him nervous, he is still a skilled fighter. During the Circus’ public shows he usually wears a cat costume named “Nyanperona” and hands out candy to children. His weapons are two thorn-like épées, and the name of his special attack is Dornkiste (German for “thorn chest”). He calls Nai “little Nai”. He looks after Gareki and Nai with Tsukumo. Though Yogi cares for everyone, he has a soft spot for Gareki.
Tsukumo 
Another fighter of the Second Ship’s crew, and Hirato’s subordinate. She is always wearing a serious expression on her face, is down to earth, and very dedicated. Tsukumo is a skilled acrobat and her beauty is complimented by both men and women. She is the most level-headed out of the group, and tries to be the shoulder to lean on even though she has a hard time understanding others emotions. Tsukumo is close to Nai, and cares about his well-being. She hated insects ever since she was a child, which was shown when Yogi mentioned that the species “niji” has a diet of primarily insects.
Hirato
The Second Ship’s Captain. A very polite 27-year-old man who doesn’t take his work too seriously, but does his job well. His smile can be deceiving and people have a hard time figuring out his true intentions and feelings. Upon taking Gareki and Nai on board his ship, he entrusts them to Yogi and Tsukumo. His weapon is a cane, and the name of his special attack is Vakuum (German for “vacuum”).
Eva 
The Second Ship’s 25-year-old Lieutenant. She appears to be soft and feminine when she’s with women but acts masculine when she’s with men. She is very fond of Tsukumo.
Akari
A doctor working for the government. He’s a complete workaholic; a fact which often grates on the nerves of the people around him. He doesn’t seem to have a good relationship with Hirato and Yogi seems to be slightly scared of him. It is implied that he is wealthy. Due to the reserved, unfeeling and stoic front he puts up most of the time he is rather disliked by many, yet he is actually a very gentle person who cares for living beings, Nai being one of them.
Jiki 
A soft-spoken botanist who also First Ship’s fighter. Jiki seems to have feelings for Tsukumo from the Second Ship and he does not get along very well with Eva.

 

Tsukitachi 
The First Ship’s Captain. An easygoing member of Circus who does not care about the small things. He often comes off as being quite rude, but he is simply being straightforward with his observations. He is the same age as Hirato.
Kiichi 
The First Ship’s fighter. A female member of Circus who is strong-willed, a sore loser and perfectionist. She considers Tsukumo her rival.
Azana 
Akari’s long-haired assistant, originally stationed in Life Division but occasionally help in Research Tower. He’s very gentle and a bit of a klutz. His face is usually littered with band-aids. His family was killed by Varuga.

Kafka

Karoku
The person that Nai is looking for. He is 18 years old, and is described by Nai as a gentle person, but their connection is still unknown. He is still alive, but his location is unknown. At the end of the second episode of the anime, however, it is implied that Karoku is held somewhere by Kafka. He is seen in a dark greenhouse full of roses with Eliška, the young granddaughter of a rich industrial who is implied to be the leader of Kafka. He sends messages to Nai through brain waves. He calls Nai his “special child”. During the incident at Smokey Resident, it is revealed that there are two Karokus; one that appears to be Karoku but is not, and one that is the original Karoku. Gareki and Nai rescue the presumably dead original Karoku but Akari brings him back to life. When revived, he has no memories of who Nai is. After Nai protects him from dying, Karoku remembers Nai again.
Eliška
The 14-year-old granddaughter of Palnedo, the CEO of Gald. She grew up in an environment where she was treated like a princess, and as a result she was brought up to be a selfish girl who does not know how to be considerate towards others. She is revealed to have feelings for the fake Karoku. At one point when she hears Karoku say there is a special child in circus, she believes him to be talking about Tsukumo, which makes her feel jealous. She seems to be unaware of Uro and her grandfather’s true intentions and schemes.

 

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Manga Monday- Karneval

Manga Monday- Karneval

Karneval is a Japanese manga series by Tōya Mikanagi which originally started serialization in the monthly Josei Manga magazine Monthly Comic Zero Sum published by Ichijinsha on August 28, 2007. There are currently twenty-one volumes released in Japan. A 13-episode anime adaptation by Manglobe aired between April and June 2013. On August 22, 2014, North American manga publisher Yen Press announced the license of the manga, with the first volume to be published on March 24, 2015. Yen Press is releasing Karneval volumes in a 2-in-1 omnibus format.

Plot

Nai searches for someone important to him, with only an abandoned bracelet as a clue. Gareki steals and pick-pockets to get by from day to day. The two meet in a strange mansion where they are set up, and soon become wanted criminals by military security operatives. When Nai and Gareki find themselves desperate in a hopeless predicament, they encounter none other than the country’s most powerful defense organization, “Circus”.

Characters

Main characters

Nai 
is the main protagonist of the story. He claims to have always been living with a man named Karoku in a forest near Karasuna. When Karoku does not appear one day, Nai ventures outside and finds a trail of blood leading from their home to the sea, and a left-behind bracelet (Circus I.D.). Feeling scared and lonely, he sets out to try finding Karoku with only the abandoned bracelet as a clue. He eventually meets Gareki, who saves Nai from a mansion where a Varuga woman named Mine was keeping him captive. This marks the beginning of their travel together. Despite his unworldly ways, he has an acute sense of hearing that is more well-developed compared to other people’s. Akari, a research doctor at Circus reveals that Nai has the cellular structure of a human and a “niji”, a small, delicate creature found in the forest he came from, and that these cells have managed to coexist unlike the Varuga. He also said that Nai is successfully existing as a new species and that if they were to describe the person who accomplished this, they would certainly be called a genius and that to produce a being like Nai, the creator must have been very devoted.
Gareki 
A 15-year-old boy who gets money by robbing rich people’s mansions. He’s very intelligent and sharp, his strong point being his knowledge of mechanics. He is also a skilled shooter and likes to carry around a gun. Gareki distrusts people and isn’t very sociable, stating that he hates associating with others. However, despite his arrogant and distant attitude, he does have a more caring side that he doesn’t like showing, seeming to have a soft spot for his friends on the second ship and Nai. He originally thought to use Nai for his robbing schemes but later joins him to find Karoku. When Nai tells Gareki about Karoku knowing that they were together, Gareki realizes that Karoku wants to keep him away from Nai. Gareki works with the Circus organization to help defeat Kafta and Varuga, who killed Tsubaki and Yokata.

Film Friday- Sensual Phrase

Film Friday- Sensual Phrase

Sensual Phrase is a shōjo manga series created by Mayu Shinjo. The manga was published by Shogakukan in Shōjo Comic between 1997 and 2000, and collected in 18 bound volumes. It was adapted as a 44-episode anime television series by Studio Hibari, and as a series of novels. The series tells the story of Aine Yukimura, a high school student who becomes the lyricist for a Japanese rock band, and her relationship with the band’s lead singer, Sakuya Ookochi.

To promote the anime, a real-life band was formed: Λucifer, the band the story focuses on. The rival band, e.MU, seems to have been active before the manga was created. Both bands continued after the anime ended before disbanding. In the series, Λucifer’s original name is Lucifer, changed to Λucifer (using the Greek letter lambda) when the band decides to go international. For the purposes of the article this second name, Λucifer, is used. Japanese names are given in Western order, with family name last.

Production

In her blog, Shinjo noted that though she was the actual creator of Sensual Phrase, she was one of the last to know that the series would be adapted into an anime, and that by the time she knew, Shogakukan had already made the decision to do the series. She was also unaware that there were talks about a film adaptation of the series until two years after the proposal was rejected. When the anime was rerun on AT-X, she learnt of this through the channel’s official website. She left Shogakukan in 2007, despite the company’s threat to take all of her earlier series, including Sensual Phrase, out of print if she did so. Shinjo contacted a lawyer, and the threat was never carried out.

Sensual Phrase was adapted as an anime television series by Studio Hibari. It was directed by Hiroko Tokita, with music by Susumu Akitagawa and character designs by Yumi Nakayama. There were multiple opening and closing theme tunes, some of them credited to fictional bands Λucifer and e.MU, for which real-world counterparts were created. The anime was broadcast on TV Tokyo in 44 episodes from April 20, 1999 to March 25, 2000. It was later released on 11 videos by Pony Canyon.

Aine Yukimura

The main female protagonist of the series, Aine is a shy but innocent high school girl who does not know how to hide her feelings. Her home life is rocky, her parents seem to ignore her, and she is mostly left to her own devices. Hurt by this emotional neglect and lacking confidence in herself, she clings to and relies on Sakuya to protect and defend her and feels guilty about her inexperience and doubts. When Sakuya tells her parents that Aine will be living with him, they realize they are losing their daughter to a dangerous world. Sakuya eventually convinces Aine’s father that he loves her and will protect her, so they can live together. Aine has to fight to find her own place within the record label, and prove herself repeatedly. She comes to be seen as important to Sakuya’s emotional wellbeing and to the band, and earns her place with her innovative concepts and her lyrics. Towards the series end, following her rape and the death of her friend, band producer Hitoshi Takayama, she grows up, matures, and becomes stronger.

Sakuya Ookochi

The main character of the series, Sakuya is the highly talented lead singer of Λucifer. Seventeen and still in high school, he is also the band’s youngest member. He transfers to Aine’s high school to get closer to her. While he respects and trusts Yuki, the only other band member he is close to is Atsuro. He is known for his striking blue eyes, inherited from his American father. Sakuya is also rude, physical, and does not care about life, even when he begins to sing with the band Lucifer. Sakuya has spent most of his young teenage years paying off his mother’s debt at the club where she worked. Like his mother, he sang and played the piano for club guests. But to make more money, he also worked as a male escort prostitute on the side. He was able to do this because he appears older than his years. His harsh childhood experiences have caused Sakuya to lose trust in people. But when he meets high school girl Aine, he shows a new caring and sensitive attitude towards others, especially to Aine. When she first starts working for them he tells himself that he is selfishly using her, but before long his true feelings emerge. ~ See Sakuya’s one-shot and Vol. 10, Lucifer’s Legend. Sakuya also makes an appearance in “Love Celeb” as Kirara’s producer.

 

Manga Monday- Sensual Phrase

Manga Monday- Sensual Phrase

Sensual Phrase is a shōjo manga series created by Mayu Shinjo. The manga was published by Shogakukan in Shōjo Comic between 1997 and 2000, and collected in 18 bound volumes. It was adapted as a 44-episode anime television series by Studio Hibari, and as a series of novels. The series tells the story of Aine Yukimura, a high school student who becomes the lyricist for a Japanese rock band, and her relationship with the band’s lead singer, Sakuya Ookochi.

Manga

Written and illustrated by Mayu Shinjo, Sensual Phrase premiered in Shōjo Comic in 1997, where it was serialized monthly until its conclusion in 2000. The individual chapters were collected and published in 17 tankōbon volumes by Shogakukan from June 1997 through January 2001. An additional volume was released on April 24, 2003 containing a sequel chapter to the story and additional unrelated short stories. Shogakukan republished the serialized chapters across six shinsoban hard cover editions in 2003, and re-released the original 17 volumes in 2006 with new covers

Sensual Phrase is licensed for English-language release in North America by Viz Media, including the special final volume. Viz Media published the first volume of the series on March 24, 2004; the final volume was released on February 13, 2007.

The series is licensed for regional language publication by Editorial Ivréa in Spain and Latin America, Pika Edition in France, Egmont Manga & Anime in Germany, and Star Comics in Italy. It was serialized in Germany in Manga Twister, and in Italy in Amici.

Light novels

Five novels based on the manga were published by Shogakukan:

  • 90-nichi no Densetsu, published December 1, 1999
  • Hong Kong Kyoushikyoku, published July 25, 2000
  • Ao no Meikyu, published November 26, 2001
  • Owarinaki Shinwa, published February 2001
  • Engage Song, published June 3, 2003

Plot

Aine Yukimura is a seventeen-year-old high school student who writes sensual song lyrics and hopes to become a songwriter. One day, two school friends talk her into entering her best lyrics into a contest. When someone bumps into her in the street, she drops her lyrics and is almost run over by a passing car. It is driven by Sakuya Ookochi, lead singer of the hard rock band Lucifer, which is known for its sensual lyrics. Aine does not know who he is, but falls in love. He makes sure she is not hurt, and gives her an all-access pass to that night’s show. After she leaves, he finds her lyrics and takes them back to the band with a plan in mind.

That night, Aine listens from the back of the audience. As she turns to leave, she hears Sakuya singing her lyrics. She runs to the stage to see if he is the driver of the car. She is swept off her feet. At first, people tell her Sakuya is never serious about women, and she thinks he might be toying with her. Later, he kidnaps her and convinces her to become the band’s lyricist, and she thinks he is playing with her but for business reasons, not romance. Sakuya then transfers to Aine’s high school, wanting to protect and work with her. Initially, he sees her as an innocent he can tease, but his feelings for her soon grow. Seeing her talent, and wanting to win the girl, Sakuya campaigns for Aine to become the band’s official lyricist. His manager initially objects, but relents on seeing the continued excellence of Aine’s lyrics. She becomes their lyricist, using the male pseudonym Yukihiko Aine to protect her identity and the band’s image.

Aine and Sakuya’s relationship gets off to a rocky start, when they do not communicate their real feelings. Aine tries to hide her feelings for Sakuya, thinking he sees the two of them only as co-workers. She believes he wants to preserve her virginal imagination so that she will continue to write hit songs for the band. This seems confirmed when he rejects her advances. Although Sakuya is not subtle by nature, he attempts to express his feelings for her by writing a ballad called “Little Bird” or “Love Melody”, but she continues to misunderstand. Finally, after filming the music video “Drug”, he corners her and confesses his feelings.

But beginning a romance and being the girlfriend of a high-profile star is not easy. As the series progresses, Aine finds herself the frequent target of Sakuya’s enemies, including rival bands and obsessed fans.

Ralph Grazer, Sakuya’s older half-brother, is an American media mogul who heads a business empire in the United States and is branching into Asian markets. Ralph has a grudge against Sakuya, whom he has never met although their father has pushed them to make contact. Ralph goes to Japan, and uses blackmail to force Aine to break up with Sakuya and work for him instead. Sakuya takes time out from the band to confront his biological father, the man had who had raped his mother. Sakuya travels to America to learn the family business, which gives him the knowledge and power to take Ralph’s position as head of the media corporation. Sakuya returns to Japan and forces Ralph to sign a contract under which he will recover his position in return for releasing Aine. Ralph, used to getting whatever and whomever he wants, is confused by this tactic and by Sakuya’s love for Aine. He returns to the United States to start over and relearn from their father. Ralph returns twice more in the manga, but no longer necessarily as Sakuya’s enemy.

Lucifer continues to grow, becoming a major hit. Renamed Λucifer, the band prepares to tour America and Europe. Sakuya and Aine attempt to balance their love and professional lives. Aine’s feelings for Sakuya and her ability to write lyrics are tested. The band hires Hitoshi Takayama as producer to prepare for international fame. At first, Hitoshi thinks Aine is nothing more than an outspoken groupie, with no place on band premises or in Sakuya’s life. But as he gets to know her he falls in love, hiding his feelings by pretending to be homosexual. As Hitoshi plans the band’s six-month move to England to set the stage for capturing European fans, he attempts to break up both Sakuya and Aine’s relationship and another couple, one of the band’s guitarists, Atsuro, and his girlfriend Yuuka. Yuki, another guitarist, soon puts a stop to this plan, letting Takayama know that band members owe their success to their families and lovers.

Kaito Yoshioka, president of a rival label, resents Λucifer’s success. He decides to use Aine to break up the band, and brutally rapes her in an attempt to break Sakuya. Hitoshi finds Aine and takes her to his home to try to comfort her, helping her avoid Sakuya out of shame, self-loathing and fear of being rejected. When Aine tries to commit suicide that night, Takayama tells Sakuya. Sakuya loses his voice and desire to sing, and leaves the band. Yuki realizes that the only way to protect the band is to sign with Sakuya’s half-brother Ralph’s label, taking the band international. Meanwhile, Sakuya tries to kill Yoshioka, but Ralph stops him. He reminds Sakuya that Aine needs him to be with her, not in prison. Ralph avenges Aine by having Yoshioka investigated for tax evasion and fraud, which destroys his company.

Aine is in a near-catatonic state, and Sakuya takes her into hiding to care for her. When she again attempts suicide, he cuts his own wrist telling her he will die with her if that is what she really wants. Aine snaps out of her depression and begins to heal emotionally. Takayama finds Sakuya, and with Yuki makes several attempts to persuade Sakuya to return to the band. Aine realizes that Sakuya is avoiding music and is afraid that she will be hurt again because of him. She convinces him to return to the world they both love. Takayama’s death in a car accident tramatizes and pushes Sakuya to rejoin the band and sign the contract. Ralph tells Sakuya that, when he takes over from their father, he wants Sakuya to head the company’s media business. Sakuya refuses, saying he would rather be a producer. After Takayama’s death, Λucifer performs its final concert in Japan before moving to New York City. While they are overseas, Aine studies to take Takayama’s place and become a producer. At the end of the series, Sakuya and Aine are married with a son. ~ See one-shot of Atsuro and Yuuka’s wedding, and one-shot ‘King Egoist’ in Love Celeb for the announcement of Sakuya and Aine’s second child ~

 

Film Friday- Loveless

Film Friday- Loveless

A 12-episode anime television series adaptation was made by J.C. Staff, broadcast in a post-midnight slot on TV Asahi and ABC from April 2005 to June 2005. The anime series was licensed and released in the US by Media Blasters in a set of 3 DVDs in early 2006. A 12-episode anime adaptation was made by J.C.Staff, and first aired in Japan from April 2005 to June 2005. The episodes covered approximately volumes 1–4, due to production starting in August 2004—about four months before volume 5 was published. Because the source material hadn’t finished its serialization, and with a limit of 12 episodes, the anime adaptation has quite a few differences. The most notable is the series finale, which was written specifically for the anime and left the storyline open to the possibility of a future sequel. The opening theme music was “Tsuki no Curse” and the ending theme was “Michiyuki”; both were composed by Yuki Kajiura and arranged by Masayuki Sakamoto, and performed by Kaori Hikita. Media Blasters licensed and released an English subtitled version in early 2006. On April 26, 2011 Media Blasters re-released the series with an English dub titling it as “Loveless: Vocal Collection”. The series is also licensed in German by Tokyopop.

Ritsuka Aoyagi 

is twelve years old and the protagonist of the story. He was named after the lunar day “Rikka,” which fell on May 5 in the year 2005. His “true name” is Loveless, although it is yet to be seen on his body as the other teams’ names are. He enjoys taking photographs and “making memories.”In the first volume, the story alludes to an abrupt change of personality occurring in Ritsuka two years prior. It is seen often through flashbacks, when his mother beats him and denies that he is truly Ritsuka and that he is actually someone else in his body. Before this change, he was a popular, yet academically average student; he doesn’t get along with his classmates, and he purposely points out their faults. In contrast to this, he is the perfect student now. In addition to the personality change, he suffers a loss in memory. The cause of these drastic changes is still unknown, although he has regular therapy sessions to determine why.On his first day at his new school, Ritsuka meets Soubi Agatsuma. Soubi confuses him with his sudden intimacy and puzzling claims that he was Seimei’s friend and Fighter Unit. As Ritsuka discovers, Seimei’s impromptu will dictates that Soubi shall “become Ritsuka’s” upon his death. Ritsuka and Soubi’s relationship is complex, but in many ways Ritsuka admires Soubi. However, Ritsuka has trouble trusting others, and Soubi’s various secrets continue to have an adverse effect on this. Despite his young age and inexperience, Ritsuka is very intelligent and approaches things with startling maturity. The circumstances of his life encourage his lack of innocence; however, there have been notable incidents that bare his naïveté, particularly in sexual love and healthy relationships. Despite this, he still has firm opinions and unrelenting ideas about those subjects. It is these opinions that clash dramatically with adults and authority figures around him, most notably Soubi. Ritsuka is a pacifist, and strongly opposes violence under any circumstance. Love is an uncomfortable subject for Ritsuka. He is wary of compliments, and doesn’t like affection. Ritsuka’s inner conflict over believing Soubi’s declarations of love becomes a source of great tension and bitterness in their relationship.

Soubi Agatsuma 

is a twenty-year-old student, studying Japanese art. He is a former student of Shichisei Gakuen (“Seven Moons Academy”), a school for fighters, where Ritsu Minami was his teacher. He arrived at the school and became Ritsu’s student after the death of his brother, who was Ritsu’s former partner. Ritsu raised Soubi and, incidentally, was the person that took his ears. Whether it was a consensual act or not wasn’t specified. It is hinted by another teacher at the school that Ritsu took Soubi’s virginity because Soubi had his mother’s face, which made Ritsu desire him. Ritsu explains to Soubi that he took his ears to make him a better fighter. Soubi is later partnered with Seimei. He doesn’t enjoy this, feeling attached to Ritsu and resenting that Seimei is younger than he is. Seimei notices this and mocks Soubi for feeling attached to Ritsu. He later carved the name ‘Beloved’ into Soubi’s neck, making him his fighter unit. As ordered, Soubi contacted Ritsuka after Seimei’s death. He introduced Ritsuka to the world of fighters and sacrifices and told Ritsuka he would be his Fighter Unit. He fought beside Seimei for some time, and many people believe that he is Beloved’s Fighter Unit. The appearance of Nisei in the manga, however, proves this to be false later in the manga. Soubi now fights for Ritsuka as Loveless, which is considered taboo because there is not a fighter-sacrifice bond between them. There is also a severe loss of strength, and in Soubi’s case, his markings bleed in battle. Soubi was revealed to not have a true name at all—in fact, Ritsu comments that he is a blank slate, and whatever marking he is given becomes his name. Since Seimei carved Beloved into his skin, it became his name. When given a command to break the windows, courtesy of Seimei, in volume 8, it is shown that he cannot disobey, no matter how strongly he is against it. Soubi appears to know much more about Seimei and his cause of death than he will divulge. Despite Ritsuka’s insistence that he tell him everything he knows, Soubi refuses. In volume 5 of the manga, he even says, “Seimei is my God.” He openly declares that he lives his life by Seimei’s orders, but still says he’ll obey Ritsuka’s every order, which is not necessarily true. Because Seimei told Soubi not to tell Ritsuka about the seven moons he cannot tell him.

 

 

Manga Monday- Loveless

Manga Monday- Loveless

Loveless is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yun Kōga. It is serialized in the Japanese magazine Monthly Comic Zero Sum by Ichijinsha and collected in thirteen tankōbon as of July 2017. Kōga plans to end the manga at fifteen volumes. The most immediately noticeable aspect of the story is that many characters are kemonomimi—cat-like features (in this case, ears and tails) are universal from birth, so there are as many catboys, including the protagonist, as there are catgirls. People in the Loveless universe lose their animal features when they lose their virginity. Those who no longer have animal features are differentiated by society as “adults”.

Plot

In his first day at his new school, a then twelve-year-old Ritsuka Aoyagi meets a mysterious twenty-year-old male named Soubi Agatsuma. Soubi claims to be a good friend of Ritsuka’s brother, Seimei, who was murdered 2 years earlier. Upon the inspection of Seimei’s abandoned computer files, Ritsuka discovers that an organization called ‘Septimal Moon’ was responsible for Seimei’s death.

As Ritsuka quickly discovers, Seimei and Soubi acted as a pair involved in spell battles invoked by carefully selected words. Now Soubi is Ritsuka’s ‘sentouki’, or Fighter Unit, and Ritsuka is his ‘Sacrifice’. Together, they challenge Septimal Moon to find out the truth behind Seimei’s murder and the reason for Ritsuka’s amnesia, and form an intimate bond as they unravel the mystery.

Tokyopop licensed Loveless for an English-language release in North America. The first volume was published on February 7, 2006 and the eighth was released on September 1, 2008; Tokyopop then went out of business. In October 2011, Viz Media announced that they had acquired the license and would continue publishing the series from volume 9. Volume 13 is available for pre-orders online and is set for a June 12, 2018 release. The series is also licensed in Australia and New Zealand by Madman Entertainment, in France by Soleil Manga, in Germany by Egmont Manga & Anime, in Italy by J-POP, in Russia by Comics Factory, and in Brazil by NewPOP.

 

Film Friday- Nana

Film Friday- Nana

The manga was adapted into a live-action film in 2005, with a sequel released in 2006. An anime adaptation created by Madhouse aired on Nippon TV between April 5, 2006 and March 27, 2007. All Nana media has been licensed for English language release in North America by Viz Media. They serialized the manga in their Shojo Beat magazine until the August 2007 issue, while also publishing it in the tankōbon format. They released both films in 2008 and their English dub of the anime was broadcast on the Funimation Channel beginning in September 2009. Nana won the 2002 Shogakukan Manga Award for Shōjo manga and has sold over 43 million copies.

Anime

Nana was adapted into an anime series, directed by Morio Asaka, written by Tomoko Konparu, and animated by the studio Madhouse. The first and third openings and third ending songs are sung by Anna Tsuchiya for the band Black Stones, and Olivia sings the second opening and first and second endings for the band Trapnest as Reira Serizawa. The first DVD release was on July 7, 2006. The anime series was intended to be equal to the manga and it was adapted until the 12th tankoubon to avoid filler. According to Junko Koseki (editor of Nana in Shueisha) and Masao Maruyama (president of Madhouse) a second season is probably going to be aired once the manga series is finished.

The anime adaptation was also licensed for release in North America by Viz Media. Funimation got the broadcast rights to Viz Media’s dub and it premiered on the Funimation Channel on September 19, 2009.

Films

Two live-action film adaptations have been made for Nana. The first, Nana, was released on September 3, 2005. The film stars Mika Nakashima as the punk star Nana Osaki, Aoi Miyazaki as Hachi (Nana Komatsu), Ryuhei Matsuda as Ren Honjo, Tetsuji Tamayama as Takumi Ichinose, Hiroki Narimiya as Nobuo Terashima, and Matsuyama Kenichi as Shinichi Okazaki. The DVD edition was released on March 3, 2006. The film did quite well at the Japanese box office, grossing more than 4 billion yen, and staying in the top 10 for several weeks. A sequel, Nana 2, was announced right after the debuted. However, on August 4, 2006, Toho stated that shooting would begin mid-September and that the film was to be released on December 9, 2006. Aoi Miyazaki and Ryuhei Matsuda would not be reprising their respective roles as Nana Komatsu and Ren Honjo; as such, their roles were assigned to Yui Ichikawa and Nobuo Kyou, respectively. Some locations from the manga had been changed for the film, and there also were many plot differences. Additionally, the film’s ending is not the actual end of the manga; “Nana” is an ongoing story.

Nana Komatsu

known as Nana K., comes to Tokyo looking to find her dream, though she initially comes in order to stay in a relationship with her boyfriend, Shoji Endo. Unlike Osaki, however, she comes from a large and happy household, though her childish outlook prevents her from living on her own at first and she is prone to falling in love at first sight, usually towards older men. Due to her kindness and faithfulness, Nana Osaki nicknames her Hachi, after the dog Hachikō. Nana Komatsu matures as the series progresses and becomes extremely protective of Nana Osaki, who becomes increasingly dependent on Hachi for stability. Later on, Nana forms relationships with both Takumi and Nobu and winds up pregnant by one of them, though it is uncertain by whom. Although she is in love with both, she marries Takumi since he could readily provide for the child’s upbringing. During the scenes of future events, it is shown that Hachi’s daughter was born and her name is Satsuki (as per Ren’s advice). Nana is presumably still married to Takumi, although her marriage does not appear either to be happy or unhappy. They are separated, and Takumi lives in London with their other son, Ren. Though Junko suggests that Hachi should divorce Takumi, she says there’s no need for it.

Nana Osaki

also known as Nana O., is the vocalist of the band Black Stones, also known as Blast. She considers the band Trapnest as her rival, most likely due to the facts that Ren decides to leave Blast for Trapnest and her roommate marrying Trapnest’s leader. Though Nana may look like a tough punk rocker, she has a kind heart and is a devoted friend. However, she can be possessive and dark, easily becoming emotional to the extent where she has trouble breathing. She is particularly insecure about losing people close to her, readily admitting to using means like bringing Nobu and Nana Komatsu together so she can keep Hachi with her. Abandoned by her mother and raised by her grandmother, Nana never knew the identity of her biological father. Nana was expelled from high school after she was falsely accused of prostitution. Despite these hardships, Nana “polishes the shards of her dreams” and is determined to be successful as the lead vocalist of Blast. She gets engaged to her first love, Ren. In the future scenes (Chapter 58) it can be interpreted that Nana ran away from Japan and cut all ties with her friends. This may be triggered by the death of Ren, her fiance, and the events that followed. Her favorite designer is Vivienne Westwood, and her favorite band is the Sex Pistols.

Manga Monday- Nana

Manga Monday- Nana

Nana is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Ai Yazawa. It was serialized in Cookie magazine from July 2000 until June 2009 when it went on indefinite hiatus, with its chapters collected into 21 tankōbon volumes published by Shueisha. The series derives its title from the name of the two main characters, both of whom are called Nana. Nana Komatsu is a small town girl who goes to Tokyo to follow her boyfriend and college friends, with the hope of having her dream life. Nana Osaki was in a popular punk rock band in her hometown. She goes to Tokyo with the goal of making it big as a singer. The two Nanas meet on the train ride to the city. Later, they run into each other again when they happen to check out the same apartment, and the girls decide to become roommates. The series chronicles their friendship and their lives as each chases her dreams.

Written and illustrated by Ai Yazawa, Nana premiered in Cookie in 2000 where it ran until June 2009, when the series was put on hiatus due to Yazawa falling ill. Yazawa returned from the hospital in early April 2010, but has not specified when or if she will resume the manga. The individual chapters have been collected and published into 21 tankōbon volumes in Japan by Shueisha.

Nana is licensed for English-language release in North America by Viz Media. It was serialized in Viz’s manga anthology Shojo Beat, premiering in the July 2005 debut issue and continuing until the August 2007 issue. They published all 21 collected volumes as of July 6, 2010.

Plot

Nana Komatsu has a habit of falling in love at first sight all the time, and depending on other people to help her. When her friends, and then her boyfriend, leave for Tokyo, she decides to join them a year later after having saved enough money at the age of twenty.

Nana Osaki, the other Nana, is the punk-styled lead vocalist of a band called Black Stones (BLAST for short). She had lived with her boyfriend, bassist Ren Honjo since she was 16, but when Ren is offered a chance to debut in Tokyo as a replacement member of a popular band called Trapnest, Nana chooses to continue on with BLAST and to cultivate her own career instead of following Ren, as she has too much ambition to be relegated to a rockstar’s girlfriend. She eventually leaves for Tokyo at the age of twenty to start her musical career.

The two Nanas meet on a train by chance, both on their way to Tokyo. After a string of coincidences, they come to share an apartment. Despite having contrasting personalities and ideals, the Nanas respect each other and become close friends. While BLAST begins to gain popularity at live gigs, the two Nanas face many other issues together, especially in the areas of friendship and romance. The story of Nana revolves heavily around the romance and relationships of the two characters as one seeks fame and recognition while the other seeks love and happiness.

 

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.