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Manga Monday- Zodiac P.I.

Manga Monday- Zodiac P.I.

Zodiac P.I. is a mystery manga series written and illustrated by Natsumi Ando. Appearing as a serial in the monthly shōjo manga magazine Nakayoshi from the April 2001 issue to the January 2003 issue, the chapters were compiled into four bound volumes by Kodansha and published from November 2001 to March 2003. Set in present-day Japan, the series focuses on Lili Hoshizawa, a teenage detective who uses astrology to solve cases.

In North America, Tokyopop licensed the series for an English-language translation, and published it from July 2003 to December 2003, although the translation has since gone out of print. The series has also been translated into other languages. The series has been generally reviewed as being light entertainment.

Plot

Set in modern-day Japan, the series centers on 13-year-old extrovert Lili Hoshizawa, who uses astrology to solve crimes, and manages her missing mother’s fortune-telling business on the side. Her childhood friend, Hiromi Oikawa, assists her, after he returns from the United States, where he studied criminal psychology. As Detective Spica, Lili uses the magical star ring, left to her by her missing mother, to aid her in solving crimes by consulting with one of the twelve astral spirits in the ring and learning the victim’s horoscope. Her father, Inspector Hoshizawa, disapproves of her actions. Periodically, she encounters rival private investigator Sirius, who tests her mystery-solving skills.

While solving cases, Lili eventually learns from Hiromi’s elder sister, Megumi Oikawa, that Hiromi’s allergy to girls resulted from her: ten years ago, he waited in the rain for Lili to show after he left her a love letter. Lili encounters Zeus, a fortuneteller and hypnotist who kidnaps her father. After Hiromi rescues him, Zeus takes Hiromi captive and demands the star ring in exchange. Realizing that Sirius is her missing mother, Lili frees her from Zeus’s hypnosis. Lili learns that her mother disappeared to protect her family from Zeus, who hates Sirius, as he believes that she kidnapped his girlfriend and caused her to become comatose. Lili uncovers the truth: his girlfriend feared that he desired the star ring more than her love and asked Sirius to stage a kidnapping and have him decide between her or the star ring. When he hesitated, she was devastated and threw herself off the cliff. After learning this, Zeus loses his desire for the star ring and lets Lili, Hiromi, and Lili’s mother leave. Lili accepts Hiromi’s love for her. In the conclusion, Lili’s mother takes over her fortune-telling business, and Lili continues to solve crimes with Hiromi’s assistance.

Development

Manga artist Natsumi Ando enjoyed astrology in her childhood and had a fondness for stars and Greek mythology. For File 2, which deals with a mystery in a piano school, Ando researched a local music school. The design for the Libra astral spirit originated from the winner of the Astral Spirit Design Contest; many of the design submissions were for the Libra, Pisces, and Cancer spirits.

Ando included references to Greek mythology in Zodiac P.I. in the names of the astral spirits. The astral spirit of Virgo, Demeter, takes her name from the goddess of the harvest, while the astral spirit for Capricorn, Parn, is a reference to the god Pan. Astrea, the astral spirit for Libra, is named after the goddess of justice. The twin astral spirits for Gemini take their names from twin brothers Castor and Pollux. The centaur Chiron is alluded to in the name of the astral spirit for Sagittarius. The name of astral spirit for Taurus is a reference to the woman Io. The astral spirit for Pisces and the spirit for Aquarius take their names from the goddess of love and Ganymede, respectively. Other references include stars. Ando named Antares, the astral spirit of Scorpio, and Regulus, the astral spirit of Leo, after the Antares and Regulus stars, respectively.

Release

Written and illustrated by Natsumi Ando, Zodiac P.I. appeared as a serial in the monthly manga magazine Nakayoshi from the April 2001 issue to the January 2003 issue. It published the series in four bound volumes from November 6, 2001, to March 4, 2003.

In North America, Tokyopop licensed the series for an English-language translation. It published the series from July 8, 2003, to December 9, 2003; the translation has since gone out of print. Zodiac P.I. has also been translated into other languages, such as Finnish, German, and Italian.

 

Manga Monday- Daytime Shooting Star

Manga Monday- Daytime Shooting Star

Daytime Shooting Star is a Japanese shōjo manga written and illustrated by Mika Yamamori. It ran in Margaret from 2011 to 2014. A live-action film adaptation of the same name was released in 2017, as well as a collaboration clothing line with Earth Music & Ecology in 2014.

Plot

Suzume Yosano’s parents move to Bangladesh when her father’s job gets transferred there, while Suzume herself moves to Tokyo to live with her uncle, Yukichi. On her way to her uncle’s house, a strange man helps her when she gets lost, and on her first day of school, she learns that he is her homeroom teacher, Satsuki Shishio.

Media

Manga

Daytime Shooting Star is written and illustrated by Mika Yamamori. The series first was announced on May 3, 2011. The manga was serialized in the bi-weekly magazine Margaret from May 20, 2011 to November 2014. The chapters were later released in bound volumes by Shueisha under the Margaret Comics imprint.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Margaret, Yamamori collaborated with Momoko Koda, the author of Heroine Shikkaku, to release the crossover comic Heroine Shooting Star. Heroine Shooting Star was released in Mini Margaret, a booklet that was distributed as a magazine gift in the May 20, 2013 issue of Margaret. In 2014, Yamamori collaborated with Suu Morishita, the author of Hibi Chōchō, to produce two crossover comics, Hibi Shooting Star and Daytime Chōchō.

To promote the live-action movie, Yamamori released Daytime Shooting Star: Side Story Blue in the February 3, 2017 issue of Margaret. It was followed up by Daytime Shooting Star: Side Story Red in the March 28, 2017 issue of Margaret.

In 2018, Viz Media announced at the New York Comic-Con that they were licensing the series for English distribution, with all comics published under the Shojo Beat imprint.

Live-action film

In mid-September 2016, the live-action film adaptation was announced. The film stars Mei Nagano as Suzume, Shohei Miura as Shishio, and Alan Shirahama as Mamura. The film was released in Japan on March 24, 2017 in 272 theaters and opened at #5 on opening weekend. The film’s theme song is “Hayaku Aitai” by Dream Ami.

Yamamori released Daytime Shooting Star: Side Story Blue in the February 3, 2017 issue of Margaret and Daytime Shooting Star: Side Story Red in the March 28, 2017 issue of Margaret to promote the film. Nagano and Shirahama were also featured in a collaboration commercial as their characters to cross-promote handbags from Samantha Vega, a sister brand of Samantha Thavasa.

Reception

The series has 1.93 million copies in print and 500,000 in paid digital copies.

Characters

Suzume Yosano
moves from the countryside to Tokyo to live with her uncle while she goes to high school. When she was in middle school, she saw a shooting star during the daytime and is convinced that she can see one again. She skips classes and hangs out on the rooftop frequently at school, often leaving poor grades. When she arrives to her new school, she is assigned to sit next to Mamura in class. She meets Shishio, who she discovers to be her homeroom teacher, when she is en route to her uncle’s house. She eventually falls in love with him. Since he knows her uncle, the two see each other fairly often. She confesses her feelings, but is rejected. Unable to get over him, she confesses once more. This time Shishio accepts and they date in secret. This only lasts a short time, since Shishio thinks their love for one another was not really love. Feeling upset and rejected, Suzume becomes depressed, to the point where she runs away back to the countryside. Mamura tries to make her feel better by taking her to an aquarium she went to with Shishio. At first she rejects going, but begins to realize why Mamura is taking her. She begins to see how much Mamura cares for her, and realizes she is in love with him. She runs to his house and confesses to him, which he accepts. They begin to date afterwards.

Satsuki Shishio
Suzume’s homeroom teacher. He somewhat reluctantly falls in love with Suzume. After she confesses to him for a second time, he agrees to date her in secret. Eventually Shishio asks Suzume what she would do if he stopped teaching. Suzume replies with “I’m going with you,” to his surprise, so he says he was just kidding. Shishio and Suzume’s relationship is inadvertently discovered by Suzume’s uncle Yukichi to which he disapproved. Shishio realizes the gravity of his situation then says they should just quit “it”—their relationship—and just go back to having a normal student-teacher relationship. He says that her love for him was just “admiration,” and she does not really love him at all. However, he realizes he still loves her, but cannot be with her. This angers Mamura that Shishio hurt Suzume, leaving their relationship often constricted. By the time he tries to get back together with her, she is already dating Mamura.

Daiki Mamura
Suzume’s classmate who sits in front of her. He is a gynophobe. Upon discovering this, Suzume uses it to blackmail him into being her friend. Once he becomes friends with her, he begins to get more used to being around girls and starts to develop feelings for Suzume. He is fairly jealous of Shishio and Suzume’s relationship (romantic or not) and becomes protective and supportive in the times Suzume is hurt emotionally. Despite his feelings, Mamura decides to keep them hidden only revealing them when he discovers Shishio’s decision to cease his relationship with Suzume. When they move up to second year of high school, Mamura becomes popular with the underclassmen much to the chagrin of Suzume. Suzume’s friends come up with the idea to have Mamura and Suzume pretend to date in order to make the underclass girls leave him alone. When he takes her to an aquarium he confesses his feelings for her, to which she is unsure how to react. Upon going home, Suzume realizes she is in love with him and accepts his confession and the two begin to date. Mamura’s appearance was based on model Kentaro Sakaguchi.

Yuyuka Nekota
is very blunt, which she believes makes it hard to get along with others. She hides behind a cute exterior that is friendly and outgoing in order to make friends. Initially, Yuyuka was only pretending to be nice in order to get closer to Mamura, but the two later become honest friends. She eventually confesses to Mamura, who rejects her, saying that he has feelings for Suzume. She is comforted by Togyuu Minagawa, whom she slowly develops feelings for. As friends with Suzume, she often gives relationship advice.

 

Film Friday- Antique Bakery

Film Friday- Antique Bakery

Antique Bakery is a manga by Fumi Yoshinaga depicting the lives of four men who work in a small bakery. It was published in Japan by Shinshokan and in English by Digital Manga Publishing. The series won the 2002 Kodansha Manga Award for shōjo manga. The manga was adapted as a Japanese TV drama, with the title Antique or Antique Cake Store, that was broadcast on Fuji TV in 2001, an anime television series, airing on July 3, 2008 on Noitamina, and a Korean live-action film.

 

Characters

Main characters

Keisuke (Keiichirō) Tachibana
The owner of the Antique Bakery, as well as a waiter. He was childhood friends with Chikage, the son of his family’s live-in housekeeper. He was also Ono’s classmate in school and harshly rejected Ono’s love confession. He seems to be the only man whom Ono finds attractive, but who is not attracted to Ono in return. Tachibana comes from a rich family. He was kidnapped when he was a child. The one thing he remembers about his abductor is that he loved cake and fed him the cakes he bought every single day. Although Tachibana was rescued, his abductor was never found. After this ordeal, his family became overly protective of him. He feels obliged to play the “good boy” for his relatives because he does not want them to worry about him. As a result of his experiences, he often suffers from nightmares and has no taste for sweets. He is also fluent in French.

In the Antique Bakery dōjinshi by the author, it was revealed that Keisuke has had multiple girlfriends during the course of Antique Bakery.

Yusuke Ono
The pâtissier, a renowned chef who has been fired from many bakeries because of his “Demonic Charm”: whenever he is attracted to a man, that man—whether gay or straight—suddenly becomes irresistibly attracted to him in return. His coworkers will inevitably fight over him, and Ono will wind up fired again. This stemmed from when he was in high school, when Tachibana turned him down. He went into a gay bar, and suddenly he became a very popular lover. He has said his type is older men. He is also scared of women, and is fluent in French as well.

In the Antique Bakery dōjinshi by the author, Ono begins an intimate relationship with Chikage, however he is still ultimately in love with Tachibana.

Eiji Kanda
is Ono’s apprentice, as well as other help in the kitchen. He is a former street punk who was picked up off the street and reformed by a boxing coach. He trained to be a boxer, and was a top fighter. However, due to his detached retinas, he had to give up boxing. He saw a “Help Wanted” ad in the bakery’s window, and decided to join. He has a huge sweet tooth. He holds Ono in very high regard, calling him his “Master”, due to his skill in making sweets. Over time they have developed more of a father-son relationship than that of a master and apprentice.

In the Antique Bakery dōjinshi by the author, Kanda and his French teacher Constance appear to be dating.

Chikage Kobayakawa
is Tachibana’s childhood friend. His family works at the Tachibana house. He was sent by the Tachibana family to watch out for his friend. Chikage is trained to become a waiter by Tachibana. However, he is very klutzy and has a hard time. He wears sunglasses all of the time, as his eyes are weak. He has a crush on Ono, though he thinks Ono doesn’t feel the same way (on the contrary, Ono is in love with Chikage). He is very shy and polite. He calls Tachibana “Young Master” after the game “Ōoka Echizen”. Chikage is also two years older than Tachibana and has a daughter.

In the Antique Bakery dōjinshi by the author, Chikage and Ono begin an intimate relationship.

Manga Monday- Antique Bakery

Manga Monday- Antique Bakery

Antique Bakery is a manga by Fumi Yoshinaga depicting the lives of four men who work in a small bakery. It was published in Japan by Shinshokan and in English by Digital Manga Publishing. The series won the 2002 Kodansha Manga Award for shōjo manga. The manga was adapted as a Japanese TV drama, with the title Antique or Antique Cake Store, that was broadcast on Fuji TV in 2001, an anime television series, airing on July 3, 2008 on Noitamina, and a Korean live-action film.

Yoshinaga’s spinoff dōjinshi

Fumi Yoshinaga has published spinoff dōjinshi of Antique Bakery, showing both “slash” stories involving characters shown to be straight in the manga series, but also showing stories which were only alluded to in the manga. Yoshinaga feels that these stories are too explicit for the shōjo manga demographic, and Akiko Mizoguchi points out that they are in the boys love genre and it would be “unheard of” for these stories to be published by another publisher, despite their popularity in the dōjinshi world. The existence of these stories has never been announced in Wings or in the books collecting Antique Bakery. There were seven available as of August 2003, increasing to fourteen dōjinshi as of 2011.

Live-action TV drama

The television series differs perceptibly from the story of the manga. While the four main male characters remain the same in many of their relationship dynamics, the BL/homosexual aspect of the original manga is significantly reduced to almost nothing. There is the notable addition of Momoko Itsuki, a female sports journalist who appears in the first episode of the series.

 

 

Korean live-action movie

Anime

Animated by Nippon Animation, it features opening and ending themes by popular band Chemistry. A subtitled US release by Nozomi Entertainment has been announced for April 2011.

Reception

Comic Book Bin’s Avi Weinrib enjoyed DMP’s scratch-and-sniff covers. Al Kratina found Antique Bakery “fluffy, light, and disposable”. Chris the 4th Pip thought the characters showed “surprising depth”.

Janet Houck, writing for Mania Entertainment, felt that the story of the first volume was choppy, using many flashbacks, and that the volume should have been given a higher rating due to its depiction of Ono’s backstory. David Welsh enjoyed the character-driven story, especially the Christmas story, which was rooted in a business perspective. Jessica Brooks of Anime Jump enjoyed that although food-themed manga is usually about food preparation, instead Antique Bakery is about customer satisfaction. She also noted that Ono’s homosexuality was essentially “played for laughs”, although she did not feel this was a negative. Tom Rosin, for MangaLife, felt that the first volume was “about cakes more than anything else”, and that he felt hungry after reading Tachibana’s sales pitches. Katherine Dacey, writing for Pop Culture Shock, felt that the main theme of the series was a “slice of life friendship story”. Johanna Carlson noted that the series is faux-yaoi. Robin Brenner, writing for TeenReads, noted that the series’ plot is not “the point” about this manga – the funny character interactions and elegant character artwork are.

The series won the 2002 Kodansha Manga Award for shōjo manga. The English edition of Antique Bakery was nominated for an Eisner Award in 2007, in the category “Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Japan”.

Film Friday- Love Me, Love Me Not

Film Friday- Love Me, Love Me Not

Love Me, Love Me Not is a Japanese shōjo manga written and illustrated by Io Sakisaka and serialized in Bessatsu Margaret starting in June 2015. A live-action film adaptation is scheduled to premiere on August 14, 2020, while an anime film adaptation produced by A-1 Pictures is scheduled to premiere on September 18, 2020. Viz Media licensed the manga in English under their Shojo Beat imprint. The first volume was released in March 2020.

Anime film

On April 22, 2019, it was announced by Shueisha that the series will receive an anime film adaptation by A-1 Pictures. It was originally scheduled to premiere on May 29, 2020, but has been delayed to September 18, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film is directed by Toshimasa Kuroyanagi, with Erika Yoshida handling the film’s scripts, Yuu Yamashita designing the characters, and Yuuji Nomi composing the film’s music.

Live-action film

A live-action film directed by Takahiro Miki was released on August 14, 2020. It stars Eiji Akaso as Kazuomi Inui and Minami Hamabe as Akari Yamamoto. Riko Fukumoto plays Yuna Ichihara and Takumi Kitamura plays Rio Yamamoto.

Characters

Yuna Ichihara
A shy girl who loves to read romance shōjo manga, but has never experienced love herself. Her best friend, Sacchan, moves away after they graduate middle school, and Yuna worries that she will be alone in high school. However, when she unexpectedly meets Akari at the train station and befriends her. Due to Yuna’s wary and shy personality, she is initially suspicious of Akari following her home, when they are actually just neighbors in the same apartment building. She is in love with Rio, Akari’s step-brother.
Akari Yamamoto
Yuna’s apartment neighbor who is also a first year in high school. She initially has a boyfriend at the beginning of the series, but he later breaks up with her. Her step-brother is Rio, whom Yuna is in love with. She thinks that Yuna’s childhood friend, Inui, is a good guy and initially tries to push the two together but stops when she finds out that Yuna is in love with Rio. She eventually grows closer to Inui and falls in love with him. Akari’s mother married Rio’s father recent to the series beginning, and hates that her mother doesn’t trust her and Rio alone together. She does not know that Rio loves her.
Rio Yamamoto
Akari’s step-brother and the boy of Yuna’s affection. He is asked out by many girls but claims he only likes pretty faces, and rejects the girls. He knew Akari before his father married her mother and was in love with her. Akari’s mother knows this and is suspicious of Rio spending time alone with Akari. Rio develops a close friendship with Yuna early on in the series, often confiding in her when he found himself frustrated over Akari. He eventually falls for Yuna, but is hesitant to confess.
Kazuomi Inui
Yuna’s childhood friend. Akari describes him as a “good guy” and wishes that Yuna and him would get together. Inui has often been referred to as an “airhead” by Akari due to his carefree and sincere nature. He and Akari both develop feelings for each other, but he rejects her confession out of consideration for Rio’s feelings.

 

Manga Monday- Love Me, Love Me Not

Manga Monday- Love Me, Love Me Not

Love Me, Love Me Not is a Japanese shōjo manga written and illustrated by Io Sakisaka and serialized in Bessatsu Margaret starting in June 2015. A live-action film adaptation is scheduled to premiere on August 14, 2020, while an anime film adaptation produced by A-1 Pictures is scheduled to premiere on September 18, 2020. Viz Media licensed the manga in English under their Shojo Beat imprint. The first volume was released in March 2020.

Reception

Volume 3 debuted at #4 on Oricon’s Japanese Comic Ranking and peaked at #2 and sold an estimated 325,010 copies in Japan. Volume 4 debuted at #1 and sold an estimated 168,863 copies in its first week alone. It sold an estimated 293,419 copies in a month and consistently ranked from October to November. Volume 4 debuted with 168,863 copies. Volume 5 debuted at #6, selling 110,175 copies in its first week and peaking at #1 in its second week with 121,903 additional copies sold.

The manga won the 2017 Shogakukan Manga Award in the shojo manga category.

Plot

Yuna Ichihara is in the spring before her first year of high school and is pained to be separated from her best friend Sacchan who is moving away. On her way to the train station, she is stopped by a random girl who asks her for money for her train fare. Although Yuna is somewhat afraid and reluctant, she gives the girl money, who in turns give Yuna her bracelet as a promise she will meet her tomorrow to pay her back. On the same day, Yuna runs twice into a boy who looks like the idolized prince of her childhood. After the girl, named Akari, returns Yuna’s money, they head home together only to find out that they live in the same apartment building. The girls instantly become friends. However, they find that they explore love in completely different ways, and Yuna may be in love with Akari’s brother and Akari in love with Yuna’s childhood friend.

 

Film Friday- Basara

Film Friday- Basara

Basara is a Japanese fantasy manga series written and illustrated by Yumi Tamura. The story takes place in a future Japan, reduced to a barren desert by a catastrophe at the end of the 21st century. The main character is Sarasa, a girl whose twin brother, Tatara, is prophesied to be the “child of destiny” who will bring back the country’s independence and stop the tyrannical rule of the Empire, namely the Red King. When Tatara is killed, Sarasa pretends to be him in order to keep the downtrodden from losing hope.

The manga was serialized in Shogakukan’s Bessatsu Shōjo Comic magazine from September 1990 to June 1998. Shogakukan collected the individual chapters into 27 bound volumes under the Flower Comics imprint from March 1991 to March 2000. The manga won the 38th Shogakukan Manga Award in the shōjo category in 1993. Viz Media licensed the manga for an English-language release in North America; they published 27 volumes from August 2003 to May 2008.

Basara was adapted into a 13-episode anime television series titled Legend of Basara, which aired in Japan from April to June 1998. It was produced by KSS and directed by Noburu Takamoto.

The manga was also adapted into several stage plays in Japan, the first of which premiered in 2012. A filmed performance was released on DVD in July 2013. The second stage play was performed at Theater 1010 in Tokyo from January 9 to January 14, 2014. The third stage play was performed at Kinokuniya Hall in Tokyo from January 25 to January 28, 2019.

Main characters

Sarasa

The protagonist, a 15-year-old girl who takes the name of her murdered twin brother Tatara, who was known as the child of fate. As Tatara, she wields the sword of Byakko and leads the survivors of Byakko Village. Even among her allies few people know she is a girl.
Sarasa hopes to create a land that is fertile, full of flora, and free of strife. Though she is quick to cry and psychologically weak in some respects, over the course of the story she develops undeniable skills in leadership and swordplay, and becomes the central figure of the Tatara Army.
Byakko sword: One of the four swords descended from the Basarano rebels. It was Genshou, Tatara’s and Sarasa’s great-grandfather’s, weapon.
The name Sarasa refers to calico cloth.
Shinbashi
Sarasa’s pet owl, the runt of his hatching. Sarasa is unwilling to let the other chicks crowd him out, and decides to take care of him.
The Red King, Shuri
The 17-year-old youngest son of the Emperor, he rules over Saikoku (western Japan) which includes Chugoku, Shikoku and Kyūshū. In the early parts of the story Shuri stands out as brutally cruel to those who do not obey him, because he is responsible for the destruction of Byakko Village and the murder of Tatara. Later he meets Sarasa, unaware that they are enemies, and falls in love with her.
Though he is merciless to his enemies, Shuri is a capable ruler and very proud of his realm. He is big-hearted, with a free-spirited personality and is generally quite personable, though he tends to be overly competitive. Shuri is an expert swordsman.

Anime

A 13-episode anime adaptation, titled Legend of Basara, aired in Japan from April 2 to June 8, 1998. It was produced by KSS and directed by Norihiro Takamoto. While generally very faithful to the manga, some material from further into the story was cut, such as Senju’s assassination attempt and the Suzuno Murder Race episode. The anime roughly covers volumes 1–5 of the manga. The anime was released on home video in Japan, first on VHS and later on DVD. The opening theme is “Endless Loop” by Rouage.

 

Manga Monday- Basara

Manga Monday- Basara

Basara is a Japanese fantasy manga series written and illustrated by Yumi Tamura. The story takes place in a future Japan, reduced to a barren desert by a catastrophe at the end of the 21st century. The main character is Sarasa, a girl whose twin brother, Tatara, is prophesied to be the “child of destiny” who will bring back the country’s independence and stop the tyrannical rule of the Empire, namely the Red King. When Tatara is killed, Sarasa pretends to be him in order to keep the downtrodden from losing hope.

The manga was serialized in Shogakukan’s Bessatsu Shōjo Comic magazine from September 1990 to June 1998. Shogakukan collected the individual chapters into 27 bound volumes under the Flower Comics imprint from March 1991 to March 2000. The manga won the 38th Shogakukan Manga Award in the shōjo category in 1993. Viz Media licensed the manga for an English-language release in North America; they published 27 volumes from August 2003 to May 2008.

Basara was adapted into a 13-episode anime television series titled Legend of Basara, which aired in Japan from April to June 1998. It was produced by KSS and directed by Noburu Takamoto.

The manga was also adapted into several stage plays in Japan, the first of which premiered in 2012. A filmed performance was released on DVD in July 2013. The second stage play was performed at Theater 1010 in Tokyo from January 9 to January 14, 2014. The third stage play was performed at Kinokuniya Hall in Tokyo from January 25 to January 28, 2019.

Overview

In Basara’s post-apocalyptic setting, Japan has been controlled by a succession of corrupt and oppressive rulers of Saffron Clan. The current one is the Golden Emperor, a sovereign so obsessed with maintaining his power that he has had most of his children killed. He later appointed territories to the remaining children, allowing them to rule as subordinate kings and expend their energies in rivalries among each other, instead of trying to dethrone him. As a result, most of the Kings neglect the people they rule.

Though the peasants have been downtrodden for decades, they have not completely lost their rebellious spirit. Four swords named for the Ssu Ling gods—Byakko, Suzaku, Seiryū and Genbu—forged for fallen rebel leaders two generations past, are the symbols of underground resistance groups across Japan. The sword of Byakko is kept in Byakko Village, and according to a prophet, a child of fate who will lead a revolution will be born there. When twins are born—a girl and a boy—the prophet says that one of them is the child of destiny. Villagers believe the boy, Tatara, is the child of destiny, but ultimately the girl, Sarasa, is the leader. When the local ruler, the Red King, destroys her village and has her brother beheaded, she assumes his name and duty to lead her people in rebellion.

Sarasa undergoes psychological strain over having to pretend to be a boy. As such, she often visits hot springs to “let her hair down.” During these visits, she runs into a mysterious young man named Shuri, and they fall in love with each other.

Unknown to Sarasa, Shuri is really the Red King, upon whom she has sworn revenge for destroying her village and killing her family. The Red King is likewise unaware that Sarasa, in her alter ego, is the rebel leader he is trying to kill. As the story progresses, the pair’s relationship deepens even as their struggle becomes more bloody.

 

Film Friday- My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

Film Friday- My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!, also known as HameFura, is a Japanese light novel series written by Satoru Yamaguchi and illustrated by Nami Hidaka. It began serialization online in July 2014 on the user-generated novel publishing website Shōsetsuka ni Narō. It was acquired by Ichijinsha, who published the first light novel volume in August 2015 under their Ichijinsha Bunko Iris imprint. Nine volumes have been released as of April 2020. The light novel has been licensed in North America by J-Novel Club.

A manga adaptation with art by Hidaka has been serialized in Ichijinsha’s shōjo manga magazine Monthly Comic Zero Sum since August 2017. It has been collected in four tankōbon volumes and licensed in English by Seven Seas Entertainment. A spin-off manga began releasing during November 2019. An anime television series adaptation by Silver Link began airing in April 2020.

Anime

An anime adaptation of the light novel series was announced by Ichijinsha on October 19, 2018. The anime was later announced to be a television series on July 18, 2019. The series is animated by Silver Link and directed by Keisuke Inoue, with Megumi Shimizu handling series composition, and Miwa Oshima designing the characters. Natsumi Tabuchi, Hanae Nakamura, Tatsuhiko Saiki, Miki Sakurai, and Shu Kanematsu composed the music. It premiered on April 4, 2020 on MBS, Tokyo MX, BS11, J Tele, and other channels. angela performs the series’ opening theme song “Shōjo no Route wa Hitotsu Janai!”, while Shouta Aoi peforms the series’ ending theme song “Bad End.” Crunchyroll is streaming the series.

Characters

Catarina Claes

The main character, a 17-year-old otaku who has been reincarnated as the villain character of the game Fortune Lover. Having extensive knowledge of Fortune Lover, including the fact that all the routes in the game lead to either her death or exile, she takes drastic measures to avoid such outcomes, such as trying to establish good relationships with her peers and take up gardening as a profession should her exile come to pass.

Geordo Stuart

A prince who is Catarina’s fiancé during her childhood. In the game, he was blamed for Catarina getting the scar on her forehead and she locks him away. The good ending shows he exiles Catarina and marries the heroine, the bad ending has him kill Catarina and abandoning the heroine due to guilt of killing his fiancée. He is afraid of snakes, something Catarina capitalizes on in order to both protect herself and to boost Alan’s self-esteem.

Keith Claes

Catarina’s adoptive brother. A powerful magic user of earth magic. In the game, Catarina torments and ignores him which makes him a womanizer. In the good path, he has Catarina exiled and abandons his womanizing ways to be with the Heroine, the bad has him killing her in a fit of rage before disappearing forever. To avoid those endings, Catarina goes out of her way to be a good sister to him, which does improve their relationships but also saddles Keith with the thankless task of having to keep Catarina out of trouble, mostly to no avail.

Alan Stuart

Geordo’s brother and Mary’s fiancé. He was a sickly child and jealous of his twin brother which made him become an introvert. However, he is a very skilled musician on the piano and loves flowers. His path in the game is actually the only one that Catarina has no doom flag as Mary is the rival for the Heroine and both paths have happier endings. Catarina uses her knowledge of Fortune Lover to become friends with Mary, something that infuriates Alan, as he thinks Mary is ignoring him in favor of Catarina, and challenges Catarina to a series of competitions, which Catarina wins handily. As time passes, however, Catarina earns Alan’s respect and they become friends.

Nicol Ascart

Georgo and Alan’s childhood friend and Sophia’s brother. He is considered handsome by all who see him, with a smile that can charm both males and females. In his path in the game, Sophia is the rival for his affection, hinting a possible illicit romance path.

 

Mary Hunt

Alan’s fiancée who is skilled with gardening. However, when Catarina says a line in the game before Alan praising her garden, it appears to have a consequence that appears to have Mary falling for Catarina, giving the otome game a Yuri path.

 

Sophia Ascart

Nicol’s sister, who loves reading romance novels. She is considered cursed and unnatural due to her silver hair which Catarina comments flows and shines like silk in the light. It appears Sophia also develops an interest in Catarina as well.

Maria Campbell

A girl who, in Fortune Lover, was the main heroine and original bullying target for Catarina. Due to Catarina becoming much nicer and charismatic, Maria ironically ends up falling in love with her, which in turn gives Maria a route of her own.

 

Manga Monday- My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

Manga Monday- My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!, also known as HameFura, is a Japanese light novel series written by Satoru Yamaguchi and illustrated by Nami Hidaka. It began serialization online in July 2014 on the user-generated novel publishing website Shōsetsuka ni Narō. It was acquired by Ichijinsha, who published the first light novel volume in August 2015 under their Ichijinsha Bunko Iris imprint. Nine volumes have been released as of April 2020. The light novel has been licensed in North America by J-Novel Club.

A manga adaptation with art by Hidaka has been serialized in Ichijinsha’s shōjo manga magazine Monthly Comic Zero Sum since August 2017. It has been collected in four tankōbon volumes and licensed in English by Seven Seas Entertainment. A spin-off manga began releasing during November 2019. An anime television series adaptation by Silver Link began airing in April 2020.

Manga

There have been two manga series associated with the light novel. The first, My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom, was first published in Japan during August 2017 and adapts the light novel series into manga format. The second, Otome Game no Hametsu Flag shika nai Akuyaku Reijou ni Tensei shite shimatta… Zettai Zetsumei! Hametsu Sunzen Hen, released its first issue in November 2019. This manga focuses on the question of what would happen if Katarina were to recover her memories when she was fifteen as opposed to during her childhood, leaving her without the friends and relationships that she garnered as a result of early planning against her bad ends.

Light novels

The first light novel volume was published by Ichijinsha under their Ichijinsha Bunko Iris imprint on August 20, 2015. As of April 2020, nine volumes have been published.

Reception

The light novel and manga have over 600,000 copies in print.

Plot

Catarina Claes, the young daughter of a noble family, one day bumps her head and regains memories of her past life as an otaku. It is then that she realizes she has been reborn into the world of the otome game Fortune Lover, reincarnated as the game’s villainess who, regardless of what route the player took in the original game, is doomed to be either killed or exiled. In order to avoid these routes that lead to doom, Catarina begins taking countermeasures to try and avoid things going the same way as the game. This, however, ends up having unexpected consequences on her relations with the other characters of the game’s world.