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Film Friday- Uta no Prince-sama

Film Friday- Uta no Prince-sama

Uta no Prince-sama is a Japanese multimedia franchise by Broccoli. The original game of the same name was first released on the PlayStation Portable on June 24, 2010, and since its release, the game has spawned multiple sequels and rhythm game spin-offs. The series has also been adapted into several manga series.

An anime adaptation by A-1 Pictures began airing in 2011, titled Uta no Prince-sama: Maji Love 1000%, which was then followed by three sequels, a 2019 animated film titled Uta no Prince-sama: Maji Love Kingdom, and a 2022 animated film titled Uta no Prince-sama: Maji Love ST☆RISH Tours.

The franchise has been well received in Japan, with thousands of music CDs sold and charting on mainstream music charts. The games have been awarded “Best Consumer Game” in Dengeki Girls’ Style Otome Game Awards 2011.

Plot

With dreams of becoming a composer and someday writing a song for her favorite idol, Haruka Nanami enters the Saotome Academy, a prestigious performing arts school made up of students who are either vying to become an idol or a music producer. Haruka becomes acquainted with six of her classmates, who are all competing to become idols. For her project, she must team up with another student as an idol-producer team, and if they are successful, they will join Shining Agency after graduation. In addition, romance is strictly prohibited at their school.

Gameplay

Uta no Prince-sama is a comedy and romance visual novel in which the player assumes the character of Haruka Nanami. Uta no Prince-sama follows a branching plot line with multiple endings; depending on the decisions that the player makes during the game, the plot will progress in a specific direction.

There are seven main plot lines that the player will have the chance to experience, three which are initially available (four in All Star). Throughout gameplay, the player is given multiple options to choose from, and text progression pauses at these points until a choice is made. To view all plot lines in their entirety, the player must replay the game multiple times and make different choices to change the plot progression. The player must also complete various minigames, which affect the different endings.

Anime

The March 2011 issue of Newtype magazine announced that an anime television adaptation franchise would air during the summer. Titled Uta no Prince-sama: Maji Love 1000%, the series was produced by A-1 Pictures, with Yuu Kou directing the series, Tomoko Konparu supervising the scripts, and Mitsue Mori adapting the game’s original character designs. The anime series began its broadcast run on Tokyo MX, Gunma TV, and Tochigi TV on July 2, 2011 (July 3, 2011 at 12:00 AM). The video streaming service Niconico simulcasted the series to audiences in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

The second season premiered on April 4, 2013, under the title Uta no Prince-sama Maji LOVE 2000% on TV Aichi. The first season was released on January 7, 2014, on DVD/Blu-ray subtitled-only format.

A third season began airing on April 4, 2015, under the title “Uta no Prince-sama Maji LOVE Revolutions. On June 27, 2015, following the broadcast of the last episode of the third season, the ending message revealed that a fourth season had been confirmed.

The fourth season, titled Uta no Prince-sama Maji LOVE Legend Star, began airing on October 2, 2016. Sentai Filmworks has licensed the first and second seasons for a release in 2014, and has also licensed the third and fourth seasons.

Stage plays

Uta no Prince-sama has also inspired a series of stage plays, with the characters playing roles in a stage production and select characters appearing in certain plays. Music of the stage productions were later released onto CD. The first series, titled Gekidan Shining, featured the stage plays Masquerade Mirage, Tenka Muteki no Shinobu Michi, and Joker Trap from 2013 to 2014.

The second series, titled Theatre Shining, featured the stage plays Bloody Shadows, Pirates of the Frontier, and Everybuddy.

The third series, titled Shining Masterpiece Show, was screened at Gallery AaMo in Tokyo from February 23 to April 15, 2018, with each of the three stage plays rotating every month. The plays featured were Lost Alice, Trois: Ken to Kizuna no Monogatari, and Lycoris no Mori.

Films

During the Uta no Prince-sama: Maji Love Live 6th Stage event, the staff announced that an anime film titled Uta no Prince-sama: Maji Love Kingdom has been green-lit. Uta no Prince-Sama: Maji Love Kingdom is produced by A-1 Pictures and directed by Tomoka Nagaoka, with Takeshi Furuta serving as chief director. The rest of the main staff and cast from the anime series are returning to reprise their roles. The film was released in theaters on June 14, 2019. The film grossed ¥1.72 billion at box office upon its release. An English subtitled version was screened at Anime Expo 2019.

It was announced on March 27, 2021 that the a new anime film Uta no Prince-sama: Maji Love ST☆RISH Tours has been green-lit, and is set to premiere in 2022. A-1 Pictures is returning to produce the film, with Elements Garden composing the music.

Manga

Uta no Prince-sama was adapted into several manga series. The first two manga adaptations, Uta no Prince-sama and Uta no Prince-sama Debut, were illustrated by Utako Yukihiro and serialized in Sylph. The gag comic, Uta no Prince-sama PP was illustrated by Kotoko Ichi and serialized in Comic B’s Log. Alongside of that, several manga anthologies were also released with contributing fan artists.

 

Manga Monday- Demon Love Spell

Manga Monday- Demon Love Spell

Demon Love Spell is a manga series by Mayu Shinjo about a shrine maiden that finds herself falling for a demon that feeds on passion and love. Shinjo initially wrote Demon Love Spell in 2008 as a two part installment manga for Margaret magazine, but chose to serialize the series in 2009 due to the story’s popularity. In 2012 Viz Media licensed the manga with the intention to publish it in English through their Shojo Beat imprint and released the first volume in December of that same year.

Synopsis

The series follows Miko, a young shrine maiden living with her family. She’s frustrated that she’s unable to contribute much to the family business, as she has little apparent supernatural abilities and cannot easily see or banish spirits. Miko eventually runs into Kagura, an incubus that has been feeding on the female students at Miko’s school. She manages to seal him, but in the process turns him into a chibi, lower powered version of himself. Miko initially tries to keep him secret from her family, but they inevitably discover Kagura but allow him to remain with Miko due to his small size. Meanwhile, Kagura has shown the ability to enter Miko’s mind while she’s sleeping, where he is able to assume his full size. Kagura uses this as an opportunity to attempt to seduce Miko, with some success.

Reception

Critical reception for the series has been mostly positive, with the School Library Journal commenting that for the story material the manga was “quite clean, consisting mostly of cheeky innuendos and a few abstract dream sequences in which sex is insinuated but not graphically depicted”. Anime News Network gave overall positive reviews for the first two volumes, praising the series’ artwork and remarking that Miko was a stronger female character than some of the ones Shinjo had written in the past. In contrast, U-T San Diego reported that a Comic-Con panel had named the manga one of their five worst manga releases for 2013.

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.