A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{November 19, 2012}   Comics and manga of the week (67)

Bad Teacher’s Equation, volume 5 by Kazuma Kodaka

  • This double volume concludes Kodaka’s classic BL series. It’s amazing to see how much Atsushi has changed and grown since volume one. His romance with his teacher (school nurse, technically) Shibata comes to a satisfying, and long awaited, conclusion. The volume isn’t perfect: there’s an unnecessary time jump at the end and Inagaki’s feelings for his best girlfriend are sudden and unbelievable after chasing Astushi for so long. Still, even with its flaws, this is a series no BL fan should miss.

Bus Gamer, volume 1 (French) by Kazuya Minekura

  • 3 young men play a deadly game of corporate espionage in hopes of paying off their debts. This is actually the second time Minekura (of Saiyuki fame) wrote this story. Her first attempt was a one shot published in a now defunct magazine and it bombed. This series is off to a much better start: there’s a lot of action, hints at dark pasts and I found myself chuckling more than once. I’m still wary but looking forward to the second volume.

La célibataire (French) by India Desjardins & Magalie Foutrier

  • A series of vignettes in the life of a single young woman trying to find love and avoid rom-com clichés. It approaches the subject with insight and humour and Foutrier’s images really pop. Worth a read.

City Hunter, volume 11 (French) by Tsukasa Hojo

  • In this volume Ryo is tasked with protecting a gorgeous lady reporter who is determined to prove that she has more going for her than her looks. He then becomes the body guard of a model who, though temptingly beautiful, is far too young for him. As always, Ryo makes all the girls fall for him in spite of his ridiculously large libido and escapes any serious romance. It’s amazing to me how Hojo can keep the same basic story funny and fresh over so many volumes. I never tire of Ryo’s antics and surprising moments of heroism.

Cross Game, volume 8 by Mitsuru Adachi

  • The final double volume of Adachi tragic and romantic baseball tale covers the final game in the regional tournament. Adachi really knows how to draw out the suspense and the ending is very satisfying if a little predictable. Adachi really is a master of his craft and I look forward to his next series.

Journey into Mystery/New Mutants: Exiled by Kieron Gillen, Dan Abnett and Andy Landing

  • A spell created by old-Loki and wielded by Sigurd makes all the Asgardians, Loki included, think they are ordinary people. The New Mutants need to break the spell before the Disir, a group of cursed, undead shield maidens, return to their canabalistic ways. It starts off a little slow but soon recaptures the humour and adventure that I love in Kieron’s Journey into Mystery.

Lily la Menteuse,volume 3 (French) by Ayumu Komura

  • Hinata’s boyfriend En continues to cross dress which causes her a great deal of stress, especially when he gets amnesia and thinks he’s transgendered. I was kind of hoping that this would be the last volume which will give you a sense of how tired I’m getting of the gag. It was fun meeting some of the other characters though, especially Kojiro the wannabe samurai.

Orange Chocolat, volume 3 (French) by Nampei Yamada

  • Chiro and Ritsu continue to change bodies with increasing frequency and now the two fox spirits are attending their school in human form. It’s a fun series and I like the ways in which, even sharing bodies, Chiro and Ritsu continue to misunderstand each other. But though the fox spirits add some humour, it is starting to feel too much like her previous series (Princes du The). Hopefully volume 4 will hold more twists for us.

Punch Up, volume 2 (French) by Shiuko Kano

  • Kota and Motoharu have been living together for a few months now but Kota is still insecure about the older man’s feelings for him. His friends Saiga decides to confront Motoharu before he can break Kota’s heart, but he may have ulterior motives. Meanwhile Kato’s first love returns to town and further test their relationship. I’ve really been enjoying this story: it is engaging and realistic. Add to that gorgeous art and characters that I’ve grown truly attached to and you get a BL series that stands above the crowd.

Secret Thorns by Kikuko Kikuya

  • Uruno is forced to work and live with his ex, Hisahara. Hisahara makes it clear that he wants them to get back together but can Uruno trust him to give up his playboy ways? A bland story with and unsympathetic lead. I see another breakup in their future and I’m not sad about it.

Silver Diamond, volume 4 (French) by Shiho Sugiura

  • Rakan follows his new friends into the desert world where they immediately encounter a band of bandits with a tragic history. An intriguing fantasy. This is also one of those series that is almost BL, with all the men idolizing Rakan and hugging each other, but that never quite takes the plunge. But don’t look for any female characters, you won’t find any.

Sleepless Nights by Sachi Murakami

  • Though Miyabi works in the gay district, he isn’t gay… or so he thought until a young man cruising outside the convenience store where he works catches his eye. Nothing more than a one night stand, a mistake. But he never suspected that the boy went to his school and, worse, will be sharing his dorm room. If I never encounter a straight man in BL, who is only attracted to one man it will be too soon. Methinks though dost protest too much. There is also a bit too much emphasis on the stereotype of gay men and casual sex but in the end Murakami manages to twist this stereotype into a touching conclusion.

Sweet Tooth, volume 5: Unnatural Habitats by Jeff Lemire

  • This volume starts in the 19th century when European missionaries in Alaska discover an antlered baby much like Gus. In the story’s present day, Jeppard may have been right not to trust Walter, the inhabitant of the self-sustaining habitat, but will he be able to get back in time to save his companions? This series constantly has me on my toes. It’s one of the best comics that I;m reading at the moment and I read a lot of them!

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