Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Shojo A Go-Go: The Demon Prince of Momochi House

First Impressions are somewhat important,especially with books if you want anyone to give your book the time of day. The first impression I had with The Demon Prince of Momochi House was Kamisama Kiss rip off. I know you aren't supposed to judge a book by it's cover, literally or metaphorically, but I mean look at the image to your left. It's clearly Tomoe,same smug look and fox ears but a kimono lifted from Miketsukami. However once I started reading I was wrong to judge it as such. I mean I was not really blown away by anything however it did prove the cover was a liar.

The Demon Prince of Momochi House is unsurprisingly a supernatural romance. It's ground well trodden in this column and this one looks to be no different. I'll give it this it is trying to be different from books like Demon Love Spell, and Black Bird with a jerk with a heart of gold male lead. The titular demon prince is Aoi,a human who transforms into the Nue. The guy is bordering on male moe and his kindness knows no bounds. His love interest and our lead is Himari,the 16 year old rightful owner of Momochi House,whose attempt to claim the house kick starts the plot. She's a generic shojo protagonist,i.e thick headed with a sweet side and a weak constitution. She's saved from being the weakest character by Aoi's demon companions who may as well not really be here for all they do. Shoujou is the hot headed one and Amazuchi is the guy destined to be an uke for the inevitable yoai doujins.

The only person I really care about at this point is Aoi and that's just because he seems to have the most going on. How he got here and his status as the Nue are the only things I want to know about about. It helps that he is fairly likable and his child like antics are amusing. The rest of the cast could probably be interesting if they had any character but while we get little for Himari and her loneliness issues the remaining cast is left lacking.

We have three chapters that serve to paint us a picture of the world and it does this competently . There is a house on the border of our world and the spirit world that's protected by a supernatural being and shenanigans between the two realms ensue. It's enjoyable fun that serves to showoff Aoi's powers and a bit of back story on Himori's connection to the house. Nothing wrong with it and it adds an air of mystery with the question of who sent the will that brought Himori to the house and that person's intentions. An interesting twist that is brought up near the end is that Aoi can't leave the house.

This has the possibility to open up two paths. Either this becomes the major focus for now pushing the mystery of will to the back ground or it's an easily solved problem and this opens us up to a school setting like every other supernatural romance. The latter can open us up to probably more bland characters and the school tropes related to that. However the former has the potential to a hopefully more intimate manga that allows the characters to grow as they search for answers.Not that they wouldn't grow regardless of the path but it'd be more of a focus as we're limited to that small cast and the house itself.

There is a interesting undercurrent lurking here that indicate this manga may go places. Aoi's genuine sweetness is nice in a genre clogged with misunderstood jerks even if the everyone else is just sort of there. The plot is not offering much right now but what is here is written well enough that I'd probably continue for at least a few more volumes to see where it goes.

Till Next time: Stay Positive.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Things No One Cares About:After I WIn

Editor's Note:I am unable to figure out the font/spacing issues at this time

It is left for the readers to decide if it is intentional, but every time yaoi comes up on this blog it's always Lily “I can't keep a plot going longer than four chapters” Hoshino's work. In the spirit of breaking that habit we're going to look at a yaoi manga that is: A. not by Ms. Hoshino and B. not a collection of sexy short stories. Instead we're looking at a single volume yaoi manga known as After I Win. Even though it is given time to garner some depth it's still kiddy pool shallow.

Now I'm not going to spend an entire article complaining about a book clearly meant to be used as fuel for itching the ditch lacks depth. That would be like playing a Persona game and getting mad because it makes heavy use of Japanese culture.However I am going to complain because it is boring. Every chapter is our lead Hiyori wondering if his dorm mate/boyfriend Kasumi actually loves him. It starts with them unable to communicate and ends with the boys “grabbing burritos” except in the last chapter where they finally “stuff the burritos”. It's like the manga-ka,Kaname Itsuki, decided to condense the plot to Happy Marriage!? and made Chiro a boy. I'll admit I'm a fan of the seme being the younger guy and the uke being older; I would exactly call it a shake-up per se but it adds to the sexy factor...if that's your thing. This still doesn't excuse the fact that the lead couple has the chemistry of wet cardboard.

The only shining moment in this otherwise dark dredge of cute boys is the relationship between Hiyori and his brother Sawa. It's a fine if poorly utilized example of Hiyori being a somewhat unreliable narrator. He see his brother as a playboy seducing scads of high school boys. However Hiyori believes that Sawa doesn't care about people's feelings for which he is wrong. Sawa's care for his brother is a tad subtle, mostly making sure he's eating right, which Hiyori writes off as him being a nutritionist. The book drops little hints that Hiyroi is wrong before just going all out and letting the last two chapters show how much Sawa truly cares.

The book should have been about the brothers with Kasumi being relegated to side status. Sure, he gets some development but his relationships with his little sister and Hiyori are sorely lacking. Has it been about the brothers they could have an exploration of two different lifestyles and the tensions that arise between the men. Instead nothing is really done with the relationship and we are left with bland jock boy hiding his “baton” in the cute sempai. The fact that the brothers are set up as opposites seems to only be there for the twist in the loosest sense, that Hiyroi is the uke. Which is painfully obvious without the unnecessary level of detail to the brother's relationship.

The art is pretty well done with all guys looking reasonably fine however despite the 18+ rating on this no one’s “ink pens” are ever really shown. Also as stated above it's most the two boys just “helping each other read” till the fourth chapter where they “dictate to each other” and if that's your thing then by all means go for it just feels a tad bit lacking to me. Also as a side note the back cover seems to make this book out to be this aggressive fight for love when it's tamer than Pat Boone.

After I Win is a pitiful waste of potential that focuses on the wrong relationship. It's like the manga-ka wrote this detailed back story the brothers and was determined to shoehorn it into this book about sexy guys "drinking milkshakes". The fact that the relationship is competently written weakens the book as a whole since all I can think about is how it should have been about them and not the asinine romantic couple. I know I took a jab at Lily Hoshino earlier but the fact that after 2 years I still remember Night Circus is a testament to some degree of staying power. This is forgettable garbage that lacks any real appeal outside of what could have been.

Till Next Time: Stay Positive

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Modest Update

As people may have noticed I haven't really posted any thing since the Jojo review a little over a month ago and for that I am sorry. A few personal issues popped up again with the currently scrapped review of the first volume of Dengaki Daisy. Things are a tad better but I went back to school in July and was still working a day job. Thus I had little to no time to really watch or write about anything. The truth of the matter is this blog is for the foreseeable future a side project and real life usually takes precedence over it.

For those who actually enjoy my writings, I will always have a new article up at Haywire in the tentative span of every five weeks. As for here on the blog,it will still be a little lacking due to trying to find a new job and transition to the schedule. I have more free time but it's mostly for job hunting. I will try to post at least one or two reviews sometime this month but don't hold me to it. I'm probably going to cut back the amount of Shojo A Gogos I write since I feel like I'm repeating myself too often and to avoid boring everyone I'll  reserve that column for newer titles.

There are a few items I have in mind for the next few reviews and I'm working on a follow up to a older piece I did. However I'd like to leave this as an open letter to you,the readers,what would you like me to take a look at? I love hearing feedback and opinions from all of you,I may not reply too often but I do take your thoughts to heart.

TL;DR: Seriously it isn't that long just read it

Till Next Time: Stay Positive