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Jun 4, 2012
Mixed Feelings
The original Red Garden anime contained the same sort of issue that is found in many series: while the main plot was resolved, there were many unanswered questions. Given the often horrific nature of the series, this wasn't necessarily a bad thing -- what's scarier than the unknown? -- but the addition of an OVA nonetheless provided the opportunity for more explanation and closure.

Dead Girls takes place years after the end of the original series. Our four heroines are, naturally, still alive and without memories of the first seventeen years of their lives. Not knowing who they were or why they can never die, they've ...
Jan 25, 2012
Mixed Feelings
I’ve had it saved for a while, but I finally got around to reading Kyouko Hikawa’s 1983 manga Miriam. Hikawa has an unusually large number of series available in English for a mangaka who wrote shoujo in the 80s and 90s (including From Far Away, which was published in the USA by Viz), but just like the other series of hers that I’ve read, Miriam is rather average.

This is the only shoujo manga series I can think of with a wild west setting, so if nothing else that makes for an interesting change of pace. Unfortunately, there’s not much to write home about when it ...
Jul 18, 2011
Sakura Namiki (Manga) add
The Rows of Cherry Trees is best described as "delicate". It's a small volume, one filled with an emotional yet elegant love story. In the ping-pong team of one all-girls' school, sweet Yukiko nurse admiration for her "onee-sama" Chikage even when their relationship is threatened. Like many early girls love (and boys love) titles, this isn't a story of romance as we tend to think of it -- full of confessions and dating and sex -- but rather the tale of a passionate love, one that may never bloom into an official relationship but stays strong just the same. Unfortunately, it doesn't have much in ...
Mar 29, 2010
Love so strong that it drives someone to death. Guilt that tears the wings of innocence away. Forgiveness that redeems a life. The Heart of Thomas is based on such emotions all mixed up into a beautiful, intense whirlwind of feelings that are more tragic than any of ours, yet resonate with each of us.

While it is, in fact, a boy's love classic, The Heart of Thomas has very little in common with almost any other BL title out there. Set in a 20th century German boarding school, it begins with the arrival of Eric, a sweet-faced yet strong-willed transfer student. He quickly discovers that ...
Nov 3, 2009
Anime like Kaze to Ki no Uta are hard to quantify. Like so many short OVAs and series, the KazeKi anime is a compressed version of a small part of a much longer manga series. That said, as someone who has seen this OVA both with no knowledge of the manga and after having "read" (in the sense of looking at the pictures, anyway) all of it, I find it a wonderful work to be a wonderful work no matter how familiar you are with it.

Kaze to Ki no Uta is an epic boys' love tragedy oftentimes labeled as the first boy's love manga -- ...
Jul 18, 2009
Cutie Honey F (Anime) add
Mixed Feelings
Preliminary (9/39 eps)
I totally love Cutey Honey. She's tough and not afraid to be sexy. And even though she was one of the first magical girls, she stands out just as much as a unique character as she did in the 80s. Most versions of her story are pretty similar only to each other. There's one major outlier, though: Cutey Honey Flash.

As the series that took over Sailor Moon's timeslot when it first aired, Cutey Honey Flash is not the ecchi/action sort of magical girl series you'd expect from the franchise, instead following a more typical formula. It takes place in high school, it's totally family-friendly, and ...
Jun 12, 2009
X Diary (Manga) add
Mixed Feelings
While the slice of life genre is more popular now than ever before, there’s not always a lot of realism among your average moe high school girls. X Diary was probably not intended to stand in contrast to such works, but it still does so. Unfortunately, it showed me that I like my unrealstic SoL.

Our heroes are Mingo, a comic artist, and Jerry, a musician, and they have just broken up. Told in what you probably know as a 4koma style, X Diary follows their daily life as they struggle with this decision and where to go from there. I’ve never been in such a ...
Feb 22, 2009
Fire Emblem (Anime) add
Mixed Feelings
With the recent release of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon in English, this OVA is perhaps more relevant than it has been in over a decade. Some quick backstory: in 1990, the first Fire Emblem game was released for the Famicom (and was remade for the Super Famicom in 1994). Since games back then had simpler stories and characters, extra care was taken by Fire Emblem’s creators to make supplemental media to flesh out the game. This OVA wasn’t meant to stand alone or take the place of the game, but to help players understand a little more about what was going on. I’m sure it ...
Feb 12, 2009
Mixed Feelings
Preliminary (1/5 chp)
The thought of harlequin romance manga honestly rather amuses me. Shoujo romance manga has one set of clichés, romance novels have another, and if the two met it should end up as one big mess of trashy girly romance – horrible, but possibly hilariously so.

That said, Three Wishes really didn’t meet any of my preconceptions for better or for worse. Quite frankly, it’s no more and no less than an average romance novel, illustrated by a manga artist. The story – girl meets a genie who wants to give her wishes but ends up falling in love with her – is ridiculously predictable but ...
Feb 11, 2009
Mixed Feelings
It’s funny how fansubbing has changed over the years: series that were once distributed on tapes to enthusiastic fans all over the country are now all but forgotten. Nurse Angel Ririka SOS is one such anime. Then again, I can’t say I’m really surprised that the series has been lost in time – while it’s a solid little magical girl tale, it’s not really a something worth going out of your way to see.

Nurse Angel Ririka SOS stars, a ten-year-old girl who finds out she has the ability to transform into the legendary nurse angel and fight evil. She runs into trouble with villains, she ...

It’s time to ditch the text file.
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