I’ve been skulking around this glorious nuclear bunker we call MAL for a wee bit now and after five years and countless social occasions skipped in favour of reading smutty romances online, I honestly have a difficult time imagining life pre-reading lists and daily MAL updates! I’m a perma-tween stuck in the decidedly mortal body of an ever aging 26 year old. Why perma-tween you ask? All in good time, dear reader!
Onto some FAQ’s (coz so many of you have been hounding me about these issues of earth shattering importance so frequently!)
1. Are you an anime-aficionado or a manga-maven?
I generally prefer manga, regardless of the genre or length of the series because I personally feel the art is more detailed, and more painstakingly drawn while the plot development and characters remain closer to the author’s vision. I must also confess that I’m a particular type of lazy wherein I don’t mind following chapter after chapter of a slowly released scanlation as long as I get to read it at my own pace rather than sitting still in front of a screen watching people move and facials change and keep track of the subtitles at the same time.
That said, I do enjoy the occasional anime of a beloved manga or one which features some of my favourite seiyuus, the smuttier the scenarios, the better ^_^
2. Genres I enjoy:
Broadly I like reading about those fuzzy feelings of affection which brew between a boy and a girl (this is important!) when they think with their naughty bits. Additionally I enjoy school life, comedy, drama, smut, adventure, history and psychological. I have little patience with Slice of Life or Mecha/Action.
I cannot get enough of childish shoujo romances which make your heart race and your breath catch in your throat. Occasionally I enjoy some well written tragedy oneshots and have a healthy cry afterwards. I’ve realised, rather alarmingly, that I quite enjoy those tear jerkers and if a week has gone by where I haven’t bawled my eyes out at some angst ridden tale of some unfortunate star crossed lovers, I feel restless and become overly emotional about inane things in real life (which is just genuinely embarrassing!) just to get those pent up metaphorical tears out of my system! (I have so much emotion inside of me!)
If you're going to be anal about the kinds of stories within these genres that tickle me pink, I would have to go with Incests (I have no qualms about real sibling pairings instead of the half sibling/step sibling/adoption cop outs that shoujos resort to) and Unrequited Love (CANNOT get enough of that sap! Is there anything more intriguing than a woman scorned? Only one who still holds a candle for said scorner!)
3. Why don’t you grow up/ grow a pair already?
You think I haven’t tried?! I am constantly intimidated by the apparent maturity everyday sixteen year olds exhibit in front of me! I have yet to truly feel like an adult in any of my endeavours including my job, though undoubtedly there is no one way to experience that.
4. How’d you get sucked into this vortex we most affectionately label animu?
Oh come now, you know it's going to take over the world eventually, it was inevitable! Sigh... you're still curious... Well, it started the way it always does with Cartoon Network thinking far-sightedly for once and airing some anime during the daytime slot. It was Speed Racer. Hehe, to be honest, I couldn't have asked for a better first-timer to pop my anime cherry! Those forever open mouths and the whirlwind dub speed! This was of course when I was barely 8, so I may have taken it lightly, and not even realised that the people who were behind the creation of that masterpiece were different from Hanna Barbara (I may have been under the impression that HB was ONE person!)...
Next came Ninja Robots, and this is where the obsessive gene took root! It aired weekdays at 4:30PM and I absolutely HAD to be awake/skip parties/run home from friend's houses when the clock struck 4:25, coz this was my first exposure to smexy bishies controlling super human mechas! It made quite the impression, however, it was discontinued soon enough and I was left a hollow shell of a 10 year old because of it.
Aaah the golden period... Fall 2000. My friend may have casually "mentioned" or shook me a 100 times in the bus ride home from school that the most awesome and life changing anime I'll ever see [I am completely clueless about the existence of manga at this point, to me it may have sounded like mango mispronounced by a toddler] was airing on AXN and I absolutely had to see it! Ironically, I missed it the first time she instructed me to see it, and I was most apologetic in the bus (and kind of resentful, it was just TV after all I thought! Haha how much would change in a week!). Next week I dutifully tuned in at 11AM and Dun da da dun... Two of the most handsome boys/men/Gods(?) ever created made aware their existence and floored me! I may have been catatonic through the 8 hours is took for Fushigi Yuugi to re-air at 7PM that evening! Yes, this is the real stage that anime gripped me hard, where day and night, during boring physics tests and english classes I saw only a bishie approaching the animised me in place of the shoujo in my fantasies and browsing fan sites took up 60% of the day once school was over. Sigh... good days!
Manga is a pretty recent phenomenon, as recent in fact, as January 2009. I was always aware since 2000 that SE Asia produced boatloads of comics but only in black and white, and initially I wondered how people were moved so much without colour! *flayed* Once I gave it a shot though, I understood the hoopla surrounding the artwork and complex storylines, as compared to what I was accustomed to. So the first manga I did end up reading later turned out to be another one of Watase-sama’s titles (not a coincidence) Zettai Kareshi and I fell in love all over again.
Crazy crazy crazy about Night Tenjou and other Watase Yuu bishies. Actually, I'm perma-swooned over bishies in general! I feel very strongly about independent and strong willed female leads in manga/anime and love good lol-inducing shows like School Rumble and Ouran where characters cry rivers of tears, slump into corners and turn into puppy dog poses when faced with their respective heroines. I have pretty much never experienced the head over heels feeling for a real bishounen so I try to vicariously live it out with the appropriate manga and would love suggestions on any particular manga/anime to read and watch!
5. All right, all right, it seems you won’t get off my back until you have me read some shoujo romance manga. What would you recommend?
I cannot tell you the stunting anxiety I experience every time I am asked about my favourite manga or some squeal-inducing suggestions. There is just too damn much quality stuff out there! If you’re already familiar with the top 5 that you see on your left or those exceptional titles which have been awarded a 9 or 10 on my reading lists, I highly recommend the following authors, who nail both art and story in (mostly) equal measures.
Somewhere in between those two: Mikimoto Rin, Yagami Rina, Ayumi Rin
6. You sound (almost) cool, I want to talk more! So I’m sending you a blank friend request, but you understand the depth of my feelings behind that without me having to put it down in words don’t you?
I really don’t. As stoked as I am to meet and greet actual people, instead of the little bishie-faced Oompa Loompa’s in my head, I want to know who or what I’m hitting accept for. Most of us don’t even put our names in our handles, while generally feeling content posting cryptic little somethings on the About Me section. It is exhausting trying to figure out why you sent me that request and what we should talk about after we do become friends with no clue from the other side! So drop me a little soliloquy, your best pickup line or a flaming bag of poo... just something to get the conversation started!
7. This is embarrassing, I just turned up here coz I was chatting with a friend of mine and you’d left this mile long exposition on her comments section and before I knew it, I clicked...
Hey! Me too!!! I am constantly lurking around my friend’s comments and reading conversations which I shouldn’t be! We’re such a fascinating bunch here! That’s what I love about MAL. All us monkeys bond in a surprisingly short duration of time considering most of us never physically meet and then live on top of each other, glomping the other party everytime something new or cute is scanlated or subtitled/dubbed. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything! Well... I mean if you offered me a chance to step into Miaka’s shoes and be 15 forever, then I’m no fool sir! But for the most part, I relish the warmth and affection this cozy MAL shaped comforter has brought into my life.
8. There seem to be an annoying number of fangirl-y reviews about insignificant romance titles originating from this profile. What is up with that!
I’m a tad unsure when I started competing with myself to churn out more and more reviews about insignificant stories which either left me panting for more or crestfallen at the wasted potential of it all. It definitely took root when I felt the absence of feedback on titles where I was considering investing my precious time. Being the goody goody that I am, I tried to ensure others weren't left guessing as well, so I put metaphorical pen to paper and thus began a series of cloyingly mediocre but effusive pieces of formulaic prose you see gracing the review tab.
Since I may not always have a ton to say about every title I read, I often leave my more succinct thoughts on MangaUpdates instead. So if you’re an avid shoujo romance reader and looking for some opinions on a particular title, I highly recommend you browse the comments section on MU on that title’s page. I find a surprising number of ridonkulously entertaining monologues there and as a bonus have made quite a few quality acquaintances who relish in holding hands with me and jumping up and down fangirling about a particular bishie or the snippiness of a character’s dialogues.
While we’re on the subject, I hope to someday become immune to the crushing ratio of Helpful-Not Helpfuls you often see on pieces which you thought were your crowning glory, but for now I have serious bouts of constipation whenever I am faced with that hateful scenario.
9. Not to overstep, but I’m seeing a lot of smut on your reading lists!
10. So what else would you deem interesting in this universe other than anime and manga?
I’ve recently gotten into Otome Games (otoges) in a big way, though that’s admittedly because I’ve got some extra time on my hands. They’re quite a time sucker in terms of the number of minutes you end up whiling away everyday on a mobile app which is in the simplest terms, a short story! I enjoy Solmare games like Ninja Love and Destiny Ninja and some select others like Contract Marriage and Forbidden Love.
Aside from these pursuits (which largely centre on some degree of wishful thinking or make believe), you will not believe the satisfaction that collecting puffy stickers and folding complex origami can provide!
On a more sheepish note, I frequently find myself indulging in activities of a more (collective gasp!) social nature IRL as well. But we can talk about those later!
11. OH.MY.GOD! Why are you talking so much?! Do you think this is some whiny blog or that we care? Don’t take “About Me” so seriously!
Tsk. Haters gonna hate!
12. You seem like you know how to find my way around to some scans or RAWs for some manga I'm hankering over... got any ideas?
Why yes! Try A Dreamer On Drugs, Mangalator.ch (both raws and scans ahead of "official" releases)
In the meanwhile, if all these ramblings have somehow motivated you to communicate with me and you’re at a loss as to what to start off with, and Sugar, My Beloved or Goddess-sama feel a tad too familiar, you can call me Ishi!
PS Have you seen those tsukkomi's on MangaHere?! They're freakin' hilarious! I love the interwebz.