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Monday, July 10, 2017

Kaze to Ki no Uta

Also known as:

The Song of the Wind and Trees


"What Binds these youths together is a law of freedom. It is a place where emotions rule. They are like candles who have just been lit, with doubts and jealousy and contentment and over flowing tears. To them, everything good and bad exists to fulfill their desires; they hide their claws with charming gazes. It's a time when they establish a sense of self-- Adolescence!"

- Kaze to Ki no Uta Vol. 2, Ch. 2, pg. 3

Serge (left) & Gilbert (right)



This story takes place in 19th century France and starts when Serge Battour, a young viscount and piano prodigy, enters the Academy. He gets placed in the same room as Gilbert Cocteau's, where he immediately gets engulfed in Gilbert's mysterious life as the entire school warns him about the promiscuous boy before he even meets him. And Gilbert follows through with the students' expectations of him, seducing and toying with Serge whenever he sees fit to deter him away.





This is when the two children start interacting with each other. Serge adamant to treating Gilbert with the same respect as any of his other peers and urging Gilbert to change his ways to the better. While Gilbert is fixated on his own desires that he pushes and manipulates anyone and anything as to get what he wants. The best word to describe him would be "volatile"; he is constantly in this cycle of being calm and cynical, breaking into hysterical laughter, sobbing uncontrollably, then back to lashing out at anyone in front of him like a cornered cat.

Serge trying to help Gilbert, but oversteps his boundaries resulting in Gilbert lashing out

It's interesting because Serge trys to relate to Gilbert because they are both outcasted by society in some level. Gilbert for being an outward homosexual (sodomy was legal in Paris at the time) and for his rather peculiar behaviour, and Serge who's sun kissed skin separated him from others and who has a reputation of being the son of a viscount and gypsy prostitute. Both actively discriminated and shunned by society. And slowly but surely, they get drawn to each other.


Personally, I believe that that Academy is cursed! Yes, I said cursed! If you read the manga you will understand why I say so! 

This shounen-ai was written in the 70's and 80's and is known to be the first, or one of the very first to incorporate themes of homosexuality in it, which eventually inspired and led to the genres of yaoi mangas. But it is SO MUCH MORE than just homosexuality. It covers topics like morality, child abuse, racism, and much much more that I can ramble on forever about. And it bothers me that all of this gets overshadowed by the genre of "Boys Love" (BL). There really shouldn't even be such a genre as BL or yaoi or yuri, it's just weird to label a story "gay" as people seek those genres in search of stories about homosexuals. It makes it sound like some cheap porn fetish and that's where all the unwarranted fan service comes from.

It is quite a bold manga, not suited for a young audience, I'd say 16+ just for adult themes, content, and utter brutality, however, while there are sex scenes, they are not graphic.

I actually can't find the rest of the manga in English post volume 9. I do know all the spoilers thanks to wikipedia, and I would say, wiki does have a better summary and description, but I don't recommend it if you wish to escape the spoilers.
Mischievous Gilbert



As for art, as you can see, it's the classic 70's art style with the giant exaggerated eyes, small lips, the giant curls in the hair, and ever so slender bodies. It's quite interesting, because sometimes it is hard to track switching between the events and a memory because there is not a lot of change in the page when it happens. When someone glares or stares, they draw sparkles and stars in the eyes, and it's a bit odd. Not my personal style, but is interesting. And it gives me a bit of a nostalgic feel to how anime used to be drawn. I'd give this manga a 4/5 so far, because the story is good, but some moments were a bit dull and stretched out. Also, as I said, I'm not entirely sure of the rest of the manga as I have not read it.






At first, I didn't understand why I must know about August's backstory (Gilbert's uncle) or know of Aslan's life (Serge's Father), but in a strange was it does intertwine. It gives you a better understanding of who or rather WHY those people behaved as they did and how their pasts paved Serge's and Gilbert's present actions and thought process. Because you will absolutely hate that snobby manipulative brat that Gilbert is at the start, then you will pity him..and just long to hold him and comfort him after realizing his perspective.

There is also an hour long OVA made of the manga, that rushes through the first 5 or so volumes before abruptly cutting it. The anime is more like a one shot of the manga, so you may not really understand the anime until you read the manga, but it does add to the appreciation of it. I wish it was longer though. I wish it kept going, but perhaps it would have been too brutal and not as entertaining as a mere hour. No, I think I like it the way it is.

So, if you are interested in angsty historical tragic shounen-ai's, I recommend!

If you have already read it, then comment below where you read the manga and your opinions on Gilbert because I'm SO done!

Peace,
M.D.

-----Spoiler Alert-----

This following is a pure character discussion and background summary and basically venting out my frustrations towards the shitty life that Gilbert bore the misfortune of existing in.

So, I actually read this manga twice but I can't remember when I had read it the first time. Maybe I was in my mid teens. I don't believe I understood it too well the first time. I do remember when the duel happened, so I guess I stopped close to the end, or merely forgotten what I had read.

To summarize Gilbert's Tragic Past:

- Born a bastard out of an adulterous relationship between his mom and August (Good ol' uncle dad!).
- abandoned by everyone and hated by his mother.
- until age 5, he was basically a feral child, running around between nature, and the mansion where servants only cared for his most basic needs.
- Then August found him and stripped him of his most cherished comfort items.
- Gilbert was Groomed by August for fun, which resulted in Gilbert being attached to Augu, and ONLY Augu. This made Gilbert act out to seek any kind of attention from his uncle dad. Knowing fully well that if he misbehaved, he will be severely punished (choked/whipped/starved/locked up), which follows being held ...and so he would deliberately act out to seek that small comfort.
- at 9 years old, he was raped by another man (Ever since, August started raping him as well.)
- He proceeded to go to that same rapist's mansion just to spite Augu for attention and because Augu also kicked him out. Then, after growing comfortable with the man, Augu came to fetch him, ripping him out of any little comforts yet again.
- at 11, he was shipped to boarding school, with the promise that he will be visited on holidays. (not always the case).
- Publicly raped at a pub
- sold himself to upperclassmen for grades and to be held.
- was raped/ bullied/ ostracized in school.


Gilbert basically has no self control over his desires, be it sexual or otherwise. He has an unhealthy attachment to August. He has trust issues (who the fuck wouldn't at this point). He is very loving of nature, animals, and being held. He only wants to be fucking held and accepted and to feel that skin to skin contact, because I think he has some serious anxiety on top of what is said above. He displayed some masochistic tendencies; when he wishes to forget about August, he asks for his lovers to choke him harder (daddy) and break him. He also likes toying with others, going as far as sexually assaulting the students at school by forcibly kissing and groping them. Perhaps a way to deter people away or more likely to test them.

Unlike most stories of child abuse, this victim not only likes his abuser, but is madly in love with him.

As for Serge...

He faced ostracism and criticism and racism his entire life because of his darker skin which he inherited from his half gypsy mother. The mother who was also a coquette yet married the heir viscount, a French gentleman.
Kaze to Ki no Uta Vol. 2, Ch. 3, pg. 41
Serge is very stern, he isn't perfect, but he tries to understand people around him. His father died due to over exertion and tuberculosis when he was 3, his mother died later on leaving him in the inherited mansion. At least some of his childhood was happy, and he is slightly less prejudiced than others.


August... Is a son of a bitch.

August also lived a tragic past as he was actively raped and sexually assaulted by his adopted brother (Gilbert's legal dad) and his adoptive father was well aware, but didn't do much to stop it.

His sole desire from Gilbert is to make him as natural and instinct driven as possible, thinking that this is "purity". He doesn't do it out of love, but hate towards Gilbert's parents at the start, then out of jealousy of how freely and proudly Gilbert expresses his emotions and actions uncaring of society. He is basically experimenting with this little boy and toying with him for his own little amusement, which is sickening. Isolating this child from anything and anyone so that he would only desire his touch and attention.

Revolting!


Friday, June 9, 2017

Bastard (manhwa)

"People often refer to kids who don't listen to their parents and rebel against them .....



---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I finished reading Bastard by Young Chan Hwang and Carnby Kim. In short, LOVED IT.

Jin Seon from Bastard
The genres I believe include horror, psychological, and drama. I also finished it within three days, so it really isn't that long.

The story is your typical emo looking 17 year old student, Jin Seon, the bottom of the food chain in his school. Jin Seon is also the son of a rich CEO.

The story's plot twist is that Jin Seon's dad is a serial killer....and he's the accomplice. He lures the women in, or plays some sort of role in this charade, and sometimes he participates in some of the action.

Jin Seon from Bastard Ch. 0

However, Jin Seon is slowly rebelling against his father. After meeting the new transfer student Kyon, she becomes his very first ever friend, the first person to ever genuinely be happy to see him. At the same time, his father chooses her as a target.

 Now Jin Seon is caught between disobeying his father and risk the consequences of those actions, or participate in the murder of his very first friend. And it's just a matter of what is he going to do to get himself out of this situation..and ultimately, this toxic lifestyle.
Is he going to become just like his father? Will anyone believe him? Is he going to be locked up? Is he going to lose his sanity? Will he lose Kyon? These are all thoughts I had as I read the manga.



This manhwa, I will actually give a 5/5 for the fact that it was just about everything I would like in a comic in terms of art, plot, character development, turmoil, realism, and plot twists.

The plot twists were not the very best but there were a few moments where I was in disbelief. Many moments where I wasn't really scared, but I was very tense and I just kept mumbling "Ah, shit" to myself over and over as I scrolled through it.


And while it is a horror, there are some funny moments and some very heartfelt moments as well. For example, Jin Seon is rather sheltered, often ill, and mostly caught in his thoughts. So, when he finally made a friend he had the audacity to ask "What the heck is porn?" Have fun explaining that to a 17 year old! Never mind the fact he didn't know what sex was at that age. I mean I know you have better things to worry about, but....



Tell me what you think of it!

Peace,
M.D.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Killing Stalking (Manhwa)

A few volumes are out so far as this is a new webtoon. If you're into thriller comics, this is the one for you.

It is unfortunately yaoi, and it is mature, so no one under 16 should read this. That part is what makes it confusing, it is a psychological horror and the fact it's also marked as "tragedy" is giving me a few premonitions on its ending.
I say unfortunately, because I absolutely loathe the romanticization of abusive/dysfunctional relationships as often portrayed in BL mangas.

So, what's it about?

Yoonbum

The story starts with this pathetic looking man's (Yoonbum) perverted obsession with his crush (Sangwoo). However, our little Yoonbum doesn't just dress like a girl to stalk Sangwoo undercover, he not only tracked down where he lives, but also dedicated several months worth of time on figuring out his apartment code, broke and entered, sniffed his bed, then hid in the basement like the sad creep he is.

(Sorry it's hard being objective because I'm rather frustrated with Yoonbum.)

Sangwoo is the ideal man; tall, handsome, kind, smart, loved and respected by all

However, he is not by all means perfect for he has this tiny little itty bitty flaw...


Sangwoo

...He's batshit crazy; pun intended.


The story was already rather interesting, as I had not read the summary and only clicked on it because of the genre and cover. The ultimate twist was Sangwoo's antisocial personality disorder (to say the least without spoiling too much)


---Spoiler Alert---

What is perplexing is that Sangwoo's actions don't deter Yoonbum from continuing to love him, which makes me believe he has Stockholm Syndrome. Yet, at the same time, Yoonbum is fully aware of the gravity of the situation and has several escape attempts. So, it isn't Stockholm Syndrome in the sense that he sympathizes with the man, it's more of "i need someone that needs/wants/loves me". What ever his definition of "love" may be.

I love how I can never predict what happens (so far), the author really takes you from a nice moment, to a sudden violent act, to a sexual moment, to an escape plot, and both characters are quite unpredictable which is understandable. But it leaves me wondering, what will happen next?

The fact that this manga is a tragedy means someone is bound to die. Perhaps homocide/suicide? There's no other way. Otherwise it means they will magically love each other, somehow growing more twisted "love" for one another, but that will not make sense, I really do hate how BL genres often romanticize abuse, however, the author has been logical through out the manga thus far.

There are some inconsistent things. Bones can't fully heal properly without being realigned by doctors. How much of that soup did they have? Shouldn't it have a bigger affect, if not, then shouldn't have Sangwoo lashed at Yoonbum for it?

I also dislike the unnecessary sexual little things like "oh, I took my shirt off because it's wet" I think considering that his pants are also wet, he either changes his entire outfit, or keeps the shirt on.

However, everything else, is pretty spot on, but I won't be able to discuss nor rate it until the manga is over. Bad endings always ruin a good story.



I will just say, this manga has just the right amount of violence for me. Perfect suffering and anguish that I often seek and I just want to pick Yoonbum up and give him a hug. I love that the author drew them this particular way, how skinny Yoonbum is from malnourishment and stress, that he still can't walk properly despite months passing, that despite his love, he still tries to escape and he still struggles. I love his reactions and flinches despite how much he lusts for Sangwoo. Detail is vital for me.




Those flip moments really put me on edge. I keep thinking, is he gonna kill him? Will he kill him now? Please don't maim him! There's no predicting Sangwoo's actions. I honestly thought he was gonna bring Yoonbum's uncle in the basement next!
That would have just put the icing on the cake!


Peace,
M.D.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Can't Hear, Can't See, but Love (Manhwa)


This manga, brace yourself, is about a manhwaka (manhwa artist) who is currently taking care of his mother who suffers from Alzheimers. The problem here is not the mother, it's the fact that he is slowly becoming blind in the process. However, he does befriend Sori, a deaf woman who is a fan of his manhwas, along the way and that is about all I can say so that I would not spoil it.



This Manhwa and Webtoon is actually interesting. As you should already know, I'm very fond of struggles and hardships main characters endure when I'm reading manga. I will often look for any type of major disability or abuse or suffering be it physical or emotional that a character endures and hopefully overcomes. I can't help being a fan of drama and psychological genres.
However, there is also a lot of comedy in this manhwa here that had me grinning and I do fancy a good comic relief.

Likes and dislikes about this manhwa... a lot
It started out great, it was very emotional and the speed of the plot was good. I even teared up a bit at a certain scene because I have a history of Alzheimer's on my mother's side and I do fear the day she starts forgetting me. So, I can relate to the author a bit on this side. I also liked the characters, they were not the typical man brave, woman needs saving mentality many mangas have which I loved. I also loved how violent Sori was!

The ending was rather confusing. I was not upset or satisfied by it. It just there was a lot of unnecessary drama half way through the manhwa which were not properly explained. I mean, why is he suddenly ill? and the ending makes zero sense. Absolute nonsense. Somehow his mom is also looking for him alongside a friend, and bastards that hate him try to help him suddenly. I mean..come ON!

This manga is a little cheesy to summarize it, yet might still make you cry and laugh.

Peace,
M.D.

Monday, November 7, 2016

My Childhood Anime #4: Sports!

If you think this list will have Haikyuu or Free! or any of those recent sports animes them this is not the post for you! This is my CHILDHOOD!

So brace yourself for some 80's and 90's unheard of or overly popular animes!

(Though, I shall only name 5 to keep it short!)

الرمية الملتهبة or Honoo no Toukyuuji: Dodge Danpei (1991)

الرمية الملتهبة
The problem here is I can't remember the protagonist's names properly, and even if I do it's the dubbed names given to them in Arabic! So, the main's name in Arabic was Sammy, and he was this child, perhaps ten who was in LOVE with dodgeball! Although, in Arabic it's referred to as handball.
Sammy's dad was a legacy in this game and he looked up to his father and grew a passion for the same sport. He and his bald friend begin practicing with older teens in school competitions and it is filled with comedy and drama like most sports animes.

Sammy and his friend 
I would honestly not watch this again unless it's some clips for nostalgic purposes. The opening song in Arabic is gold like most Arabic openings, oddly enough, my mom actually knows the lyrics.
The art is not all that great either.

                                              الكابتن ماجد or Captain Tsubasa (1981)

Captain Tsubasa's Team.
 Image retrieved from theo2442 http://www.zerochan.net/1105883
This is a widely known and famous anime, also known for it's 3 episodes of a single kick and ten episodes of a single match. It can get pretty hefty. I actually only ever watched it when I was bored and there was nothing better on t.v., but all the boys loved it.

Captain Tsubasa is an anime about football/ soccer and it just keeps going on and on for ages. I don't personally recommend it, and just since we're on the topic of soccer anime. There's was also الكابتن رابح Moero! Top Striker (1991) which more or less had the same plot in my opinion. What's beautiful about Captain Tsubasa is that you do see them advance and grow from children to adults in the series, that's how wildly popular it was.

                               سلام دانك or Slam Dunk (1990)

This insanely popular manga and anime is the OG of basketball animes! Hands down, one of the best sports animes in general. It has comedy, drama, even a black character (and we all know how rare a minority is in anime).



It's about this redheaded and hot headed trouble maker in high schooler who wants to join the basketball team and is unable to due to him..sucking.. Later on, he does get on the team and competes as well. However, it is mangled with comedy, and good characters and some character development that it is overall enjoyable to watch. 
The art is well drawn, it is not always this serious, like I said, it is also a comedy.



I would actually rewatch this, even though I absolutely dislike the whole genre of sports in anything. The author of this manga is actually so good that I've fallen in love with another basketball manga of his making called Real! which is about wheelchair basketball. A LOT of drama in that one!

النمر المقنع or Tiger Mask (1969)


Yes, I'm going back as far as the 60's here...which is honestly odd but not that odd, to be honest.

This is an anime about masked wrestling in which our protagonist chooses the mask of the tiger, brave and strong. From what I remember of the opening Arabic song, this man actually fights real bad guys but in the ring and outside of it too. He had this whole tiger-mobile thing going on too, somewhat like batman, his car would change and his identity was anonymous! I always looked forward to the day he unmasked himself to the world and I did truly look forward to watching this anime when I was a child, but hey, what did I know? I was four when I watched this! And I still remember it!

image retrieved from https://myanimelist.net/anime/3009/Tiger_Mask

So, I just googled the summary, and shall simply copy paste it from wikipedia:

"In the manga and anime, Tiger Mask (whose real name was Naoto Date) was a feared heel wrestler in America who was extremely vicious in the ring. However, he became a face after returning to Japan when a young boy said that he wanted to be a villain like Tiger Mask when he grew up. The boy resided in an orphanage, the same one that Tiger Mask grew up in during his childhood. Feeling that he did not want the boy to idolize a villain, Tiger was inspired to be a heroic wrestler.
"The main antagonist in the manga and anime was the Tiger's Den, a mysterious organization that trained young people to be villainous wrestlers on the condition that they gave half of their earnings to the organization. Tiger Mask was once a member of the Tiger's Den under the name "Yellow Devil", but no longer wanted anything to do with them, instead donating his money to the orphanage. This infuriated the leader of the organization and he sent numerous assassins, including other professional wrestlers, to punish him." 

So, this explains a lot for me and why he would fight "bad guys" in and out of the ring! Wow, my childhood explained at last!

مدرسة الكنغ فو (Kung Fu School) or Ironfist Chinmi (1988)
Chinmi is a pure hearted child who seeks to learn Kung Fu and so he heads to a temple that teaches it through alternative and "creative" ways. He then makes friends and aids the locals by providing them with safety. It's a comedy and adventure as well and was one of my favorite animes as I loved martial arts and apparently still hold an interest in it to this day. I would rewatch this today, but when I tried it was a little boring because it is really designed for a younger audience. 

Chinmi is the one in red.


There was another sports anime I wanted to write about, one about a girl actually. This isn't very often a female is the main heroin, especially in a sports anime. So, it was about running, and I know it was at least from the 80s, maybe even prior to that. I can't find it but I do know the Arabic title was called "Lubna al sareah" Fast Lubna!

Oh well, I hope you guys were able to see an interesting perspective on what anime used to be like before the 00's and let me know what sports animes did you guys watch!

Peace,


M.D.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Not Simple (manga)

The title of this manga fits it perfectly. It is very unfortunate that it is only two chapters, and the ending kills...no, it's the beginning that kills.

This manga is a tragedy about the misfortunes one man received in his horribly miserable life. The story starts with the present, which is how he dies. Yes, this is not a spoiler because it is the beginning. He only has a friend or two in his entire life that he met as an adult and one of them decides to make a novel out of him.

It's about an Australian boy; Ian, whose sister is also his mother. This isn't even the worst part. The child gets separated from his sister, one of the only people that ever cared about him and he lived in London with his alcoholic ex-stepmother who loathes him. His abuse was in the form of neglect and he even provided for her. Later on, he was sent back to Australia to live with his father, who didn't care about him either. Before he left however, he managed to meet his sister and promise her to achieve his goal before the next time they meet. The poor dude ends up travelling far and wide to follow up with his promise and see his sister and we already know how the tragedy ends.

Ian and his older sister

Can you guess what gum represents?
The manga is a bit hard to follow because the perspective often switches from character to character and from past to present. The art, as you can see, is not the best, but it does grow on you after a few pages, or rather his expressions and few words are extremely powerful. This manga has neglect, sexual, and emotional abuse so the content is mature; however, there are no disgusting images. There is a few symbolism here and there and you have to pick up on hints and cues as no detail is put in the abusive events, only that you understand they happened, which is how people often overlook them in real life. I think that is one of the things that captivated me about Ian, it was how accepting he was of everything bad that ever happened to him. Ian is so blunt as well, and so pure hearted that it makes me just wanna grab him in a hug and help him out. I wish he had his happy ending.

Ian being polite and sweet despite the horrible events in his life

I definitely recommend this manga, I think it's 5/5 and that you should be at least 15 years old just because of its mature topic. It tugged at a few strings in my heart.

Peace,
M.D.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

My Heart is Beating (Manhwa)

This lovely manhwa (korean comic) is actually a webtoon! Webtoons are coloured really lengthy manhwas. You just keep scrolling down forever instead of clicking for the next page, so I love that.

This manhwa is about a boy (Sugu) who has a fascination, no, an obsession with swimsuits. It isn't a fetish, it's just a hobby.
While spying on the women in the school swimming pool, the coach of the female water polo team spots him. The coach then black mails Sugu into joining the team as a girl in order to complete the minimum amount of team members required for his team. Of course, no one in the team knows that he is a boy and
with this, our story begins.



You see, the main character is also being pressured by his dad, the vice principal, into being the top student in class.

one page from the webtoon My Heart is Beating
 This drama is basically about the suffocation the main character feels, and how he will have to confront his problems instead of avoiding them.
That's not all though; as he starts to build a relationship with his water polo team mates, he starts to learn a little bit about each one of them. This also helps him to learn more about himself.

This manhwa is pretty good, it's main genres are gender bender, drama, comedy, sports, and school life.

The female water polo team
Can you guess which one is Sugu? 

Comment your feedback,
M.D.