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~生まれた町で夢見てきた...~
"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
More manga before I...err...go back to the novels, I guess. 
27th-Jul-2005 06:42 am
Golden
Okay, lemme point something out about buying Japanese manga: I have been using BK1 for years and been suggesting them to fellow manga readers and fans for almost as long as a worthy alternative to the million and one price gougers out there. This is not a secret, people! This is not some great new discovery! How long have I tried futilely to make this suggestion that would save masses of fans money? I'm sorry; I'm just really annoyed. It's your hard-earned cash that you're wasting.

Anyway, more manga read:

Fushigi Yugi Genbu Kaiden Vol.1 by Watase Yuu
I'll admit, shamefully, that I gave up on Fushigi Yugi around Vol.8 or so because Viz's release up until that point was painfully slow, and I didn't want to read the manga enough to buy it in Japanese. (I wonder if I should pick it up again?) But this new series, about a priestess of Genbu who hails from the Taisho Period, starts out in a most delightful way; we have a tremendously strong, no-nonsense heroine whose sorrow for her deceased mother and anger at her absent father make for excellent, built-in character traits. Like mistrust of men. Which is perfect, because the first celestial warrior she meets, Limdo, becomes a woman when he uses his power. Clearly, Watase gave this manga a good amount of thought before she started it, and it shows in the coherence of the narrative. A solid read that starts off on the right foot. I hope it maintains its strength in subsequent volumes.

Ouran High School Host Club Vol.1 by Hatori Bisco
*twitch* *groan* *moan* Oooooohhhh...someone make it stop!!! Another cross-dressing heroine trying to fool her high school into believing that she is male. Obvious successor to Hana-Kimi. This time, though, the girl in question breaks an expensive vase and ends up recruited as a member of the school's host club, and if she can bring in 1000 customers, her debt will be waived. Anyway, the members of the host club are quite over-the-top, and the humor that the manga maintains is equally so--and equally without direction. I was waiting for the manga to actually *go* somewhere, but it never did. And it sported all of the idiocy of ancestor Here Is Greenwood. Even the art was decidedly unattractive; similar to Katsumoto Kasane's, but without her charisma. Not recommended after the first volume, but I will continue reading for at least a couple more to see if it gets better. My hopes are not high.

Rurouni Kenshin Vol.16 by Watsuki Nobuhiro
Finishing the battle with Sojiro, along with a long flashback story about his past. After that, it's onto the climatic battle with Shishio, and the arena turns out to be just as ridiculous as any I've seen so far--oil wells burning around the hall. Oh give me a break. Japan doesn't have oil. I'm getting really tired of all of these tournament battles interspersed with admonitions of the importance of pacifism. I mean, you're kidding, right? At least I don't see this pacifism riff so much in newer manga; they're either playing sports instead, or the violence is unapologetic. The most interesting part of the manga was Watsuki's comments in the beginning. He says he can't draw cute girls. *blinks* What shounen mangaka is unable to draw cute girls??? That's like a shoujo mangaka saying that she can't draw cute boys! Watsuki, are you gay? Oh, yeah. We already established that. ^^;
Comments 
27th-Jul-2005 02:57 pm (UTC)
Well ...for non Japanese readers it's just daunting. Most people who function with only one language under their belt are easy pickings for those who provide English service

I'd never heard of it till my friend mentioned it and she was using me as a guinea pig in a sense to see if her instructions in ENGLISH are workable.

If THIS cyber moron (moi) can do it...a geriatric gerbal can.

Her sceen caps of each step of the search will help others take a stab at it ~ the visual online manual for BK1 so to speak.

Good reviews by the way...I was skeptical of the Host Club manga...between Hana Kimi and Girl Got Game I doubt the English world needs another highschool cross dressing heroine series.
27th-Jul-2005 04:43 pm (UTC)
Well, I've made several offers over the years to walk people who can't read Japanese through the registration and ordering process on BK1. (Only one person took up my offer, but we've been good online friends every since.) Problem with written-up (as opposed to real-time IM, like I did) walkthroughs and screencaps is--BK1 changes their website layout on occasion! >_<

Ironically, the person who first pointed me in the direction of BK1 couldn't speak a lick of Japanese herself, and she was using it at that time to make upwards to 20-30 purchases a month. ^^; Somehow. So, it's possible to figure out with some common sense and a dictionary. Thing is, you'll never know if you don't try, and I saw this weird rash of whining about "Oh, I can't use sites that are in Japanese!" all over the place online, and it was irking me. Heck, I use a Korean online bookstore that is all in Korean to order manhwa, and my Korean language ability doesn't even rank as elementary.

If you can, though, I would recommend switching over to BK1 as much as possible. All their books are new, and you're paying list price to a legit retailer--which means the authors also get their royalties while you pay less than places like Jpqueen which charge above list price for used goods. (All of my favorite bookstores are listed on my journal page sidebar.)

As for Ouran High School Host Club...only if you're in a rea~lly masochistic mood. ^^;;;;;;
27th-Jul-2005 09:12 pm (UTC)
I have just placed 2 orders with BK1 as a trial run for myself.

I prefer manga new for exactly the reasons you mention and tend to only buy the out of print older stuff, djs and the odd artbook at JPQ (the latter if I can't source it elsewhere) and have actually been buying most of my new stuff preordered through YESASIA which means I get around shipping costs and customs which in Canada is nasty.

Just really heard about BK1 a few weeks ago and gave it a whirl and have informed my list of where and hints on how...I will let them know how it goes.

I think the problem is people really just don't know...hence I am making sure to spread the word as it lands in my lap *^__^*

I will poke at your side bar soon to see what is there now that I know that Babelfish is my friend ~_^

27th-Jul-2005 09:51 pm (UTC)
and have actually been buying most of my new stuff preordered through YESASIA which means I get around shipping costs and customs which in Canada is nasty.

I've heard about that. How exactly does that work in Canada, anyway? No one's ever opened up my packages in the US; I guess "printed matter" just doesn't attract much interest.

Again, I don't know how it works in Canada, but you can save loads of money by having BK1 ship your purchases to you via seamail. It takes awhile, granted, but it's like paying domestic shipping rates. And for that kind of discount, I'm willing to wait a month.

I think the problem is people really just don't know...hence I am making sure to spread the word as it lands in my lap *^__^*

I've mentioned it to every single mailing list and forum I've ever frequented. Come to think of it, I told Xandria on yaoi_daily about it nearly a year ago, but I guess she never really jumped on it. ^^; I guess after several years of shouting at a blank wall, I kinda give up.

I will poke at your side bar soon to see what is there now that I know that Babelfish is my friend ~_^

BK1 is by far the best place to buy Japanese books, IMO. Places like Amazon and Mangaoh have similar selections, but you have to ship EMS. My wallet screams in pain...

Aladdin is *excellent* for Korean manhwa. And if you don't mind Korean translations, you can get TONS of BL there as well for low, low prices.
27th-Jul-2005 10:56 pm (UTC)
Customs will charge you on the value they assign the items PLUS handling fees for collecting taxes ($5).

When you get it from Yesasia the shipping is FREE to Canada if I spend $39.00 US (easily done with 4-5 tankoubons)...and a GREAT deal for artbooks.

They bring them into Canada through their domestic channels and deliver them through our domestic post. HOW I don't know....and don't ask. I just love the fact I don't have to cough up yet another $20 for stuff.

I don't belong to any mailing lists of forums so I would not have heard. YOU were probably the one who Xan mentioned pushed her towards their direction but she is SO busy with her own business that she had only recently had a chance to start working it out. She likes to teach others so was compelled to break it down simply for the masses....She has other hobbies like smart cars/lego etc. beside yaoi...I don't really think she sleeps now that I think of it.

I will check out Aladdin....it's all foreign language to me so as long as I enjoy what I can make out from the images I don't complain. *^__^*
28th-Jul-2005 12:19 am (UTC)
Wowie. Customs must be a Canadian cash cow, then. I don't know why, but mail in the US is, I think, exempt from taxation. I think.

And I heard that they open up packages and seize some pornographic content? Terrible. >_<

She has other hobbies like smart cars/lego etc. beside yaoi...I don't really think she sleeps now that I think of it.

Funny, I've been thinking I have too many hobbies as well, lately. I'm not the jack of all trades kind of person; I need to prune some things back. ^^; Lest I drive myself nuts.

I will check out Aladdin....it's all foreign language to me so as long as I enjoy what I can make out from the images I don't complain. *^__^*

If you're just looking for pretty pictures, I recommend <a href="http://www.librocomic.co.kr/>Books Libro</a> as well. Shipping charges are *heinous*, so I've never followed through with an order to them, but they're great for sourcing out information about different artists and looking at sample pages. Oh, and you can preorder some stuff from BK1. They send out email notices on occasion if you're subscribed like Amazon--"This is on pre-order; it may interest you." That's come in handy once in awhile.
2nd-Aug-2005 04:42 am (UTC)
Ah ha! So it was you!

I'm embarassed to say that I forgot who told me about BK1. I set the info aside, lives happened, my health took a nosedive for a long time, I work 60+ hours per week and have many other hobbies besides (oh, and I think I still have a husband ;-) )

Anyway, I sent you an e-mail as I recognized your avatar (so embarassed).

I had fully intended on taking you up on your offer but when the time came that I was ready, I couldn't remember you (am mortified). So I went and figured it out on my own.

Yes, I made an instruction guide for timid English speakers, and I'm sorry if this bothers you in some way. If they change their layout, I doubt they'll change their verbiage. Buttons are buttons. But I sympathize that some people panic at non English sites.

Any way, thank you! Your voice did not fall on deaf ears -- just busy and ill ones.

Now to check out your sidebar links!
2nd-Aug-2005 04:45 am (UTC)
PS: Dreamland Comics no longer functions? Is this temporary.
2nd-Aug-2005 05:01 am (UTC)
*gasps* My mistake! Try it again.
2nd-Aug-2005 04:59 am (UTC)
Yes, I made an instruction guide for timid English speakers, and I'm sorry if this bothers you in some way.

*shakes head* I could care less if you make an instruction guide; it's more than I'd be inspired to do, particularly since I don't think I have the programs to do things like screencaps. It's the people who never even *try* that bother me, or, and worse, whine about how they it's too hard after obviously not trying it. *sighs* I'm thinking these people in question might have been, oh, sixteen years old.

If they change their layout, I doubt they'll change their verbiage.

Hopefully not in the near future, but I wouldn't bet on it indefinitely as they did in fact so completely overhaul their site that the verbiage on the links and buttons changed somewhat. *winces* There is a whole bunch of new options and issues as well. Makes the site better but also a bit more confusing for the un-Japanesed newbie than it used to be.

(Err...you know about the 30 book cart limit, right?)
2nd-Aug-2005 05:04 am (UTC)
Oh no, I don't know about the limit. Can you explain please? I just cobbled together my understanding from instinct, babelfish and having some buttons translated by a friend.

Any other tips about BK1?
28th-Jul-2005 01:14 am (UTC)
Not recommended after the first volume, but I will continue reading for at least a couple more to see if it gets better.

Save your money. If you didn't like the first volume, you won't like the rest. There's no plot, so if you don't like the humor or characters, you might as well just stop now.

Obvious successor to Hana-Kimi.

You think? I don't really see much that they have in common. (Stories that don't go anywhere, I guess. ^_^) I don't really even think of Host Club as being a "cross-dressing" manga. Haruhi would wear any clothes that someone gave her for free.
28th-Jul-2005 01:18 am (UTC)
Even the humor doesn't get better? *weeps* How disappointing. I was hoping that since Hatori Bisco is a relative newcomer that it would get better.

Obvious successor to Hana-Kimi.
You think? I don't really see much that they have in common. (Stories that don't go anywhere, I guess. ^_^) I don't really even think of Host Club as being a "cross-dressing" manga. Haruhi would wear any clothes that someone gave her for free.


It's just a gut feeling, on my part. It started after Hana-Kimi ended as well, didn't it? Or right as it was finishing? Not so much that they have line-by-line similarities but "successor" in that they are both intended to appeal to exactly the same readership.
28th-Jul-2005 02:47 am (UTC)
Even the humor doesn't get better?

Hmm. I don't think so, no. But I actually LIKE the humor, so I'm probably not the best person to ask.

Not so much that they have line-by-line similarities but "successor" in that they are both intended to appeal to exactly the same readership.

I don't know about that...Host Club doesn't have any of the romantic appeal that Hanakimi did. And anyway, they ran in different magazines. Hanakimi was in Hana to Yume, and Host Club is Lala.
28th-Jul-2005 10:06 am (UTC)
And anyway, they ran in different magazines. Hanakimi was in Hana to Yume, and Host Club is Lala.

Sorry, I'm not being specific enough! The impression I've always gotten is that LaLa is like the slightly "older sister" of Hana to Yume. So, readers as they get older can "graduate" to LaLa...and having stories that seem to appeal to the same readership coming back to back like this strikes me as quite transparent.
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