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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Rush: Issue #00 by various 
27th-Dec-2006 11:59 pm
Full Disclosure: Yes, I'm friendly with a few of the people involved in this anthology...BUT I bought it direct from DramaQueen just like any other Jane Shmoe riding the Internet surf, fair and square. No Holds Barred, Baby. XD

Neculai, A. and O. Laila, eds. Rush: Issue #00. DramaQueen, 2006.
          Summary: This pilot volume of the bimonthly anthology features the introductory chapters of four all-new (non-schooldays romance) BL serials: "Night and Day" by Akira Atsushi, "Children of Bones" by Theresa Zysk, "Master!" by Lara Yokoshima, and "Roulette" by Tina Anderson and Laura "Zel" Carboni.
          Comments: My first thought, after pulling this book from the mailing envelope, was DOUJINSHI! Yes indeedy, it looks, despite the ISBN, way more like a doujinshi than a graphic novel, tankoubon, or manga zasshi, and there's a diamond-in-the-rough quality to it as well that screams independent publication. Talent to burn, sloppy editing, and all that. (Tran, I've got great respect for you and and DramaQueen, but if stuff like "affraid" gets through, proofreading just isn't your destined line of work.) Actually, despite the fact that one is BL and the other yuri, Rush bears remarkable similarity to the Yuri Monogatari anthologies.
          As for the contents themselves, well, it's a mixed bag. Akira Atsushi's artwork is gritty and gorgeously realistic and reminds me of Stay Tasuko...but it's all wrong for a lighthearted BL version of Yamatonadeshiko Shichihenge. Sorry, but THAT *points to Jin* is just not a convincing otaku. Still, like the premise. ^_^ Laura Carboni's artwork is likewise quite lovely and by far the most individual of any of the artists represented in the anthology, but for now I'm reserving judgment on "Roulette" because, while the characters definitely have style to burn, Tina Anderson's story hasn't really taken them anywhere yet to focus my interest on more than angsty Mafia eyecandy. My least favorite story, far and away, was "Master!" I'm glad that Lara Yokoshima likes man-dogs a la Inu mo Arukeba, Japanese onmyouji, and other assorted popular manga subjects (me too), but inserting them all into the same 48-page serial and randomly shuffling the deck just doesn't win points in my book--and I don't care how "authentically" Japanese your artwork looks. However, far and away my favorite story was, surprisingly, the story I read last: Theresa Zysk's "Children of Bones." Though her artwork is the least visually stunning (and has that "I draw yaoi doujinshi" look to it...umm, Hikaru no Go!/Fullmetal Alchemist fan...?), her story was quite delightful. An intriguing but not overly oblique paramilitary takeover backdrop and a quick but unsentimental introduction to the boys-in-question. Substantial enough to be satisfying but open-ended enough to whet my appetite. This is the story that, for now, is going to make me want to come back to the Rush anthologies. However, I think both "Night and Day" and "Roulette" may yet prove to be most entertaining as well, so, for now, I'm going to play the eternal optimist and wait patiently for more.
          Notes: A5 paperback, 1st edition, 1st printing
          Rating: 5/10 - Though this seems to be a promising anthology series, if you're not a die-hard BL fan (in which case of course you probably already have it), I'd wait for a few more issues to come out and see how things develop before buying up and/or subscribing.
28th-Dec-2006 04:14 pm (UTC)
I liked Children of Bones also...and also, yes, I think this is a book for fans of the genre, as opposed to just your erstwhile BL manga reader.
28th-Dec-2006 04:23 pm (UTC)
Oh, hey, BTW...have you read Tom Spanbauer by any chance?
28th-Dec-2006 04:45 pm (UTC)
Is he the one with the Rigby John character...crap, what is the name of that book--*let me google* Now is The Hour! I've not read it, but some friends have spoken highly of it.
Of course, now that I've googled--I'm an expert, ask me anything. ^_-
28th-Dec-2006 04:48 pm (UTC)
*laughs* I was actually thinking of his novel, Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon. It's got the whole gay Native American two-spirit thing going, and though I can't vouch for authenticity, it was very well-written. You might want to check it out.
28th-Dec-2006 05:33 pm (UTC)
I thought about checking out other fictional interpretations of that theme, but I've discovered that Native American views vary widely, depending on the geographical location. 0_0. For example, the Inupiaq really have an issue with the term Eskimo...basically, it's a word created by central North American tribes to describe arctic natives--and they dislike it immensely. The Yupik of Alaska, however, would rather be called Eskimo than Inupiaq. >_> Oy... So, in some cultures 'two-spirit' is strictly a physical thing, while in others, it's a 'spiritual thing'. I got watch which references I pull from. Is his novel about Arctic peoples?
Sometimes I wish I were the average Japanese mangaka, so I could just throw research out the window, and write what I want, correct or not. LOL!
28th-Dec-2006 05:35 pm (UTC)
Let me resprase that snark: Sometimes I wish I were the average BL Japanese mangaka
28th-Dec-2006 06:13 pm (UTC)
I got watch which references I pull from. Is his novel about Arctic peoples?

No, unfortunately. It's more of the cowboys and Indians Western type...but it's still a beautifully atmospheric arrangement. My gut tells me to recommend it even though it's probably not applicable in the most direct fashion.

And isn't BL all about shamelessly using whatever's available without regard to the larger implications? :P Course, if you're going for literary and high-serious, my congratulations. ^_~
28th-Dec-2006 06:17 pm (UTC)
Well, you see, I have to. OEL mangaka aren't allowed to much creative license because they get lambasted for it...we don't fart perfume and bleed monochrome floating feather in the space around us. 0_0.

We're held to an unforgiving standard of accuracy; and while it's ok for Japanese mangaka to make Hitler a fag, I better have some damn good historical references to back me up in my fictional assumptions or I LOSE AT CREATING.

/bitterness rant.
28th-Dec-2006 06:20 pm (UTC)
*curious* Where do these restrictions come from? Publishers/editors, mostly, or the readers themselves?
28th-Dec-2006 06:32 pm (UTC)
It's mostly readers, who in turn, influence publishers. Some publishers are more swayed than others. Now you see why I'd love to just disconnect my work from the word 'yaoi' because those fans are really fans of Japanese BL, and anything non-Japanese is held to a different standard.

Some accuse me of being anti-yaoi or anti-Japan, but that's not true. You know me. I just don't like points going against my work because it's not 'Japanese' or playing by 'Yaoi' rules. I'd rather be lambasted for my usual behavior...OMG this is disturbing, who wrote this! LOL!
28th-Dec-2006 07:15 pm (UTC)
I guess it's a catch-22. You play by the "yaoi rules" and get accused of slavish, inauthentic imitation. You don't abide by the standards of the genre, and you don't have any audience.

I'd like to think that this sort of sentiment will abate over time, but I've noticed that the same sort of "only the Japanese do it right" thing happens in Korea, too--and if anyone can do MANGA, it's the Koreans. So...*shrugs* I really don't know where the future lies. >_< I like what I like, but my tastes were never representative, anyway.
28th-Dec-2006 07:21 pm (UTC)
Heym I listened when you talked about that Fumi Yoshinaga chick! That was years ago...before Antique Bakery became so trendy! LOL!
28th-Dec-2006 07:30 pm (UTC)
I listened when you talked about that Fumi Yoshinaga chick!

Wow. That makes...one. >_< I thought I was just talking to myself back there...

And STILL no one's given and love to Sentiment no Kisetsu or Skirt or Hanazakari no Niwa, other stuff I was loving at the time.
28th-Dec-2006 07:44 pm (UTC)
no Niwa, is that the one about the girl who's brother comes to live with her and her grandparents when her estranged mother dies? Mr. Gynocrat liked that one. You know me--that sort of story is lost on me... >_>

28th-Dec-2006 09:11 pm (UTC)
No, I don't think so. It's about a boy who's been molested by his dad since he was little (as a replacement for his mom) trying to break free and find love of his own. Subsequent volumes feature the girl aforementioned boy and his wife (who also dies) have together.
28th-Dec-2006 09:22 pm (UTC)
Whoa...father on son molestation angst, I love that stuff! Who's the mangaka?
28th-Dec-2006 09:27 pm (UTC)
Whoa...father on son molestation angst, I love that stuff!

You've NO IDEA. XD The mangaka did a bunch of ultra-rare doujinshi for the series that goes into abundant detail regarding the protagonists sexual problems and history.

Mangaka is Sakai Kunie. Otherwise known as Kunieda Saika...but you know her BL just isn't as good.
28th-Dec-2006 09:50 pm (UTC)
Ohhhh! We were just talking about her ass a few weeks ago. [I have old-timers disease] she's into the whole 'complex f*cked up characters in relationships' schtick, like me. XDD I wrote that summer sex peice of mine [the one I wouldn't let you see because I'm vain!], after picture reading her manga, Summertime Memory!

28th-Dec-2006 09:51 pm (UTC)
*nods* That's right. I think I mentioned this series back then, too. (I always do when her names comes up because the Young You stuff was oh so much better!)

Anyway, the series is out of print in Japan, but if you can source it out, DO. It's worth it. ^__^
1st-Jan-2007 06:21 am (UTC)
Review archived.
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