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House of 1000 Manga - Otomen




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Merxamers



Joined: 09 Dec 2013
Posts: 683
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 12:11 pm Reply with quote
this sounds really intriguing; this may be the next shoujo series i try to pick up (after Boys Over Flowers... ughhhh)

I agree that there's nothing wrong with manly men liking sappy shoujo every once in a while Smile
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Touma



Joined: 29 Aug 2007
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Location: Colorado, USA
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 12:58 pm Reply with quote
Purely by coincidence I borrowed the first volume of Otomen from the library a few days ago. I am a bit more than half way through it and am enjoying it.
I like the concept, the characters, the drawing style, and the little bit of story that has developed so far.

Based on this review I am sure that I will want to continue it so I have reserved the next two volumes.
Fortunately my library has all 18 volumes.

Thank you for the detailed and insightful review.
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lebrel



Joined: 16 Oct 2009
Posts: 374
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 2:52 pm Reply with quote
Jason Thompson wrote:
On the one hand, Otomen is a fairly familiar thing, one of the thousands of gender-bendy manga that flirts with gender and sexuality without ever committing to words like “gay”, “trans”, etc.


But why should it? None of the characters are gay, and with the exception of *spoiler*, who is is important as a motivator but mainly a bit part in themselves, no-one is trans either (although, yes, the story doesn't explicitly use the word trans for that character, even though the story is pretty clear that they are). This is quite straightforwardly a story about straight cis people who are not gender-normative, and there is no reason why being gender-non-normative has to be an aspect of being either gay or trans. Yes, there's a dearth of manga that deals with trans/gay issues, but straight cis people can be gender-bendy too.

Franky, the message that all men, no matter how straight or cis, have feminine aspects that society requires them to suppress, and that happiness requires flouting societal expectations of gender and embracing that femininity, is a very valuable one that needs to be expressed more often and with more visibility. And that message would be lost if Asuka and his fellow otomen were trans.
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katscradle



Joined: 05 Jan 2013
Posts: 469
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:27 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
you could almost be forgiven for thinking this was just a bishonen manga about hot guys, but the story's good too. It takes a few volumes to get going, drifting aimlessly with generic manga plots like seasonal stories (a Christmas love story, a summer beach vacation so we can see the characters in swimsuits, etc.) and random crises to give the characters a chance be heroic (a wild bull going on a rampage, a fire, the traditional bullies). But endure the early volumes, because around volume 5 it gets really good and stays good ‘till the end.


Maybe I should try Otomen again. I pretty much did write it off but, I can't remember how much I read. Five volumes seems a little long to wait something out though. Some series are only that long themselves. But, on the other hand I could benefit to switching up my reading right now and try a comedy.

Quote:
this is a 16+ book

Why do you say older teens? VIZ suggested it for teens period.
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corinthian



Joined: 20 Feb 2009
Posts: 257
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:47 pm Reply with quote
I'm a pretty feminine male, so this series interested me when it was first coming out. I think I stopped reading it after a few volumes, apparently just before it started to get good. Maybe it's time to give it a revisit now that I'm in a city with decent libraries.
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ptolemy18
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Joined: 07 May 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 4:11 pm Reply with quote
katscradle wrote:
Why do you say older teens? VIZ suggested it for teens period.


Ahhh, you're right! I'm all the more impressed they used the F-word then. >_>
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ptolemy18
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Joined: 07 May 2005
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Location: San Francisco
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 4:16 pm Reply with quote
lebrel wrote:
Yes, there's a dearth of manga that deals with trans/gay issues, but straight cis people can be gender-bendy too.

Franky, the message that all men, no matter how straight or cis, have feminine aspects that society requires them to suppress, and that happiness requires flouting societal expectations of gender and embracing that femininity, is a very valuable one that needs to be expressed more often and with more visibility.


Good point and totally true. Though to the main villain in the series (Asuka's mom), transsexuality is just an extreme aspect of non-gender-normativity. And by the same token, in the end the heroes embrace transsexuality (or at least the series' one transsexual character) at the same time that they embrace their own non-gender-normative tendencies. There's no clear lines drawn -- which to me is totally fine, frankly, since I would hope that genderqueer and trans people can be allies.
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whiskeyii



Joined: 29 May 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 6:53 pm Reply with quote
This is the manga that got me back into shoujo, so make of that what you will. Razz I love it to pieces, though I stopped collecting around volume 13 or so, but now I feel compelled to read it all again! >D

I also really adore the art. It's just pretty enough for a shoujo manga, but not to the point where there are frills and rainbows all over the page (unless it's parodying it, really). I thought I read in the side columns that the mangaka used to be an assistant for a shonen mangaka, so that's why her art isn't as "feminine" as other shoujo artists. I quite like the hybrid mix, though. Anime hyper
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Ali07



Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 3303
Location: Victoria, Australia
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:36 pm Reply with quote
Well, this does sound interesting.

Since I started collecting manga, I'm surprised by how much shoujo I have read. As a guy, I never really though I'd find stuff that appealed to me.

Though, I've not gotten into any shoujo series that I'd consider to be a 'long running' series. Longest would be Strobe Edge, at 10 volumes. 2nd would be NG Life, with 9. I've yet to start reading NG Life, but bought the whole series from RightStuf during their New Years sale...it was so cheap, I was so tempted...that I couldn't pass on checking it out.

I am getting My Little Monster and Say I Love You, where both are already past the 10 volume point in Japan, but I've only got 6 and 5 volumes (respectively) sitting on my shelf. Laughing
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katscradle



Joined: 05 Jan 2013
Posts: 469
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:45 pm Reply with quote
ptolemy18 wrote:
katscradle wrote:
Why do you say older teens? VIZ suggested it for teens period.


Ahhh, you're right! I'm all the more impressed they used the F-word then. >_>


Ha, me too. Though I suppose infrequent strong language fits. VIZ tries to be specific in the back of each book too. I've been asked about series before by parents and it can be a challenge sometimes. Thanks for explaining.
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Merxamers



Joined: 09 Dec 2013
Posts: 683
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:40 pm Reply with quote
Ali07 wrote:


I am getting My Little Monster and Say I Love You, where both are already past the 10 volume point in Japan, but I've only got 6 and 5 volumes (respectively) sitting on my shelf. Laughing


Those are both pretty good, especially "Say I Love You". You may also be interested in checking out Kimi Ni Todoke, High School Debut, and Lovely Complex; these are the best shoujo series i can think of (except if you don't want one set in a japanese high school, then check out Basara; it kicks serious butt)
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enurtsol



Joined: 01 May 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 4:19 am Reply with quote
More metrosexual than herbivores
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st_owly
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Joined: 20 May 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 4:36 am Reply with quote
Ali07 wrote:


I am getting My Little Monster and Say I Love You, where both are already past the 10 volume point in Japan, but I've only got 6 and 5 volumes (respectively) sitting on my shelf. Laughing


My Little Monster is complete in Japan at 13 volumes; Say I Love You is ongoing.

I bought the first volume of this on a whim when it first came out, and it's ended up seeing me through most of my university career. I did think it was a bit ridiculous that there were so many otomen characters all in one place, but hey. I also thought the spoiler[amnesia] bit near the end was a little thin, but nothing's perfect. I'd definitely recommend it if you're wanting something different from your average generic high school romance. Not to mention Aya Kanno's art is gorgeous.
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Ali07



Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 3303
Location: Victoria, Australia
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 6:10 pm Reply with quote
Merxamers wrote:
Ali07 wrote:


I am getting My Little Monster and Say I Love You, where both are already past the 10 volume point in Japan, but I've only got 6 and 5 volumes (respectively) sitting on my shelf. Laughing


Those are both pretty good, especially "Say I Love You". You may also be interested in checking out Kimi Ni Todoke, High School Debut, and Lovely Complex; these are the best shoujo series i can think of (except if you don't want one set in a japanese high school, then check out Basara; it kicks serious butt)

I own the anime series of both Kimi no Todoke and Lovely Complex. Really enjoyed them, and they both feel complete to me, so I don't want to get the manga for them. Laughing

Say I Love You and My Little Monster both had anime I enjoyed, but both felt very incomplete. Which is why I picked up the manga for both.

I'm planning on getting High School Debut, since the omnibus releases included the final volume of that series. Hope to buy them all soon, but I have a couple of other things that I want to purchase first.

Basara huh, don't think I've heard of that. Thanks for the suggestion, will have a look into it.

st_owly wrote:
My Little Monster is complete in Japan at 13 volumes

Fantastic!

Does it sound bad that I get happy when I hear a series I'm collecting has finished in Japan? Hell, there are some series that I've decided to collect when I heard they were ending (like Sankarea). I guess that, knowing the end is in sight and that I'm going to get a complete story, is something that is important to me? Laughing

I'm almost done reading My Little Monster volume 6, and I'm happy knowing it's pretty much at the halfway point in the series.
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B00m23



Joined: 19 Oct 2014
Posts: 59
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:44 pm Reply with quote
lebrel wrote:
Jason Thompson wrote:
On the one hand, Otomen is a fairly familiar thing, one of the thousands of gender-bendy manga that flirts with gender and sexuality without ever committing to words like “gay”, “trans”, etc.


But why should it? None of the characters are gay, and with the exception of *spoiler*, who is is important as a motivator but mainly a bit part in themselves, no-one is trans either (although, yes, the story doesn't explicitly use the word trans for that character, even though the story is pretty clear that they are). This is quite straightforwardly a story about straight cis people who are not gender-normative, and there is no reason why being gender-non-normative has to be an aspect of being either gay or trans. Yes, there's a dearth of manga that deals with trans/gay issues, but straight cis people can be gender-bendy too.

Franky, the message that all men, no matter how straight or cis, have feminine aspects that society requires them to suppress, and that happiness requires flouting societal expectations of gender and embracing that femininity, is a very valuable one that needs to be expressed more often and with more visibility. And that message would be lost if Asuka and his fellow otomen were trans.


I agree with this. Calling the characters transgender or genderfluid is a bit of a stretch. They're just non conformists.
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