marshtide: (Default)
Fantagraphics are releasing Heart of Thomas next year! You guys I am excited.

Valborg points out that Matt Thorn is totally a fanboy for that manga, so no-one should really be surprised. But yay!

That's all I had to say.

Uhm, so.

Jul. 20th, 2011 07:41 pm
marshtide: (Default)
Rose of Versailles' secret high school AU. I have written a post about it. (Spoiler: it is called Oniisama e.)

Here @ robotsintutus.

Fun times!

(I'm off to Åland for the next couple of days, by the way. I'll be back at the weekend.)
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I really want a translation of the rest of Igarashi Yumiko's Paros no Ken.

Maybe one day I'll manage to bribe someone into giving me one, but until then, I'll be over here with raw scans and vague plot summaries. Has anyone read it? Is it actually as awesome as it sounds? Because it sounds awesome. Of all the untranslated but interesting-sounding things I've encountered during my exploration, this is right up near the top of the "want to know more" list.
....HUH. apparently it IS all scanlated and I just... somehow missed half of it? NEVER MIND.

P.S. For those of you following my Sailor Moon progress with baited breath (no, really, I get the feeling that [personal profile] crystal actually is), I've finished season one and am getting ready to watch R. well, the bits that I've been advised to watch, anyway.
marshtide: (Default)
1. I'm trying out 750 words at [personal profile] littlebutfierce's recommendation and have in fact written 800 words this morning. So we'll see!

2. En Riktig Kvinna is continuing to be both really useful and really depressing. I've been reading about the background of social darwinism and race hygine and how these ideas can be traced forward to a lot of the construction of difference - both between genders and other groups - we have going on at the moment. About how the ways of describing women's biology have changed over time in ways which cannot only be explained with scientific developments, but which seem to have a coupling to contemporary social ideals.

Another book which falls under the heading of: I did basically know this, but thank fuck for good structure. Not new ideas but ones that I now have a firmer grasp on, I think.

3. Queerness in manga, especially from the 70s. We have:

- Rose of Versailles
- Claudine
- Oniisama e
- Orpheus no mado
- Heart of Thomas
- A, A'
- They Were 11
- A Drunken Dream
- Marginal (later, but relevant)
- Kaze to Ki no Uta
- The Poe Clan
- Shiroi Heya no Futari
- Applause (slightly later, and of which we only have the prequel, Bruges)
- Maya's Funeral Procession
- Eroica

Earlier related things:
- Rows of Cherry Trees
- Princess Knight
- girls magazines & their aesthetic

Later related things:
- Utena
- Ooku
- Sailor Moon
- all the yaoi

- Takarazuka

... that I can think of! I have a big folder on an external hard drive which isn't plugged into this computer right now, so I'm probably forgetting stuff, but tell us about our glaring omissions, please. Note that we're not just talking about stuff which is positive about queerness (though putting together a talk about homophobia in this stuff is a project for another time), or stuff which is in every way a brilliant story. If you have links as well, including to raws or raws with a summary of some kind, then I will love you forever. (I am on the trail of some raws of other series by Hagio Moto and Keiko Takemiya, we'll see - I don't have that much info in English about them though. *wry*)
marshtide: (Rei)
After this weekend I'm going to get back to working on the main current project, which is to say, a talk that Valborg & I are going to be giving at B.L.Y.G. on queerness & 70s shojo, and also on getting up content on our shared blog, which is meant to be functioning as our public face linked in to any talks etc we might want to do, but which is tragically empty right now. (I'm completely identifiable in RL from the contents of this journal - seriously, there are not very many British immigrants to Sweden who are living in a lesbian partnership with someone called Valborg - but it's not meant to be a formal or focused space, so that's where the blog comes in.)

I'd have been charging at it this week but since Valborg has been loaded with a pile of birthday organising I figured she could use a period of grace. I think we have most of the info we need now to do a great talk and some fun posts anyway, so it's mostly structure, images, etc. now. (I've gleefully read ALL THE SHOJO HISTORY that exists in English, both good and dubious, and I won't get to use most of it in this case, so I'll probably turn a chunk of it into a post somewhere - blog or here or both.)

My function in this creative partnership is to be all serious and obsessively academic and Valborg's job is to thwap me lovingly over the head, remind me that it's meant to be fun, and add sparkles. I fear this will be a running joke. *g*

OTHER WILD SUMMER PLANS: Stockholm Pride is mostly free this year. I'd been planning to save birthday money and buy tickets, but I guess I don't have to now! In light of this information, anyone who thinks that hanging out with us in Stockholm in the first week of August and going to some incredibly gay talks, tours and misc. events sounds like their idea of a good time should plan accordingly. If I'm still not healthy by August we're hiring a fucking wheelchair, SO. We will be there. (There will definitely be things happening in English too, if this is relevant information.)

OTHER CURRENT EVENTS: I have an entrance test for Stockholm University's Swedish course in a couple of weeks, which is to see if my current level is good enough and which of their two courses (one which is prepatory for the other; the higher level one qualifies one to study at Swedish universities in Swedish). I'm getting a lift there and I also need to think about if there's anything I can ask them to provide for me to make the test easier, since really not well & doubt I'll be recovered by then.

If I'm accepted to the course I'll be studying in Autumn; if at all possible I'll be doing this with or without funding from CSN. The only completely unavoidable cost is a bus card, and I can probably get help with that from someone or other in the family.

After that I need to think about taking Högskoleprovet (a test which gives a grade you can use to apply for university), since if I can get a good score on that that'll put me in a bigger intake pool for normal university courses than a foreign grade would there are assigned numbers of places for students at universities: quite a lot of places for people with college scores, quite a lot for people who've taken the test, and not that many for people from overseas with a foreign college/university grade. Obviously that's not a relevant concern for the course I'm applying for now, since it's only for people from overseas.

I also have all these crazy dreams about being able to volunteer with Hallongrottan and similar if I study in Stockholm, but as Valborg points out, yes, I should do those things, but I should also remember not to break myself.

I'm pretty good at breaking myself, basically. But hey! I'm trying to learn better.

ETA OF JOY: I've just got my first birthday present, from Valborg: a year's subscription to the fabulous Swedish feminist magazine Bang! My face looks like this: :D
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Theory: Rose of Versailles and Oniisama e are basically crazy AUs of each other. Tweak a personality here, a power-balance there...

Question: In which case how the hell is the one that's about schoolgirls more disturbing?
marshtide: (Mårran)
1. You've probably seen this around, but on the offchance, “Straight Male Gamer” told to ‘get over it’ by BioWare. How beautiful is this?

2. I know some of you are academically inclined when it comes to anime & manga fandom, and so I thought I'd ask around a bit - do you know any good articles or book chapters on shojo, particularly classic shojo, and even more specifically with a focus on queerness? Do you know of any good articles or book chapters on the historical traditions into which that particular brand of 70s shojo that I'm so interested in fits into? Do you know of any about its influence on later manga?

I have some material on all these things, various manga history books and academic papers, but one always misses things. And you guys are a smart and well-read bunch. ♥

3. Yesterday I imagined that I had picked up my wallet and put it in my pocket before we went to the shops. I had, in fact, put it on the microwave.

I seem to be putting a lot of things on the microwave lately, for no apparent reason. My only defence is that I'm still pretty heavily medicated...
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Things are still shifting around in my head. Settling in new shapes.


Anteckningar från en ö (Notes from an island) by Tove Jansson and Tuulikki Pietilä. Fairly miscellaneous assortment of notes on and thoughts about their summer home out on a tiny island, written by Tove and illustrated by Tuulikki. I really loved it, though obviously it's one for people who already have some investment in the whole thing!

Now reading: Lyssnerskan by Tove Jansson, Simone och jag by Åsa Moberg.


Solanin by Asano Inio is manga which is about dissatisfied university graduates trying to get their lives together and figure out what they want. I rather enjoyed it, and it gave me a pretty good kick of emotional response, both good and bad, so I'll call that a success. (I've read a few manga which are basically aiming for realism lately, but I can't even remember the names of the others. Yes, that has prompted me to finally begin listing manga I read on librarything as well.) It's one solid volume, pretty big but easy to read. I read it in an afternoon and then I felt melancholy. But maybe that was partly November's fault.

Paradise Kiss by Yazawa Ai (as in Nana) didn't have characters I really fell for in the way I fell for Nana, but the manga as a whole really worked for me. Somehow. I'm not absolutely clear on how, but I suspect it's that as melodramatic as Yazawa Ai can be there's something in there which feels basically believable to me in the way people related to each other (and struggle to relate to each other).

Flower of Life by Yoshinaga Fumi has a similar kind of honesty coupled with absolute ridiculousness. It also delights in presenting the reader with a stereotype and then going BUT WAIT! and it did it in a way that surprised me and cracked me up. The whole thing cracked me up. A lot. One of the things I really do appreciate Yoshinaga Fumi for is her ability to tackle fucked up ideas while fully recognising precisely how fucked up they are. It appeals to me, in a "yes, sometimes people really do do stupid things" kind of way.

To Terra by Takemiya Keiko I'd read a whole chunk of before but lost track of somewhere in moving countries, so I picked it up from the beginning again and read it all in one go. I think this one is pretty much brilliant, category-defying and a giant metaphor for homosexaulity well put together.

Banana Fish is stupid. But kind of hypnotic. In a really, really 80s way.

I'm pretty sure I've got more but I should actually go and have breakfast now.

(We have a day off school for teacher training. And I've had a rather ill and sleep deprived weekend. I totally get to lie in bed being lazy. Right?
marshtide: (Mist)
Dear Dreamwidth,

In the past week I have read all the manga I could get my hands on and a not insubstantial amount of queer and feminist theory.

The two have collided in my mind and there has been some kind of terrible explosion.

Send help.


(Manga, by the way, is the best way I've found to survive dark evenings when I just want to go to sleep at seven pm. The rest of the books I read are by that stage way beyond me, but can I read To Terra and go "oooh, the hair" for a few hours? Can I ever. By the way, I'm making a list of stuff I'm going to try and get hold of in the near future; do you have any interesting manga that's published in English or Swedish? whether it's in print or not, because by the wonders of public libraries many things are possible. So far it's all Hagio Moto! Takemiya Keiko! Yoshinaga Fumi! etc...)
marshtide: (Rei - go on you know you want to)
We are now leaving Ikeda Riyoko land.

Shiroi Heya no Futari (which I have seen titled in English as Our White Room, IIRC) is an early yuri manga by Yamagishi Ryoko (it was originally published in 1971). Like the later Kaze to Ki no Uta it's set in a boarding school in France and follows a doomed romance between two students.

Shiroi Heya no Futari )

(There's also a yuri manga from '72 called Maya's Funeral Procession which I think I'm going to have to read next; quite apart from anything else the character designs are so similar to Shiroi Heya no Futari's that I just have to see what's going on there.)
marshtide: (Mist)
Latest contribution to Awesome 70s Shojo Week from [personal profile] starlady: A, A' (Hagio Moto)

I'm sticking with Ikeda Riyoko a little longer, although I promise that I have some other people to talk about as well; I might as well just get this out of my system first, right? Today we're on a manga I don't actually like all that much, which might be a bit out of the spirit of the thing, but I think it's maybe worth talking about anyway.

Claudine is one of Ikeda Riyoko's shorter stories. It's only around a hundred pages long, and I have to say that it does feel like a summary of quite a long & complex story rather than a story which actually should have been that short. Anyway: the short version of this post is that this is another of those reach-exceeding-grasp manga, of which this group also produced quite a lot. I think it's the widest miss of Ikeda's that I've read. Which isn't to say that it's devoid of interest.

This story contains a lot of elements that you'll have seen before if you've read much of Ikeda Riyoko's work; the pseudo-historical setting, the floppy shirts, the gender issues, the father who wants his daughter to be a son (but not too much of a son). Oh and the angst! And suicide! And manipulative relationships! I think we are basically only missing drugs and mystery wasting diseases?

Wikipedia is currently describing it as a classic yuri story, but if that's how it's widely thought of then I'm afraid people are wrong again, because although the female-bodied main character is addressed as Claudine and with female pronouns for most of the story it's still a story that focuses on a character who is struggling with being trans.

Claudine )
marshtide: (Rei - go on you know you want to)
It's official! It's Awesome 70s Shojo week!

So far we have:

- Andromeda Stories volume 1 (Takemiya Keiko & Mitsuse Ryuu) reviewed by [personal profile] starlady

- Gender, Sexuality and 70s Shojo Part One: Oscar Is Hotter Than You (70s shojo and Ikeda Riyoko's Rose of Versailles) by yours truly

- Four Shoujo Stories reviewed by [personal profile] starlady

(Do join in if you've got anything!)

And now I present to you: the next installment in Why I Love Ikeda Riyoko. That is to say: Oniisama E.

If you thought that Rose of Versailles was too melodramatic you should be edging away about now; I am not actually sure that Oniisama E missed even a single opportunity for melodrama and angst. Also drugs, self-harm, suicide, abuse. It has everything. Fair warning?

Overview & pictures )

There are a lot of things in Oniisama E that Ikeda Riyoko really liked to use throughout her work. Of note is the whole "traditional femininity" thing (in this case Fukiko and the sorority) set in opposition to gender non-conforming characters (Kaoru and Rei, although in different ways and for different reasons), which is actually pretty centre-stage here but also felt like it existed in a less antagonistic form in Rose of Versailles. I don't think that's insignificant given the context of that whole group of writers and their exploration of what gender means. There's also a lot about freedom and dependence, and there's a not insubstantial element of revolution here too. More than any of her other works that I've been able to read, though, this is a manga which is almost entirely dedicated to relationships between women, whether they're friendly, romantic, twisted or openly hostile. And that's pretty great.

On the other hand, it does feel like it could have gone further*, and the ending (which is basically an exercise in hiding the queerness that the rest of the series has established) is not its finest point, although there are things leading up to it that I really loved, and other things that I found very powerful.

I do recommend this one, overall, but I'm pretty sure it has a more limited audience than Rose of Versailles. It's one of my personal favourites, but I'm perfectly willing to accept that this is because I have great big buttons and it is pushing them. Damn near all of them.

By the way, this series and Rose of Versailles, along with the Takarazuka aesthetic that they both borrow from and feed back into, feel like they make a pretty heavy contribution to the look of Utena, and some of the themes in there too. Just thought you might like to know that.

All images in this post come from Lililicious' scanlation of the series, by the way. But yes, damn it, buy the thing if it's available in a language you can read.

* I mean with the lesbians, damn it, not with the... anything else. In most other respects it went quite far enough and possibly then some.
marshtide: (Default)
P.S. Shouldn't there be a place on DW more for anime/manga discussion than for posting fic/art/etc? Or a place for talking about all the random old shojo stuff that is really interesting but not the kind of thing people write mountains of fic about?

Or does such a thing exist?

Because TBH at this point in my dubious internet career I'm way more interested in discussion and essays (however rough or formal or essentially ridiculous in premise) than anything else.
marshtide: (Rei - go on you know you want to)
(This post is partly prompted by talking a little earlier with [personal profile] starlady about old shojo, and partly by [personal profile] timeasmymeasure's post about female characters. Because I've been meaning to inflict some of my favourites on you for ages. I also want to put disclaimers all over this saying I don't know what I'm talking about. Because I don't! But hell with it! Let's roll!)

Let's talk a bit about the group of female manga artists in the 70s often referred to as the year 24 group. They produced a lot of series that are now classics and they pushed, as far as I can tell, more or less every boundary they could think of. Quite a few of them were particularly interested in gender and in sexuality. In the way relationships worked. Or didn't.

From this we get a lot of stories about powerful women and women who struggle for power and women who just don't have much of it at all. We get philosophical stories. We get stories about negotiating gender, including stories which tackle trans issues in a pretty serious (if generally not upbeat) way and stories that play with the construction of gender. And we get stories about gay or ambiguous characters - both male and female, although more often male (in other words, the beginning of shonen-ai). These stories are generally deeply depressing. I get the feeling that a lot of the people who wrote these stories had more questions than answers - and that there were other constraints on what they could actually tackle and how they could show it, to some extent, though I am not that well read up on this stuff. But Oniisama E's pasted on heterosexuality? Yeah, sure, I totally bought that. And the characters who challenge norms tend to die and abuse is rampant and half the characters in a lot of these stories are actually insane and all the rest.

One can view it, in that way, as something negative. But I actually feel like that whole movement was really powerful, anyway, and had really interesting, good ideas, which were pretty far ahead of the curve in some respects. I have a lot of respect for their stuff, even with the dead lesbians/gay people/trans people. Positive representation is great, but what they were doing was pretty amazing on other levels. It is also not, by any means, absolutely all negative.

A few of my favourite series ever come from this lot's work.

My absolute favourite of these writers - of the ones I've managed to track down and read - is Ikeda Riyoko (Rose of Versailles, Oniisama E, Claudine, Window of Orpheus). I think the degree to which she actually nails her ideas is better than quite a few of the others. And her non-gender-conforming women? Yes please.

Possibly one of her best series, and the one I would make everyone read/watch if it was widely available, is Rose of Versailles, set in the run-up to the French revolution. It is gender-defying as anything!

Rose of Versailes. And Oscar. Mostly Oscar actually. )


This post doesn't need to be longer. I'll get back to you about some of the other series and characters I really fell for.
marshtide: (Default)
This week has been a bit oncoming-train somehow. I have a test tomorrow (which isn't something I Must Do Brilliantly On but which has registered in my brain as A TEST OH NO SKY WILL FALL anyway) and a doctor's appointment on Friday. I'm feeling a little less than balanced. But if I keep moving it's OK!

Accordingly, I went to Stockholm today, mostly to buy tea - we're horrible people so the only place apparently in Sweden that sells tea we find acceptable is near Ostermalmstorg, yes you can hate us now - and to pick up books from the comics library in Kulturhuset. I also went to the SF bookshop, because I just can't help myself, and used my last bit of birthday money to buy Yoshinaga Fumi's All My Darling Daughters.

I have a soft spot for Yoshinaga Fumi (who you are most likely to know from Antique Bakery, I suppose), but that she'd actually written a book about women was news to me, because, well, you know, I don't pay that much attention. But having realised that she had, of course I bought it.

Thoughts )

I might come back and pull apart the stories and what I thought about their ideas in more detail some other time. But then again, my attention span...


marshtide: (Default)

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