Category Archives: Fiction

Let’s Talk: Ore Monogatari!! Manga

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Ore Monogatari!! is the story of the freshman Tsuyoshi Takeo who is far from a prince. One of the weirdest parts about this manga is that it’s actually a Shoujo manga, typically for Shoujo mangas we see pretty faces with ideal body. However this one attempts to break the mold. It introduces an unexpected variable, a big and tall guy whose only flaw is not being “pretty”.

Do note that Shoujo, Shounen, Seinen are just a category for a targeted demography  (Shoujo for girls, shounen for boys, seinen for teenagers/adults?). s034

Now, this story is rather darn sweet, so sweet I almost got diabetes. The pace so far has been great, and the characters have been thoughtfully made. They all add a great atmosphere to the “unexpected” equation.

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Why do I want you to pay attention to this? First you have to ask yourself, have there been many mangas where you put a chubby guy/girl as a main character, or a not-so-cute main character it tackles things like low self-esteem. As for me, I haven’t seen any, if you know some, let me know!

Why put physical “flaws” in main characters? It’s my belief that we would be able to appreciate them more. There’s a saying pretty people have it easy (this is the part where you get ticked off if you are somehow cute, or whatever). I believe in that saying applies a lot to us below average.

Anyway, let’s go back to flawed characters. Uh, well, in a way like I said before characters for me doesn’t have to be fit, or prince-like, or princess-like. I also don’t want the type of ending where the chubby girl suddenly loses weight at the end all for the sake of her love. I remember seeing this in a korean movie and I found it to be awful.

This is fiction. There’s no doubt about that! So, why did I like this manga? Well, the main character reminded me of a person I know in real life. He’s overweight, nasty personality, but he loves his family and I was able to gain his respect. His wife is stunningly beautiful, many times have I told him “you are so damn lucky”. I think he knows the weight of those words very well. For people to be loved for who they are would be perfect. Sadly, this is the real world so…. we know it doesn’t work for everyone.

I’m gonna wrap this up, the manga has around 4 volumes available. Only 1 volume has been translated, which makes me sad I hope another scantalation group picks this underrated gem, or aid the ones translating them. (I think I’m sounding like an ass, eep)

 

 

 

Genshiken Second Season: Exploring Sexuality and Social Acceptance

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Well, what’s up everyone I hope you guys are having one hell of a weekend. As for me I finally decided to write about Genshiken, because it has given me a handful of subjects to pick. Many people have written off this series as failed. I think, us the mature audience knows that there’s more than meets the eye.

In a very unexpected twist of events Madarame is on the rise where the author ships him as a guy with nonexistent amount of self-confidence and the most unusual pairings. However, he brings to the mix a crossdresser. Which actually makes the series even more interesting. Not because of what Hato-kun does, but how he struggles to remain unchanged, denying everything he currently is.

In Genshiken Second Season, Ogiue has taken up the flag of becoming the president of the club in this year. Madarame has graduated, along with his friends Sasahara, and Tanaka. There isn’t much of a focus on her this time, instead she build the steps on the story recruiting Yoshitake, Yajima, and Hato.

Hato-kun is portrayed as a very shy person with a love of crossdressing. He has gone through the lengths of taking care of his skin, succumbing into his Boy Love (referred after this as BL) hobbies.

One of the peculiarities about this character is on how unfaithful he is to his true self. Hato-kun normally starts as just a normal person. I personally think that having so much insecurities about what he does makes him one of the best characters in the manga right now.

Usually, normal readers and viewers of Genshiken Second season will just stop watching/reading and discard is as a series full of BL, and nothing interesting. For me that’s far from truth.

For example, let’s go back to Madarame, your typical otaku. Madarame is an average(or maybe below average) looking person that has given up on love completely. In the start of the season we see him in really low spirits on how his life turned out to be. Dull, working as a salary man. I think many of us agree that his life wasn’t really exactly what anyone would want, then again, even us in real life don’t have much control of what happens no matter how much we try.

So, if we sit and think about it, there’s nothing remotely interesting about Madarame. Most of his dialogue are overly thoughtful, in the sense that he doesn’t step over his boundaries. He is rather conservative of his thoughts, with having no one being able to speak with. In a sense, he is living alone and doesn’t talk much with his old college mates. This makes me think that he doesn’t want to burden them.

I can actually relate to Madarame a lot since personally being a shut-in person I can see how hard it is to go out there. Their friends knows this very well, he isn’t that type of person who would ask for help, instead he just drops the issue and not deal with it.

When confronted about his feelings for Saki he will utterly deny them in the most obvious way possible. The issue about denying them is obvious, Saki is currently with Kousaka, he knows deep down that his feelings for Saki won’t be going anywhere. So why bother confessing? That’s the point, he will never do it.

It’s weird that the club interferes with that. His friends are the ones the sets him up with Saki and lock them in the club room. I sometimes wonder why would they do it? They know that Saki is with Kousaka. Even Kousaka himself knew and he took part of it. Not being able to confess to a person you like for four years, but keeping that crush is insane. Any person would have moved on by now. Sadly, in the story he doesn’t want to move on.

In this aspect, I would totally understand why they did it. Seeing a person like Madarame eating himself up for four years. Even friends would try to do something about it.

As expected, Saki kindly turns him down and says she has Kousaka. He feels relieved about it, good for him. This means two things, Madarame starts moving forward,  and that he’s free to be taken. In a final note about this encounter, we see how caring Saki is when it came to Madarame, even when she throws insults at him, she starts sobbing thinking she was hurting Madarame the years they were together.

That takes us back to Sue, Hato, Keiko and the character with no development, Angela.

I’m going to start with Angela because she’s pretty much a blanket. She comes every year just for Comitek event and leaves. I just can’t wrap around my head with Angela because her motives are really dull. Supposedly she developed some sort of crush for Madarame when they were together in the club room alone. For me that just nonsense, of course if the author puts more background on her then I will take back what I said depending on how it goes. Now I just want to say that she’s just a stepping stone in the story.

As for Sue, well she’s hard to figure out because most of the time we see her deliberately do stupid things. We don’t know much about Sue except about her awakened feelings for Madarame. It was one of the weirdest twist in the manga, she was at best the biggest shipper of Hato-kun and Madarame. However a flip was switched when she kissed Madarame, one of the weirdest excuses she gives is because Saki saw them.

That’s the interesting part. Saki is known to be a sharp person. I think the rush of thoughts Sue had triggered the type of dilemma she’s in.

Sue and Hato were sucked into their own game in a way. Sue somehow had lingering feelings for Madarame. She tried her darndest to pair them up. To her surprise, Hato DID take advantage of that. He kept saying he wasn’t homosexual, that he wasn’t into boys, that he just enjoyed BL.

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The setup Sue created was complete. In the manga, Hato and Madarame are left alone. Hato takes the bait and unconsciously makes a move. Using the game Madarame is playing as an excuse he draws near to the point that Hato is behind Madarame, suggesting that he wants to kiss his neck (which was my conclusion).

Sadly, the mangaka wants to further make Hato grow. Keiko enters the room discovering Hato-kun lusty eyes on Madarame. That’s where he snaps and suddenly becomes conscious of his actions.

In the last chapters of Genshiken, Hato-kun is on the verge of actually wanting to become a girl. Sue follows him to his house and barges in to his room. Hato-kun says that as fushoji they shouldn’t cross fantasy with reality. He pulls his chair back, softly knocking the desk. Something falls behind the desk.

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What fell under his desk was a collection of drawings of him and Madarame. With one hell of twist, he’s dressed as a girl. Thus, it further tells us that Hato is more or less conflicted, he didn’t stop Sue from seeing the drawings, even Sue had to break her character and draw a conclusion. That is, what to do now that she knows? Sleep on it Sue!

The premise where Hato draws himself as a girl, for me, just tells me that he just wants to become a girl, not only Madarame’s girlfriend, but become a transgender. Which I believe that might be what the author will ship with Hato. Note that this is just my speculation.

You might wonder why he would go so far to be with Madarame. It’s quite simple, he’s the only guy who has accepted him for what he is. Never in the manga Madarame is shown judging Hato-kun choices. His kindness and friendly manner made Hato fall for him. Note that many people, except Yajima, have accepted Hato-kun. Moreover, even Madarame himself makes “moves” with Hato-kun, they are really subtle for us, but Hato-kun reactions sure makes Madarame self-conscious of the things he says.

Yajima is quite the character in the sense that she doesn’t fully represent how our society will see them. For her, it’s embarrassing to see Hato cosplaying as a girl and is constantly judging him. To the point where several times she tells her to stop cosplaying and come dressed as a guy.

Although it may look like that, when Hato-kun stopped cosplaying for days in the manga. She came to realize that Hato wasn’t happy, he wasn’t.

I’m going to wrap this up with some final words. Regarding the harem, well, there isn’t much of a harem since no girl are making a move. In a typical harem, we would actually see girls making a move. It’s a bit frustrating to see this, because they all seem to be waiting for Madarame to make a move.

The motivation behind their action is unknown. We still don’t know why they haven’t made a move yet. In my opinion, it’s more than obvious that they want to see Hato-kun moving forward. Which, I think it’s for the best to give him space and let him confess to Madarame, or at least take him out on a date?

Another note is that, even with Keiko and Sue. We don’t fully know why they like Madarame. These two girls here bring more questions than answers. They just like him because why exactly? We know Hato-kun have had the upperhand all along.

I think, why I don’t enjoy her character as much is how down to earth is Keiko. She reads people, she knows what to say most of the time. She’s rough, but knows when to say something, and when not to mention anything. I have trouble liking her, this is the mangaka’s fault since she haven’t had enough “screen” to let us know more about her.

As for social acceptance, I think you already get the idea why it’s in the title. It’s not hard NOT to think about how society would see crossdressers, or homosexuals, or otakus. It’s a tough cookie to crack. In one hand, Otakus love their anime, manga, light novels, cd dramas, cosplays, etc. Mix something like homosexuality, what are the chances of those known as otakus pushing away their own due to their orientation?

What happened to having different tastes? I guess it triggers too many insecurities.

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