Kuragehime The Finale

Well, the manga for Kuragehime just ended, so I’ve got some thoughts!

I think it’s very apparent from the writing that this series had lost its direction a while ago, so I can’t be particularly upset about seeing everything being wrapped up in a unrealistically neat bow like that. Clearly the final volume was just an appeal to the fanbase, which is alright. But, I’ve still got a gripe!

So, Kuranosuke, with lines like, “I wish I was born a girl so I could wear clothes like this,” at the end wraps up his gender identity as “Yep I’m a man 100% boy male masculinity!” This feels inauthentic, especially after one of the big themes from just the chapter before was this idea of wearing dresses, or rather feminine beauty, as a symbol of resilience and strength— Tsukimi wearing dresses not to fulfill her role as a woman and be married, but to have armor to go into the outside world and stand alone. For our neatly canonized Kura/Tsukimi ship, what better than to see them both wearing that armor together? The ultimate objective Kuranosuke offered over his brother, other than not being a boring businessman, was a sense of equality. He didn’t have this ill-conceived and sexist notion of working for his wonderful wife, et cetera, et cetera. If anything, call him selfish if it is so, but he was Tsukimi’s princess for which she could be one with. Why at the very end resolve him into the role of a prince, letting Tsukimi be the princess, and reaffirming the heteronormative relationship after building up this great untraditional dynamic for their relationship to exist in? Plus, where’s the logical thruline here? His mother is proud to see him wearing the clothes, and so instead he’s not wearing them at the end? What? Yeesh man, I get you want it all to end cleanly but talk about making it too perfect. Go watch the last season of Downton Abbey if you want too clean of endings. Instead, we’re practically cucked out of this idea of power in feminine strength.

Hell, even beyond this, couldn’t we have done something better than making the BL mangaka a guy because he was in love with Chieko all along? Say, maybe make him a trans BL mangaka…?

Wait, shit, I’m projecting the wrong series onto this here! Don’t forget about how sensible Japan is! They accept you, just know that it’s just a phase.

Well, either way, I think once we got past the section covered in the anime the series starts to take some questionable turns. Damn! I gotta write my own Kuranosuke / Inoue Yuki (Helloooo? Birdcage Manor anaybody?) type chracter into a story! Except maybe they can actually be trans or something!

Shit! Aren’t I just writing Contrapoints into my story then?

Yikes. Everything’s been done before now.

Well, no matter, I’m glad the series has ended.

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Spotted Flower 24-25: MORE! THERE MUST BE MORE!

Well, it didn’t take long for !Saki to find out what’s going on. Dammit, !Hato, you forgot to wash his house sweater too? No way you’ll be the perfect hus- er, wi- er, spouse at that rate! Well, !Saki knows what !Mada’s been up to then, just not who. If he gets lucky, she’ll think it was with some woman she doesn’t know, there’ll be a talk about it, and a nice and easy reconciliation, right? Wraps it all up in a neat little bow.

Whatever you do !Madarame, don’t let her know that she got beat by a trap!

Er, wait a minute, why am I rooting for them to stay together? Isn’t the better turn of events here that she finds out it was !Hato, gets pissed the fuck off that !Mada’s been having gay sex (See: Traps are gay), divorces him, takes the baby, and then !Mada’s left with an open, vulnerable heart for !Hato to fill! And it’s not just his heart that they’re filling, naw’m sayin?

Shit! This is great! Is it possible that I’ll be fulfilled not just by a legendary one night stand but a literally universe-altering romance? I had immediately dismissed it out of hand, but here… I could see there being a real chance with this! Maybe just like, 1% chance, but I will fucking take it.

So, to answer your question from last time, yes, !Madarame,  you were cheating on her. You slept with somebody else. That’s what cheating is. If it makes you feel better, !Hato got more time on page with their dick in you than your dick in them, so if !Saki asks, you weren’t *really* fucking someone else. They were fucking you!!! Heh. Heheheheh.

Well, unbelievers, I think this is fact! Some of you all were hoping it was a dream or just in somebody’s imagination. The proof is here. Get fucked. Please, scram from this masterpiece in art that is HatoMada. You cannot turn back.

If you can’t tell, I have very little of substance to say, but I can still gloat plenty.

Update: Wait, she knows!~ I hadn’t considered that !Saki would recognize !Hato’s scent. Mwahhahaha. She knows! SHE KNOWS!~

Embrace The Cringe

Upon taking a detour to review my past writings, it’s astonishing how bad I was just a couple of years ago, or hell, even six months ago. Yea sure, maybe that’s because I’m still a smol bab but yeesh, I didn’t think of myself as being that incompetent or poorly spoken! What happened to all those teachers from high school who told me I was such a talented writer? What happened to generic compliments from my parents about how well I write? I tremble to think of how this must reflect past me as a person. Woe is I, filled to the gills with cringe! And moreso in the future— just think of how I will view this in a couple years. The naive ramblings of a small child!

But, you know what? That’s a good thing. If I’m looking back on myself six months ago and thinking, “Damn, she’s a shitty writer,” then it means I’ve gotten that much better in six months. On that side, I’m doing pretty well eh? Sure to all you mature adults of this world I must seem like every other annoying teen who because they are / were / will soon be a senior in high schoola senior in high school! So old! So prepared for the outside world! or even worse, a freshman in college you’re still so, so mature though, right? Legally an adult*! You make your own decisions now!

(*Or perhaps you graduated early and therefore are annoying all your peers with your added year of inexperience (or subtracted year of experience?))

So you know what? I’m gonna treat it as a good thing that I was a brony in middle school, that I read manga now, and everything else that’s cringey in my world. That way, when I grow out of it (fuck man! I don’t wanna grow out of liking anime! My mom’s boyfriend’s like 50 and he still likes anime! He’s fucking awesome! Y’all need to drag me back into this shit if I ever try to run away from the world of contemporary Japanese visual culture.) I’ll be able to look back and be like, “Yea, look how much I’ve evolved as a person now!” That’s pretty cool, huh? Sure I started way back at -1000 goodness points, but now I’m all the way up at -100! It’s not long before I become a good person now, right?

So you know what, future me? Please, find me now as cringe as you can. That’ll mean I’ve come a long way.

Thanks!

Transistor – Cool Girl Games

Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 14.20.16.pngHaving played this game immediately after playing Bastion, I can definitely see the trademarks of Supergiant Games across what they’ve done. That said, whereas Bastion I found myself engaged only by the gameplay itself and not by the outright bad dialogue and boring story and aesthetic, Transistor fixes up all these things.  I wasn’t 100% following the story until the end, but you’ve got this Blade Runner-esque world and it’s got this underlying love story between the character you play as, Red, and her partner who got killed and whose soul is now trapped in her sword. That’s pretty cool! Admittedly, it is an “Oh boy, another female character who’s only being a badass for her boyfriend’s sake” game, but she’s still being a badass, and there are critically few games with girls being a badass in the first place, so I will take it. It does feel though like it takes itself a little too seriously, especially for a relatively light-hearted and simple game.

Most of the games I’ve really loved to play are isometric real-time games— Starcraft, League of Legends (yea yea, I know I’m trash… it’s still fun though), and Transistor definitely follows suit in that pattern. It definitely seeks to put its on twist on the style of RPG game it is— rather than a default basic attack, you get four (I think upgradable to five) slots where you can put all your moves in, and you can upgrade every move with every other move, giving you a pretty huge realm of possibilities with your load out, and it makes you think strategically about how some upgrades may stack with one another. Then, it’s got this time-freeze instant action-y thing like Bleed, which especially at later stages becomes pretty vital for surviving some of the enemies. The parts that made Bastion an enjoyable game were the simplicity of the controls, but wide opportunities for customization, and Transistor definitely replicates that.

As in Bastion, the main flaw with Transistor is a lack of variety of baddies. The thing people often praise the Dark Demon Blood games for is how every enemy has its own attack pattern that you have to learn, et cetera. Transistor has maybe a dozen enemies you will fight, I think that’s total, including all the bosses.

I’m sure if I looked around I could find another isometric RTS RPG that does it better than Transistor, but you know what? It was $5 for a pretty fun game.

(Edit: I found out it’s also available as a mobile game. Honestly, I’d recommend that over the computer version. It seems pretty appropriate for that. I’m just a casual ez game gamer.)

Princess Remedy in A Heap of Trouble – Cool Girl Games

Sadly due to to my preference of Apple products over Microsoft, I can’t review the original Princess Remedy game, but this one’s pretty awesome. The thing that first drew me so strongly to Undertale was really just its tagline: “An RPG where nobody has to die.” That sounds great! That’s what Princess Remedy does too. Sure it’s a bullet hell game and you’re firing bandaids, needles, or frogs? at your enemies, but what you’re killing is the bacteria, and you’re doing it to heal the people! Isn’t that cool? Sure it’s all a matter of framing, but simple things like that make the game feel more lighthearted and enjoyable.

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I Am Hato

Why do I like HatoMada so much? Why do I relate so much to Hato? Maybe it’s just that Genshiken hit me at the right point in my life. I had started questioning my gender identity thanks to Hourou Musuko, and Hato became a source of comfort and possibility for me. Regardless of their gender identity, they’re able to become the perfect girl, and, unlike how (heaven forbid I use the word) traps are portrayed in most manga, Hato puts in the effort. They do voice training for like, three months, wear makeup even when going for a “plain” look, and ruthlessly epilate their body to the point where they’re freaked out and embarrassed by the idea of the girls seeing a single facial hair pop out.

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Still Not Done With HatoMada

I think in order to truly be HatoMada fan, you really have to embrace brevity and transience. The gratifying moments of a fan of this pairing are short, far between, and riddled with “ifs” and reasons why they shouldn’t happen. I think that’s partially what makes them so wonderful together— they’re such an unlikely pairing. Two individuals who, by default, had assumed they could never be attracted to someone who is biologically male (Madarame may be fine with “traps” (quotes because it’s kind of an offensive term but also that’s what they’re called; it’s distinct from being trans or being a crossdresser so you gotta call them that) but he obviously has to come to terms with the gap between what he sees in fiction and in his imagination, and the reality of the nearest approximation of this), both find themselves forced to acknowledge the fluidity of their sexuality. They’re the underdog pairing without a doubt, which just makes the few moments of sweet, sweet relief all the better.

To the two years I’ve spent already shipping HatoMada, it was my assumption that the goal was them to, naturally, be in a relationship. Obviously in an ideal world all time would cease and they would be together in this way— the part about their relationship that is so, so viscerally affecting is how perfectly I can project myself onto Hato and feel the desire to care for somebody and find appreciation in traditionally negative qualities (lack of self confidence, poor life decision making skills, etc), feel the desire to care for somebody outside the gender of people I had thought myself to be attracted to, all of this I can do because yea, Madarame is so perfectly and lovably that, and Hato is the true appreciator of this, and, conversely, I can completely relate to Madarame— why is this person interested in such a loser as him? Hato picks up on all of Madarame’s wonderful qualities instantly— his acceptance of others no matter what, his legitimate caring and traditional, borderline chivalrous romantics, his entirely self-serious humility. He’s really a great guy underneath this guise of “loser,” and Hato invites the reader to appreciate all of this about him. Through it too, though, we see all there is to appreciate about Hato. Their ability to notice these things and take the steps, the painfully slow and realistic steps natural for such a person, their commitment to changing and overcoming how they previously viewed themselves. Not many people even with all the time in the world could come to accept not just being attracted to a man as an otherwise straight-assumed person, but being attracted to this man for some of his masculine qualities and being willing to take on a (admittedly binary) traditionally feminine role to seduce this man. Hato is the ultimate temptress, but they are a temptress that I can’t not see myself in. If the world were perfect Hato and Mada would be happily married and settled down together, but in the reality they live, this idealized and romantic lifestyle must be replaced with the sensual, pheromone (and alcohol) induced peaks of pleasure, so their connection resonates not as a flowing stroke of a bow, but the quick, staccato motion of a plucked string. If it were not for all this, the poignancy of their relationship would be lost, and seeing !Hato and !Madarame having sex in Spotted Flower would be turned to mere fan-pandering from this intimate, meaningful intent. And, that’s why I’m entirely satisfied with them having sex and there being few hopes for a relationship that lasts beyond this. Hato, the ultimate temptress, has led Madarame down the path of adultery. Their purpose has been fulfilled.