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The Battle of the Strangers: Umibe No Étranger Anime & Manga Review

Anyone following the series knows that the journey of Kii Kanna Sensei’s Umibe no Etranger: L’étranger de la Plage from manga to film has been a long one. So, I have been eagerly awaiting the day that I’d be able to fully talk about its entirety being, both the manga AND the film.

Most of the manga that I’ve read have yet to see the light of an anime film or show adaptation, so I haven’t done many comparisons of the two. However, I really wanted to give it a try with Umibe no Etranger because I find it interesting that from this one manga alone there are so many formats to dive into.

But before we go off the deep end here, let’s get our feet wet with a rundown of this series.

Umibe No Etranger : Shun & Mio (Left, Right)

The story starts with our protagonist, Shun, who is a novelist that’s now living on a small island outside of Okinawa with his aunt after being disowned by his parents. Looking out to a bench by the sea, Shun begins to notice Mio, a high school student in his last year dealing with the death of his own parents. Just as the two start opening up to each other, Mio has to leave the island. Three years later, Mio returns to the island to confess his feelings, but is this relationship something Shun is ready for?

Umibe No Etranger in its many forms

Umibe no Etranger: L’étranger de la Plage by Kii Kanna Sensei starts with the manga that ran from July 2013 – 2014 in the magazine OnBLUE. Renta licensed the manga digitally in English first, in 2016, with the title Stranger By The Beach. Umibe no Etranger was adapted into an anime film under Blue Lynx and had its theatrical release in September of last year. This July, Funimation released the English sub and dub of the film under the title Stranger By The Shore, and Seven Seas Entertainment later published the English print version of the one-shot using Seaside Stranger.

Umibe No Etranger (Funimation)

Umibe no Etranger has a total of FOUR English versions: A subbed film, a dubbed film, and TWO manga translations!!!! So instead of doing a comparison of just the manga and the anime, I’ve decided to showcase “The Battle of The Strangers” : Sub Vs Dub, Renta Vs Seven Seas, and lastly, Anime Vs Manga.


Battle 1 : Umibe No Etranger (Sub) vs. Stranger By The Shore (Dub)

Now, I will preface this section with the fact that I typically prefer English sub over dub. However, I am a firm believer that everyone is fully entitled to their own anime experience because at the end of the day it’s your own eyes, your own ears, and most importantly, your own business.

With that said, I clearly do watch dub from time to time and don’t immediately write it off as bad because we wouldn’t be here having this conversation otherwise.

I have to say that from the jump I was honestly shocked by the announcement of a dub to begin with. Even though this isn’t the first time a BL has been dubbed before (Insert Hitorijime My Hero and Love Stage), the only hope of my one tracked braincell was that SOMEONE would pick up this film for AT LEAST an English sub.

Being the last film yet to have an official English sub out of, what I like to call, the “Blue Lynx Big Three,” I was starting to lose hope of ever being able to see the one-shot I loved so much on the big screen. But, I am BEYOND thankful that the powers that be had other plans.

When they first announced the Japanese cast I was already shaking the table. Shun is voiced by Murata Taishi, who you may have heard in his roles as Ibusaki and Akinori in Food Wars and Haikyū!! respectively. Matsuoka Yoshitsugu voiced the role of Mio, another well known voice actor with his long running roles of Yukihira Sōma (also Food Wars lol) and Kirito (Sword Art Online).

The emotions that the entire original cast brought through their characters was absolutely lovely. Overall, hearing the characters come to life was a wonderful experience and I couldn’t have asked for more!

Umibe No Etranger (Funimation)

Despite my preference for Sub, I knew that I had to see the Dub after the cast was released. My avid dub watchers were very excited to see Josh Grelle as the voice of Shun in this film. But what made me snap my neck was seeing Mio being voiced by Justin Briner. Yes. DUB IZUKU MIDORIYA. And even though I don’t watch MHA Dubbed, I had to know. Not only that, both of them were cast in Stars Align as Toma and Maki which was a dub I also enjoyed.

Toma and Maki – Stars Align (Funimation)

An issue that I’ve commonly had with dub is that the English script will sometimes dramatically deviate from the original content’s message, but I didn’t have that with Stranger By The Shore. While watching the dub, I felt that the English cast did a great job evoking the same, if not very similar, emotions that I had when first watching the film in its original Japanese audio.

To put it simply, I enjoyed both.

Yep… You read it right… Both.

Queen Eri – Umibe No Etranger (Funimation)

I am not exaggerating when I say that it is extremely rare for me to finish watching a dub and say that I enjoyed it just as much or even remotely close to the way that I enjoyed the sub.

I do think there were times where the dub script made some of the lines for certain scenes a bit more direct than the nuanced way I felt the original presented them, but I don’t think that element took away from the story’s overall message.

Umibe No Etranger (Funimation)

There was one line from the English script that I thought was done beautifully, when Eri and Shun are sitting outside he says:

“I was just wondering, what makes us all so afraid? of two men or two women being together? All the things we could fear in this world, and we choose love.”

THAT. That was beautiful.

Umibe No Etranger (Funimation)

Having now watched both versions, more times than I’m willing to admit, the translated English subtitles in comparison to the dub script were just about line for line. The reason why I appreciate this so much is because it respects the source material and doesn’t feel like I’m watching two different anime.

So, at least in my opinion, both the sub and dub were magnificently cast and I could 100% feel their chemistry shine throughout the entire film.


Battle 2: Stranger By The Beach (Renta!) Vs. Seaside Stranger (Seven Seas)

I’ve mentioned before how I prefer print to digital on multiple occasions, but when it comes to situations similar to this, sometimes the digital version is all you have.

For YEARS, the only official English version that I’ve ever had was the Renta version, and I can’t go without saying how thankful I am for it to have existed to begin with.

My love for this series opened my wallet, so I did purchase the original Japanese prints of Umibe no Etranger and the continuing series Harukaze no Etranger (all at the low low cost of both my legs). And with my limited, but growing, knowledge of the Japanese language I always held out hope for a print version.

When I saw the announcement from Seven Seas Entertainment that they’d be producing an official English print I was beyond the moon with joy. Something about having a good book in my hands and thumbing through the pages just has such a comforting feel.

It felt like my birthday seeing the notification that my copy had been delivered and I ripped open my package as soon as I got my hands on it.

My Japanese and English Prints

The print version is wrapped, which typically indicates that a series is Mature (18+), but Seven Seas rates it as Older Teen (17+). I’d mentioned before that I read this first on Renta, and I recall it being mature while it was on there. So, personally I’d only recommend to Mature (18+) audiences because if you’re at the bookstore buying wrapped manga they ask to confirm.

Yes, I’ve been asked for my ID at the bookstore buying BL… Multiple times…

Image
Umibe No Etranger (Seven Seas Entertainment)

Coming back to the print, the volume has a smooth matte cover and is in the smaller standard Seven Seas manga size.

I feel like people who work on designing, lettering, and translating manga are not thanked enough. As I read through the print I noticed the attention to detail that the print had from the dialogue bubbles to the background noise.

Since all that I’ve had for so long was the digital Renta version it was easy to pick out the difference in translation reading the print from Seven Seas. It wasn’t anything drastic but some of the wording could give off a slightly different feel. However, I think regardless of the delivery they both hit the same target.

All in all, I’m VERY thankful for BOTH of these versions and the work of the staffs that made them possible!!!


FINAL BATTLE : Umibe No Etranger Film vs. Manga

The manga is the source. The origin. The provenance. This is where it all began. Without it, where would we be? Drifting in the endless sea of-

Okay I’ll stop lol…

Kii Kanna Note Illustration

What I’m trying to say is that the manga is the reason why we’re even here in the first place. In my opinion, there’s no way I could hold up the manga and the film to judge which is better than the other because they’re two different entities.

I have a love-hate relationship with one-shots because while they’re lovely to read, they more often than not leave me wanting more. That wave of longing definitely crashed into me when I first read Umibe no Etranger. The story in the manga does try to incorporate as many pieces as possible from start to finish. At the same time, there’s only so much anyone can do in a 200+ page one-shot, especially being done on the premise that it won’t continue into something more.

Umibe no Etranger – Final Chapter

In the note from Kii Kanna Sensei, Umibe no Etranger started out as a short story that led to a one-shot which turned into a series (Harukaze no Etranger). So, It’s amazing to me that this love story of Mio and Shun started from something so small and grew into what we have now.

As previously mentioned, for the film, I thought that the characters were cast wonderfully. The Original Soundtrack added an extra layer of emotions, especially for those heart wrenching scenes. And although I’m not a pro Audio Engineer, all the sounds in the background from the sea to the flip flops on the sand really drove home the essence of summer that this film embodies.

Now, let’s put these two head to head and get ready to rumble.

Umibe No Etranger (Funimation)

It had been at least a year since I last read Umibe no Etranger, so I was walking into the film fairly fresh. I still remembered the main parts of the story, but when I hit play on the film I thought my braincell was finally at its limit because it wasn’t quite how I remembered it.

Low and behold, I was right.

Thee Girlfriends (Suzu & Eri) – Umibe No Etranger (Funimation)

It wasn’t until I went back and read after watching that I realized all the differences in story’s structure between the manga and the film’s adaptation.

And though I’m sure there are those who will disagree, after going back and reading I didn’t see the film’s changes as a detriment to the overall story. Yes, as a reader you’re going to notice the parts that are missing or changed, but for the medium it used to convey the story, I don’t consider the film’s adaptation to be far off the mark that is manga.

Out of everything, I’d have to say there were roughly four elements that stuck out to me the most.

Starting with Mio and Shun’s interactions. Post reunion in the manga, they were a lot more lovey-dovey than they were presented in the film. Prime example being that all the kisses they shared leading up to the hotel scene were nowhere to be found. Shun’s snippiness in the film really kept Mio at bay, but do I think that creative decision added more weight to the tension that was growing between them before they finally get to said hotel scene.

On the less physical end of their interactions, the second element was that the film makes it seem like Mio really didn’t contact Shun at all. Especially since Shun’s character doesn’t really hold it over Mio’s head as much as he does in the manga.

Now, the congratulations postcard that Mio sends to Shun is still in the film, but you don’t even see that it’s FROM Mio. So, while I’m screaming and pointing at my screen, it’s more of a breadcrumb for the viewer’s who’ve read the manga, and not everyone’s done that or even will. But again, I think this also emphasizes the distance between them in the start of the film that makes them bridging the gap all the more sweeter to see.

Umibe no Etranger (Funimation)

Another part was Mio’s navigation of his feelings for Shun. There’s a flashback in the film where Mio is making a delivery to the owner of Mimi’s Bar and briefly tells them about his situation with Shun in a roundabout way of seeking advice.

I’m under the assumption that this was in place of the manga scene when Mio initially tried to call Shun from the mainland but got Eri instead.

In that scene, she expresses to Mio that Shun is gay and that essentially Mio shouldn’t string him along if he’s not sure about his feelings. That was the moment that Mio decided to take the time to consider what his true feelings are for Shun before contacting him again.

Umibe no Etranger – Chapter 2 – Renta

Watching the flashback to Mimi’s Bar for the first time confused me, because Mio’s character design looked relatively the same as he did in the present. But watching it a second time made me go ohhhhh okay that’s what’s happening.

I don’t think the change to Mimi’s Bar negatively impacted the film’s way of presenting the story because it still made sense to me with the way they set up Mio’s distance from Shun over the past three years.

The last element was one that probably stood out the most: flashbacks. The film heavily leaned into flashbacks for both Mio and Shun’s characters. The memory of Shun’s school days and Mio’s memories of his mother were the two that I felt the film hit on the most. I’m actually really glad for them going into Mio’s memories more in general because it really brought out just how much his character values family.

As someone who has read the manga, of course these elements in the film are going to stand out by comparison, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a bad thing to me.

Umibe no Etranger (Funimation)

After going back and reading I didn’t see the film’s changes as a detriment to the overall story. I also believe that Kii Kanna Sensei being attached to this project as a supervisor and character designer for the film is part of the reason why their distinct art style and story still shined throughout the film so well. But it goes without saying that there’s only so much that can be done, and be kept, in a film with under an hour to work with.

Umibe no Etranger (Funimation)

The way I see it is that the film’s adaptation takes a more subtle approach to the story, where as the manga spells it out for you. And for me, I feel that each of them were the appropriate choice for the medium the story was being told in.

There are plenty of stories that have changes going from page to screen, and vice versa (don’t forget about those adapted from shows/films). The most important question I ask myself is: Did the medium the story was adapted to use it in a way that effectively communicated the message of its original source? And for me, Umibe No Etranger did just that.

I’m just so happy that I’ve finally seen the day that I’d have the opportunity to talk about both the manga and the anime film together for Umibe No Etranger. I can’t remember the last time I wrote this extensively, and it’s probably 98% ramblings, but if you made it this far I hope you enjoyed 😂

This post is my attempt at a proactive first step for planning a video to cover the same things I’ve written here on my YouTube Channel! So, if you rather watch/listen to my braincell fall apart, that’s something you can look forward to 😂

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time! 💕


Update: I made the video!!!

English Sub and Dub for Umibe no Étranger: Stranger by The Shore is available to stream on Funimation

Find where to buy your print and/or digital copy of Seaside Stranger: Umibe no Etranger through Seven Seas Entertainment

Note: Despite there being a rating of TV-14 and Older Teen (17+) to the film and English print respectively, I would suggest looking into trigger warnings before starting this series.

Tian Guan Ci Fu: Heaven Official’s Blessing Vol. 1 Review

Xie Lian didn’t know whether to laugh or cry…
and neither do I…


Before I get into it, all Mo Xiang Tong Xiu’s (MXTX) works are marked “RATED 17+” (aka MATURE) by Seven Seas Entertainment for violence, gore, language, and sex, since they are not censoring any content and aim to produce a faithful translation. Furthermore, contents of these works are not limited to what is listed above, so I suggest using Does The Dog Die and TV Tropes to look into additional content trigger warnings, if needed, prior to starting this series.


After reading Scum Villain and MDZS, I finished my MXTX TBR with Tian Guan Ci Fu. If you have been following my MXTX journey this far, you know that this post takes us to our first save point as we wait for the next set of releases.

Tian Guan Ci Fu (TGCF), Heaven Official’s Blessing, is the most recently completed series of globally renowned author MXTX, who is often referred to as the best-known in danmei. This series took the danmei world by storm, inspiring a donghua, comic, and soon to be released live-action adaptation.

No need to fix what isn’t broken; So I’ll continue wrangle my braincell’s screams into the same sections as before: The Story, Characters, and Memorable Moments.

⚠️Incoming Spoilers; For more info on TGCF and where to buy, click here⚠️


The Story

Xie Lian, Crown Prince of the prosperous Xianle Kingdom, was renowned for his beauty, strength, and purity. It was no surprise when his years of noble deeds allowed him to ascend to godhood. But those who rise, can also fall…and fall he does…

Despite being cast from the Heavens and banished to the mortal realm not just once… BUT TWICE… They say third time’s a charm right???

Going on 800+ years of mortal life, Xie Lian has ascended to godhood for the THIRD time.

He is now sent down to wander the earthly realm taking on tasks from the heavens to pay back debts and maintain what little divinity he has left. Aided by both old friends and foes alike, and blessed with the new company of a mysteriously handsome, San Lang, Xie Lian must confront his past to dispel the curse of his present.


Characters

The personalities of the characters shined so brightly in this first volume, so of course I have a lot to say. I had a basis with the donghua adaptation, but just like with SVSSS and MDZS, reading the original is a whole new ball game.

But let’s jump straight into it with The Crown Prince Himself, Xie Lian

If you think Xie Lian isn’t the funniest character in this story, I don’t know what to tell you– The man is HILARIOUS. Also, he’s surprisingly a tad bit petty, but after reading what he’s gone through he’s rightfully so.

I loved reading OG Xie Lian because his inner thoughts are absolute gold. Our 800+ y/o scrap king is the embodiment of the 😅 emoji, and I will 100% die on this hill. Every “???”, “…”, and “Xie Lian didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.” had me going MOOD and busting my sides.

Next up is the true resident simp lord, Hua Cheng

It’s not officially confirmed until the last chapter that San Lang is actually Hua Cheng, but like… we knew… ya know 🥴😂 The picture here is of him as San Lang since technically we’re not supposed to know his foine form yet… but don’t worry, we’re close!!!

For a good 90% of this first volume, San Lang’s role is essentially to be hot and know things, which was 1000% fine with Xie Lian (and me too).

My account would be unrecognizable without me screaming over side characters, so you know we have talk about Nan Feng and Fu Yao

I love how they simultaneously contrast each other by being night and day, but are also literally the same person. I mean, you have to have a strong idiot duo that hate each other or what kind of story would this be???


And last but definitely not least, I had to talk about my wife, Ling Wen

I will take any excuse to bring up our resourceful, all-knowing, communication array QUEEN. Also, she is so fine like… HELLO?!?!?!?


Memorable Moments

Why didn’t anyone tell me that Xie Lian was literally a passive aggressive stand up comic?!?!

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I find the OG Xie Lian and the donghua Xie Lian to be WAYYYY different. I’ve watched the donghua one too many times, and it had me here thinking that Xie Lian was just a soft spoken, sweet soul, serving all the Fuwa Fuwa vibes; when in actuality, he’s a klutzy cheeky kicka$$ Heavenly Official with a golden sense of humor and beauty for days.

Speaking of cheeky bastards, let’s bring Hua Cheng into the mix.

I think the donghua has hit the nail on the head so far with his character. I know too much for my own good right now, so I’ll bite my tongue. But y’all.. the man is down bad.

The part during Banyue when Xie Lian mentioned that he used a faux name, Hua Xie; Hua Cheng’s silence was VERY LOUD. However, I too would be internally screaming, crying, and throwing up in the corner of the Sinner’s Pit if the LOVE OF MY LIFE USED MY SURNAME (unintentionally or otherwise I’d be on the floor).

The last chapter in the volume with Xie Lian and Hua Cheng exposing each other as the Crown Prince and Ghost King they respectively are, was so precious. I couldn’t help but audibly dawwww at the two of them, especially when they were talking on the straw mat before Xie Lian fell asleep.

The fact that they’re quite frankly, two cheeky bastards in love, is my best take away from this volume and I need them together ASAP.

Also, a quick side note and shout out to BEEF LEAF 🥳🥳🥳 I know absolutely nothing about these two except for the fact that they’re hot and I want this ship to ride blissfully into the sunset. However, my friend as warned me that there are tears in my future so let me just go buy the Costco sized Kleenex and get prepared.

Checkpoint: COMPLETE ✨Thank you for reading my ramblings and joining me on my MXTX journey to our first save point. I’m very proud of my self for making it through these three series over the past few weeks with my slow-as-snails reading pace that I’ve mentioned before 😂

The schedule for the novels had to be changed due to the printing shortage that’s still going on, so the following volumes for each series will be releasing in some what of a round-robin fashion.

  • TGCF Vol. 2 – February 15, 2022
  • SVSSS Vol. 2 – April 19, 2022
  • MDZS Vol. 2 – May 17, 2022

TGCF picks up the volume 3 rotation in June with SVSSS and MDZS in the proceeding months, and the rotation goes on until each finishes.

It’s safe to say that these MXTX novels will be the monthly focal point of my blog for at least the next year as they churn and burn on these translations. So, hopefully the class has enjoyed the journey thus far and looks forward to more!!!

Because, the gamblers den arc is coming… 👀✨

Thanks again for joining me on my journey and reading my ramblings!!! I’ll see you next time with TGCF Volume 2 next month!!!💕

To Make A Long Story Short
Xie Lian, is on godhood ascension round 3. Hops down to the mortal realm to make a shrine for himself, on self love, and runs into the dashingly mysterious San Lang.

🎭 Cast Favs 🎭
XL, HC/SL, LW, BEEFLEAF, NF x FY

Ratings
Stress: 😅😅😅😅 // Simping: 😮‍💨😮‍💨😮‍💨😮‍💨// Funnies: 🤣🤣🤣🤣

Mo Dao Zu Shi: Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation Vol.1 Review

Just watch… One of these days Lan Wangji is going to use Bichen to shatter the glass closet Wei Wuxian is trying to hide in…


Before I get into it, all Mo Xiang Tong Xiu’s (MXTX) works are marked “RATED 17+” (aka MATURE) by Seven Seas Entertainment for violence, gore, language, and sex, since they are not censoring any content and aim to produce a faithful translation. Furthermore, contents of these works are not limited to what is listed above, so I suggest using Does The Dog Die and TV Tropes to look into additional content trigger warnings, if needed, prior to starting this series.


After finishing SVSSS, MDZS was the next on my MXTX chopping block. It took me a little bit, but as you can tell I’ve made it to the other side of the tunnel because it’s ✨~Review Time~✨

Mo Dao Zu Shi (MDZS), The Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation, is the second series of globally renowned author MXTX, who is often referred to as the best-known in danmei. This series inspired the holy trinity of adaptations: comics, a donghua, and the hit live-action series The Untamed.

The way I wrangled my braincell’s screams last time seemed to work pretty well for me, so I’ll continue to break this review into the same sections: The Story, Characters, and Memorable Moments.

⚠️Incoming Spoilers; For more info on MDZS and where to buy, click here⚠️


The Story

The clever and talented young cultivator, Wei Wuxian, was once known as the most powerful of his generation for his notable abilities in martial arts and spirituality. But when the horrors of war put him on the path to seek more power, the world’s respect turned to fear.

At the end of his journey through demonic cultivation, his death was celebrated throughout the land.

Years later, a despondent young man sacrifices his soul so that Wei Wuxian may rise again and exact revenge on his behalf. Even though he’s been granted a second life, Wei Wuxian is not free from his first. This time however, he won’t have to go at it alone. Unwavering in his dedication as a cultivator and shared past with Wei Wuxian, Lan Wangji will stand by his side to help shine a light on the dark truths that surround them.


Characters

My braincell is once again blessed for the name guide in the back of the book because every character has at least three. It didn’t take long for me to tie it all together, but I’ll probably use the name I remember best when referring to each of them in blog posts. And y’all already know it’s time to boast about my faves from this volume!

Starting off with the one, the only, Wei Wuxian

Currently housed in the body of Mo Xuanyu is the demonic cultivation king himself. I feel biased enough as is because I already know more than I need to at this point in the first volume from watching the MDZS adaptations. However, reading about Wei Wuxian is a whole different ball game. I love how bratty his character can come off at times. And let’s face it, if I was as talented and quick-witted as Wei Wuxian, I’d be cutting up the same way.

Next up is the true man of the hour, Lan Wangji

This man right here: STOLE. THE. SHOW. WOW. I absolutely adored reading Lan Wangji’s character. The donghua and live-action really focus on Wei Wuxian, so we only get a few glimpses into Lan Wangji. But this is why we come to the SOURCE.

I could not control my laughter every time he’d, “” or “mn” because it’s literally his brand. The interactions between him and Wei Wuxian, past and present, are priceless but I’ll get to that in the next section. hehe…

Last, but definitely not least in my heart, Jiang Cheng

Now if you haven’t watched the donghua or the live-action you’re probably like, “gorl… what are we talking about???” I can’t help my bleeding heart when it comes to Jiang Cheng. Not to mention his bond with Wei Wuxian– Hold on I have to sob again… IT’S A BIAS OKAY?!

His entrance in the first volume is just exudes power and I could feel it through the pages. He’s also one of those characters that I find myself being torn between: omg what’s he so hot for and omg I’m scared for my life. But those are the best kind!!!


Memorable Moments

From the beginning I realized just how much the donghua and live-action adaptations were jumping and zooming through this story. A commonality I found between the two adaptations was that they both put the story of Wei Wuxian’s past at the forefront before getting into the present journey at hand. In contrast, the novel very modestly sprinkles the past whenever Wei Wuxian get’s triggered by something he sees/hear/etc..

The Untamed

With the way things are panning out, I can understand why the donghua and live-action adaptations took the route that they did because it makes the story a lot more digestible from a cinematic standpoint. I’m glad that I have somewhat of a foundation by having a grasp on Wei Wuxian’s past already because the novel helps me build out their characters while reading. It also gives me more food and lets me feed deeper into my character biases. hehe…

While we’re on the topic of adaptations and characters, let’s talk about Lan Wangji…

Go look up “down bad,” and Lan Wangji will show up as a synonym because oh. my gosh.

The present day Lan Wangji in the adaptations are significantly toned down in comparison to Thee OG. I always had this stoic and stern mental image of Lan Wangji (which hasn’t changed), but after volume 1?!?!?! The adaptations really left room for the audience to interpret his character but the novel makes it clear beyond crystal– Especially, drunk Lan Wangji… I can’t tell you the amount of times my jaw went slack and audibly gasped when he’d just be 100% out of pocket with Wei Wuxian.

And speaking of Wei Wuxian… SIR IF YOU DON’T–

Ignorance is bliss as they say, and I don’t know if he’s doing this on purpose or if he’s really just genuinely oblivious to Lan Wangji at this point 😂 However, at least for me, he’s not fooling nobody.

Like I said from the start: He better tread lightly, or one of these days Lan Wangji is going to use Bichen to shatter the glass closet he’s trying to hide in…

We are already off to a great and spicy start with this first volume of MDZS. By my standards, MDZS is an intricate story where I can easily find my braincell tripped up; so I’m happy to be a little ahead of the curve by watching the adaptations. I can already see there’s a lot of variation between the original story and its inspired works, but it only makes me even more excited to fill in some of those gaps by reading the volumes to come.

SEXC SPOOKIE MANS

Thank you for reading my ramblings and joining me on my MXTX journey!!! Tian Guan Ci Fu: Heaven Official’s Blessing is the last volume in my MXTX TBR pile and I’m already a third of the way through, so keep on the look out!!! Thanks again and I’ll see you next time!!!💕

To Make A Long Story Short
Wei Wuxian goes from Zero to Hero, but backwards, when he goes down the path of Demonic Cultivation leading to his death. Years later, WWX is granted a second life, but with LWJ he won’t have to go at it alone…

🎭 Cast Favs 🎭
WWX, LWJ, JC

Ratings
Emperor Smiles: ☺️☺️☺️☺️ // Drunk LWJ: 😮‍💨😮‍💨😮‍💨😮‍💨// Anticipation: 😅😅😅😅

My Manga Through The Year (2021)

Proud of myself for being more active and a tad more consistent on my blog this past year! I’ve decided to make a post that combines all the titles I read during 2021 into one jumbo list. There’s no particular order, but I went back and pulled all the lists I had under my manga hauls and digital library to make the end year calculations.
*indicates that the title is rated M for Mature (18+)

  1. Girls Last Tour (1) – Tsukumizu
  2. Manly Appetites (1 & 2) – Mito 
  3. Yona Of The Dawn (9 – 17) – Mizuho Kusanagi 
  4. Goodbye My Rose Garden (2 & 3) – Dr. Pepperco
  5. Days Of Love At Seagull Villa (1 & 2) – Kodama Naoko 
  6. Moriarty The Patriot (2 & 3) – Ryōsuke Takeuchi & Hikaru Miyoshi ​ 
  7. Jujutsu Kaisen (0) – Gege Akutami
  8. Blue Period (2 – 5) – Tsubasa Yamaguchi 
  9. Snow White With The Red Hair (8 – 16) – Sorata Akiduki 
  10. Sweat And Soap (5 – 10) – Kintetsu Yamada 
  11. An Incurable Case Of Love (6 & 7) – Maki Enjoji 
  12. Blue Morning (1- 8) – Shoko Hidaka 
  13. Therapy Game (2) – Meguru Hinohara *
  14. Slam Dunk (24 – 31) – Takehiko Inoue 
  15. Zom 100 : Bucket List Of The Dead (1 – 4) – Haro Aso & Kotaro Takata 
  16. Beastars (10 -15) – Paru Itagaki 
  17. Beast Complex (1) – Paru Itagaki
  18. Blue Flag (7 & 8) – Kaito
  19. Blue Giant (Omnibus: 1 – 3) – Shinichi Ishizuka 
  20. We Swore To Meet In The Next Life And That’s When Things Got Weird (1 – 3) – Hato Hachiya 
  21. Super Women In Love (1) – Sometime 
  22. Love Me For Who I Am (1 – 4) – Kata Konayama
  23. Our Teachers Are Dating (1 – 3) – Pikachi Ohi 
  24. A White Rose In Bloom (1) – Atsuhiko Nakamura 
  25. Bl Metamorphosis (3 – 5) – Kaori Tsurutani 
  26. My Androgynous Boyfriend (2 & 3) – Tamekou
  27. My Broken Mariko – Waka Hirako 
  28. I Cannot Reach You (1) – Mika 
  29. Love Of Kill (1 – 5) – Fe 
  30. Sasaki And Miyano (1 – 4) – Shou Harusono 
  31. Life Lessons With Umamichi Oniisan (Omnibus: 1) – Gaku Kuze 
  32. Star Crossed (1 & 2) – Junko 
  33. Whisper Me A Love Song (2 – 4) – Eku Takeshima 
  34. Our Not So Lonely Planet Travel Guide (1) – Mone Sorai 
  35. The Cat Proposed – Dento Hayane 
  36. I Hear The Sunspot Limit (3) – Yuki Fumino 
  37. Love Me, Love Me Not (6 – 11) – Io Sakisaka 
  38. Takane & Hana (1) – Yuki Shiwasu
  39. Given (5 & 6) – Natsuki Kizu 
  40. Toritan Birds Of A Feather (2) – Kotetsuko Yamamoto 
  41. Jealousy (3 & 4) – Scarlet Beriko *
  42. Coyote (3) – Ranmaru Zaria *
  43. MADK (1 & 2) – Roy Suzuri *
  44. Hitorijime My Hero (9) – Memeco Arii
  45. Twittering Birds Never Fly (4 & 5) – Kou Yoneda *
  46. Vinland Saga (Omnibus: 6) – Makoto Yukimura 
  47. Witch Hat Atelier (2 – 7) – Kamome Shirahama 
  48. Chasing After Aoi Koshiba (1) – Hazuki Takeoka
  49. Yuri Is My Job (1) – Miman 
  50. Even Though We’re Adults (1 – 3) – Takako Shimura ​
  51. Thigh High (1) – Kotobuki ​
  52. The Apothecary Diaries (1) – Natsu Hyuuga (Story) Nekokurage(Art) Itsuki Nanao(Compiled) Touco Shino (Character Design) ​
  53. Dick Fight Island (1) – Reibun Ike *
  54. Sex Ed 120 % (1 & 2) – Kikiki Tataki & Kotomura *
  55. Boys Run The Riot (1 – 3) – Keito Gaku 
  56. My Summer Of You – Nagisa Furuya 
  57. How Do We Relationship? (2 – 4) – Tamifull 
  58. After Hours (1) – Yuhta Nishio 
  59. Syrup (1) – Anthology 
  60. I Think Our Son Is Gay (1) – Okura 
  61. Cherry Magic! 30 Years Of Virginity Can Make You A Wizard?! (3) – Yuu Toyota * 
  62. Yakuza Lover (1) – Nozomi Mino *
  63. Don’t Be Cruel (Omnibus: 1) – Yonezou Nekota * 
  64. Secretly, I’ve Been Suffering About Being Sexless – Togame 
  65. Cocoon Entwined (1 & 2) – Yuriko Hara 
  66. Doughnuts Under A Crescent Moon (1) – Shio Usui 
  67. The Girl From The Other Side (1) – Nagabe 
  68. Seaside Stranger : Umibe No Etranger – Kii Kanna *
  69. She And Her Cat – Makoto Shinkai (Story) Tsubasa Yamaguchi (Art)
  70. I’m In Love With The Villainess (1) – Inori; Aonoshimo; Hanagata 
  71. Monster And The Beast (2 & 3) – Renji *
  72. Bad Boys, Happy Home (1 & 2) – Story: Shoowa – Art: Hiromasa Okujima*
  73. Goodbye, Battle Princess Peony – Mira Ong Chua 
  74. Solo Leveling (1 – 3) – Chugong (Story) Dubu (Illustration)
  75. The Case Study Of Vanitas (1 – 3) – Jun Mochizuki 
  76. Eniale & Dewiela (1) – Kanoka Shirahama 
  77. Black Or White (1 & 2) – Sachimo * 
  78. My Love Mix Up (1) – Aruko (Art) Wataru Hinekure (Story)
  79. Kageki Shojo: The Curtain Rises – Kumiko Saiki 
  80. Wotakoi: Love Is Hard For Otaku (Omnibus: 5) – Fujita 
  81. Caste Heaven (4 – 6) – Chise Ogawa *
  82. Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End (1) – Kanehito Yamada (Story) Tsukasa Abe (Art) 
  83. Restart After Coming Back Home – Cocomi 
  84. Kageki Shojo (1 – 3) – Kumiko Saiki 
  85. Classmates: Sora & Hara – Asumiko Nakamura 
  86. BJ Alex (1 & 2) – Mingwa *
  87. Birds Of Shangri-La (2) – Ranmaru Zaria *
  88. Therapy Game: Restart (1) – Meguru Hinohara *
  89. The Two Lions – Nagisa Furuya
  90. Kaiju No. 8 (1) – Naoya Matsumoto
  91. Jujutsu Kaisen (0, 5 – 13) – Gege Akutami
  92. A Sign of Affection (2 & 3) – Suu Morishita
  93. Tokyo Revengers (4 – 23) – Ken Wakui
  94. Blue Lock (1 & 2) – Muneyuki Kaneshiro (Story) Yusuke Nomura (Art)
  95. Something’s Wrong With Us (3) – Natsumi Ando
  96. In the Clear Moonlit Dusk (1) – Mika Yamamori
  97. Turns Out My Online Friend is My Real-Life Boss – NMURA
  98. My Dearest Cop (2 & 3) – Niyama *
  99. Oblivious Love Factor – Si Mitsuru *
  100. Life Ain’t So Bad – Si Mitsuru *
  101. Megumi And Tsugumi – Si Mitsuru *
  102. Melt At Night – Taga Taira *
  103. Sex With Chika! (1 & 2)- Fumikawa Jimi *
  104. More Than A Play Bite – Tsuruko *
  105. Marquis De… – Syundei *
  106. Dear My Boy – Saki *
  107. Red Theater – Ogawa Chise *
  108. To Dear, My Sorrow – Kureno Mataaki *
  109. Pornographer – Marukido Maki *
  110. Mood Indigo – Marukido Maki *
  111. Pornographer Playback – Marukido Maki *
  112. The Midnight Association For The Broken Hearted – Minamoto Kazuki *
  113. Metro – Hongo Chika *
  114. Manager Douzaki Wants To Be Screwed – Yoshimoto Senco *
  115. Hopelessly Devoted (1) – Yamamoto Kotetsuko *
  116. My Destined One – Hansode *
  117. Lets Meet At Tsukikagerou – Red Light Omegaverse – Koiwazurai Shibito *
  118. I HATE – Kazuki Natsume *
  119. Like The Beast (1 – 3) – Yamamoto Kotetsuko *
  120. Elevator Strategy – Haruyuki *
  121. Just Love, The Monster – Tsukizuki Yoshi *
  122. Biting A Vampire – Abuku *
  123. Beast’s Storm – Morry Kuroi *
  124. I’ll Make You Cry – Nozomu Hiiragi *
  125. A Tempest of Cage – Milan Matsumoto *
  126. Perfect Propose – Mayo Tsurukame *
  127. Blue Sky Complex (1) – Kei Ichikawa *

The Breakdown…

All of this comes down to 127 separate titles, and 267 volumes in totality!
Physical (1 – 91); Digital (92 – 101); Futekiya (102-127)

I can’t believe I read this much omg lol


Very short and to the point for this one, but I had to quell my curiosity 😂 I hope to do this same thing again, but I think I’ll make a draft earlier and keep adding to it as the year goes to be proactive lol. If anything, the class will have a running reading list from yours truly 😂 Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time!!! 💕

🥳 Happy New Year 🥳

The Scum Villain’s Self-Saving System Vol.1 Review

Introducing, My Next Life As A Scum Villain: All Routes Lead to Binghe!!!


Before I get into it, all Mo Xiang Tong Xiu’s (MXTX) works are marked “RATED 17+” (aka MATURE) by Seven Seas Entertainment for violence, gore, language, and sex, since they are not censoring any content and aim to produce a faithful translation. Furthermore, contents of these works are not limited to what is listed above, so I suggest using Does The Dog Die and TV Tropes to look into additional content trigger warnings, if needed, prior to starting this series.


Ren Zha Fanpai Zijiu Xitong, The Scum Villain’s Self-Saving System (SVSSS), is the debut work of globally renowned author MXTX, who is often referred to as the best-known in danmei. They are also the mind behind the works of Mo Dao Zu Shi and Tain Guan Ci Fu.

As I mentioned in my previous post, due to my slow as snails reading pace, I’m taking the crawl-walk-run approach to reading MXTX’s works, starting with SVSSS.

On my never ending journey of trying to figure out how to wrangle my braincell’s screams, I’ve broken this review into sections: The Story, Characters, and Memorable Moments.

⚠️Incoming Spoilers; For more info on SVSSS and where to buy, click here⚠️


The Story

Meet Luo Binghe, the half-demon with humble and tortured beginnings to become unrivaled in strength and beauty. With his 300+ sister wives and rule over both the human and demonic realms, he is truly the most powerful protagonist—in a trashy web novel series!

At least, that’s what “Peerless Cucumber,” aka Shen Yuan, believes as he finishes (legally) binge-reading Proud Immortal Demon Way by Airplane Shooting Towards The Sky.

When a dangerous combo of rage, hate commenting, and a poor meal choice, leads to his death, Shen Yuan finds himself reborn into the very web novel he was just talking smack about.

Because if you can do better, come do it; if not, stfu. (You can you up; no you no BB) ❤️

In addition to surviving the plot of a story he already despises, Shen Yuan must do so while occupying the body of Shen Qingqiu. The top tier SCUM of the series, destined to be horrifically punished for his crimes against his ex-disciple, the protagonist.

Knowing how the cookie crumbles for this character, Neo Shen Qingqiu has only one course of action: get on Luo Binghe’s good side by any means necessary! `


Characters

All of the characters have a role to play in this story. If you’re new to reading Xianxia danmei, like me, I suggest going over the guides in the back before reading, particularly the glossary because I found it very helpful. Since it’s laid out for the class already, I won’t recite the entire cast, but this section is a perfect opportunity to boast about my faves thus far.

Starting with, Shen Yuan a.k.a. Shen Qingqiu

Y’all this man is HILARIOUS. The main reason why I found my self binge-watching the entire first season in one setting was because of Shen Qingqiu. His character is written in such a relatable way that his thoughts and reactions to the various situations he finds himself in make me go “M O O D”.

As the story progresses, I don’t think that Shen Qingqiu necessarily hates Proud Immortal Demon Way as much as he lets on. The long her spends in this world, the more he takes to the protagonist — But we’ll get to that later.

Speaking of protagonists, next up is Luo Binghe

There’s one part where Shen Qingqiu calls Luo Binghe’s mannerisms moe, and they absolutely are. It’s been a while that I read about a character and, much like Shen Qingqiu, everything they do just squeezes at my little heart. So, just as much as I’m saying “M O O D” for Shen Qingqiu, I’m saying “AWWWWW” for Luo Binghe.

Now, The System isn’t technically a character, but I couldn’t go without talking about it.

To me at least, the system has a mind of its own in the sense that it has so much character. If the system materialized into an actual character, I could see it. The system also cracks me up just as much as Shen Qingqiu. Their banter takes me out especially because he converses with the system as any other person and not just an AI.

For our last character we have the one, the only, ‘Great Master’ Airplane Shooting Towards The Sky, a.k.a. Shang Qinghua

The scene revealing Airplane Shooting Towards The Sky as a fellow transmigrator had me splitting my sides. Shang Qinghua isn’t as powerful as Shen Qingqiu and a traitor to the human realm for starters, but they are also on Luo Binghe’s future hit list for being key in revealing Luo Binghe’s demonic lineage.

Airplane Shooting Towards The Sky’s frustration with not even transmigrating into a main character of their OWN STORY, coupled with his cowardice, makes quite the comic character as he too attempts to survive this world.


Memorable Moments

Jumping right into Airplane Shooting Towards The Sky— Y’ALL I WAS SHOOK.

In the back of my mind I was thinking “what if someone else transmigrated into Proud Immortal Demon Way, like a super-stan to contrast Shen Yuan’s character.” Nowhere along the way did I think that the AUTHOR would be the one to fill in my theory.

When Shen Qingqiu called in Shang Qinghua, I thought he was just going to out him as a traitor and be like “ha– I got dirt on you,” but noooo. LMAO doesn’t even begin to describe my reaction to Shang Qinghua confirming that he was Airplane Shooting Towards The Sky, and Shen Qingqiu launching himself at them in turn.

The donghua’s first season didn’t get this far in the story, so now I’m eagerly awaiting the second season (which will be released in Q1) to see how Shang Qinghua will look on screen.

Speaking of the donghua, I’ve watched all of the MXTX adaptations works before the english translations were officially available, so I’m taking somewhat of a backwards approach to these series. Though I’ve heard that like many other adaptations, the donghua’s don’t include the entire original story. I haven’t read MDZS and TGCF yet, so I can only speak to SVSSS right now, but I will say that the streets weren’t wrong.

The first thing I noticed when I started reading was how scaled back the donghua was on the blood and violence in SVSSS because oh. my gosh. I’m not prudish to gore, so I don’t mind, and I don’t see the donghua toning it down visually as a set back either.

Since I’m no stranger to seeing changes from book to screen, it wasn’t much of a surprise that parts were missing or things went unsaid because there’s only so much you can do. However, it was nice to start reading SVSSS and get all those missing pieces which really help me as a reader connect with the story and its characters.

Luo Binghe’s character, in particular, happened to be one of those pieces for me.

I don’t think I really understood Luo Binghe until I read SVSSS. The way that MXTX describes him in the novel versus seeing the sparing moments of him on screen added a whole new layer to his character for me. On top of that, getting to actually read Luo Binghe’s thoughts and reactions to some of Shen Qingqiu’s behavior was great because most of it was completely lost on me when watching the donghua.

Luo Binghe’s fondness and devotion towards Shen Qingqiu only grows stronger after Shen Qingqiu took the hit for him against Elder Sky Hammer. The story doesn’t go into Luo Binghe as deep as Shen Qingqiu, but to me at least, he’s having more than a few “what is this feeling…???” moments.

As the end of the Immortal Alliance Conference arc drew closer, knowing that Shen Qingqiu would eventually have to push Luo Binghe into the Endless Abyss made my heart bleed. I mentioned this earlier, but I don’t think that Shen Yuan hates Proud Immortal Demon Way as much as he lets on, especially now that he’s LIVING in the story. The story does a great job of showing how torn Shen Qingqiu is both before and after his inevitable decision while being partial to the protagonist as a reader yet still being required to literally push the plot along,

Don’t even get me STARTED on Luo Binghe’s reaction…THE HEARTBREAK POINTS…

The final betrayal of Shen Qingqiu is the straw that breaks Luo Binghe’s back, on top of all the other torturous events he’d experienced, in the original plot of Proud Immortal Demon Way. However, I’m hoping that this new plot has been tinkered with enough to change Shen Qingqiu’s fate.

After I finished , I also remembered the necklace of Luo Binghe’s mother and how Shen Qingqiu should still have it at this point. So maybe… just maybe… there’s hope for our scum villain just yet.

Overall, I really enjoyed this first volume of The Scum Villain’s Self-Saving System. Also, I gave myself a little pat on the back for finishing my first book in a longgggg time. I hope to see the adventures of the Qingqiu and Qinghua duo continue, and anxious to see the turn of events following Luo Binghe’s demonic rise.

Thank you for reading my ramblings and joining me on my MXTX journey!!! Mo Dao Zu Shi: Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation is the next up on the chopping block and I can’t wait to read it this weekend!!! Thanks again and I’ll see you next time!!!💕

SVSSS Links: Watch and/or Read

To Make A Long Story Short
Shen Yuan hate-reads an entire web novel, talks sh*t about it, dies, and transmigrates into said web novel… As the villain…

🎭 Cast Favs 🎭
SQQ, LBH, SQH, & Thee System

Ratings
Funnies: 😂😂😂😂😂 // LBH MOE: 💞💘💞💘💞// Heartbreak Points: 💔💔💔💔

My MXTX Journey: The Starting Line

As the class knows, my love for BL transcends language, so Danmei is no exception. The long-awaited Mo Xiang Tong Xiu novels have FINALLY received official English translations, and I’m ready to start my journey!!!

Let’s be real here for a second, BL anime isn’t just floating around, so ya girl has to scrimp and scrape for meals where she can. When I first came across the works adapted from Mo Zian Tong Xiu novels were gifts sent from the heavens and my Danmei investigation began.

Thanks to blessing that is the the official Tencent & BiliBili YouTube channels I’ve become VERY familiar with the donghua adaptations for Mo Dao Zu Shi, Tian Guan Ci Fu (also on Funimation), and Ren Zha Fanpai Zijiu Xitong.

A close friend of mine always ranted and raved about the original novels for MDZS and TGCF, telling me they were 100% must reads. Funnily enough, when I told her “I’ll read it when it gets an official translation” was around the same time Seven Seas Entertainment announced their new Danmei imprint and the whole slew of MXTX works… funny how life works, huh?

I won’t lie, seeing the thickness of the books in person was kind of daunting. Due to my painfully slow reading pace, outside of Manga, I don’t read Light Novels, Web Novels… or any novel if I’m being honest.

I decided to go for a crawl-walk-run approach by starting with the shortest of the three, which also happens to be MXTX debut work, Scum Villain’s Self-Saving System (SVSSS).

Mo Xiang Tong Xiu Seven Seas Danmei

Despite the title of this post, I’ve technically already crossed the starting line in my MXTX journey, by finishing volume one of SVSSS this weekend 😂 Knowing that my braincell needed a place to share my screams thoughts on the series I thought, why not start a blog series?!

With that said, I’m excited for what’s to come and to share with the class on my MXTX journey!!! Thanks for reading and see you next time!!! 💕

Manga I’m Thankful For (2021)

It’s hard to think of topics to write about sometimes when a new month rolls around, but I think November is the perfect time to make a short post about the manga I’m thankful for. The end of this year is really sneaking up on us and I’m proud of myself for being (somewhat) consistent with monthly postings, so let’s keep this ball rolling class.

Starting off with Yuhki Kamatani Sensei’s Shimanami Tasogare: Our Dreams at Dusk

Our Dreams at Dusk: Shimanami Tasogare | Seven Seas Entertainment
Yuhki Kamatani, Seven Seas Entertainment

Tasuku meets the mysterious Someone, who introduces him to a group of people going through problems not so different from his own.

Blue Flag vs. Our Dreams at Dusk: A look at LGBTQ+ representation and its  audience - Anime Feminist
Yuhki Kamatani, Seven Seas Entertainment

I talk about this series any chance that I get because I love it so much. I’m so thankful for this series because it came at a time that I needed it most and I still come back to it every year.


Next is Goodbye, My Rose Garden by Dr. Pepperco Sensei…

Goodbye, My Rose Garden | Seven Seas Entertainment
Dr. Pepperco, Seven Seas Entertainment

Set in the early twentieth century, Hanako ventures to England to become a novelist but takes a detour by becoming the personal maid of a noblewoman, Alice, who makes an unusual request: to end her life.

Dr. Pepperco, Seven Seas Entertainment

All the GL that I had been reading up to finding this series were all set in some kind of school, so Goodbye, My Rose Garden broke the mold for me. I gravitate towards stories that feature older characters, so finally coming across a GL that follows an adult couple was so lovely to see. Since then, I’ve been finding more and more GL that steps away from the schooldays and I’m thankful for the increased amount of licenses for stories like these.


Last but definitely not least is Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku by Fujita Sensei…

On her first day, Narumi runs into her old childhood friend, Hirotaka, at the office who almost outs her as fellow otaku. In fear of her past experiences of being outed as an otaku, she devises a plan to make sure he never speaks up, but Hirotaka is quick with his counter-proposal: Why doesn’t she just date him instead?

Fujita's Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku Gets New Anime Episode | Manga  Thrill
Wotakoi, Fujita, Kodansha Comics

Even though I watched the anime first, there hasn’t been a second season and that is precisely why I’m thankful for the manga’s English print release. I was taking my first steps into “adulthood” as a college student around the time this was released, and it helped me realize that it’s 1000000% okay to keep enjoying your the hobbies.

Due to a mountains of extracurriculars and the program I was in during high school, I fell off watching anime and reading manga for a while. So, coming into college I had a lot more free time to do the things I actually enjoyed again. I wasn’t in online spaces for anime/manga and felt a bit out of place at first with even telling people, so seeing Narumi’s character made hit pause and me go: “omg that’s me… Bougie… and a Fujoshi…”

Wotakoi : Love is Hard for Otaku Volume 1 – Fujita, Kodansha Comics

But here we are three years later, and would you look at me now 😂😂😂

My whole online persona basically stems from this one series, and it gave me the courage to even start Bougie Fujoshi. Now that I think about it, I’m still very much like Narumi… but the point is that I let myself enjoy things which is a GIGANTIC improvement in my personal opinion, and I am thankful.


Well, that’s my short little spiel for this month’s post. I hope you enjoyed and find the time to sit down with a manga that you’re thankful for! Thanks again for reading my rants and ramblings, as well as your kindness and support as always!!! See you next time ☺️💕

The New Wave: Manhwa English Prints

I’ve been noticing that recently there is a new wave of manhwa being printed in English, so I just wanted to rant a rave a bit. But is that really different from any of my other posts?

When Yen Press came out with the Solo Leveling announcement I knew that it would only be the beginning. However, what people might not know is that this isn’t the first Manhwa that Yen Press has under their belt.

Last Christmas, I had my sister go through rightstufanime and buy me some manga to surprise me with. One of these titles was Time and Again by JiUn Yun-nim. It wasn’t until I looked up the title that I found out that it was originally written in Korean. It’s been a while between the print of Time and Again and Solo Leveling, and on top of that Solo Leveling is in full color.

So, my theory is that with the growing popularity of official sources to read manhwa digitally on sites like Lezhin, Tapas, etc. I think that companies are beginning to notice how much people will pour into the series that they love so much.

Lezhin has opened their amazon shop making it a bit easier for people to acquire merchandise for a lot of their top series. You can now get photo cards, original Korean prints, posters, and more but be prepared to pay a pretty penny. I’m not big on buying / having merchandise because I just don’t find as much joy in collecting as I do books.

Speaking to titles on Lezhin, there are a lot that have already received prints not only in Korean but in other languages as well. After doing some digging I began to see that there was even more titles that have prints and don’t only exist in this digital space that I read them on.

So, I’m staring at these companies like…. y’all don’t want to secure this bag???

And yes, I know there’s more to it than just translating but also acquiring rights to sell and the other mechanics of bringing a series to the western side of publishing. The fan in me is still going to go down kicking and screaming regardless if she listens to reason or not.

Now, what’s gotten me really excited recently is the announcement of English prints for none other than BJ Alex by Mingwa-nim.

I may not be the most seasoned Fujoshi out there, but I’ve been around long enough to know that there are A LOT of great stories out there. However, I will not discount the fact that BJ Alex is sometimes the first stepping stone for a lot of people’s beginnings of reading BL that I’ve seen so far.

To me, BJ Alex essentially the manhwa equivalent to Go For It Nakamura! and Classmates… Where did I lie…

That being said, I think that the success in the English print of BJ Alex could be the starting point for a lot of other BL manhwa English prints.

Could you imagine English prints of King’s Maker, Sora & Haena (yes, ik it’s a GL lol), Love is an Illusion?!?! When I saw A1-nim say on their instagram that there’s an English print of On or Off in the work I was BEYOONNNNDDDD.

So what other manhwa could be in the works??

Coming back to Yen Press, I think they’re dipping their toes back in the water by giving it a try with Solo Leveling and The Abandoned Empress, so maybe there’s hope for them securing a BL Bag.

Only time will tell, but I’m hopeful for this new wave and ready to get my surf on 🥳🥳


Thanks again for reading my rants and ramblings as always!!! See you next time ☺️💕

Let’s Get Digital: Manhwa Edition

Trying to figure out what to write this month as I was scrolling through Tapas, and I thought to myself, “You know what? We should talk about manhwa more!!!” So, this month’s post will give me a chance to scream about my recent manhwa reads.

⚠️WARNINGS: The titles mentioned in this post are rated R/M for Mature which means you must be 18+ to read and/or purchase. Some comics contain scenes that some readers may find uncomfortable, so please look into trigger warnings before starting any of these series. ⚠️

Opium – Aji, Junghyun (Read on Tapas)

In 1946 Choseon, Korea, Dr. Maria Arden returns home from being a medical advisor to the U.S. Army. She soon encounters a mysterious woman shunned by society, Dr. Kyeongju Lee. Innocent flirtations lead into a heated love affair, as an illegal trade in opium threatens the stability of Choseon. These two outsiders are helplessly pulled towards one other, but was it even real to begin with. 

I was drawn to this title because of the art style. I hadn’t seen a GL manhwa this intricately drawn before, and in some ways the color scheme reminds me of Painter of The Night. I’ve mentioned on my YouTube channel before how I struggle finding GL stories that are outside of the grade school setting, but manhwa like these has THANKFULLY helped me find so much more! As I got deeper into the story ya girl was hooked.

Under The Greenlight – JAXX (Read on Tapas)

Matthew’s has never in his life seen a man more beautiful than Jin, who also happens to be a high-ranking member of the violent crime world. However, the only thing our sculpture prodigy student can see is Jin’s beauty—not the darkness. In order for Matthew to acquire his dream muse, he will pay the price, whether it be with his body… or maybe something much more priceless.

I loooooove me some JAXX-nim, alright Class. The first title I read from them was Walk on Water. It used to be available to read on Tappytoon, but now it’s only saved in the libraries for those who’ve bought the chapters when it was available. Fortunately, I had caught up in time, but now I can’t recommend it since it hasn’t been put up officially anywhere else *cries harder*. But NOW, I’m so happy that I have another JAXX-nim title that I can share!!!

Love So Pure – PlanB (Read on Tapas)

Jihyun lays eyes on Yohan’s handsome face for the first time and is immediately gobsmacked, so here are his options: A. Have a nosebleed, B. Blurt out “I have a boner,” C. Run away, D. All of the above… Yes, the correct answer is D. Lonely nights are hard to come by when you’re a pretty, quick-wit bartender, and this life suits Jihyun just fine… That is, until he meets Yohan. Despite his big, scary-looking exterior he actually has the sweetest, pure-hearted soul. Can Yohan’s simple love help Jihyun heal from the traumas of his past?

Shout out to FujoshiTings for putting me on to this title because I finished the first season in under 48 hours and now I’m invested. Luckily, my binge came just in time because it recently came back for a second season! What’s really gotten me excited for this second season is that to start it’s focusing on Yohan’s brother, Yosef, and classmate, Daeshik. When I was reading the first season, soon as they had their first interaction I was like hmmm… What are we building in here? I am a side couple shipper for just about everything I read and watch, so I’m looking forward to seeing how many more materials I can collect to build my ship in this second season.

Blind Play – Like, YD (Read on Lezhin)

Ah-in’s always been a loser in this game known as life. In spite of the scars left by his childhood, he’s determined to get rich quick. In his job as a masseur, Ah-in’s unique selling point is that he pretends to be blind, offering his wealthy, powerful clients complete confidentiality. His latest client is a mystery novelist with a spotless reputation known as Seo Ilmo. When Ah-in goes to Mr. Seo’s apartment for his appointment, he presses start on a fatal game of cat and mouse. However, with Mr. Seo’s dangerous compulsion, this is a game Ah-in cannot afford to lose.

SHOOK. SHOOKETH. SHOOKINGTON. I was NOT ready for this story AT ALL. I’ve always had this wonder about crime/thriller authors that write such convincing and bone-chilling stories. How do they think this way? And Seo is a prime example of what I hope is NOT the case. Being on it’s second season, there is never a dull moment. Every chapter leaves me going Ah-in, Chile, WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?!?!?

Best Served Cold – Kim Jong Geon (Read on Lezhin)

Minjoo may keep herself busy with social media, but that doesn’t change the fact that she’s practically friendless with a distant husband. Everything changes when she runs into her new neighbor, Seo Jia. Minjoo’s never met anyone like Jia before, and helplessly falls for their charms. Little does Minjoo know that their meeting wasn’t exactly by fate; in fact, this is Jia’s first step towards her revenge. 

I need a bigger fan when I read this one because despite the title it sure does crank up the heat. It’s still on the first season, and where I’m at now we’re starting to get more into why Jia is seeking revenge in the first place. Being a reader that knows all sides of the story, Minjoo sweetheart you’ve got a big storm comin’.

King’s Maker: Triple Crown – Haga, Kang Jiyoung (Read on Tappytoon)

The King’s Maker saga continues in this official second part of the hit series. If you have not read the first part this following section will be a spoiler, so proceed with caution!!!

With the defeat of his father, Wolfgang has achieved all that he’s aimed for — Shin’s love, the throne, and vengeance over the kingdom’s tyrannical ruler. Despite Wolfgang’s never ending showers of affection, Shin feels as though their rocky relationship may just be another war trophy to the new King. As uncertainty and rivalry grows in the royal courts, will these two be able to keep a grasp on both the throne and on each other at the same time?

Last, but most certainly not least, King’s Maker continues to have me on my knees begging for more. These two creators constantly feed me with this lovely slow burn that turned into a RAGING INFERNO, and I love to see it. I read the first part of King’s Maker what feel’s like ages ago and absolutely fell in love with the entire cast of characters and overall story. So, when it came back and everyone is on their baddie behavior, AS THEY DESERVE, I was beyond excited. The story is so well told and thinking about Wolfgang and Shin’s journey, up to where we are now, turns me into absolute mush as I gush over this story.


!!! SUPPORT THE CREATORS !!!

Here are links to the official sites where you can read these titles in English!

Opium | Under the Greenlight | Love So Pure
Blind Play | Best Served Cold | King’s Maker: Triple Crown


So, now you know why my pockets are empty on a weekly basis. I hope you enjoyed yet another post filled with my ramblings 😂 Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time!!!💕

A True Love Triangle: Blue Flag Review

Who would you choose? Your lover or your friend?

Blue Flag – KAITO

KAITO Sensei’s school life romance, Blue Flag, is a total of 54 chapters that ran in Shonen Jump from February 2017 to April 2020 compiled into 8 volumes. It didn’t take long for Viz Media to hop on an English release of the series made available both digitally on the Shonen Jump app as well as print copies.

To escape my spoilers later on, before you pull up another tab and start reading on Shonen Jump, here’s a taste for those who don’t know about Blue Flag.

Apart from his small group of friends, Taichi Ichinose keeps to himself. In his final year of High School he finds himself sharing a class with Futaba Kuze and Toma Mita.

Futaba is your textbook definition of the small and meek, but is equal parts adorable. Taichi is very critical of Futaba and his friends actually point out that he is always on her case. He comes to realize that it’s because he sees Futaba as a reflection of himself in more ways than one.

On the other hand, Toma is the school’s it boy: The looks, the athletics, the personality, he’s got it all! As Toma’s popularity grew over the years following elementary school, so did Taichi’s self-consciousness as they drifted apart.

Chapter 1

Now that all three of them are in the same class, Futaba works up the courage to ask Taichi for help with confessing her feelings to Toma. At first, Taichi begrudgingly agrees to be Futaba’s aid, but as he gets to know her along the way he begins to develop feelings.

From an intro like that I wouldn’t be surprised if you’d think this story is just another stereotypical love triangle BUT-

What a lot of people forget about the construction of a triangle is that each point is connected.

Taichi’s developing feelings are NOT the twist; The true twist is the triangle itself.

Before I flip to the answers in the back of the book, this will be the spoilers check point moving forward.

If this is your cue to navigate away, thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time!


Now class… let us continue-

In my years, “Love Triangle” has been used when the main character has to choose between two love interests. But this only leaves you with two pairings.

Bringing us back to the math I mentioned before, a triangle is connected at each of it’s three points.

Therefore, a True Love Triangle should have THREE pairings: Futaba x Taichi, Futaba x Toma…

Chapter 1

Are you following my lead here class?

Futaba’s calm and collected best friend, Masumi Itachi, figured out the answer long before the rest of the class did. At the end of the first volume, she confronts Toma and asks if the person he’s really in love with is Taichi.

Chapter 5

Now this isn’t pulled out of thin air, Masumi knows this answer because she’s in the same boat. But with Futaba.

Chapter 5

Sitting there with my heart in my hands I asked myself… So, is this a triangle with a line sticking out? 😂

I was already hooked on the story from the first three free chapters given on the Shonen Jump app, so I already knew I’d see it through, but the way Sensei ended that first volume really was the line and sinker.

Chapter 10

Now, I will not insult anyone’s intelligence by giving a play-by-play of the entire story, because if you’ve gotten this far you could probably read it yourself or maybe you already have.

Although there are so many things I could say about Blue Flag, I’m going to give this post more structure than my braincell has for the sake of those reading.

For this review, I’ll wrangle my overall thoughts on the art, characters, and story.


Art

Y’all know I’m a sucker for anything with pretty art, and Blue Flag was no exception.

Chapter 27

KAITO Sensei’s art style is closer to realism more often than not throughout the series. However, they still play on the comedic moments with an adorable chibi style from time to time.

Chapter 28

Two elements of their art style that stood out the most to me were the characters’ eyes and hands.

Chapter 46

If you’re looking for an example of the eyes being the windows to the soul, this is a great match. There is so much emotion packed into the designs that really hit home for a lot of scenes.

The delicacy of the way the hands were drawn also played on that realism factor I mentioned before. I blow a chef kiss every time I see them.

For the aesthetic manga shelf people out there, these covers are absolutely stunning and would be a lovely series to bring home.


Characters

There’s more than meets the eye with most if not all of the characters in this story.

The story made me check myself a couple times when characters outside of the main four were introduced, more specifically being Mami’s character.

Chapter 29

Initially, I thought that she was a character brought in as Futaba’s rival with her crush for Toma, but there was so much more to her character. Moving forward, that happened again with other characters as they were brought into the conversation more.

I like that as a reader each character’s perspective on the situations at hand made me take a moment to sit back and think. Rather than having this hive-mind mentality, a lot of conversations between them showed the reader how individualized their perceptions were.


Story

I was NOT ready for the emotional roller coaster that was Blue Flag.

Blue Flag Volume 8

In my opinion, KAITO Sensei did an excellent job exploring the topics of love and relationships through this story in a society where the two are not as black and white as it’s made out to be.

As a reader, you get to see both sides of a conversation play out because you’re not the one participating in it.

Chapter 32

Touching back on the previous section, each character has their own conceptions of what love and relationships are to them and how they choose to express it.

There were a few chapters when the back and forth was long winded, but I think it was necessary for what they were discussing. Being a manga and not a conversation happening directly in front of me, I’m glad that KAITO Sensei didn’t sugarcoat either of the characters or cut conversations short. In this fictional world, we’re able to see conversations play out from an objective standpoint that we otherwise might not in our everyday lives.

One of my favorite chapters was experiencing Toma’s memories from childhood to present through his eyes at the end of volume seven. You don’t get to hear his dialogue aside from his thoughts as he’s reminiscing, but the responses and expressions of the character’s he’s interacting with speaks volumes. Personally, this is the first time I’ve read this kind of point-of-view story telling in manga and I think that KAITO Sensei executed it wonderfully.

Final Chapter

Despite the ten-foot pole I like to keep between me and online discourse, the topic of Blue Flag‘s ending is one that I’ve seen brought up a lot.

I didn’t expect for Futaba and Taichi’s romantic relationship to be forever, but I did think their friendship would definitely remain.

Chapter 53

Futaba being someone who Taichi sees as a reflection, that change he saw in her seemed like a change he wanted to see in himself too. Before the reveal, they also touched on having differing opinions on love and relationships. Neither of which are bad to me, so seeing that they chose to build their own happiness separately seemed very fitting for the views of their characters developed throughout.

While reading this story I was honestly prepping my heart with the possibility that Taichi wouldn’t end up with anyone and find that love and self-confidence in himself.

Final Chapter

The final chapter uses the same approach as chapter 48, and I didn’t expect any of the parings that were presented to us by the end. Honestly, It didn’t click for me until a little further into the chapter that it wasn’t Taichi’s point of view that we were seeing.

There’s a note at the end of the series from KAITO Sensei that says one of Blue Flag‘s themes is “characters struggling with their values” and Taichi’s choices are essentially the focal point of it all. The last choice of Taichi’s we are presented with in the end is intended to be thrown out at us as a question.

Final Chapter

“life is a never ending series of choices”

This is something that, looking back, comes up more than once in this story. Whether characters do or don’t, change or remain, love or like: they’re all choices.

As readers, we don’t get to see the choices each character made that led them to the future we’re shown through Toma’s eyes in the final chapter. And while I would’ve loved to see the developments that lead us there, I don’t think not seeing them was a bad choice on KAITO Sensei’s end.

I’ve seen some call the ending rushed, but when I sat and thought about the context of the story while making this post, it didn’t feel that way to me.

Chapter 23

The story takes us over 7 years into the future, and rather than just giving two powerpoint slides of where everyone ends up, or just not telling us at all with a “such is life” attitude; KAITO Sensei gives us a glimpse of life through Toma’s eyes.

Through this final chapter we see not only Toma’s happiness, but every character’s happiness.

The overarching message I got from Blue Flag‘s ending and overall story was this:

In a life made up of choices, regardless of how positive or negative others perceive them, all anyone can do is hope that the choices they make are the ones that will lead them towards their own idea happiness.

Final Chapter

The more I think about the ending contextualized with the message that I received while reading this story, the more beautiful it becomes in my eyes.


A thought provoking story composed of a well-rounded cast and topped off with a beautiful art style. I enjoyed my reading experience with KAITO Sensei’s Blue Flag.

Now, I have yet another series scribbled on to my long list of manga that I would love to see animated.

Thank you so much for reading if you made it this far through my ramblings! This post will hopefully be a proactive first step towards a video review of Blue Flag on my YouTube channel! Thanks again and see you next time!

P.S. There’s a bonus story of the future the print in Toma’s POV again with Taichi that I’ll be holding onto for the next forever


Update: I made the video!!!

The first 3 chapters of the official English translation for KAITO Sensei’s Blue Flag are available for FREE (& the entire series with the subscription) on the Shonen Jump app/site here

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