The Year that was 2017

anime, yaoi

As the hours tick by, creeping closer to the end of the year that was 2017, I would like to make this post as a moment to look back on the year that was 2017 and what a year it has been. One of my biggest highlights blogging wise for me came near the end of the year when I finally decided and was able to join the OWLS blogging group. I had read too many to name amazing blog posts from this group throughout the year and found myself wanting to take part. In doing so I have met some of the most amazing anibloggers and I want to send out a big thank you to all of you for accepting me into the group!

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2017 was an awesome year for anime for me and even though I did not get a chance to review all the awesome anime from this year that I wanted to, the ones I did manage to review I loved how they turned out. It is because of that, that I have ended up with two favorites this year out of my posts.

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The first is my review of Hitorijime My Hero . This was one of the anime I had the most fun watching this year and as soon as I finished watching the final episode I was already planning out and began typing up my review of it. Though I have seen some hate from the fujoshi community for it not be an accurate adaptation of the source material I still loved this series. I also stand by what I said in the review about this being an awesome gateway anime for boys love newbies.

Now my second favorite post this year, was one that I put a lot of research into and that research was into some very disturbing subjects, that being child sexual abuse and mental issues that can arise from that kind of trauma. I am of course talking about my analysis of Boku no Pico. Not one of my most popular posts I know, but it was something I had been wanting to write about for a long time. I wanted to go beyond the anime community meme that it had become and take a serious look at the OVA series. The end result was a post that I was so proud of.

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As for my favorite anime of the year, well that is a really tough choice. I loved season 2 of both My Hero Academia and Attack on Titan as well as the third season of Food Wars. The new season of Laughing Salesman titled Laughing Salesman New was one anime I absolutely adored and that theme song? I still hum it to myself. But found myself disappointed there were not many people talking or writing about and I cannot forget Quan Zhi Gao Shou / The King’s Avatar , this was the E-sports anime I had been waiting for and I loved every minute of this show, plus it was the first Chinese anime I had ever watched. The Ancient Magus Bride still has me absolutely absorbed in its world, but if I had to choose one stand out anime for me this year it would be the series that I honestly was not expecting to enjoy and be enthralled with as much as I was.

Recovery of an MMO Junkie was not what I was expecting it to be. Looking back I don’t know what I was expecting from it, except maybe that it would hold my attention for a couple episodes and then I would grow bored and move on. I was kind of worried this would turn into another trapped in the gaming world type stories except maybe the main character was just an addicted gamer so they were not physically in the world but still addicted to the game kind of, I hope that makes sense. What I got was a series that looked at why people become obsessed with these types of games as well as a very sweet little touch of romance, I mean look at Morioka and Sakurai’s interactions together it is way beyond adorable. In fact they are my favorite couple of the year!

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The year outside of anime, was a scary one for me. I’m not sure if I have mentioned this before but I live in Australia and my partner lives in England, in the London area and you probably already know where this is going. 22nd of March, the Westminster terror attack. 22nd of May Manchester Arena bombing at an Ariana Grande concert. 3rd of June, London Bridge and Borough Market attack. June 19, van hits pedestrians outside of a Mosque. September 15 Blast on London Underground train. It got to the point this year that my heart sank every time I heard London mentioned on the news. So many times I wished I had the money to fly to London and be by his side or have the money to bring him here to Australia just to know he is safe. The world grew a lot scarier and darker this year and I’m not even going to touch what as been going on between President Trump and North Korea.

I also saw the most disappointing movie I was anticipating this year and I knew when the end credits rolled that this would be the worse movie of the year for me. It was a muddled train wreck that seem to shit on the old school fans of the franchise and I am not talking about Ghost in the Shell. Transformers The Last Knight was a complete fucking train wreck and this is coming from a transformers fan who had been enjoying the live action movies as there own stand alone fun I can even pin point the moment I realized this movie was going to be shit. A cybertronian scrap dealer arrives where the Autobots were living I think and offered to sell them Starscream’s head. This felt like a big fuck you to the fans like me that wanted to see him back. The movie just went downhill from their with barely a flowing plot, and calling a plot feels too much and they gave Hotrod a french accent? Really? The only good thing in the movie was Cogman. I’m done with the live action Transformers movies. I’m sticking to the comics from now on.

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Ghost in the Shell for a long time this year was in the running for my favorite movie of the year. Yep I said it. I loved the live action Ghost in the Shell movie. I enjoyed the different take on the franchise and felt that though it was a different story being told it still held true to the themes of the original series, something I know a lot of other people don’t agree with. I first watched the movie at home with my mum who also loves a good scifi story. I went in as a fan of the franchise and she went in not knowing anything about the series and we both loved it. If I had written this post a week ago, Ghost in the Shell would have been my favorite movie of the year. Last weekend changed that for me however as me and my mum once again sat down and watched a movie we had both been wanting to see since we saw the trailer for it months ago. We sat down and watched Victoria and Abdul.

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I’m not going to go too much into the plot of this one because this is a movie you want to go in kind of blind, but if you enjoy stories of friendship that go beyond class you need to watch this movie. Judi Dench is absolutely brilliant as Queen Victoria and brings some of the best humor in this movie. You will laugh, you will cry and you will get angry as well and you will leave this movie deep in thought.

I want to end this rather long post on a happier note. My favorite song to listen to this year was not released this year. It was released all the way back in 1999 and it is ‘Bring it All Back’ by S Club 7. The positive lyrics and just plain fun of it has helped me smile throughout this year. It has been a rollercoaster of a year but like every year before it I feel like I have learned a lot about the world, about anime and yaoi and about myself. This was my 2017 and I am looking forward to a good year next year in 2018.

Lily and the Rose – Yaoi Graphic Novel Review

yaoi

1938938Lily and the Rose by author and artist duo Dany & Dany is one of my favorite western yaoi titles, but what is it about this story that had me hooked from the first page to the last?

A gothic tale of forbidden love set during the time of the French Revolution, it is a tale of love, lust, betrayal, revenge and a corrupt church just the perfect kind of yaoi story for the Christmas season right?

Released all the way back in 2007 by western yaoi publishing company Yaoi Press, this title was one of the first western yaoi titles I read and I instantly fell in love with the art style of this graphic novel. The artist duo behind Dany&Dany (Daniela Orrù and Daniela Serri) are a pair of Italian artists who came onto the scene around 2002 and have works published in English, Italian and German. When I first discovered Yaoi Press I was really excited to see Yaoi being made in the west and for an introduction to western yaoi many of the works by Dany&Dany are a good place to start and I always find myself recommending out of all their works Lily and the Rose most often. The characters pull you into their world and you get invested in their woes and troubles.

9781933664255-usLily and the Rose explores themes of church and homosexuality and though it does not go too deep into those themes it is a fascinating taboo to explore. If themes like these make you uncomfortable I would recommend IDOL by them as a starting point. IDOL tells the story of an artist who becomes obsessed with a hustler that he wishes to paint. There is nothing really that bad I can say about the titles by Dany&Dany except one thing. Many of their male characters do seem to suffer from same face syndrome. Nearly every one of their yaoi titles has the two leads as a hot dark haired man and a blonde. I have no problem with this personally but it would have been nice to see a bit more variety with their character designs and this becomes very obvious if you get a chance to pick up their artbook Dark Dreams.

Overall I recommend all the titles by Dany&Dany and I also recommend to my fellow yaoi fans to look outside of Japan sometimes for your yaoi fix. Another western yaoi story I have reviewed is the webcomic The Young Protectors – Engaging the Enemy by Alex Woolfson. A must-read for any yaoi lover out there who also has a love for superheroes.

 

Antique Bakery – Anime Review

anime, fujoshi

61dfpxcongl-_sy445_After that OWLS post earlier this week it should have been obvious what this weeks review would be and why would it not be Antique Bakery? After all, even though I had to re-watch only one episode for that post, I ended up pulling out the full DVD box set from my anime collection and ended up marathoning the series over three nights. It had been years since I had sat down and watched this series in all honesty and I loved it just as much as I use to love these men and their story drew me in once again.

Premiering in 2008 and based on the manga by the same name by Fumi Yoshinaga the author herself has summed up  her work in interviews with the following quote; ‘I want my readers to understand the happiness that people can get from trying hard, going through the process and getting frustrated.’ and that one statement is what can be found in the heart of the story that is Antique Bakery.

The anime tells the tale of the four handsome men that work within the bakery named Antique. The wannabe ladies man owner Keiichirou Tachibana, the genius pastry chef Yuusuke Ono and his new sweet-toothed apprentice Eiji Kanda and the bumbling klutz of a waiter Chikage Kobayakawa. The bakery becomes a sanctuary from the outside world to each of the men within. They find a place to belong, a place to feel safe and a place to feel useful and this is where the biggest appeal of this series comes from for me.

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It is most definitely a character driven story and it is hard not to get attached to one or all of the men within, though their personal hangups are each there own there is something very relatable with them coming to terms with themselves and their pasts that draws you in. When they succeed you cheer them on which makes for a very fun watch. Even when the series delves into darker themes later on it does not lose it’s comfy and warm feeling.

The one downside for the series is sadly the visuals and animation. The series does use a lot of CG and it does not blend very well with the animation and can at times pull you out of a scene when it cuts to a scene that uses heavy CG. That being said I have to say this, the OP for this series is my all time favorite OP visually.

The use of a miniature version of the bakery, that looks like pieces from a dollhouse and then to use cardboard cutouts of the characters throughout in different poses is really quite amazing. The opening is a perfect introduction to each of the characters showing off their personalities with each pose and interaction with each other and the customers within. It’s like a warm welcome every time you sit down to watch an episode and is an OP I never skip. Another intriguing thing about the opening is that the song used in the OP and ED for the series is actually the same song just different versions. Where are the version used for the OP is very warm and welcoming the version used for the ending is very wistful and nostalgic.

Antique Bakery is also a good gateway anime to someone interested in the boys love genre, as there are some very sweet elements from the genre in the series but they are not the main focus of the series. This series is a definite must watch for any fujoshi but also a must watch for those who like to enjoy anime that have a slower pace and just want to sit down and relax with a series that will leave you with a good feeling, just the kind of thing you might want to watch at this time of the year!

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It’s Time for Some New Yaoi Christmas Carols!

fujoshi, yaoi

It is becoming a tradition it seems to get some lovely new yaoi Christmas carols each year and this year is no exception in fact we have two new ones to share within the yaoi community!

Our first new song this year is I’m Dreaming of a Tight Christmas. A parody of the popular Christmas carol I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas, the song is filled with innuendos of an uke so tight that it is the thing of a seme’s dream. This song gave me a very nice chuckle the first time I heard it I must confess.

The second one this year is It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Yaoi and oh my sweet yaoi gods I love this song! With lyrics filled with the trappings and tropes within the yaoi genre as well as a call back to some old popular ships and glitter this song had me laughing so hard it was quite amusing.

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Finding Warmth in the Greatest of Gifts|OWLS Warmth

anime, owls

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It’s the season of joy, thankfulness, and love. This month’s topic is “Warmth.” Whether it is spending time with family members during the holiday season or with that special someone during New Year’s, we will discuss moments in anime and pop culture media that convey a feeling of happiness in our hearts. During times of struggles, we look towards the things that matter to us as a source of strength, hope, and happiness. We hope you enjoy this round of posts and that you will have a wonderful holiday season!

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Here we go again it’s another OWLS Blog Tour post and I must say this month’s topic of warmth was so much easier to write for than last month’s topic and I think some of the other bloggers can agree with me on that. If this is you first time checking out an OWLS post welcome and if not welcome too! OWLS is a group of otaku bloggers who promote acceptance of all individuals no matter your race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, disability or gender. If you are following along with this months blog tour I hope you have already checked out Let’s Talk Anime‘s post earlier this week and at the end of this post I will let you know who is next in the tour!

As soon as I saw what the theme for this month would be, well I knew exactly what anime would be perfect for this theme. An anime I have wanted to talk about for ages on Yaoi Playground, Antique Bakery. A series that I think perfectly shows how one can find the warmth in life and a quick spoiler warning is needed for the character of Chikage as he is the focus of this post because he best represents the theme of this month!

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Chikage Kobayakawa is one of the sweetest most adorable characters I have ever seen in anime, and I must confess now this post will be a lot of me gushing over this amazing man. A childhood friend of Antique’s owner Keiichirou Tachibana and a man in debt to the Tachibana family who raised him after his mother, the family’s housekeeper passed away. He is a clumsy man and a little slow on the uptake so it takes him a while to sometimes understand what is going on around him. Because of these factors he has a hard time finding work and just ended up staying by Keiichirou’s side to look after him.  No matter how tough things seem to get for this man he just keeps moving forward and if he makes a mistake, well he apologizes profusely for his own stuff ups which in some characters can be annoying but with Chikage it comes across as endearing.

This positive attitude is something a lot of people can learn from and not just at this time of the year. Showing kindness to others without wanting anything in return seems to be something this world is lacking. Which is quite sad when you think about it. One of Chikage’s greatest moments of kindness is revealed in episode 8 of the series. A young girl by the name of Deko arrives at the bakery in absolute tears looking for ‘Chi-Chan’. Chikage immediately to the surprise to everyone except Keiichirou pulls the crying girl into his arms and comforts her. It is later revealed that the naive and clumsy Chiaki is this girls father! And that the girls mother is a famous author named Sakurako. The woman it seems approached Chikage at nearly the age of forty and asked him if he wuld father a child with her because she wanted to be a mother before it was too late. Chikage agreed just to bring her joy.

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Chikage gave Sakurako a gift that no one else could give her without a second thought. If a gift of something as precious as a child does not represent the warmth of the season then I don’t know what is.

I hope you enjoyed my post for this months owls. I am looking forward to reading more wonderful posts throughout this month and if you are following along with the blog tour next up we have Andrea who’s post will be about one of my favorite anime this season!

Till next time I am Mistress of Yaoi and I say love what you love and share the love this festive season!

 

Level C – Boys Love Classic Review

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It’s cliche, it’s adorable and it is an easy watch for those true yaoi feels. If you are looking for a short and sweet yaoi fix this festive season then Level C would be a good place to start. Released in 1995 and produced by Milky Animation Label (A production company that only releases hentai titles) and with animation by studio J.C. Staff Level C and is based on the manga by Futaba Aoi and Mitsuba Kurenai which are the pen names of Masaki Sano and Kyou Watanabe, the pen names are used when the duo are working on more adult content together and when you manga is adapted by the publishing company behind hentai like Bible Black, well it is definitely adult content.

The OVA tells the story of the unusual beginning of a love story between Mizuki Shinohara an up and coming teenage model and businessman Kazoumi Honjou who has just broken up with his recent in a long line of partners and is without a fixed address because he always lives with his lover. Kazoumi spots the beautiful Mizuki while the boy is walking home and strikes up a conversation which leads from one thing to another until the two of them end up at Mizuki’s apartment. If you are looking for a story more complicated than that you are not going to find that in this OVA. It has as much plot as it needs to get Mizuki and Kazoumi alone together, though there are hints of something in Kazoumi’s past.

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Now, this is a yaoi ova with a lot of yaoi in it and it’s not that it is bad but there is one thing I should warn any newcomer before they watch this anime. Yes, there are some very hot yaoi scenes but… due to censorship laws in Japan from when this anime was released the characters though cute… have the anatomy of a Ken doll and this could be a turn off for some viewers. Personally, for me, this makes the sex scenes borderline hilarious and it is saved by some very seductively enjoyable voice acting.

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Suck that invisible lollipop

If you can get past the invisible penis sex scenes and are looking for something fluffy and a little bit sexy to watch that is a cute yaoi story Level C might just be the OVA for you. If you want something uncensored and just as sweet I recommend perhaps looking into another more recent yaoi ova I reviewed that is uncensored. I am of course talking about Sensitive Pornograph.

 

Five Flaming Hotties – Mistress of Yaoi Edition

random musing

I want to give a big thank you to Steph of Two Happy Cats for nominating me for this tag, though it does have me slightly worried for you see, you will learn more about my weird tastes in my anime men and remember I warned you it will get weird near the end of this post.

The Rules

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  1. Mention the name of the blog you were tagged by, as well as the creators of this game Realweegiemidget Reviews and Thoughts All Sorts  to all blogs involved and including the picture above.
  2. List five of your greatest hotties from TV and/or film, i.e. crushes/objects of your affection, including musicians or sports stars too.
  3. Tell us how you were introduced to them and why you like them/what appeals.
  4. Add some appealing pictures.
  5. Tag seven bloggers for their Five Flaming Hotties.
  6. Post the rules.

Mistress of Yaoi’s Yummy Harem!

Well let’s start things off on the tamer side of things before things get…. weird I suppose might be the right word for it…

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Victor Nikiforov – Yuri on Ice!!!

Every single time Viktor was on screen, my fangirl heart would flutter there is a mysterious innocence to his character that just drew me in. He is a famous living legend but it does not seem that has gone to his head as he came across as very down to earth which is very appealing, there is no bigger turn off to me is someone who is up themselves though for the sake of a harem their will be some men who break that rule because this is my fantasy after all, also out of all the guys in the harem Viktor would be the one I go out with to have fun!

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Katze – Ai no Kusabi

Now Katze only has a very minor role within both anime adaptations of Ai no Kusabi but in the light novels he is one cunning and amazing character and is my favorite character in the whole franchise. Plus you see if Mistress was to have her very own harem, well I would want a loyal servant that would serve as a butler and there is no character I would want more for that role than Katze.

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Kotetsu T. Kaburagi – Tiger and Bunny

Kotetsu is the kind of guy that sticks by his morals, even if that is the hardest thing to do in a world when justice can come at the price of fame and fortune and is in my opinion very very easy on the eyes.

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Seto Kaiba – Yugioh

My first anime crush, he had to be on this list. He has power, he has money and he has a softer side that he only seems to show to his beloved little brother. Seto had to fight the world to get where he is in the world, it wasn’t handed to him on a silver platter and that is pretty damn awesome. Also this goes without saying but this is for the Seto in the original anime and not the one in Yugioh Abridged…

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Starscream – Transformers Prime

Yep… now this one is going to get a little weird but yes this is a serious choice. He has my favourite voice actor behind his voice that makes me melt. Some call him a coward I call him calculating and well I really really like those heels. This one is a very personal choice for me that delves into my connection with the yaoi side of the transformers fandom. Yes you read that right, the yaoi side of the transformers fandom. I am a fan of all iterations of this character but if I had to choose one on looks alone for a harem it would be this one.

I did say I have weird tastes, I mean Kuro-sensei almost made this list but all I would have been able to write for him was tentacles and he makes me laugh…. so let’s just leave him here as an honorable mention shall we…

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Now let’s tag some bloggers shall we…… hmm it seems a lot of bloggers I know have already done or already been tagged in this challenge.

In that case I nominate anyone who has not taken part in this challenge to give this a go to share some fun with your followers. After all your choices can not be any more strange than mine right? After all I guess I can now use myself as an example of love what you love no matter what others think!

 

 

 

 

 

My Brother’s Husband Getting Live Action Mini Series

lgbtq+

The timing of this announcement really could not be more perfect, why do I say this? Well within the next 48 hours we should have gay marriage legalized here in Australia!

The announcement of a live action adaptation of this ground breaking manga by Gengoroh Tagame is just beyond amazing. The manga itself tells the story of Yatchi a single father who has a surprise visit from Mike Flanagan, a canadian man who was the husband to his estranged twin brother, Ryoji who had recently passed away. It is a very sweet story with some very serious themes within it. From family acceptance to the ongoing homophobia still seen in Japan it is a must read for anyone who is a fan of LGBTQ+ media.

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The manga itself is something I have wanted to review for a long time here on Yaoi Playground. The only reason I have not is because this is one title I would very much like to own a copy of in my personal manga collection before reviewing it.

Angel’s Feather – Boys Love Classic Review

anime, yaoi

Back when I first entered the yaoi fandom, Angel’s Feather was a big deal in the yaoi community. The visual novel game CG’s were being shared everywhere and everyone was in love with the art style and the anime was pretty popular amongst yaoi fans.

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Going back and rewatching the anime series I found myself coming to one sad conclusion, however. Other than looking pretty when not in motion the anime adaptation is very boring and this seems to be a trend when it comes to some visual novel adaptations back then and even now if the Danganronpa anime is anything is to go by, it just seems a good anime adaptation of a visual novel is a rarity and not the norm. Unfortunately for me, I can’t compare the anime with the visual novel as getting a hold of the game is not as easy as Danganronpa.

Produced in 2006 by Venet a producer who’s only other anime is another yaoi OVA Fuyu no Semi which was a spin-off of Haru wo Daiteita, The anime attempts to tell the story of separated twin brothers, Shou and Kai. Both boys have a connection to the mysterious Binfield Kingdom which is ruled by a royal family that bares white wings. But instead of being some really cool fantasy story we have the brothers reunited at an all-boys school that I think is under the control of some bad black winged angels from the same kingdom. But the truth is the story gives so many explanations dumps that it can be hard to keep up over the two OVA episodes.

The biggest problem I have with this series is that much like Sex Pistols anime adaptation it tries to squeeze way too much story into it’s short runtime. Action scenes come out of nowhere throughout the two episodes with no real explanation as well as various characters having powers out of nowhere and big character revelations that hold no real weight because there is just so little build up.

This is one boys love classic that is worth giving a miss. It does not make me interested in the game and if anything is just a very dull watch.

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