Bran Doll

You know me. I’m no stranger to reviewing yaoi, AKA “Boys Love”. But not once has an actual yaoi fallen into my lap. My first review, Train*Train, only has a female transvestite, a bisexual, and a french guy. All Nippon Air Line, meanwhile, does have gay characters, but they have no actual love. They almost show the scenes, but a) They’re mostly with old men, and b) Everyone looks like an old man.

Basically, I don’t usually read actual yaoi. I’ve been fortunate, I suppose.

“Bran Doll” is, in fact, NOT EVEN CLOSE TO A YAOI. Okay, there’s HOT GUYS!, but many women find Vegeta to be sexy as well.

Very sexy.

Plot: Prepared for stupid? You are if you’re reading this particular review. The cover must have tipped you off. See that HOT GUY! on the cover? He wants to work for the Special Dispatch Force! But he wanders into the Special DOLL Force instead! YUK YUK YUK YUK! DUMB. Rather than let him go, the king of their country, Blah Blah the Fourth or something, I dunno, forces him to join the Doll Force or face death! Um… great, this is great.

No, it’s okay, honestly. But not terribly wonderful. Most often, it’s only readable, but at other times you want to read something else. Fortunately, this is a one-shot, so its stupidity is harmless.

Now, here’s why the manga being called a “yaoi” is wrong. IN A LIST.

a) None of the main characters are gay. Not a one.
b) The ones that are gay are a one-story frumpy villain and partially one of the henchmen. But not really.
c) There seems to be a romantic tension between Fen (the guy on the cover) and a girl dressed up as a guy. That’s really as yaoi as it gets, but that’s just shojo, isn’t it?
d) Except for the henchman who kinda sorta plays around with the idea, and he woos him by dressing up as a girl. Is it yaoi yet?
e) The worst part is this one. When two of the king’s men find out Fen likes the henchman, they’re entirely against it! It seems to be outright homophobia, actually. One quips, “I personally can’t stand men who kiss other men”.

With “e)” fresh in our minds, let’s ponder shortly on this.

……

………

TIME’S UP!

See what’s wrong here? Not only is it not a yaoi, but anyone who buys it thinking that it is gets criticized for liking that sort of thing! Oh, wow. Just… go away, Bran Doll.

There’s some sweet scenes with the back story for the doll-collecting, but seriously? A “yaoi” that is against homosexuality? WHAT WAS GOCOMI THINKING?

GoComi Guy: “Hey, this has HOT GUYS! in it, right? Let’s label it under our Go! Boyz Love section!”
Smarter GoComi Guy: “Did you actually read this, sir? The characters are straight!”
GoComi Guy: “Pshaw! When has that ever stopped anyone from making something not a yaoi into one?”
Smarter GoComi Guy: “Well… never, but–“
GoComi Guy: “BUT WHAT, LANCE?”
Lance: “Well, Mr. Peters, two of the characters are opposed to boys love!”
Peters: “Hmmm… is it a one-shot?”
Lance: “Yeah…?”
Peters: “No problem! No one will notice or care!”
Lance: “That sounds okay, actually. By the way, what time do you want to come for dinner?”
Peters: “Uhhh… about 6 or 7. 6:30.”
Lance: “It’s already 8:00.”
Peters: “Fine, let’s reschedule. We can do lunch tomorrow.”
Lance: “My wife made dinner already. You can’t just cancel!”
Peters: “Fine, we’ll go now. I’ll pay for the cab.”
Lance: “My apartment is in the next building.”
Peters: “Fine, I don’t have to pay for a cab. Let’s just get out of here already.”

That kind of got away from me. Sorry, gang.

Overall Opinion: Terrible if you wanted a yaoi, a little better if you don’t care about that part. It’s just… MARKETING THESE DAYS! AAAAGGGGHHHH!

Rating: A Raggedy Andy out of Seventeen Barbies.

Advertisements

Indian Summer

Why does “Indian Summer” qualify as a combination of everything awful? Because off the bat, it fails the simple Test Of Three: Front Cover, Back Cover, and Title.

Title: What kind of name for a manga, especially this manga, is “Indian Summer”? It sounds more appropriate for a novella, or even a novel, not a manga about a guy and his robot maid whom he dresses in frilly outfits. I bet they don’t even know what an Indian Summer is. Fun fact: Not actually about Indians or summer. It’s an unusually warm autumn. For all I know, this manga takes place in winter. It’s not clear.

Front Cover: Welp, I was reading this at college, when class started. When it was over, I left for home. Remembering I had a monstrous manga in my bag, I pulled it out and began to read. Then people gave me funny looks. “Why are they… OH.” I looked at the cover, and, to my realization, it looks like straight up porn. No joke, look at that cover. If only the actual manga was anywhere near that sexy. Moral: This is not a manga you can read in public.

Back Cover: It lies, of course. It claims that there are two rival robot maids named Minori and Ayumi. Hey, guess what? THEY’RE BOTH HUMANS. Yeah, it’s such a bad manga, even the translators didn’t read what they wrote! That’s pretty bad, guys. No wonder Comics One got quickly canned.

So there you have it. Indian Summer fails in all regards. Wait, what about the plot? Ha ha ha! There is none!

Plot: Pervert is such a pervert! He buys a robot maid in order to dress her up! She doesn’t want to oblige, so they often clash! Ha ha ha! SCUM.

This manga is too free-floating. It has no goal, no motivation, no drive. Look, I liked “888”.That manga also had no motivation. But it was fun, and at least one character was very funny. Here? They all have the same joke. The pervert is obsessed with being a lech, the maid is upset when the pervert asks anything of her, and Minori is in love with the pervert. Nothing happens.

In one story, Minori gets help from the maidbot to pretend to be a second robot maid for the pervert. Know what happens? Well, he enjoys dressing and undressing his robot maid, so when it’s time for Minori’s turn, HE DOES IT WITHOUT A STRUGGLE. Then she lies there nude on his bed. UUUUUUUGGGGGHHHHH.

Oh, and the other “robot maid” is a little girl in love with the pervert. Is she funny? Nnnope. Why do all these girls love him anyway? He’s a jerkwad. Even the robot maid comes around after some time. WHY DOES THAT HAPPEN. SHE HATES HIM!

One story in here is the worst story I’ve ever read in a manga. That, and one in a manga called “M & N”. We’ll get to that one someday. Guess what happens? The pervert and maidbot switch bodies!

Yeahhhhhhh. That plot. How… overused. Seriously. It’s nowhere near original, nor is it handled well. This is the worst part.

Except for the fact that a robot and a human switch bodies. That… makes no sense. COME ON! HOW DOES THAT WORK? This is the worst part.

Except how they switch bodies. Get this: THEY BUMP HEADS TOGETHER. YEAH. That’s children’s story bad. And that’s how they switch back, too. EUGUGUGUGUGUGUH.

So the first volume ends, but there’s still about a fourth of it left. So what’s in it? Three chapters done as a retelling of the beginning chapters. If I didn’t like it the first time, why show me a different version? It makes no sense plotwise either. Which one can I believe? Neither, really.

Why does the robot maid even oppose the pervert’s fantasies? Don’t robots have to listen to their masters? And why build a robot maid that feels shame? Why not give it a function to feel pain as well? This, among many other reasons, is why the manga fails in its core.

Overall Opinion: Just… don’t. Maharomatic was done better, so check that out instead.

Rating: Zero frills out of a frilly dress.

Futaba-Kun Change

He was a boy. Then was a girl. Can I make it anymore obvious? “Futaba-Kun Change”. It’s not Ranma 1/2, which, if you read my reviews, I mention constantly since I LOVE Rumiko Takahashi. This isn’t Takahashi, but it’ll do.

Plot: So Futaba (I actually had to look it up to remember what his name was. I am the fool)is just your average high school boy from Japan. Oh, except one day he discovers that every time he gets aroused, he turns into a girl! Which, really, makes more sense than getting splashed with cold water. Can he overcome this horrible problem? I don’t care, I love every second of this.

HEY! This is my first Studio Ironcat review! And it’s a positive one! For those of you not familiar, as I wasn’t, IRONCAT SUCKS. They went out of business pretty fast like, a decade or two ago. They translated BOMBER GIRL. YUP. We’ll get to it, gang.

However, Futaba-Kun Change is actually amazing. Colorful cast of characters, hilarious scenes, and accidentally ripping off Ranma are all okay in my book!

Yeah, in the bonus at the end of volume one (which is all I read thus far), the author states he didn’t know so many Americans compare this to Ranma. So I guess it was unintentional. S’okay, guy. You’re alright in my book.

Moving on! I digress! Let’s move forward! Wait, I said “move” already. Um… so how could I not love a manga that has this scene? Which reads American style, by the way. Left to right. Enjoy.

I WAS SOLD ON THIS SCENE. This creeped out my dad, but whatever. S’okay, genderbent Dadmom is okay in my book!

There’s also the principal, who’s the only character my dad liked. And for good reason. Check out THIS scene! Again, lefty loosey righty tighty.

He loves justice! And he’s pocket-size adorable! How could I not be sold?

There’s others, like the money-grubbing girl, the insanely military vice principal, and the teacher who only loves male students, never realizing that Futaba-Chan is really Futaba-Kun! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Yeah, so I liked it a lot. There are some scenes to be taken with caution, like all the boob scenes (YES, THERE ARE NIPPLES FOR ONCE) as well as Futaba’s sister’s incesty ways. But I think it’s worth it.

In summary, I enjoyed this manga. It’s not Ranma, but it has enough charm to survive on its own. Salvage a copy of it today!

Overall Opinion: I LOVED IT. BUY THIS. Unless it’s inconvenient for you. Then I understand.

Rating: Four out of Two Genders. This manga found a way.

Gacha Gacha

Hey, folks! Didja hear the one where a character has to prevent the world from knowing a strange secret? Of course you did! In every manga EVER. Well, it feels like that only because it’s true. Here’s one where a guy has to prevent the world from knowing that his friend has multiple personalities inside of her! “Gacha Gacha”! Gotcha? Gotcha.

Plot: Kurara has multiple personalities because some Voltorbs attacked her in an A.I. world! Yeah, Voltorbs. Not really kidding, guys. So it’s up to Kouhei to protect her from herself! Now she has too many shallow personalities! And a cat.

Yes, a cat. Later, gang.

Guess whaaaaaaaaat? Faloo falay! This is the same guy who drew Boys Be! YUH. Oh, and no, not wrote. Drew. He wrote this, though. Honestly? NUH. Not so good. I can recognize his art pretty far away, but his writing doesn’t quite live up. It feels dragged out, then dragged out, then too rushed, then it’s over. MUH.

So how does he take a simple concept like this translate? Underutilized, that’s how. Twenty dollar word, people. Instead of being… anything else, this manga decides the personalities should be fetishes reoccurring in manga. Sexy horny girl, younger girl, macho girl (?), CAT, ninja girl, spunky girl (personal favorite), and drunken kung fu girl (???). No glasses girl, bizarrely enough. Or a teacher. Couldn’t you combine those into one, Boys Be artist? Moving on.

So the cat. Each personality has a real form, but only the last three I mentioned have their own physical form in our world. So when Kurara changes, it’s usually her hair. Y’know, to blonde, in a bow, whatever. Of course, they never see this, though.

THE CAT. Right. When Kouhei visits her brain, he sees the first forms in their true manner. And then there’s the cat. IT’S LITERALLY A CAT. No, not a cat girl. A REAL CAT. This would be fine, but when the big bad offers all the personalities to Kouhei, THE CAT IS THERE. WOULD HE GO OUT WITH A CAT. ITS NAME IS MISS MEOW, BY THE WAY.

Um… anyhoodles, the other characters are just fine. I mean, simply okay. One of those. Kouhei is your basic nice guy whose only defining recurring trait is his love of beef bowls. Kurara seems worse to me than any of her alter-egos. Her mom fulfills the glasses requirement, as well as the milk factor. Wait, MILK. Mom I’d Like to Kiss. She also has big gazungas.

There’s also Reona, but she’s more pleasant than them. Smart, adorable, and not Kurara. Too bad Kouhei didn’t choose her instead. Or Kiriko, the only personality I actually came to like. She was fun, bouncy, and not Kurara. Not really, that is.

As I have stated earlier, it feels dragged but rushed. They get nowhere for a while, and when it does seem to pick up, it goes nowhere too. There’s this guy who likes Kurara. At the end of volume two, he’s like, “Oh, I’ll make her miiiiiine…”

Three comes, he doesn’t. Four? Nnnnnope. Fiiiiiiiiiiiiive? Neeeeyyyyyy. What was the point of him? He’s like insert reference to other manga I’ve reviewed here! Okay, I will. The bad girl from Ugly Duckling’s Love Revolution. She never does anything or shows up again. What’s the point?

And that’s what it all is, gang. What’s the point? Boys Be was great because you just got story after story of characters learnin’ and lovin’. This is like an ongoing Boys Be. Butt shots and all. Not panty. Butt.

Mostly Spoiler-Free Ending: Kurara and Kouhei admit they love each other, and the big bad is defeated. Okay, that’s pretty fine, but…

OH YEAH, NOW KOUHEI HAS MULTIPLE CHARACTERS INSIDE OF HIM! I loathe these endings. It’s not like we’ll ever see them again, so why tease us like that? Unless you’re planning a sequel, don’t pull this bull.

THERE’S A SEQUEL??? Yeah! Okay, so I guess we actually get to see what happens when Kurara has to take care of Kouhei, right?

“A whole new Gacha Gacha story line begins! Akira Hatsushiba is just your typical, average high school kid . . . until a glitch in a Gacha Gacha video game changes his life forever. Now, every time Akira sneezes, his entire body undergoes a gender-bending switcheroo! That’s right, Akira is always just an achoo away from getting in touch with his feminine side. But it’s not all bad. Akira has had a crush on Yurika Sakuraba ever since he first laid eyes on her. He’s always been too shy, but now that he can change into a girl, Akira finally has a chance to get close to Yurika. Being a girl certainly has its advantages!”

NO.

That’s just a combination of Ranma and Lunch from Dragonball! LAAAAAAAZZZZZYYYYYYYY! I’m in no hurry to read that one, guys. Just so you should know. No hurry at all.

Overall Opinion: Not great, but a decent enough read. If you want to see some prime Boys Be artist artwork, give it a looksee.

Rating: Three out of Five Cats.

Q-Ko-Chan

Well, my review of FLCL was pretty mean-spirited. Even by my old standards, I’m a little embarrassed by it. So here it is! The thing is, yes, it’s bad, real bad, Michael Jackson. I never even want to read that manga again. But I don’t think I had much fun with it. So to make up for it, here’s “Q-Ko-Chan”!

Plot: It’s the same thing as FLCL, for the most part. Prepubescent guy lives with a parent and another family member. One of those familial housemates are estranged. The guy meets a girl, who grants him powers. Oh, and she’s not human. Maybe an alien, I think. There’s an ongoing war, too. The guy has friends, and they’re okay with him having powers. It’s all natural. We’re supposed to care about their subplots, but we don’t. And the art still sucks.

Probable-ly shoulda mentioned, this is the same guy who made FLCL. As you can see, it has the same issues as FLCL. Confusing? It embodies this. Ugly? Let’s get on that later. Subplots revolving around minor characters crammed into a mere two volumes? Yuh-huh.

A mangaka, if you’ll permit me to use that instead of “creator” just this once, is supposed to grow. Dr. Slump is amazing, but it was surpassed by the amazinger Dragonball, which in turn was surpassed by its sequel, Dragonball Z. What’s my point? I understand you like using the same writing and drawing schematics to tell your story. People sure like the FLCL anime lots. But it doesn’t always work. It certainly doesn’t in FLCL the manga, and even moreso here.

Moving on to funnier things, this was lettered by Alan Smithee. “Whaaaaaaa? Why is that funny?” Well, Alan Smithee is a name used in movies when a director decides to disown a project. It’s been adapted to other forms of media, and now Q-Ko-Chan! So this manga is soooooo bad, even the letterer wanted no part of it. And if that’s really his name, your parents are mean, sir.

Also, this manga is so desperate, it flaunts “FROM THE CREATOR OF FLCL”. That wouldn’t be the worst thing. Cowa! used that to get people to look at it. Did that make my brother like it? No, but he’s the one who liked Sokora Refuges. The reason this is desperate is because this was translated by Kodansha, while FLCL was by Tokyopop. Yes, before they went under. Why give them the publicity? Foolish Kodansha.

The art. UGGO. “But it’s supposed to be–” NO. Don’t gimme any of that jibba jabba! I don’t care what it’s supposed to be, I care what it is. I’m under the impression that Ueda Hajime cannot actually draw. It can no longer be used as an excuse that it’s supposed to set a tone. Simply a crummy artist. Next.

How is the manga on its own? Beeeeehhhhhhh. No good. Chapters don’t seem to end on a normal place. It usually feels like there was supposed to be more, but there was page limitations. As for the characters, they’re oddly described in the opening. One girl is labeled “Never seen her father. Doesn’t have a dark side.” The dad thing isn’t brought up (at least in volume one), and she’s not exactly pure. Other than that, they’re kinda rotten.

To summarize, Q-Ko-Chan is FLCL, without an anime to justify it. And there’s no girl being carried off on a balloon parasite, so I hate it.

Overall Opinion: What’s the point of two-volume manga? Short, sure, but who actually remembers any of them? Skip it.

Rating: Oh yeah, the girl is a mecha. Ugh. One robot leg out of a giant mecha spider’s body. It’s the leg that, if knocked over, the whole thing would topple. That makes it sounds like the pillar, so just think of it as its own unit.