Welcome to another new segment. This is “I Stand Corrected”, a series where I give commentary to previous posts. Today’s commentary is based on my first manga review, Train*Train. Let’s begin.
Let me start this first manga review by saying that I bought it blindly.
Yes, because I had eaten too much soap at the time. Honestly, I hate how apologetic I am in this review. Like it’s a problem that I review something written by a yaoi author.
I had gone straight from a family photo shoot to Borders.
Great day, but irrelevant. Although it does give context to the year when I specify the bookstore as Borders.
So I checked out the shelves and lo and behold there was Train*Train by Eiki Eiki, published by Doki Doki. My thought?
Well, my current thought is how I set up for a joke that never happens. Serious, I could have said “It’s It’s a a manga manga” etcetera.
“IT’S A MANGA ABOUT TRAINS!”
I do like trains, although recently my main mode of transportation is buses. I switch off.
…Well, I might not have bought it if I knew that Doki Doki produces yaoi.
I also might not have bought it if I had known that this isn’t yaoi. Like, even though Eiki Eiki has a large yaoi fanbase and specializes in the field, Train*Train is not and has never been a yaoi.
That’s right, it’s intentionally gay. But how could a manga about young male train conductors POSSIBLY be gay?
WHAT?! Someone would seriously want to be gay? Whatever for? Also, what am I implying? Are young male train conductors known to be gay? I don’t remember that in the Village People.
…You may have noticed that I said “might”. I “MIGHT” not have bought it.
Since Train*Train, I’ve made purchases that would make 2010 Me vomit. Back then I was glad that it wasn’t yaoi, but now I’m disappointed. Mostly because this and Millennium Prime Minister are by DMP ‘s yaoi division, Doki Doki, even though the only reason for this is the yaoi associated with Eiki. To be fair, Doki Doki is also a shojo publisher. This works for Millennium, but not as much for Train.
“Wait,” you ask, “but aren’t you put off by the homosexual overtones?”
You never asked that because this was the first time we’d met. I made an ass out of both of us. Also, not overtones, or even homosexual.
Well… no. When it comes right down to it, Train*Train is a pretty funny read.
Good. End of review.
Plus, it’s… not actually gay.
This is correct. Now you can end.
Truth be told, it’s a little gay. There’s one bisexual guy, a female transvestite, and a French/Japanese guy. So you see that any kind of flat-out homosexuality is eliminated with half-hearted gayity.
Uggggghhhhhh… Okay, one at a time. It’s not “gay”. If it were a yaoi, that wouldn’t make it gay, since books and stories have no sexual orientation.
Then there’s listing the cast. So yes, Hokuto is bisexual, but that’s still LGBT. He will still sleep with men. Hikari is a crossdresser, and yes, I know transvestite is outdated and offensive. Again, wild and crazy 2010. I also didn’t mention that she “crossdresses” because the staff is male and she hates skirts, so hey! Just label her as a weirdo transvestite, Me of 2010! Finally, I will still mock the French. I stand by Me.
Finally, I was misinformed. I thought, for some reason, that the series tricked me into buying it, using the “NICE TRY, HOMOSEXUALITY! I’LL ALWAYS BE STRAIGHT!” belief, and refused to really look at the manga. I read it, sure. I laughed. But I didn’t really think of it as just being some manga, instead believing it to be an attempt to arouse and confuse me with the second volume’s phallic train.
Plot: Asahi Saruta is a naive young man with the dream of becoming a train operator like his late father. When he’s hired to work at Minami-Kitazawa Station, he quickly learns that the staff is a group of hot (according to a woman) guys! Why, there’s Kaiji the ex-delinquent; Hikari the female transvestite (second closest thing to a recurring female character); Tsubasa the famous actor incognito; and Hokuto the bisexual rich guy! They have all sorts of wacky train hijinks, flashbacks, and more! …Also, Asahi cross-dresses sometimes. THAT part is as gay as it gets.
Nowadays I just don’t care about listing off all the information. You won’t remember their names unless you read it. It’s especially silly to specify the branch they run. It’s not necessary information, and I feel like this “plot summary” was more “character introduction”.
Seriously, you’d be surprised how not-terribly-gay Train*Train is.
Judge books by covers, kids.
I bought 5 volumes of manga the day I bought this. Two volumes of this, Rosario+Vampire, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, and Saber Marionette J.
Plus two gallons of milk, a pint of sea water, and OH MY GOD WHO CARES?
Out of all of them, the last one was the gayest.
Saber Marionette J liked to spend time hitting on copies of Naruto.
Which is weird, because there’s so many robots with boobs in that series.
I can’t even express how mixed up that statement is.
Oh wait, the planet is entirely populated with men, most of them openly gay. But I’m getting off on a tangent. I’ll review that some other time.
Not to justify a terrible manga, but the humans have no women, so it’s either sexbots or other guys. I mean they have to get off on a tangent somehow. I used to find tangents arousing, mind you. Most guys do too, as indicated by the number of romance scenes where a girl is rambling and the guy kisses her.
This series is surprisingly good.
My, how kind.
It’s funny and actually a little charming.
I was always a flatterer.
Truth be told, this series could’ve worked just as well with a group of men and women, but I guess it’s the author’s prerogative.
And this statement could have worked just as well if I thought about grey socks. Eiki explains that she couldn’t work as a part-time staff member for a train station because she was a woman, but they did let her sell Romancecar tickets. This adds depth to Hikari, whom sadly I didn’t talk about enough in this review.
But enough about the homosexual aspects.
Which don’t exist here, but okay.
Really, how are the characters? Well, they’re all pretty basic… the rich kid, the sensible guy, the thug, the innocent childish protagonist… you know, this line-up sounds like an awful lot like most high school manga.
“I love it! Oh, but the characters suck.” Really? This sounds like a high school cast? Cromartie High has a rich guy, but most everyone else is a thug. And Freddie Mercury, so there’s your gay. I especially don’t know why I specified high school manga. Most characters fall into these tropes. But Eiki’s are more fleshed out, with goals and dreams and IF THE MANGA IS SO “WEIRD”, WHY DO YOU CALL THEM BASIC?!
But for the most part, they’re all pretty enjoyable. Excluding the actor. He’s kind of a bore.
Will also agree with that statement. I’m not a fan of one-faced characters, but he only gets focus in one storyline, and it’s really not even the best. He and the Richie Rich bi boy were childhood friends, and the actor has stayed with him because of their childhood dream. Not as good as it sounds.
Favorite Character: Generally speaking, my favorite characters are the ones who do things beyond the realm of normal human… normality. So Hokuto’s my favorite this time. The rich guy. His naive way-of-the-world misinterpretations are pretty hilarious. Also, Kaiji as a straightman is funny too.
This section doesn’t work for me. It implies that I need a favorite in order to enjoy something. When I got rid of sections, this was the first to go. I don’t disagree, necessarily, but not for the same reasons. Hokuto’s there to cause drama of sorts, so he’s important. Meanwhile, Kaiji works best bouncing off of Hikari. They have my favorite story of the series, although the back story to the station is wonderful, adding depth to something I had mocked. Right now, I like Hikari, since she rebels against the system.
Overall Opinion: If you don’t care that this manga is a lame attempt at homosexuality
WHAT ATTEMPT? Okay, this isn’t an attempt to make my past self gay. No one even forced you to read it. I will agree that it does seem misleading, but certainly not as much as, say, Bran Doll, which did lie. I don’t like misleading back covers, but this wasn’t one of them. Please, son. Just drop it. You promised.
and instead focus on the plot and characters,
He said, caring that this manga is a lame attempt at homosexuality and not focusing on the plot and characters.
I’d recommend this to you. Its simple story never gets in the way of its beautiful art. Ai Yori Aoshi. An even gayer manga than Saber Marionette J. But we’ll get to that.
The story isn’t simple, it has deep characters and great jokes. In fact, the art isn’t that beautiful. It’s pretty generic as the genre goes. Also, really? I just name drop Ai Yori Aoshi? It isn’t gay, unless I meant lesbianism or my negative association with the word gay towards things I find bad. There’s no relative scale from series to series determining how much something is targeted towards per sexual standing.
I also hate this “draw you in” line. I’ve don’t that a lot over the years, but I feel like it restricts me to doing a review of the manga soon. I should have just waited.
Rating: Two Thumbs Up, Four Out Of Five Stars, and an A-.
Which is not what I’d give this review.
Also, the rating system. If I had used it once, fine, it’s cute. But the fact that I absolutely had to stick with the initial system this review had set up… everything’s clustered. First, the system is confusing. I didn’t designate each rating with an attribute. I could have given the thumbs to design, stars signifying characters, and letter grades applied to plots. I didn’t, and it all becomes meaningless.
For a while I tried just ranking based on elements of the manga, but then I gave up, realizing that ranking manga was worthless when my reviews contradicted my statements throughout.
I feel bad about this review for one obvious reason: It’s not a review.
I don’t feel bad about my lopsided homophobic comments, because in context, I’m The Little Rascals. Did I make inappropriate comments that I would never make now? Of course. But I was a week out of my Orthodox Jewish school, and I was afraid to write this as long as I was in school. People had found things in my younger days online and threw them at me, so in a sense, this is a socially liberated me.
Plus, I was promoting Train*Train, so it wasn’t all bad. But at the end of the day, this is not a review. Most of the time spent is given to anecdotes, unnecessary details, and assurances that I’m not gay.
As such, I will give you a review.
The main problem with Train*Train is the lack of focus on part of the author. Not in the context of the series, but despite outright ending on a cliffhanger, there’s no followup to the events of the third and final volume. It’s a shame, because the characters do play off each other well in terms of humor, drama, and romance.
Yes, there is romance in Train*Train. Kaiji is trying to beat Hikari at arm-wrestling because she only likes strong men. She says. She likes Asahi because he’s cute, leading to a wonderful realization from Kaiji, then despair. Hokuto also likes Asahi, but generally he plays the field.
The French/Japanese guy is used as a counterpart to Asahi, which would be great if we could buy that. Asahi’s goal is to be a conductor like his father, but hasn’t got the skills to follow through. If that’s the case, how did he even pass the finals? And he’s poor, so how did he afford school? He lives in a broken down apartment. Basically I’m saying that he won’t be the Station Master.
The Station Master’s only there because of nepotism, but he does have hidden depths, not to mention the money to afford anything he needs. In that sense, he’s closer to Hokuto, spending money wastefully and playing the field for both teams. Yes, the Station Master and Asahi have the same train skills, but had the series lasted, I can’t imagine that route being taken.
Also, Asahi likes his boss’s daughter. So that.
I do like Train*Train, and I think of it in better terms regarding what it is and what it isn’t, but I always find difficulty recommending a manga that will never picked up by the author again. I feel the same way about this review.