More than Friends, More than Lovers: Exploring Ash and Eiji’s Love

When I have to describe the nature of Ash and Eiji’s relationship in just a couple of words, what usually comes to mind is “platonic romance.” It might sound like a silly contradiction, but stay with me.

In some ways, Ash and Eiji are unlike anything I’ve seen. In others, they remind of romantic tropes I’ve seen in my years watching and reading (hetero) romances. Banana Fish is a notable queer shojo classic, however–not unlike other queer works–its male leads can be both victims and a product of the time in which they were conceived.

Banana Fish isn’t always the best at handling its sexual abuse and sexuality. It can fall on pretty emotionally loaded tropes–like the explicitly gay characters being abusers and predators, not to mention the “gay because abused” dog whistles. So things like the main character’s sexualities can be a delicate, messy and complicated discussion. Still, despite those shortcomings, Ash and Eiji’s relationship remains remarkably touching… and notably romantic. Continue reading “More than Friends, More than Lovers: Exploring Ash and Eiji’s Love”

Clear Card: When Beloved Series Rely Too Much On Nostalgia

With the re-watch I did not too long, the original Cardcaptor Sakura (and my love for it) are still pretty fresh in my mind. Its amazing characters and magical, welcoming world stole my heart to the point that I would watch anything just to get more of it. Well, its long-awaited sequel Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card just finished airing, and it feels like that’s exactly what this series was counting on: nostalgia, undying love for the original to keep watching it… while rarely offering you more.

Acknowledging love for the original it’s not a bad thing by itself, after all, Cardcaptor Sakura is an important childhood favorite for many, and it’s still remembered very fondly. Heck, I would argue that it’s still a very important show nowadays, and it has plenty of reasons to be especially meaningful for girls and queer folks. Continue reading “Clear Card: When Beloved Series Rely Too Much On Nostalgia”

Review: Memoirs of Amorous Gentlemen [Yatta-Tachi]

Moyoco Anno’s Memoirs of Amorous Gentlemen tells a story about people who wish to escape from their lives – or perhaps, from themselves – and the different ways they choose to face or fight their realities. There can a be a sharp contrast between some ugly cruelties and the almost glamorous art style. The story might not be a particularly engaging one, but it sure was hard to put away once I started reading. Continue reading “Review: Memoirs of Amorous Gentlemen [Yatta-Tachi]”

Demolishing the Demographic Double Standard: Why more manga “for boys” need to treat their girls better [AniFem]

In my years consuming media, I’ve encountered certain beliefs and behaviours that never fail to frustrate me. One of them is women’s entertainment and their creators being diminished or regarded with contempt just for targeting women. There is a double standard at play: media targeted at or starring women is “for girls,” while media targeted at or starring men is “for everyone” (unless, of course, someone who isn’t a man is critical of it; then it wasn’t “for them”). Continue reading “Demolishing the Demographic Double Standard: Why more manga “for boys” need to treat their girls better [AniFem]”

Review: My Dearest Cop

Seiji Tajima is a single, forty-something shop owner who’s close friends with police officer Shin Nakamoto. Shin, who’s just been assigned a patrol in Seiji’s neighborhood, has known the older man since he was in high school – back when Seiji himself worked in the police force. Shin’s harbored a crush on Seiji for years, but has convinced himself that their relationship is as good as it gets – until one day out of the blue, Seiji casually mentions the possibility of trying his luck with men… His simmering feelings suddenly brought to the boil, Shin shoves Seiji up against the wall, and… From the author of the hit comic “An Innocent Puppy Meets a Two-Faced Cat” comes a new spin-off! Can Shin, who’s held a 10-year-long torch for the (too) laid-back Seiji, win in this game of love?

Continue reading “Review: My Dearest Cop”

Review: That Wolf-boy is mine!

After some traumatic experiences, Komugi Kusunoki transferred from the city to start a new life in rural Hokkaido. But on her first day of school, the school heartthrob Yū Ōgami blurts out, “You smell good!” Despite the hijinks, Komugi tries to adjust to her new school, but it’s not long before she stumbles across Yū dozing off under a tree. When she attempts to wake him up, he transformed…into a wolf?! It turns out that Yū is one of many other eccentric boys in her class year–and she’s the only one who knows their secret…!


Shojo protagonists who are aware that they are in a shojo manga are some of my favorite. Komugi happens to be at least a little aware, and that alone makes her an interesting lead. She’s a grounded, kind girl, with understandable insecurities and the courage to voice her thoughts in spite of them.

Continue reading “Review: That Wolf-boy is mine!”