aarinfantasy's YAOI Collection

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  1. #1
    Aarin - Busy

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    Sephiroth (L12)Star 1 (Silver)(S075) Cloud Strife

    Aarin's English BL Manga Review

    I will be posting my own opinion and review of the BL manga I read, whether it's in print or digital format. All titles I will be reviewing are available in English version since I cannot read Japanese. The focus will be on licensed English BL titles or sites where I bought them from with my own money (not sponsored or commissioned).

    This thread is linked from my Twitter too because Twitter doesn't allow long text. In other words, I will just put every BL manga I reviewed here and will link each post directly to/from some of my social media.

    I would like to highlight that it's important to support the artists/publishers by purchasing their works. We all read scanlation at some point for sure, but please remember to buy from the artists/publishers if you enjoyed their work because that's what keeps them going. If you can't afford it now, maybe save up or when you're working in future (since I know some of you are still students) then you can buy them. It really does make a difference.

    Please do not post here, if you have anything you want to discuss over a manga I reviewed here or about some manga, you can post it at: Manga Haven

    Let's jump into my reviews on the next post! Thank you for reading!

    On how I did my ratings, it's my own opinion based on:
    - Storyline
    - Characters (development, personalities)
    - Artstyle
    - Manga quality (image, paper quality for print, ease of reading/understanding)
    - My preference or overall feelings towards the manga

    I hope the info will be useful to you but please bear in mind that our opinions may differ, so you may not agree with everything I said or my ratings, which is completely fine and I respect that.
    Last edited by aarinfantasy; 09-27-2017 at 12:24 AM.

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  3. #2
    Aarin - Busy

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    Sephiroth (L12)Star 1 (Silver)(S075) Cloud Strife

    REVIEW DATE: 18 May 2017




    This was my first review I posted on FaceBook in May 2017...


    Thanks to a friend (Shu) who kept posting about this yaoi web comic not long ago, I got hooked to it. The title is "Blood Bank" (by Silb) which is originally in Korean and it's officially translated to English. It only got completed and fully translated recently.

    This is something I would recommend especially if you like vampire or BDSM theme. It is not just all serious but contains some cute/fun moments too, with interesting characters and nice artwork. You will want to read more as you go on... that's what happened to me! Actually, I like how the characters switched up their roles... kinda like Twittering Birds Never Fly. Though there are times, I find that things may be rushed or very fast paced such as how the relationship and story goes... or probably I finished it all in one day. Still, do give this a try if you haven't~

    The link to read this "Blood Bank" comic: https://www.lezhin.com/en/comic/bloodbank

    Usually I don't really talk much about what sort of yaoi manga that I like, but this one actually made me wanna tell everyone to go read it. Would you like me to recommend more manga or reads next time? (Hit the THANKS button for this post)

    I have quite a lot now at home since I moved most of my collection to my main house very recently, so I was thinking to either do short reviews, comments or recommendations if I can, but I'm not super good with English, words or anything like that... just some simple and easy to understand writing perhaps?

    Aarin's overall rating: 9/10



    Last edited by aarinfantasy; 09-27-2017 at 12:09 AM.

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  5. #3
    Aarin - Busy

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    Sephiroth (L12)Star 1 (Silver)(S075) Cloud Strife

    REVIEW DATE: 14 Sept 2017




    So after a few months, I did another review in mid Sept 2017...this time I took pictures of my books...



    Some of you wanted me to do some short reviews on yaoi manga, so I think it’s time for me to do one. As mentioned before, I will keep things simple (including using simple English) and trying to keep it as spoiler free as possible.

    I finally got my hands on the full set of SAKIRA’s manga (four books), published under 801, also by June Manga. The book titles are: Wild Boyfriend, Sailor Men, Don’t Rub Yourself Against My Ass, and Boyfriend In Heat. They are all stand-alone or one shot manga. Bought it in a set which comes with a box sleeve from Juné website.

    I knew about SAKIRA through June’s postings and also a poster gift from a forum member, it got me curious for sure because visually the artwork is attractive and interesting to me, and especially being some of the characters looking buffed or more muscular than what you normally see in most Japanese BL manga. I totally don’t mind that as I feel it’s such a refreshing change, but well… let’s just say after a few pages into her first book “Wild Boyfriend”, I was like… “eer, okay” and “huh why” in a less enthusiastic way. I felt that stories in the book were going way too fast or rather jumped into things seriously too quickly, which I can’t really relate much to the characters, but hey… I can understand some people like these sort of ‘quickies’.

    On the brighter side, I will say there’s a good load of smex all over the manga, very nicely drawn too… I kept emphasizing how good the artwork is, and it is really good. But what’s keeping my interest with the manga is the reversed role of many characters in each story. You will expect this guy to be the uke but he will turn out to be the seme, and vice versa… or even power uke. Sure, there quite a bit of crying, over-the-top issues and whatnot, but if you are in just for the smex and some really unique ones, this will be for you. I can see that this can appeal to fudanshi (male yaoi fans) too.

    The other 3 volumes are basically about the same as the first book “Wild Boyfriend”, with more characters but riding on the same concept. All the books are mainly compilation of various stories together. So please do not expect any long stories or complex plots. I guess this is more of a straight-to-the-sex kind of manga.

    I won’t tell you this is a must buy or not, but for me, I find this is something different than the usual BL fare, so I think it’s nice to have it as part of my yaoi collection. I am not really into bara genre, but this is still fine for me… SAKIRA draws handsome, beautiful and cute men really well. If you want to compare SAKIRA’s work to other bara works, then SAKIRA’s more on light bara.

    From what I know, SAKIRA has been promoting more particularly in the USA through yaoi con and June Manga. Her Twitter is: https://twitter.com/saaakira (Do follow her at Twitter!)

    SAKIRA will be attending YaoiCon (USA) from 6-8 Oct 2017 as guest of honor.

    I won’t be attending the event since it’s at the other side of the world but I am still thinking of attending YaoiCon USA some day when my schedule allows me to go.

    Aarin's overall rating: 5/10


    Last edited by aarinfantasy; 09-27-2017 at 12:09 AM.


  6. #4
    Aarin - Busy

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    Sephiroth (L12)Star 1 (Silver)(S075) Cloud Strife

    REVIEW DATE: 27 Sept 2017




    Good morning! Back with another quick BL manga review! I just read it a few minutes ago, and I have very short-term memory, so I wrote this quickly before I forget the points I wanted to mention. ^^;;;

    I have not read Noboru Takatsuki’s previous work “Oku-san’s Daily Fantasies” yet (which I heard is a nice and very funny BL manga from fans). So I just jumped into this one, “Looking For The Perfect Fit” by the same mangaka. I couldn’t help but bought this immediately upon seeing it on SuBLime manga’s main page since I really want to try reading this mangaka’s works some time ago. I must admit: I didn’t even read the summary before purchasing it, but was attracted to the cover because the artwork looks nice and cute, the pink color definitely caught my attention, saw the mangaka’s name, and I just hit the Buy button. ^^;; (BUT please read the summary first to see if it’s your taste, because you may have very different opinion from me)

    Okay… so I’m reading this manga fresh in the morning, after a long night of disappointment over certain issues, this manga actually lightened up my mood a bit, although yes, very predictable mostly, but it’s something that I felt is good to read at this time.

    It’s pretty much a male version of a Cinderella story, where the shoe fits became where the dick fits. XD. The variety of characters are all pretty straight-forward and likeable, although just making short appearances. I like how every ‘episode’ closes with a different kind of artwork style related to things we may be familiar with like The Simpsons, Lego, Japanese art of Edo etc.

    As for the story, it is meant to be taken very light-heartedly although it does have smex in almost every chapter. Good balance of fun and smex really. I should say it’s quite a nice change from some of the serious BL that I have been reading and the multi short stories or compilations in a BL manga which I don’t really favor. “Looking For The Perfect Fit” is a full one-shot and has 190 pages all dedicated to the story of finding the Cinderella’s prince charming. So if you’re looking for something entertaining with fun and nice visuals, I would recommend this for you.

    It’s only available at SuBLime’s page in digital format. No print version although I wouldn’t mind to get a print copy if it’s available to add to my collection. For those who are not familiar with SuBLime’s digital manga… after purchase, you can download the title to your own pc or device as PDF file (keeping it with you all the time for offline viewing) or view it online at their page too, no expiry date of course. LINK: https://www.sublimemanga.com/reader/735


    Aarin's overall rating: 7.5/10



    Last edited by aarinfantasy; 09-27-2017 at 12:20 AM.

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  8. #5
    Aarin - Busy

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    I kept forgetting to talk about BL books or titles that I have read and only done a few reviews in the past. So I would like to get back to doing that again with random titles that I’ve picked up. As always, my reviews will be in simple English and not formal kind of review, hoping it can be somewhat useful or informative without spoiling anything. Anyway, let’s get started!


    In February 2019, I was browsing online and found this book popped up in the Recommended Books section: Heartstopper (Vol1) by Alice Oseman

    I will quote the summary from the online book store:
    “Charlie and Nick are at the same school, but they've never met ... until one day when they're made to sit together. They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn't think he has a chance.
    But love works in surprising ways, and Nick is more interested in Charlie than either of them realised.
    Heartstopper is about love, friendship, loyalty and mental illness. It encompasses all the small stories of Nick and Charlie's lives that together make up something larger, which speaks to all of us.”

    First of all, is it not a Japanese BL manga published in English that I am so used to reading, so this really intrigued me. It is an English BL graphic novel or comic by Alice Oseman, from United Kingdom. The summary on the book itself is really simple which is “Boy meets boy. Boys become friends. Boys fall in love”. So I was like “Okay….. Seems straightforward and the book seems to have good reviews, I can give this a try” and hit the buy button.

    After a few weeks, the book arrived. It’s actually bigger and thicker than a regular Japanese comic. It has over 260 pages inside all black and white, standard type of paper for comics, only the outer cover and inner cover are in color. I like how the matte cover looks with nice UV spot effect at the right places, and of course the cute colors of rose pink and sea green tones overall.

    So I opened the book for a quick browse first, not knowing what sort of comic style to expect since I didn’t know about the artist before. At first look, I was actually not very keen about reading the fancy font that was in it but I quickly realized it’s actually not any generic kind of fancy font but actual handwriting! So I was like “Ahh, this is probably the artist’s comic style” and well, it’s something new since I am so used to reading general or standard kind of font in comics. Graphics wise… let’s just say it’s not any of those ‘ikemen’ kind but it’s cute and characters have lots of facial expressions.

    The story is just as the summary suggested… boy meets boy story, and quite light hearted at that too. It’s pretty much of the slice-of-life and school life genre, as in what can happen to people or things that we can related to. I like the characters interactions especially during their personal online chat sessions, those were done nicely. Other than the main characters, what I like the artist did was she incorporated various people or representation of many types of people in it… be it age, gender, race, LGBT etc.

    Even though it’s a thick book, I’ve finished it quite fast in one seating. But I feel like that’s because it’s a simple and ‘fluffy’ book to read. There are no explicit scenes in this, in case anyone’s wondering. I will say give this book a try if you want something different compared to regular Japanese manga. Alice mentioned in her book that her readers are drawn to Heartstopper because it gave them comfort, well… maybe you too?

    Alice Oseman's Twitter page: https://twitter.com/aliceoseman

    Aarin's overall rating: 7.5/10


  9. #6
    Aarin - Busy

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    Another random purchase I’ve made a few months back and only gotten the time recently to sit down and read it. The manga is “Coyote” by Ranmaru Zariya, published by SuBLime Manga in English. This is my first time reading the mangaka’s works. If you say judging book by its cover, this is one that may not appeal much right away but the face and color of the cover really made me looked twice – like, it’s unusual to find a big face with that kinda color tone smacked right on the cover and I guess it’s probably to emphasize on the eyes too (which is actually a small highlight in the manga).

    The summary of the book goes as follow:
    “In order to conceal that he’s a werewolf, Coyote avoids getting too involved with humans. But Marleen, a pianist at a bar he frequents, is interested in him and just won’t take no for an answer. When Coyote unexpectedly goes into heat for the first time, Marleen catches him while he’s unable to maintain his human form and offers up a tempting invitation. Coyote wants to resist, but can he?”

    Despite the name, Marleen is actually a man and I liked how they teased each other with female names, making themselves feel more mysterious with one another. The story reminds me some sort of Romeo and Juliet kind of forbidden love or clan involvement, in this case a werewolf (Coyote) and human from Galland family (‘Marleen’). They are getting themselves into trouble and they knew it, but their need for each other is really intense… which I am really glad to feast my eyes on as the characters are really “sexy” in a way. For me, I like this style of artwork and it has quite a variety of actions and “actions” (if you get what I mean). Also, this is not like some sort of light-hearted love fluff story, it is quite dark and also has many dark colored pages in this book, mainly due to night time setting. But I am also glad, the mangaka tries to balance it a bit with the teases between the two main characters and the end of Volume 1 with something ‘cute’ (not going to spoil it but I find it ‘yummy cute’).

    To be fair, this is only Volume 1 that I have read, and at the moment, I am sitting on a cliff hanger, so I can’t wait to get Volume 2 already, I think it will be out from SuBLime by July or August 2019. In my opinion, this is something I will recommend if you like Ai No Kusabi, though this is not as deep/dark and this one is ‘consensual’, like at least no one is getting held against their will (not sure if I should use that word but just recently I read some people can be very disturbed by non-consensual stories and wanted stories to be tagged non-con or vice versa). If you haven’t already, do give this a try. Also, click on the "Thank You" button if you find this useful or enjoyed this title like I did.


    Aarin's overall rating: 9/10 (so far for Volume1)





  10. #7
    Aarin - Busy

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    Escape Journey

    Saw this on SuBLime’s website one day after seeing the mangaka’s name, Ogeretsu Tanaka, who also did the very popular Yarichin Bitch Club. To be honest, I am not a big fan of Yarichin Bitch Club (I only watched the anime so far, not the manga), but I felt there has to be ‘something’ that makes people like it so much, so I've decided to give a try with other works by the same mangaka, and I bought all the three volumes (completed) of “Escape Journey”.

    The neon colors of the covers on Escape Journey are really something very different than a lot of manga out there, very smart choice in my opinion, because it caught my eyes instantly. What’s more, each volume is way thicker than most manga too, giving more value to the book, which probably means… more yaoi goodness! I also really like the artwork style presented in these books, including the female characters.


    Here’s the summary from the book:
    “Naoto and Taichi's turbulent high school love crashed and burned, but a reunion in college puts love back in the air. Naoto and Taichi's first try at love during their high school days crashed and burned. Years later the two unexpectedly reunite on their first day of college. Tumultuous love often burns hot, and the glowing embers of their previous relationship reignite into a second try at love.
    It's Naoto's first day of college, and the last person he expected to see was his high school ex Taichi, who he'd dumped after a huge argument. Although years have passed, Naoto finds he's still steamed over some of the harsh words that were exchanged. Even so, he can't help but recognize how much Taichi has matured since then, and soon old feelings begin to stir. Will the discovery of his friend's crush on Taichi further fray the threads of this tattered but mending relationship-or strengthen the ties that bind?”


    The storyline may be a bit typical for a BL story, but I find myself rooting for certain characters especially when the story goes a bit deep like when there’s involvement of other people falling in love with each of the main couple, and also the struggles of meeting the parents! Well, it’s not like everything is very serious… there are a mix of romance, humor and some emotional roller coaster here and there. Usually for most BL stories, I would prefer the seme than the uke but for this, I don’t really like the seme, Taichi, that much. It’s probably me not liking his behaviour or there’s just something about him. Hmm… maybe it’s my frustration over the constant misunderstandings between him and the uke, Naoto.

    I do want to say, and I am guessing the mangaka is probably very popular because of the smex too? (Keeping in mind I am not familiar with Ogeretsu Tanaka’s works). Just saying, as I find Escape Journey’s smex scenes in general are pretty well done, not over the top and yet not too lacking of it. I particularly like the poses or positions of each explicit scenes *winks*. Overall, yummy!~ I will recommend you to get this if you enjoy stories like Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi or simply want to look at good smex. Escape Journey’s story is completed with only 3 volumes, which doesn’t drag too long, so that’s worth getting as well.

    Also, something to take from Escape Journey, where a lot of bad situations can be avoided if there were just more communication with each other. Spend a bit more time and talk things out if you cherish the friendship or relationship.



    Aarin's overall rating: 8/10

    Click on the "Thank You" button if you find this useful or enjoyed this title like I did.



    Last edited by aarinfantasy; 11-24-2019 at 09:53 PM.


 

 

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