Dec 30, 2014

Winter Holiday Gift Ideas for the Shoujo Manga Lover in your Life

I forgot to do this last year, but this year, once again I have compiled a list of gift ideas for the shoujo lover in your life.  The complete list can be found at the Crimson Flower Amazon Store.

In general I recommend:
For folks who missed getting the Vampire Knight Volume 19 limited edition with the bundled illustration book, Amazon still has some! Here's a link!

Also, if the person wants to read electronic versions of their favorite manga, then I recommend getting the person a 32 GB iPad mini or the Kindle Paperwhite.

Manga volumes are also nice. Some of my favorites are:
If you are unsure, there are always gift cards! Consider giving an Amazon Gift card or a gift card from the person's favorite bookstore. Also for the Amazon shopper, consider gifting the person a year of Amazon Prime so they can buy tons for manga with free 2-day shipping.

Dec 15, 2014

Infrequent Series Announcement

With the ending of the Haruca anthology, the future of "A Pair of Blue Wings" is unknown. The series was already on a twice-per-year release schedule. Until the series is complete, we will put that project on hiatus. "Harapekona Majo" and "Tiny Mermaid Matters" are also infrequent series, so until those series have enough chapters built up to be coherent, we will put them on hiatus also. From now on, we will not take on any infrequent series until they are done because it's too frustrating to remember what happens from chapter to chapter while they are in serialization.

Dec 11, 2014

Kanojo ni Naru Hi -- Another Chp 7

First a few announcements:

  • This blog is now a scanlation only blog. Discussions, summaries, reviews, news, and haul posts are now posted on the Lovely Manga Blog (lovelymangas.com). I will write up my thoughts on CF releases on Lovely Manga so there will be no spoilers in the release posts or the comments.
  • Scanlation releases will be announced and posted here, the Crimson Flower ScansTumblr, and the @CrimsonFlowerRe Twitter. @KuronekoOO3 Twitter and the Kuroneko003 Tumblr will be tied to the Lovely Manga Blog.
  • The Crimson Flower Store is still open. New items will be added this week and next week as the December magazines come in.
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Here is chapter 7! This chapter feels like a turning point in the story. I can't wait to read chapter 8, which just arrived about 20 minutes ago. I will write up a discussion post for this chapter on the Lovely Manga blog this afternoon.

The chapter discussion is here: http://lovelymangas.com/2014/12/11/my-thoughts-on-kanojo-ni-naru-hi-another-chapter-7/

And now onto the release!

Dec 3, 2014

New Blog -- Kuroneko's Lovely Mangas

I've decided to make the Crimson Flowers blog a scanlation only blog. Therefore I pulled all the non-scanlation posts over to a new blog and started posting on that blog tonight. The blog is called "Kuroneko's Lovely Mangas". Here's the link. The main focus of this blog will be anime and manga reviews, series and oneshot summaries, and shoujo and josei manga news. The first new post has just been posted here. It covers highlights from Betsuhana issue 1/2015.

Nov 22, 2014

Kuroneko003 is taking a Break until December 8th

The holidays are swamping me, so I'm gonna have to officially take a break from CF until December 8th. I will be cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year and my husband and I are going to take care of some household projects and take some little trips for the next two weeks. CF will start releasing again mid-December.

Nov 21, 2014

What I Tried to Read Earlier: "Rafnas" by Yumiko Shirai

Title: ラルナス / Rafnas
Mangaka: 白井弓子 (Yumiko Shirai)
Publisher/ Publication: Fubasha / Gekkan Comics
Magazine: Gekkan Action
ISBN: 9784575844665 
Purchase: Amazon JP / Amazon US / YesAsia / Honto

Synopsis: A second planet has has covered the land. The rivers of floating land are known as "Rafnas", and humanity has split into people must live in the Rafnas and people who cannot. Rima, a Rafnas dweller who has an incredibly high force field, has been named the new observer and protector because she can repel the rivers of debris and animals in the Rafnas. Ragi, a "returned ancestor" works in a mine and represents the "returned ancestors" in Rafnas politics. This is the love story between the woman who "flies" the highest and a man who cannot fly.

First Impressions: Wow! Cool! Looks like there's gonna be a lot action! Ouch! This is some difficult Japanese!

Artwork A: This manga is beautiful! And this is one of the few action manga that where I can follow the motion in the drawings. The backgrounds and the character designs are detailed and full of life.  Each page is a feast for the eyes and fun to look at regardless of Japanese literacy.

Presentation B: I'm so sad the color pages from the magazine aren't included in the compiled volumes. They were magnificent! Instead there are included as black-and-white two pages spreads. Otherwise it's a typical manga compilation. The cover illustration is one of my favorite. Rima looks amazing leaping through the sky.

Story B:  First of all, I only got through half of the volume before the difficult Japanese beat me into submission. So this review will only cover the first 3 chapters. The first three chapters are devoted to world creation. It talks about the Rafnas, the great disaster that brought about the Rafnas, and the evolved humans who live in the Rafnas. The pacing is good and the world is interesting. The male male character Ragi is an everyday blue-collar guy. He's gruff, friendly, and very sincere. Rima is overpowered, but she makes up for it by being very humble and doing her best to protect people from interference of her overpowered force field. Rima is a would-be goddess, but everyone in the world of Rafnas are good country folks, so they don't mind the goddess and treat her like everyone else. As usual, I enjoyed the old-folk banter. Unfortunately, the technical babble got in the way of me fully enjoying the story. I wanted more banter.

Readability Difficult: There is no furigana. Furigana would have gone a long way to help me with looking up the technical babble and the made up arrangements of kanjis. Most of the difficulty comes from taking technical babble in Japanese to technical babble in English to interpreting what the technical babble is expressing. It's hard enough to deal with English technical babble, but the added layer of Japanese made it too time consuming for me to continue.

Overall B+: The pretty pictures are enough to make this a worthy purchase. If this were in English, I'd eat this up, but sci-fi wrapped in Japanese was too trying on my patience. If you're fluent or at an advanced level of Japanese, I highly recommend this title. When people start talking it's a lot of fun!



Nov 16, 2014

"Hana and Earth" Question

Sooo... I've found the rest of "Hana and Earth" while organizing my manga magazines. The series finally got it's legs towards the end of the first volume, so I'm interested in reading the rest of the series myself. My questions for the readers of this blog is are you interested in having this short series translated? Here's a link to my original review. I'll put a poll in the right hand column of this blog. Please understand that this group has a certain amount of bandwidth, so if we do "Hana and Earth", then some other new project will get delayed.

Nov 14, 2014

"Danshi Gurashi" Chp 4 (end)

This chapter feels like a chapter from the longer series this should have been. We finally get a real taste of Ryouga's sadistic personality. AUGHHHHH!!! I'm so frustrated that this wasn't longer!!! Ryouga and Keigo are a fun roommate pair. Sigh... MORE PLEASE.

If you liked this, please buy the book!
  • ISBN-10: 4592194152
  • ISBN-13: 978-4592194156

Amazon JP
Amazon USA
YesAsia
Honto JP

And now onto the release!

Nov 13, 2014

"Danshi Gurashi" Chapter 3

Here's chapter 3 of "Danshi Gurashi". I feel like this chapter finally begins the series... and then it abruptly ends. The fourth chapter is more like an extra short story. This should have been a longer running more developed series. I want to know more about Ryouga and Keigo's friendship and school life. I want to explore friendship amongst young men more. It's so rare for shoujo to explore male bonds without involving a girl in a love triangle. Guys have great stories about the stupid adventures they have with their male roommates. And guys have feelings of jealousy and loneliness when their best friend starts dating seriously or gets married. I'd like to see that played out in a shoujo or josei series.

Enough of my wishlist, an onto the release!

Nov 9, 2014

What I Recently Read: "Ningyo Oujisama" ("Mermaid Prince") Volume 1 by Yuana Kazumi

Title: 人魚王子さま / Ningyo Oujisama / Mermaid Prince Volume 1
Mangaka: 和深ゆあな / Yuana Kazumi
Publisher / Imprint: Tokuma Shoten / Zenon Comics
Magazine: Monthly Comic Zenon
ISBN: 9784199802164
Purchase: Amazon JP / Amazon US / Yes Asia / Honto JP

Genre: Seinen, comedy, gag

Synopsis: 30-year old Manato Kogane has been unemployed for a year. With dwindling savings and his youth slipping away, his only hope is a lottery ticket. When his lottery ticket falls into a pond, Manato jumps in after it and sees a mermaid. After some contemplation, he goes back to the pond hoping to take a picture of the mermaid so he can profit from the media circus. However when he actually meets the mermaid, she tells him that she is collecting coins from the pond so God will grant her wish to become human and find love. As thanks to Manato for feeding her, the mermaid gives Kogane her coins, but instead of using the coins for himself, Manato offers the coins and a year of his life to make the mermaid's dream to become human come true. And with this, Manato's life with the mermaid Sango begins.

First Impression: Oh, the cover is really pretty, but should I buy this? It might be nasty "surprise". No, it's a clean gag-comedy gender-bending series! I love the artwork!

Artwork A: The color page is gorgeous! I like the watercolor-look of both the cover, the color page, and the black-and-white comic pages. The backgrounds are detailed but don't overwhelm the foreground. The mangaka uses sparkles, bubbles, and glow to enhance comedic and fantastic moments.

"Danshi Gurashi" Chp 2

Recruitment: 
We are in desperate need of proofreaders and QCers. I realize for people who are in school, now is midterms, so this may only be a temporary need. But if you are fluent in English, know English grammar, and pay close attention to detail, we need your help now. If you would like to volunteer, please contact me, Kuroneko003, using the link in the upper right hand side of the blog.
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Here's chapter 2 of "Danshi Gurashi". We'll be finishing up this series within a week (most likely by Wednesday). We will not be adding a new series to fill in for it. Rather we we do oneshots.

This chapter plays with the notion of the fujoshi bait and is very conscious of the fact that this series is fujoshi bait. I think it's a sad world where any two people sharing an apartment are assumed to be romantically linked. Most of the time, roommates are just roommates. My guess is that Ryouga's fears are stupid and reflect a lack of confidence on his part. Seriously, why give a rat's ass about something like that?

And now onto the release!

Recruiting: Proofreaders and QCers

We are in desperate need of proofreaders and QCers. I realize for people who are in school, now is midterms, so this may only be a temporary need. But if you are fluent in English, know English grammar, and pay close attention to detail, we need your help now. If you would like to volunteer, please contact me, Kuroneko003, using the link in the upper right hand side of the blog

Nov 7, 2014

New Series "Chiisana O'Ningyo Hiyori" (Tiny Mermaid Matters) Chapter 1 by Umi Minami

We are solidly out of Horror-Shoujo Mangaland. And now onto some fun. This is another series from Hatsu Kiss. So far it's been released in Japan every two months. The art style is kinda rough, but storytelling and humor are good. I especially like the personalities of the tiny mermaids. Anyhow, this is a gag-comedy series more or less, so expect some "stoopid". I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

And now onto the release!

Oct 30, 2014

Happy Halloween! Urban Legend Oneshot #2 "Drive"

Happy Halloween everybody! Here's the oneshot we felt most fit the spirit of Halloween horror stories. We hope you enjoy it!

A big thanks to all the volunteers who made this oneshot party possible. I didn't think we'd complete this many releases and still do our monthly releases. We've accomplished quite a feat.

And now onto the release!

Urban Legend Oneshot #1 "Satsujin Douga" ("Snuff Film") by Ryo Azuki


This is from a long running shoujo-horror oneshot anthology from Bonita magazine called "Yamitoshi Densetsu" ("Black Urban Legends"). This oneshot and the Halloween Day oneshot are from "Fushi Chou" ("Immortal Butterfly"), the second anthology. These oneshots are typical of what you expect from a horror movie. This oneshot in particular oneshot left those who read it in the group with lots of juicy questions.

And without further rambling!

Oct 29, 2014

Oneshot: "Replay" by Yutaka Tachibana

Here is the second oneshot from Yutaka Tachibana after "R-15 Horror", which was released a little earlier. I ask shoujo lovers to push through the horror to read the touching story of friendship in this story. Some of this was hard for me to get through when I was translating it, but I felt the overall story was worth the trip to a place I didn't want to go. I think this is the best oneshot of our Halloween party.

I like Yutaka Tachibana's oneshot shots a lot, so I will be looking out for more works by her in the future. And now onto the release!

Short Oneshot: "R-15 Horror" by Yutaka Tachibana

So... I'll just drop this one here... Yep... uh-huh...

Oct 28, 2014

I Lied -- "Rocker in Locker" by Tama Yukida

I lied. This is an opportunist release and it's another cute story. There's no horror in it at all. We were going to do a day after Halloween thing and discuss the various traditions around November 1st, but quite frankly, I think we're all exhausted and need a break. Some of those planned oneshots are in some state of completion, so we'll release them after we take a short break and release some of our regular monthly series. I'll detail our plans for the rest of fall and winter in a later blog post.

Thanks to Peonine for a fun translation and thanks to Aricania for lettering.

Oct 27, 2014

"Watashi to Kare to mou Hitori" (Me, him, and one more) by Ai Kurimi

Here's a little rest in between the horror. There's still some dangerous supernatural elements in the story, but it's more of a light-comedy romance.

So far I've been enjoying Ai Kurimi's light-comedy romances. Most of the them are mildly smutty like "Sweet Spot". There are several more untranslated oneshots out there, and we will be releasing the oneshots that have appeared in Petite Princess for the past 3 years. They're all so much fun.

And now onto the release!

Oct 26, 2014

"Mimi ga Kieta Hi" ("The Day Mimi Disappeared") by Isuzu

Nothing good can come of spending time in an elementary school rabbit hutch, and that's all I want to say about this oneshot.

Oct 25, 2014

"The Friend Doll" Case 3

Here's the third story from "The Friend Doll" compilation. There are many questions about what's going on at the end. If you have any theories, please do share. I'm not going to say much about the oneshot, because the fun is in letting the story unfold.

We will finish "The Friend Doll" compilation. Because we had limited time and resources for our Halloween releases, we had to prioritize projects. Expect Case 1 and Case 4 this winter.

And now onto the release!

Oct 24, 2014

"The Friend Doll" Case 2 by Azusa Tachibana

At the time I selected this oneshot, I didn't know it had been published in more than one shoujo horror short-story compilation. I found out that it had already been scanlated under a different name when we were almost done with the oneshot, so I decided that we'd complete it and release it anyway because we had put so much work into it.  Anyhow, if you've already read this oneshot, I'm sorry for the duplication. If you haven't read this oneshot... enjoy???? Haha! I guess it depends on your disposition.

Oct 23, 2014

Let's get this Party Started! "Harapekona Majo" Chapter 1 by Yuuki Isoya

I meant to post this last night shortly after midnight, but I got distracted and forgot, so I'm posting it first thing in the morning.

This series was in the debut issue of Hatsu Kiss magazine, the magazine that replaced Kiss Plus. I don't want to spoil the fun of this first chapter, so I'll let you discover what this is. Just keep in mind that we are doing an all-horror Halloween this year, and this is no exception.

This series comes out every 4 months in Japan, so expect only 3 chapters a year. And now onto the release!
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Links to "Harapekona Majo" Chp 1 (PDF) (Zip)

Next up! Something you may have already read, but since we didn't find out that it had already been scanlated until we were in the middle of typesetting it, we're going to release it anyway.

Oct 12, 2014

New Short Series: "Nemurenu Ou ni Sasagu Yogatari" (A Bedtime Story for the Sleepless King") Chapter 1 by Toki Yajima

I'm never really sure whether to use the mangaka's incorrect translation of the title of their work. This one is pretty clunky, so when I post, I'm going to use the Japanese title. But if I were to give this series an English title, I would use "A Bedtime Story for the Sleepless King".

I just found out that this series ends at chapter 4. I was hoping that it would last longer as the mystery unfolds. I hope the end isn't rushed. This first chapter made me cry, so you may want to get out some tissues in preparation. I don't want to say much more because the way the story is told is rather interesting.

And now onto the release!

Regarding Kaoru Ichinose's Works

We get questions from time to time about whether we are translating works from Kaoru Ichinose. We are. We have a couple of lost and untranslated works from her days at Hakusensha and there are two recent long form oneshots, one of which just came out last month. We are concentrating on the long-form oneshots for now. Each is 123 pages long, so please be patient with us. Top priority is the follow up to  "Hajimari wa Suna no Ichiya".  The latest one is called "Tensai Gakusha ni Koishitara" ("If I fall in love with a Genius"). We have the raws for "Taiyou mo Wasuresasete" and "Umewaka Torimonochou", but I have not put them on the schedule yet. We have a Halloween to get through and a bunch of almost finish oneshots from August to release. After that, we will get to "Hajimari wa Suna no Ichiya".

Oct 11, 2014

"Sabaku no Harem" Chapter 3

Isn't this a gorgeous title page?! I love orange, purple, and pink together. And the blue accents pop out! So pretty!

We're chugging along with the releases. We need help with final proofreading. A lot of releases are suddenly getting done nowish. If you are experienced and good at proofreading and copy editing, and have time to volunteer, please contact me via the email link at the top right hand of this blog. We need dedicated volunteers who can start proofreading soon after the notice sent out.

Okay, enough of that! We are on chapter 3 of "Sabaku no Harem". We meet a new prince who will be the central focus in chapter 4. I like the humor in this chapter. Mishe is an easy dupe! Still, her earnestness wins me over.

And now onto the release!

Oct 4, 2014

"Kanojo ni Naru Hi Another" Chapter 6

"Kanojo ni Naru Hi" and "Kanojo ni Naru Hi -- Another" will be releasing in Japan and on this blog on alternating months. "Kanojo ni Naru Hi -- Another" comes out next week in Japan and "Kanojo ni Naru Hi" comes out in November in Japan. Both are in separate bi-monthly magazines, so that's how it works out.

This chapter feels like a turning point in the story. To be honest, I can't tell where the story is going from here, which is kinda exciting. I'm not even sure I know what I want to happen in the next chapter.  Haha! I guess I'll find out on the 13 or 14th when Lala DX arrives in the mail from Japan.

And now onto the release!

Oct 3, 2014

"Kanojo ni Naru Hi" Chapter 6

Miyoshi and Mamiya are back! The story picks up with them a year after Mimaya came out of her cocoon again. At this point, Miyoshi and Mamiya are college students in their early 20's. This series is a little more mature than the original series. I look forward to seeing where the series goes.

So without saying much about the chapter, let's get on with the release!

Oct 2, 2014

"Bread & Butter" Chapter 3

I've been trying to get on a monthly release schedule for this series, but so far we're still about 60-days. It's a tough series in all ways, so I guess we're doing the best we can. Oh well...

In this chapter we learn some more about Hara's past. Yuzuki gets on my nerves with her silly assumptions and then totally pisses me off by acting and speaking because of her silly assumptions. I found myself yelling at her while translating. Seriously, if you don't know the situation, shut up. I can't handle people who act like Yuzuki. Hopefully with this, she's learned a lesson. Poor Hara's got a long road ahead while Yuzuki grows up.

And now onto the release!

Sep 28, 2014

Magical Change Chapter 4

This is one of the short chapters in "Magical Change". Demons guys are hot. 'Nuff said.

Sep 13, 2014

Crimson Flower is Recruiting

We are currently recruiting for Fall and Winter projects.  All position are open. Please see our recruitment page for a list of the positions (LINK). If you are interested in joining Crimson Flower for a short term or long term, please contact me, Kuroneko003, using the contact link at the top right-hand corner of this blog.

We will be doing an all shoujo/josei horror Halloween oneshot party and hot and steamy oneshots for to keep you warm throughout the winter. If you want to work on some truly weird shoujo, come join us! There's plenty to do!

Sep 12, 2014

"The Ghost Apartment Manager" Chapter 13

This chapter is a continuation of Tatsumi's story. In this chapter, though, the perspective changes to Kanie, the person who Tatsumi is worried about. This time I took the time to give Tatsumi a distinct accent. I probably laid it on too thick. Oh well. There's also some more development of the relationship between Sekka and Usami. I can't seem to think of Usami as being suspicious. I think he's lonely like Sekka and wants to be friends. Granted he may want to make use of Sekka's ability to see ghosts, but given the way this series has been going, he probably wants to say something to a dead loved one or he's just interested in the occult. That's just my guess. I guess we'll see. I'm getting worried about the child ghost. Stories about dead little children are always sad.

And now onto the release!

Sep 5, 2014

Announcement: Schedule Rearrangement

My computer crashed multiple times during most of August. I replaced the hard drive and reloaded everything, and now everything is stable. However because of the lost time, we were not able to complete most of the "Summer Heat" oneshots we had planned. We need to move on to work on the Halloween oneshot party, so the steamy oneshots will become our Winter holiday oneshots in December. Most of them were pretty far along, so they should come out quickly when we're done with Halloween.

Sep 3, 2014

Recently Read: "Innocent" by Sakamoto Shinichi

Title: Innocent (イノサン) volume 1
Language: Japanese
Mangaka: Sakamoto Shinichi (坂本眞一)
Publisher / Publication: Shueisha / Young Jump
ISBN:  9784088795652
Purchase: Amazon JP 

Synopsis: This series is the fictionalized story of Charles Henri Sanson who was the fourth generation Royal Executioner of France. He served during the reign of Louis 16th. This first volume covers from when he was expelled from school to his first execution job. It is based on historical events, but the details are fictionalized.

First Impressions: Wow! The artwork is gorgeous! But yeeks! There are a lot of disturbing scenes in this manga. I'm not sure I can handle this.

Artwork A+: Both the color illustration and the black and white illustrations are amazing. The black and white illustration are technically excellent as well as emotive. There's detail to drool at for days and fantastical scenes of beauty and horror, sometimes in the same image.
There are some scenes of torture which I found unnecessarily erotic considering how upsetting the violence was. But still, the images were lovingly drawn. There is lots of use of light and shadow to make evil people look extra sinister. The drawing styles of the backgrounds shifts throughout the volume.  It's very different than how the faces in the foreground are drawn. I got used to it quickly though.

Sep 2, 2014

New Short Series: "Danshi Gurashi" Chapter 1 by Mai Mishikata

We've been sitting on this short series for a while. We finally have a typesetter, so hopefully we can release the rest of the series soon. This series came out in Hana to Yume in 2013 before "Lip Smoke". It reminds me of a modern day "The Odd Couple". The series is pretty low-key and pleasant with a some fan service thrown in once in a while.  Basically it's fujoshi bait, so fujoshi, go at it. I, on the other hand, will take this for face value.

I think Doujima looks like a younger version of Seta.

And now onto the release!

Aug 29, 2014

"Sabaku no Harem" Chapter 2

Look what's back! I wasn't very impressed with this chapter because it's pretty standard for a desert harem series, so I wanted to read the third and fourth chapters to see where the series is going. Both  chapters are lots of fun, so I decided to grind through this second chapter and continue the series. This chapter isn't bad or anything, it's just that it's the standard "Somebody tried to poison the Prince" chapter. Mishe and Kallum go at each some more. I love their chemistry. We also get a few more details about Mishe's upbringing, which leads me to ask whether Mishe was being trained to be an assassin or a body guard.  Of course, I love the idea of Mishe being an assassin. But we'll see. Something is weird about her.

And now onto the release!

Aug 27, 2014

Aug 14, 2014

"Kanojo ni Naru Hi -- Another" Chapter 5

When I first saw this frontis page, I thought, "please let Sagara become the school bancho". That would be cool! Maybe it'll happen. Who knows. Anyhow, what does happen sets up for an interesting arc for the series as a whole. The question is whether anyone will actually do it and how does this bleed over into the main series "Kanojo ni Naru Hi".  Oh, ho, ho! I guess we released that oneshot just in time.

A reminder: "Kanojo ni Naru Hi" with Mamiya and Miyoshi is resuming in September in Ane Lala magazine. Of course, we will be translating the series unless and until it is licensed.

And now onto the release.

Aug 12, 2014

Manga Review: "Black Rose Alice" Volume 1 by Setona Mizushiro

Title: Black Rose Alice
Mangaka: Setona Mizushiro
Publisher: Viz / Shoujo Beat
ISBN: 978-1421571607
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: LINK

First Impressions:  I've wanted to read this series for long time, but I've never had the patience to deal with Japanese because of the katakana for the non-Japanese names and the complicated story. I'm glad I waited because the name in the first half of the volume would have infuriated me. I had some inkling of the vampire mechanic in this series, but it's nice to finally read the details.

Breakdown: 

Artwork C+: All of the faces are typical Setona Mizushiro. In a way, the character designs feel recycled from past works. It's not a bad thing, but it did set character personality expectations based on past works for me. The cover isn't that interesting to me, but the artwork that is supposed to be in color are pretty. The backgrounds are serviceable but sparse. They don't really add much to the story and none of the story pages strike me as memorable. I guess overall the art work is just there.

Aug 7, 2014

What I Read Recently: "The Ice Queen" by Rikachi

Title: Koori no Joou / 氷の女王 / The Ice Queen Volume 1
Mangaka: Rikachi / リカチ
ISBN: 4063418960 / 978-4063418965
Publisher / Publication:  Kodansha / Bessatsu Friend (Betsufure)
Purchase: Amazon JP / Amazon US / Yes Asia

Synopsis:
Nika is a 3rd-year middle-school student with social anxiety. One day she drops her eraser in class, and slacker Akira picks it up. After school, Nika follows Akira to an ice rink in pursuit of her eraser. There, she discovers Akira's beautiful figure skating and her own love of the ice. Alternatively, Kiwako is a brash young champion ice skater and Akira's childhood friend. Akira tells Kiwako that one day Nika will become her rival. Which genius ice skater will become The Ice Queen?

First Impression:
Oh, the cover is so pretty and it's about ice skating! Uh-oh! Another timid shoujo heroine. Oh, but she's cute and she doesn't hate herself. She just has a hard time finding the words to say and speaking up. I can relate.

Breakdown --

Artwork B+:   The cover initially attracted me to his title.  I like the flaming red hair and the movement of the main characters in the illustration. In the comic, the skating sequences are very dynamic and give a sense of speed and whirling motion.

Aug 6, 2014

Hot Summer Oneshot #1: "Sweet Spot" by Ai Kurimi

I decided to have some fun during the second half of summer with some sexy oneshots. Please look out for them during August and September.

Let's kick off our late summer theme with a oneshot about a woman who loves lingerie. What drew me to this oneshot were the lovely and fanciful lingerie styles. I'd totally wear this kind of lingerie! Though, I don't think you can hide many of the elaborate styles underneath clothing. Needless to say, all who worked on this oneshot enjoyed editing the fanciful drawings. I also hope some guys give this oneshot a try too, because pretty lingerie is pretty. As for the story, it's pretty run of the mill until the end. I expected a certain ending, but I didn't expect the path to getting to the ending or details of the ending (not sure if that's clear). Haha! I'll say more in the comments if anyone wants to talk about it.

Oh, and everyone who finds it funny, please take the chance now to laugh heartily at the pen name "Ai Kurimi", because that's the best Ledicomi pen name EVER.

And now onto the release!

Aug 5, 2014

"Magical Change" Chapter 3

"Magical Change" is back! It kinda got lost in the shuffle, but now that it's found, we'll work to get the series done in a timely manner. There are only three volumes, so it shouldn't take long. The fourth chapter is really short, so we may release it this month.

Not much to say about this chapter other than it's the usual gag stupidity. Phantom shows his Demon Lord self, which I wasn't expecting. I thought he'd always be sweet. But it's good. He's really Maoh, so I'm happy.

And now onto the release!

Jul 30, 2014

"Servamp" has been licensed in English by Seven Seas Entertainment

W00t! Another OS/CF series has been licensed! I'm happy to see so many of the series we've championed get licensed! The first volume will release in March 2015. Here is some more information from Seven Seas Entertainment (LINK). If you enjoyed this series, please purchase the licensed version and support Tanaka Strike and Seven Seas!

We will now remove "Servamp" from our server, like we always do when a series get licensed.

Jul 28, 2014

"Bread & Butter" Chapter 2

Update 7/29/2014 --

Minor changes to the translation were made. None of them affect the story. I just wanted refinements for archiving purposes. If you are archiving the series, I suggest you download the latest file.
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It's been a while! We pretty much cleared our queue of unfinished content for our anniversary, so it has taken a while to get the next batch of releases ready. We are using a new imagine editing process that's so fast that translation and lettering are our bottlenecks now! It's gonna take some getting used to!

Ah... the second chapter of "Bread & Butter". I like this chapter a lot, but it took FOREVER to complete! Haha! After this, the chapters are shorter, so it shouldn't consume so much time in the future. Lots of emotions in this chapter, many of which we've experienced one way or another. I'll write my thoughts later in the comments.

One of the things I like about this series is the way the breads are integrated into the story. Too many mangas that involve cooking get wrapped up in the cooking process or the food itself, so the mangaka ends up writing long and boring food expositions. "Bread & Butter" seems to be doing a good job weaving the food into the narrative such that it's natural and the story doesn't come to a standstill.

And now onto the release!

Jul 26, 2014

Update! What I Recently Read: "Waltz no Ojikan -- Let's Dance a Waltz" Volume 1 by Natsumi Ando

UPDATE!

"Let's Dance a Waltz" has been licensed by Kodansha USA! Information here! If this series seems interesting to you, please support it by purchasing the book in Spring 2015! It would be a great starter manga for a tween or a young teen, of course, in conjunction with a talk about healthy weight loss.
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Title: "Waltz no Ojikan -- Let's Dance a Waltz" (”ワルツのお時間”)
Mangaka: Natsumi Ando
Publisher: Kodansha
Magazine: Nakayoshi
Genre: shoujo
ISBN: 9784063643909
Purchase: Amazon JP / YesAsia

Synopsis: When Hime Makimura was young, her mother told her that she could become like a princess. Now that Hime is in middle school, over weight, and unpopular, she believes her mom's expectations were too high and that the world is a cruel lie. Tango Minami is a popular high school boy who hides his job as a ballroom dance instructor to maintain his image. But what happens when Tango's mom urges Tango to take Hime as a student?! Will Tango's embarrassing job be revealed to his classmates?! Will Hime find the self-confidence needed to be like a Princess on the ballroom floor?! And what will it take to get Tango to dance competitively and challenge his childhood friend Yuusei?

The first volume includes chapters 1 - 4. There is a postcard pack-in included with the volume.

First Impressions -- 
Hime is really cute! She seems like a girl that we shy and unpopular girls can relate to.  The main male character Tango is an ass in a bad way.  I don't like people who hide their true selves for the sake of popularity. Oh gosh, please let Hime understand that being like a Princess comes from the heart and not from her surface appearance.


Breakdown --

Artwork B+: It's typical Natsumi Ando. There are big eyes, flower sprays, and sparkles everywhere. The cover, though, is beautiful and attracted me to buy it before I knew that it was by Natsumi Ando. That character designs are simple and clean. The characters can be distinguished from one another and the character's emotions are easy to read. The dance scenes are very dynamic and fluid and give a sense of the rhythm and the feel of the dance. These drawings are also the most detailed and are quite lovely. I also like the ballroom dress designs. There are lots of frills and flowing fabric that please my maiden's heart.

Presentation C: The dust cover is very pretty. Otherwise, it is an ordinary book. There are no color pages and on some pages, the text is really small because the book is small format. There is a post card packed into the volume. It's flimsy and monochrome, so I'm not sure how useful or collectible it is.

Story C: I like Hime, Yuusei, and Sumire a lot.  Hime has the potential to learn to love herself as she is, and Yuusei and his dance partner, Sumire, are the kind of caring people who could protect Hime as she goes through the process of self discovery.  However, Yuusei and Sumire are side characters who look like love triangle fodder, and the focus of the story is on the relationship between Hime and Tango. I understand that this is going to be a journey for both Hime and Tango, but Tango is too much of an ass for me to believe that Hime feels anything for him initially. I would like it more if Hime was focused on the dancing and self-improvement, while Tango wrangles with his popularity "issues".

While I like having a chubby female main character, I think the mangaka missed the opportunity to do something interesting with that character. Rather than her coming to like herself as she is and showing that body type does not impact the beauty of dance,  Hime is transformed into a Princess after getting put in to dress and having her hair and make-up done. To pile on the insults, Hime losses 40 lbs in two weeks by the end of the volume. And now suddenly-skinny and made-up Hime is a cute girl that Tango notices. This is an awful message to girls. I understand that I am approaching this from the standpoint of an American and that notions of being overweight and lady-like are different to Japanese people. But 40-lb weigh loss in two weeks is a dangerous expectation to set regardless of culture.


Anyhow, this is typical brain-rotting shoujo. There was potential for Hime to grow and become like a princess through her discovery of her natural dancing talent, but instead the story is reduced pretty princess production through hair, make-up, dress, and weight loss, and she's dancing because she's crushing on Tango. It's hurts my soul, but I have to give this a C because it's typical of shoujo to take this vapid viewpoint. But outside of the context of shoujo, this is an F.

Readability -- Easy: This series has furigana and many of the words are spelled out in hiragana rather than kanji. Because I am not a native speaker, the lack of kanji for some words drove me nuts because of the myriad homophones in Japanese. Regardless, this series uses typical shoujo language, so readers used to shoujo should breeze through this. The only things new to me were the dance terms, some of which had weird Katakana. Fortunately, all of the terms were in my iOS dictionary. The entire volume took me a little over an hour to read.

Overall C+: This is vapid and potentially damaging to already fragile tweens and teens. However, this is typical shoujo, so hopefully readers enter expecting purely imaginary fluff. The pretty pictures and Hime's and Yuusei likable personalities save some of the story for me.  However because it follows a strict shoujo formulation, I don't feel like I need to read the rest of the series. If you are learning Japanese and want something to read, this is a good first manga. Otherwise, unless you are a hardcore shoujo fangirl who loves ALL the tropes, you can skip this a miss nothing.

Jul 11, 2014

Josei Oneshot: "Ai no Tane" ("What Love Is") by Akiko Oshima

This is one of the oneshots I live Tweeted a a few months back. I got a lot of positive feedback while Tweeting it, so I decided to do a formal translation. A huge thanks goes out to Silver Lunar for cleaning and redrawing this oneshot. It looks lovely.

Just a note so you don't get confused, the pets are shown as humans and animals.

I live-Tweet manga at least once a week. If you would like to join in the fun and have some say about what gets scanlated, follow me @KuronekoOO3. If you don't want to be overwhelmed by my other Tweets, you can view the stream in the right side bar of this blog. Just wait until you see manga going by and then join in. You can reply using the widget imbedded in the blog.

And now onto the release!

Jul 8, 2014

"Kanojo ni Naru Hi -- Another" Volume 1 Extras

Purchase —
     Volume 1: Amazon JP / YesAsia

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Finally! Here they are! This big bundle of goodies includes the "Kanojo ni Naru Hi" Miyoshi and Mamiya story that ran in Lala a few months back. I'm glad I waited for the high quality tankoubon version.

In case you didn't know, "Kanojo ni Naru Hi" will be returning in September. It will run in Ane Lala, which is switching to bi-monthly publication instead of quarterly. Of course, we will continue with the series. I'm looking forward to it!

And now onto the release!

Jul 7, 2014

"The Ghost Apartment Manager" Chapter 12 and Chapters 1 - 11 Catch Up

I was toying around with releasing this yesterday, and then "Orcs Must Die 2" happened to me and my husband. It's a simple video game, but it's so addictive, especially if you have some other people to play with.  That game may ruin my life for the next couple of weeks.

It's been a while since we released a chapter of "The Ghost Apartment Manager". It isn't that I'm not not excited about this series. To the contrary, finishing the series makes feel kinda sad because it's so good. I've decided, though, that we will put more effort into finishing the series. I was kinda hoping that it would get licensed, but since it doesn't involve a supernatural boyfriend, a harem of supernatural boyfriends, and the main character is male, I've given up hope on a licensed version.

I've created volume batches for those of you new to the series or if you need a refresher on the series. I hope people unfamiliar with the series give it a try. It really is wonderful. Work on chapters 13 and 14 has already begun, so barring any real life drama, we should be able to crank this series out to the end.

This chapter gets the Tatsumi arc into full swing. It's nice to see that he's more than just dogs and running. I'm not sure about the new character Usami. I usually don't like characters like him because in real life aggressively friendly people scare me.

Jul 6, 2014

Lala Fantasy Oneshot: "Baku to Nemurihime" by Yuki Fujitsuka

I hope everyone in the US had a nice 4th of July! We grilled vegetables and portobello mushrooms instead meat. It turned out better than I ever could have thought. For a change of pace during a BBQ, I suggest giving grilled veggies a try!

Thanks for the wait. Of course, I wasn't anywhere near a computer on the 4th of July, so I couldn't do the release. This is the last of our 5th anniversary releases. This oneshot is also from Lala Fantasy, and if I remember correctly, the favorite amongst the Crimson Flower translators. This story is a new fairytale.  Hee! I hope you enjoy it as much as we all did!

And now onto the release!

Jul 4, 2014

Lala Fantasy Oneshot: "Vered no Rosemary" by Hitsuji Harumi

This is one of the oneshot from Lala Fantasy, a special Fantasy themed Lala magazine. The frontis page of this oneshot struck me. It looks like one of those carved cameo. I also like the rosemary wreathe and the ornament in Rose's hair.

I really enjoyed Peonine and Jade's translation of this oneshot. Great job ladies! Ahhh... and Ichi's redraws... Hee! Anyhow, I'm a sucker for royal romance like this one.

And now onto the release!

Jul 3, 2014

Aka Lala Oneshot: "Shoku no Hana" ("Starving for Hana") by Yumi Kiiro


I know a bunch of you feel trolled by yesterday's release. I think we can say after that, typical shoujo won't do for this audience. Of course I'm happy about this! It means we've made the transition! I still appreciated the drawing of the action sequences in "Shoujo Jump" and I had a lot of fun creating a sparkly banner. But now it's time to go to back something different. This oneshot is from Aka Lala (Red Lala), one of the special color Lalas that released in early 2013. The theme for this magazine was "passion". I don't want to say too much about his oneshot because the fun is in watching the story unfold. This isn't the last you'll see about the subject of this oneshot from us. Hopefully within the next few weeks, we'll debut one of the weirdest joseis I've ever read that happens to be about "this".

For now, please enjoy this "Ravenous" shoujo. And now onto the release!

Jul 2, 2014

Oneshot: "Shoujo Jump" by Yuu Kurumi

We wanted to release this during the Winter Olympics, but the release didn't come together until now. Thanks to Ichi for taking on and producing some wonderful redraws! Thanks to Peonine and Jade for the translation! And lastly, thanks to Suzume for lettering the oneshot.

This is an ice skating oneshot, obviously. Haha! I thought it was super cute and I like the action drawings, something we rarely see in shoujo. It's too bad we'll not see any sports shoujo manga soon since the US publishers assume we won't buy the series. Grr...  I hope you all enjoy this confection!

And now onto the release!