chomiji: A chibi drawing of Akari from Samurai Deeper Kyo, holding a plate of mochi dumplings, with caption Coming Right Up! (Akari-mochi)

So now that it's officially autumn (or will be, this afternoon, I think), here are the icons I've been working on ... .

Previews:

Sanzo, from Saiyuki Orihime, from Bleach Yuya & Kyo, Samurai Deeper Kyo

Click for the rest )
chomiji: A cartoon image of chomiji, who is holding a coffee mug and a book and wearing kitty-cat ears (Default)

I've been having much too much fun with my icons. At first I felt very protective and parental and didn't want to let any of them go, but now that I have lots of them, I don't mind so much ... and it's very warm and fuzzy to see them show up in other folks' posts.

Samples:

cut for 29 icons ....  )

If there's another one I use regularly that you'd like to have, you can always ask ... (the ones I still feel the most protective about are the Yukimura ones I use regularly), and I love making them by request too.

ETA: And I meant to put all the disclaimers: no hotlinking to my poor Earthlink account, please credit, etc. etc.

chomiji: A chibi cartoon of Hotaru from the manga Samurai Deeper Kyo, with a book. Caption: Manga Joy (Manga joy!)

In some ways this is not a good set of three volumes to review together, because they contain bits of several story arcs - vol. 11 continues the story of the summer vacation by the sea, whereas the other two are about the fall term at school. But vol. 10 really did end on a rather momentous note, so it seemed OK to break off blogging there. And really, there are unifying themes among these three volumes: Kyo and Tohru are becoming aware of their feelings for each other, while Yuki is exploring his new-found strength.

As the vacation draws to a close, Akito decides to confront first Kyo and then Tohru. The deeply sad and dark scenes that follow reveal the heart of the ties that bind the dysfunctional family together, and it seems as though nothing will ever be normal - or what passes for normal with the Sohmas - again. But when Shigure's household arrives back home - to find Ayame waiting for them, as flamboyant as ever - things quickly slip into schooltime routine. Nevertheless, Tohru, inspired to action by her experiences over the summer, can't leave the subject of the Sohma curse alone, and her investigations put her into some uncomfortable situations. Meanwhile, teacher-parent conferences are in store for her, Kyo, and Yuki: as the equivalent of rising high school seniors in the U.S., they need to consider whether they're going to university or not. Their teacher, Mayu, has her hands full as an assorted succession of Sohma adults show up in turn to talk to her about the kids. Volume 13 culminates with the senior class trip.

Read more ... cut for spoilers and extensive rambling and wibbling )
chomiji: A chibi cartoon of Hotaru from the manga Samurai Deeper Kyo, with a book. Caption: Manga Joy (Manga joy!)

Takaya-sensei continues to hold me in thrall, no matter how cynical I try to be. Here I should confess that I'm not terribly good at "cynical" actually.... just one big bleeding heart, that's me. But I am allergic to emotional manipulation, and she does resort to it sometimes. But mostly, she earns her heart-warming scenes and lines honestly, as genuine payback from the characters' worries and traumas.

The playful little intro to every volume, with Tohru cheerfully telling about the Sohma curse in a way that implies it's all fun and games, is beginning to grate as the story gets darker and darker. We learn more about what it's like to be a teenaged Sohma in love - and it ain't pretty. The situation of the adult Zodiac members is just as bad, even though they can control themselves better, and we witness some more of that as well, including more details about Hatori's tragic romance of several years ago. More revelations about horrible Sohma parents are balanced with increasing tenderness of all sorts among the characters as the Sohmas and Tohru and her friends get ready for and start their summer vacation. Volume 9 also includes Hanajima's backstory and a funny little extra about the teens waiting out a rainstorm and whiling away the time by telling spooky stories.

Read more ... with spoilers! )
chomiji: A chibi cartoon of Hotaru from the manga Samurai Deeper Kyo, with a book. Caption: Manga Joy (Manga joy!)

Help, I've been mugged by a volume of shoujo manga!

Yes, it's true. I picked up vol. 4 of Fruits Basket for cheap at Balticon over the 3-day weekend ... and that was the beginning of the end. I've been conquered by "America's most popular shoujo manga."

I have actually gobbled down volumes 4-10, but I'm forcing myself to break it up and think about it a little more. I bought 5-7 on Sunday night, and then picked up 8-10 on Wednesday afternoon. And I want more, more, more. (And so does the Young Lady.)

Read more ... with spoilers! )
chomiji: A chibi cartoon of Hotaru from the manga Samurai Deeper Kyo, with a book. Caption: Manga Joy (Manga joy!)

OK, this was very cute, and most of the time it wasn't too cute. Mostly it was sweet - "like a good apple" rather than "like cotton candy." I will say that I was happier when the edgier characters were "on screen" and when there were hints about things being darker than they might seem at first. But that's because I'm a worldly person who likes the Lymond Chronicles (Dorothy Dunnett) and Cyteen (C.J. Cherryh) and stuff like that ... (not to mention older teen shounen manga).

Sweet young teen Honda Tohru, a recent orphan, is living in a tent in the woods by herself so as not to inconvenience her grandparents (they think she's staying with friends). The land she's on turns out to belong to the powerful, mysterious Sohma family, many of whose members are afflicted with a strange curse. One eventful night, Tohru falls ill and her tent is buried in a landslide. She's taken in by a little sub-household of Sohmas: successful young novelist Shigure and his two teenaged cousins, Yuki and Kyo, who attend Tohru's school. I'm tempted to say "hijinks ensue," but I'd feel cruel - and it actually doesn't really begin to cover the range of events.

Read more ... with spoilers! )

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