Neon Genesis Impacts photo
Neon Genesis Impacts

Animator Expo's third Eva short is all about music and friendship

Evangelion has never been this cute
Sep 18
// Salvador GRodiles
Another Evangelion-related short has invaded Animator Expo, and its impact is surprisingly cuter than the usual stuff we expect out of the series. Instead of focusing on the Eva pilots and the folks at NERV, "Neon Genesis Imp...
MangaGamer Uncensored photo
MangaGamer Uncensored

Make it Steamier: MangaGamer gets an uncensored game on Steam

Hot stuff
Sep 02
// Josh Tolentino
Well, here's a surprise: It looks like Steam is about to get its first true adult game...of sorts. MangaGamer have just announced that they've managed to prevail on the PC's premier game market to allow an uncensored version ...

Japanator supports love!

Jun 27 // Josh Tolentino
Artist credits to: Minako Komahara wwtwj Yoshinaga Masahiro  
Japanator supports love! photo
In a historic decision Friday, the United States Supreme Court ruled that state barriers to same-sex marriage were unconstitutional, effectively legalizing the institution for same-sex couples nationwide. Naturally, social me...

New Yuru Yuri photo
New Yuru Yuri

New Yuru Yuri anime is coming soon

This pleases me greatly.
Feb 09
// Chris Walden
It seems that the anime industry doesn't plan on cooling down amidst what seems like hundreds of figure reveals at Wonder Festival today, as Namori, creator of Yuru Yuri, has announced via her Twitter account that a new anima...

Hentai Games photo
Hentai Games

Demon Master Chris now available for preorder

Combine dungeons and stripping, because why not
Sep 29
// Karen Mead
These hentai dungeon crawlers have actually come a long way. Back in the day, say 2008, the games were pretty bare-bones affairs where an incredibly shallow battle system was propped up by sexy artwork. Demon Master Chris, du...

First Impressions: Yuru Yuri S2

Jul 05 // Chris Walden
This is where I'd go into a little detail about the plot, but as you may have guessed, there isn't really much to be found in Yuru Yuri. The girls interact at school, on trips or at each others houses, and that's pretty much the general gist of it. That's not to say that there's a shortage of gag opportunities, as the show constantly finds more and more ways to use yuri undertones and make a joke of it. That's something that should really be cleared up for those that didn't watch the original series: this show isn't really yuri. There are many gags on the subject, and some of the girls definitely hint on having interest in the same sex, but this is all in the name of humour as the show is far from a romance.  This is a comedy through and through, and similarly to many other anime, it uses its school setting to create more joke opportunities. There are lots of characters in this show, each with their own quirks and personalities, and they become the foundation for which Yuru Yuri builds upon. You can argue that many shows to do this too, but this is one of a few that has an incredibly likeable cast. It really is like K-On! meets Nichijou, just with all of the 'lets act cute for the sake of merchandise' rubbish filtered out.  The opening scenes didn't leave me with a great first impression. Akarin? Who is that, and why is she taking up precious Yuru Yuri screen time? For the first five or so minutes we are forced to watch her interacting with the usual cast, while they act like they've known her forever, with some even showing romantic feelings towards her. What is this? Why is this happening? Why ruin a brand new season? Oh, it was a dream! Now the real show can begin! The rest of the episode sees the lead female trio heading to a hot springs resort for some good old relaxation, possibly to recover from the aforementioned nightmare. In no other show can you observe a young lady with hair that can devour ping-pong balls, conduct the age-old experiment of hitting two buttons at the same time on a vending machine, and even experience some anime-ception with a sneak preview of the latest Mirakurun animated movie. Saying that the first episode of this new series in jam-packed is a severe understatement.  Those of you that watched the original season will know that the opening and ending music set a high bar for the second season to try and surpass. Did it manage it? No, not quite. The opening has some great accompanying animation, but I feel that, while the music isn't bad, it isn't great either. It certainly does its job, but I find it a little disappointing. The ending, however, is pretty darn good. It's not winning me over last seasons ED, but it's pretty enjoyable nonetheless. A small shame, but it's not going to put you off the show. All in all, the first episode of Yuru Yuri made a fantastic start. The humour is as good as it was, the re-introduction of characters was handled in an incredibly sensible manner and it is showing no signs of letting up. Time will tell if this is actually the case, but things are certainly looking good! [These schoolgirl shenanigans can be observed for educational purposes on Crunchyroll!]

It is time. Everyone's favourite borderline-yuri school comedy featuring Toshinou Kyouko has returned for a second season, giving people something to watch in a dire selection of new anime. Oh okay, that's a little harsh! Sti...


Be proud: Tokyo Disney allows same-sex weddings

May 17
// Josh Tolentino
If you keep up with the news, you'd know that the last few days have been fairly good to folks looking out for public expressions of support for same-sex rights. The latest happy news comes straight from Glorious Nippon, home...

Je t'aime ma petite fleur

Apr 20
// Chris Walden
Have you been waiting for more information on the Rune Factory 4 boss-marrying mechanic we spoke about back in February? No? Well tough, as I'm busting out my French for this special occasion. We have a fancy new trailer to s...

Yuru Yuri second season HNNNG

Dec 17
// Chris Walden
According to the official website itself, the adorable yet hilarious Yuru Yuri will soon be getting its second season! We'll be seeing the first glimpse of this new season, which seems to be titled Yuru Yuri♪♪, in...

Review: Sono Hanabira ni Kuchizuke wo - Anata to Koibito Tsunagi OVA

Jan 18 // The-Excel
To quote the anime blog Listless Ink, "Sono Hanabira ni Kuchizuke wo (その花びらにくちづけを) began as a simple yuri visual novel that features a really light yuri story. It emphasized the soft romance between two girls and quickly became one of a kind in a world dominated by fetishist and heavy materials. It was also the first ecchi visual novel that features purely yuri relationships. Because of its uniqueness, it soon gained widespread popularity not only within the niche, but among many anime fans." While I have yet to find that last sentence to be true anywhere, this contrast is the only reason I pay any attention to this series alone out of all of the hentai out there. Since day one, Fuguriya has prided themselves on deliberately having none of the hentai staples that make animated pornography unbearable in any of their products. In other words, it's exactly the kind of smut I can endorse. It's the exception to the rule, much like most of the things I like. The OVA was announced last September as the first production of the animation studio "chuchu" and like Fuguriya, it was formed for the express purpose of filling the yuri-shaped void in mature animation. And it couldn't have come soon enough.This OVA is loosely based on about 10% of the eroge of the same name, the third in this series. Anata to Koibito Tsunagi follows the relationship between the perpetually cool-headed Mai Sawaguchi and by-the-book tsundere Reo Kawamura. Mai's unending advances toward Reo fuel a tension that comes to a head when Mai misses school due to sickness. Reo visits her home and reveals that she's hopelessly in love with Mai. Thus begin the sexy adventures of one of the most popular yuri couples in recent history. However, if you watch this anime without any background, you likely would never guess any of this. Due to the criminally short runtime of 21 minutes, the animators had to make serious compromises to fit as much of the spirit of the eroge as possible. And for whatever reason, the events of the OVA are backward from the eroge it adapts; here, Reo gets sick and Mai comes to visit. Sure, there are bits of humor and heartfelt romance in the time between the kissing and caressing, but most of the duration is monopolized by the cleanest, most well-animated explicit sex in the history of Japanese animation. Before I continue, allow me to make an aside. After I watched Inception, I noticed a pattern with many of my favorite works. The shows and movies that most effectively hold my attention embrace brevity. Inception used cuts that were kept as short as possible, not repeating or showing anything that did not absolutely have to be seen. I often state that the original Di Gi Charat is my favorite anime of all time for the same reason, having minimal character development that was just enough to fully explain everyone's motivations. Azumanga Daioh, Nanoha, and FLCL are other works that earned my respect by keeping things brief by virtue of episode count (or by segmentation in Azumanga's case). By that pattern, I believe Sono Hana as a whole to represent adult-oriented yuri distilled to its absolute essence, disregarding its own constraints with a school setting. The eroge themselves run only several hours at maximum and can be completed in a single sitting or two. They could be meatier, but their relative lack of weight doesn't work against them. Consequently, due to its length, this OVA is Sono Hana distilled to it's essence, being a sample of what it's about as a whole. It strikes the right balance of story and passion despite its short length by mirroring the flow of the eroge. Everything about this production is lovingly done, from the minute physical reactions to the orchestral music composed for the purpose, though the music does get loud at points. As far as hentai goes, this OVA occupies an interesting rank. It's in a class all its own, literally—reviews for it call it "classy," "pure," "tasteful," "tame" and "art." Some have complained that they were unable to do what they normally do with it. Unusual labels for what is objectively porn, to be sure. This is accomplished by drawing attention away from the mosaic regions and to the faces, which tend to be much more expressive. The sheer emotion on display overshadows any hardcore feel, which is an accomplishment in itself. That people enjoyed it despite that confirms my hope that this OVA is if nothing else a beacon of hope for the future of yuri. It is, in a way, a prot of the ideal yuri hentai: erotic yet clean, with just the right amount of story. Yes, we all know porn has no story, but let's be honest; everything needs some kind of seed to get the affair started, even if it's just how the subjects meet. Koibito Tsunagi does one better by compressing an entire love story and all of its sentimentality into one episode. chuchu proclaims that their specialty is in "high-quality yuri", and there's no denying that they're on a good start.Unfortunately, I find it a little difficult to recommend to someone just looking for a self-sufficient shoujo-ai story. It's in there, but the viewer will need to look elsewhere to fill in the blanks left untouched by this OVA. You could be forgiven for thinking this is an adaptation of a one-shot, but it's a lot deeper than that. If you don't know the plot of the original eroge, you'll see two schoolgirls making out for half an hour when you press Play and not a loose adaptation of a much deeper story. The very first scene is sex in the nurse's office with no context whatsoever. There are bits of flashback in between that retell the start of their relationship and where it's headed, but the juicy bits themselves are joined with frequent jump cuts that can make the entire affair hard to watch for those unfamiliar with the series. The world in this animation also feels empty compared to the source, as Mai and Reo are the only characters in it. We don't even see other students walking out of the school in the first flashback. This reflects how the eroge doesn't show any other characters on-screen, but at least that acknowledged they were there. Here, it's like everyone else on the planet vanished, what with the outdoor shot of the school and absolutely no one else surrounding it. St. Michael's School for Girls isn't even featured as prominently as it should have been, as most of the episode takes place in Reo's bedroom. You could argue that this sharpens the focus on the main characters, but if not for the sheer size of the bedroom, it would have felt even more isolated than it already is. Additionally, if you are familiar with the original eroge, you'll notice almost immediately that a lot of liberties were taken. Particularly, the perspective was switched to Reo's point of view (which was probably for the best) and Mai's personality is entirely different from the one in the eroge (over which some have taken issue). As it stands, it feels more like a 1-episode abridged series or a pilot or even just a one-shot than a coherent product derived from a larger whole (which is exacerbated in the recap over the credits). It's a much better experience if you already know who's who. Therefore, this OVA is not the friendly introduction to the series that I was hoping it would turn out to be. Then again, minimal storytelling didn't hold back the above works, so maybe my knowledge of the series is tainting my opinion on this.The Sono Hana eroge are in a class known as nukige, games built solely to titillate. Superficially, every entry in the series can be summarized as "two schoolgirls do each other over and over." While that isn't necessarily a bad thing in itself for what it is, the only thing that makes it noteworthy is that it's the closest thing yet seen to pure yuri with zero subtext. All of Sono Hana is two girls going further and further with their relationship, nothing more, nothing less. The more respected girls' love stories are known for depth and emotionally charged drama that explores the nature of same-sex relationships. While Sono Hana is known more for its light, saccharine story and untainted ecchi content than any level of substance, it doesn't let that or anything else get in the way of what the audience came for. That's exactly what I think makes it so popular. The fact that there actually is any story to speak of, mostly in the form of character development, helps too. Now that it's been extended to animated form, many more people are now able to experience that for themselves.At Otakon this year, I attended a panel that discussed yaoi and yuri and how the latter "gets no love". More specifically, when it does get love, something always has to ruin it. It can't just be about two girls' romance, there has to be things like contrived love triangles, artificial penises, unrealistic proportions, and kinks that saturate the genre. One attendee reasoned that most hardcore yuri is written by normal hentai writers, so it's formed the same way, dicks and all. However, they concluded that all yuri that goes beyond subtext is doomed to this fate. Fuguriya was apparently sick of this attitude and chose to defy it; for that reason, they enjoy a loyal, albeit sizable, following. They have not only proved that more than a few people out there want clean explicit yuri with a strong emphasis on romance over lust, but they don't mind waiting months to get it. And yet for some reason, only two people at the panel had heard of this series. While it is expected (albeit sad) that what could be considered vanilla hentai is the exception, it doesn't make sense to me that it should be at a premium. I mean, you would think that since so many people think girl on girl is hot, there would be a lot more of it in hentai. But for whatever reason, that isn't the case. And that sucks for me, since I have to enjoy what little I have, just like everything else in my life. With any luck though, the success of this OVA will turn that around in the coming years.Above are the rankings for anime DVD preorders on Getchu on 16 June 2010. As far as I can tell, the OVA shot up to #1 very soon after it was available and stayed there since at least early June until release. Notice the entries below it: shows like Angel Beats!, Bakemonogatari, Seikon no Qwaser, Working!!, and others with more public exposure lose out to it. Granted, this is only one storefront, but it's very telling how a single episode in what is currently a very niche genre has earned this many preorders. The reviews seem to agree with these numbers, with all of them expressing anticipation for the next release from chuchu. There is little doubt that this will see some kind of sequel or expansion into a full series. It's a shame that we had to settle for a side story to the eroge instead of an independent work in the meantime, but you'll still find enjoyment in it if you're looking for a hentai that promises to never to shock you in any way. You'll be too busy going "awww" instead.If you're not against this kind of thing, go watch it. And you will see that even in the field of animated erotic imports, Sturgeon's Law is king. 99% of it is terrible, but the other 1% is more than worth the trouble. The only real problem with this is that it isn't of the couple I wanted. Oh well. Such is life. In conclusion, I waited a year for this and it was totally worth it, if only for a taste of something more to look forward to. Here's hoping that I won't have to wait another year for an announcement of an anime of Tenshi no Hanabira Some.A frame from the sequel to this eroge, Anata wo Suki na Shiawase, rendered by Peko. I wonder what he thought of the Mayoi Neko Overrun! anime.A note of caution: If you choose to pursue the source material, there isn't much in the way of English translations. Only the first eroge has been fully translated, and it's not related to this OVA. However, I can't in good conscious recommend it solely as a link to this anime, because although it isn't bad, it just doesn't represent what the series is best known for as well as everything that followed. Look it up if only to see where it all started. Translations for most of the other eroge are underway, but none of them are anywhere near finished. One of the pairs involves a grade school student hooking up with her teacher, but it is far raunchier than anything Kodomo no Jikan ever attempted, to the point that it spits in the face of that Nonexistent Youth proposition. Avoid anything named Amakute Hoshikute Torokeru Chuu unless you're brave. Also, beware any scene that occurs in a bath.Another note: As noted above, the characterization was altered in the transition to animation. If you want to see how Reo and Mai normally act and you don't want to see the OVA or play the eroge first, watch the Reo/Mai Diaries and you might be surprised at the differences. Incidentally, the entirely work-safe YouTube series gives a better introduction to the characters and the world of Sono Hana without any of the risk. It's formatted like an eroge, so it will probably look awkward if you haven't played any eroge before. The translation adds the interface of one so you can at least tell who's talking. However, as of writing, the translation is ongoing with only three episodes out of ten translated.[Update]The fansub group SHiN-gx announced a decalingual fansub of this OVA in the works. If you speak Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Tagalog, Norwegian, or Indonesian, you will soon have little excuse to not give this a chance. I have never seen anyone so dedicated to give a single work so much exposure before. How many anime have been subtited in Indonesian?

[Back in August, The-Excel wrote this massive piece on a yuri work that deserves to be revisited now that we're in full swing of Ero Week. Enjoy, and watch out for some of the NSFW links enclosed. The post itself is fine for ...

Japanator review: S.S. Astro Vol. 1

Oct 22 // Brad Rice
S.S. Astro Volume 1Written and drawn by Negi BannoTranslated by Stephen Paul, Lettering by Alexis EckermanPublished by Yen PressOriginally release in August 2008Our four heroines cover most of the different areas of the school. There's Izumi Maki, the gym teacher who has yet to grow up; Yuko Nagumo, the Japanese teacher with a penchant for food; Setsuna Arai, the Nursing Teacher (not nurse) who's a bit of an otaku and a sadist; and Kaname Karasuma, the Foreign Language teacher who's not all that interested in men, but will try and spend her way into Izumi's heart.The group, as the title implies, forms based on the fact that they're all co-workers. Izumi and Yuko are both friends from high school who start working at Asashio together, while Setsuna and Kaname have been there a while -- and were around when the other two were still students there. The group of teachers all work to support each other as they go about their day, trying to act like responsible adults, even if they have no idea how. The stories throughout the volume are well-paced between humor, romance, and character exposition, making the book flow very well. The problem is, that means the book is over way too soon. Clocking in at around 117 pages, plus the translation notes and a preview chapter of Suzunari!, the book is over before you know it, leaving you wanting a lot more. I found myself flipping back at random points to re-read stories, or pay close attention to the colored art featured in the book -- mostly promo images done for magazines or events. Unfortunately, Yen Press decided not to print some of the color versions of strips, which, for me, is a little disappointing.I compare S.S. Astro to Lucky Star and Azumanga Daioh in this regard: The series features otaku humor regularly, but in a far more mainstream and basic sense -- like what you might see on The Colbert Report or such -- but in the end, it's part of the greater patchwork of these characters' school lives. So, if high school drama on a teacher level is what interests you, then S.S. Astro may grab your attention. But the series does come in at $11 a volume (typical for Yen Press), and with the low pagecount and quickness of this series, you'll likely find yourself not satisfied and looking for something more.

4-koma manga has steadily been growing in the U.S. After the rampant success of Azumanga Daioh, and the numerous titles to follow such as Hidamari Sketch, Lucky Star, and S.S. Astro. So today, let's delve into S.S. Astro. Ast...


Kadokawa to host advertisements on Youtube MAD movies

May 29
// God Len
Right now, in case you haven’t noticed, user-generated videos with anything related to Kadokawa have gone missing lately on Youtube. Much like the Martix, Kadokawa uses an automated system of squid-like robots to cruise...

Lesbians don't equal profit?

Feb 26
// Aoi
Good ol' Mainichi notes the progress of a shaky medium, namely non-pornographic yuri, in a magazine exclusively for yuri stories. I kinda find girl-on-girl nonsuccess hard to believe, and not just because yuri means "lil...

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