Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Valentine Day Special: The Ubiquitous Chapter

Imagine this scenario: a snow-covered school yard with the faint peals of the afternoon bell ringing through the crisp winter air. A young boy exits the building, his scarf wrapped tightly around his neck as he furrows his brow in contemplation. Suddenly, he feels a tug on his sleeve. He turns around and beholds a young girl standing behind him, with a beautiful heart-shaped chocolate in her hands, her cheeks red from a mixture of the cold and embarrassment. She takes a deep breath, as if to prepare herself for a mighty confession...when from out of nowhere, an elephant stampedes across the yard, grabs the unfortunate piece of chocolate, and hustles out the gate, leaving the boy still expectantly waiting for the now-chocolate-less girl to say something.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentines by the Numbers

For all the math nerds in the house, it's time for a statistical break down. Every year thousands in America rush to their nearest Hallmark store to buy cards, candy, and pink stuffed teddy bears. By doing a quick google, I discovered that Valentine's sells the most flowers and the fourth most candy of any holiday. The favorite flower? Red Roses by 48% of the sales according to aboutflowers.com . No need to guess about the favorite type of candy. It's chocolate all the way.

So sure, Valentine's is commercialized. It's hard to find a holiday on the American calender that isn't (Maybe Martin Luther King Day?). It's also commercial in Japan. While I was there, all the stores broke out elaborate boxes of chocolate. What a tempting sight it was! I almost bought a crate load for myself. Every chocolate truffle, an intricately crafted piece of art, wrapped perfectly in typical Japanese fashion.

In Shoujo manga however, heroines take a step back from the commercialism and cook up homemade Valentine's treats. I've hunted down recipes for a few of the more unusual desserts for your Valentine's consumption.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A More Mature Polecat

As we venture farther and farther into 2010, the new year always sparks a deep reflection of my growth of a person. Or, in this case, of my change in manga tastes.

From those early days of Cardcaptor Sakura so many years ago, I've read thousands and thousands of pages, spanning all different genres, plots, characters, and art styles. However, no longer am I willing to let anything pass before my eyes. This past year, a sort of filter has grown over my previously indiscriminate manga appetite, and I am no longer satisfied by what I usually read.

What I usually read and seek out is shoujo. Nice, fluffy shoujo manga, the sugary sweet kind that could attract magnets by how polarized the good and bad characters are, and the kind that has lots of emotional anguish, tears, and cookie cutter characters. What I'm craving now is JOSEI.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Twisted Romance in Dreamland

Sympathetic Character = Mad Woman in Attic
We've all seen this scene before: a couple stands at the altar, just about to say their final vows, when a woman/man bursts in, interrupting the ceremony to declare her/his undying love for the bride/groom standing at the end of the aisle. They collapse in each other's arms. The crowd cheers. True love has won the day. In the inverted situation in Jane Eyre, the reader sympathizes with Jane's pain.

In the past, I would have cheered and sighed along with the crowd, but now I say, "Ba Humbug!"

Over the past three nights, I was visited by three dreams. In each, I was a blushing bride in typical wedding day scenarios.

I won't bother you with two of the dreams. They were typical dream fare. That is to say, more than a bit random and nonsensical, but the third proved that my subconscious can tell a good story if provoked.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Search for Otome

Heileen, one of the few available English otome titles.
Last semester, Polecat, Starfish, and I found a number of ways of avoiding our always mounting work. In-between playing flash games (Winter Bells, anyone? Drench?), watching movies, reading the news, baking cookies, watching Buffy, and knitting, we sometimes fell into our fangirly, Manga Meditation-ish ways.

While I personally fell off the manga reading train, Polecat and Starfish continued to diligently log onto Manga Fox and One Manga and whatever other scanlation aggregates on the Internet. The three of us also continued our K and J drama nights; we're almost done with Hana Yori Dango 2, by the way.

Starfish took it further and began to delve deeper into the girly comics universe: Dating sims. If you know your shoujo manga, chances are you've at least heard of dating sims, and if you're even more dedicated, otome games.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Delightful Girl Choon Hyang: Initial Impressions

Not so delightful.
Well, I've begun the Korean drama Delightful Girl Choon-Hyang, and I'm very unimpressed. I was originally going to write episode summaries, or something semi-regular, but I've decided instead to write one review of the series as a whole once I've slogged through the whole thing, with a separate analysis following.

The reason I abandoned my original idea is that I'm having trouble just watching this thing. With it being one of the most popular dramas in the past ten years, I was expecting something really, genuinely good, something well-written, well-acted, and funny. Something on par with, say, Full House, My Girl, and, while it's a huge stretch, Coffee Prince (we're big fans here at MM). I knew it was too much to hope to see something as good as the latter drama, but couldn't it have at least been like My Girl?!