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bitching about Yoshihara Rieko [Jul. 11th, 2013|09:12 pm]
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So. I read a lot of Yoshihara Rieko. I suppose she's still best known for Ai no Kusabi, which I personally thought was crap. The series I've been following over the years are Kusare-en no Housoku (about a trio of childhood friends, two of whom are lovers) and Nijuu Rasen (about incest, among other things). I recently got the newest volume of Nijuu Rasen, and was quite dissatisfied. I raved about volume 6 two years ago, but it feels like the following two volumes aren't going anywhere. Things happen, yes, but the narrative doesn't feel like it's moving forward. There is a lot of whining by a lot of characters (the fall-out from the cool stuff that happened in volume 6), but the characters I care about (the main character, his brothers and his school friends) don't do much of anything. In fact, I don't think the school friends show up much. Instead we get lots of self-pity by others who could die for all I care about them. It feels like she's barely treading water, and it just drives me nuts.

A couple of months ago a new volume of Kusare-en no Housoku was published after a LONG hiatus. I was ecstatic when I found out and ordered it immediately. But when I read it? It felt like the story wasn't going anywhere. The new volume introduces a bunch of new characters, with one particularly irritating one that I fear will cause much grief and annoyance in the future. What I liked about this particular series (read my summaries of the first two volumes here and here) is the school life stuff and the relationship between the three childhood friends. The new characters are totally unrelated to school. Why are you bringing in more annoying characters when not everything has been resolved with the annoying characters at school??? It feels like a distraction to me. This volume did throw me a bone with the sweetest scene between the two lovers (with a really lovely pic I will have to scan when I can find my scanner…), but..it's not enough! I just wanted a continuation (and eventual resolution) of the drama at school, not to be shoved into a different situation. GAH.

I had previously bought the first two volumes of the Hidamari ni fuku kaze series, which I've seen described as somewhat similar to Kusare-en no Housoku. I was so starved of my lovelies from Kusare-en that I figured I'd give it a try, even though the cover is such a turn off for me (the main character looks bleah, and the guy who will be his lover has a braided ponytail--a fact drives me nuts for some reason). In any case, the books did nothing for me. The characters seemed completely 2D and I couldn't understand why the other guy was so into the main character. At first the other guy is very dog-like in the way he interacts with the main guy (happy-go-lucky and completely oblivious to how much the main guy doesn't care about him). Then suddenly he is all sexual and aggressive. The main guy is not a passive sort, yet he lets the other guy just be all sexual and aggressive, even though I got zero vibes that he was into other guy in that way. Oh-kay. I knew there'd be sex at some point since this was BL, but it still felt almost random. I couldn't get either of them at all. After I read the two volumes I longed for Kusare-en with the wonderful couple who seemed to have a real relationship built on trust and love and all that other stuff. My disappointment in the new Kusare-en volume was even worse after I'd compared it so favorably to this one. *sighs*

The sad thing is that Hidamari is still better than Ai no Kusabi. I can't believe how bad an experience I had reading AnK. I feel like throwing my copies away, but my aversion to throwing away perfectly good books prevents me for now.

This entry was originally posted at http://insaneneko.dreamwidth.org/493149.html. Please comment here or there.

[User Picture]From: chrysan
2013-07-12 01:00 pm (UTC)
I don't get Ai no Kusabi too, tho I found some parts not bad and other parts plain weird. I had a lot of expectations of it since before I read it so many people seemed to rave and rant positively about it's brilliance. In fact, my conclusion after reading AnK was that Yoshihara was a weird one, and I thot maybe something was wrong with me for not "getting" how good AnK was, since everyone loved it.

Nijuu Rasen is okay for me, and I loved it best when all the main characters made a breakthrough in their lives and resolved their past in different ways, aka Volume 4. The current plot seems like it's procrastinating and dragging a bit painfully for me. I wished that the school friends would show up more instead of the new characters too. >_<

Kusare-en no Housoku...ahahaha, am I the only one who found the romance that happened between the 2 main characters a bit out of the blue? As in, the romance was well written, but how it was introduced really stunned me. I guess that was bcos I always thot it would be a gradual buildup, but Tsubasa's always-in-love-with-you intensity was a bit of an eye-blink for me.

The only series by Yoshihara that I liked from the beginning to current plot would be the manga series Yami no Kodou, come to think of it. I guess having a artist draw out your plot makes you to have to give a coherent and well-paced story, instead of self-written novels, where I think she sometimes rambles a lot.
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[User Picture]From: insaneneko
2013-07-15 02:23 am (UTC)
I think the AnK anime was better, though I found it boring rather than awful like the book.

Nijuu Rasen's current plot is definitely dragging. It needs things to happen! And less self-pitying POVs who blame everyone else for their unhappiness (like the sister, or the father, or the cousin....). Naoto's friends are so awesome.

I thought the way the romance was introduced in the first book of Kusare-en was oddly sudden, but I thought she later established that their relationship was one of the most normal ones she's done in her books.

Ah, I'd forgotten about Yami no Kodou. I do like it, but I tend to focus on her novels rather than manga. I think it's been a bit of a drag lately. I don't feel the narrative drive as much as in the earlier volumes.
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[User Picture]From: yudashin
2014-01-25 09:49 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for your summaries! Since I don't understand Japanese, these help a lot. I have the cd's too. Have you read her newest work "Into Illusion" which is being simultaneously translated into English by Sublimemanga? So far I like it. What about her other novel from 1994, Kage no Kan (House of Shadows)? It was rereleased last year. What are your thoughts? Just happened to come across it with the new and beautiful artwork. Listened to the 2 cd's, too. Interesting that the main character seiyuu are the same as in Nijuu Rasen. Really wish I could read and understand Japanese.
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[User Picture]From: insaneneko
2014-01-27 06:26 am (UTC)
I haven't read Into Illusion, but I have read Kage no Kan. It's been a while but I remember that I didn't really like Kage no Kan. I just didn't care about the characters, so I shrugged off all the angst.
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