Lyn Jensen's Blog: Manga, Music, and Politics

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Location: Anaheim, California, United States

Regular contributor ("Carson City Limits" and other content) for Random Lengths (circulation 56,000) in San Pedro, CA, 2001-present. Manga reviewer: LA Alternative (circulation 150,000), 2005-2006. Some manga reviews also ran in NY Press around this time. Entertainment reporting: Music Connection (circulation 75,000), 1983-1906. Travel writing: Oakland Tribune (1998) and Life After 50 (2006). Other bylines: Goldmine, Star Hits, Los Angeles Reader, Los Angeles Times, Long Beach Press Telegram, Blade, BAM, Daily Breeze, LA Weekly. Specializations include community news reporting, writing reviews (book, theater, concert, film, music), copywriting, resumes, editing, travel writing, publicity, screenwriting, lecturing, and content development. Education: B. A. Theater Arts, UCLA. Post-grad work, Education, Chapman University.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Online Book Review: One Nation Under Sex

Random Lengths posted my book review of how the Clinton impeachment (aka Monicagate) shaped our current American political climate, as described in One Nation Under Sex by Larry Flynt and David Eisenbach:

http://www.randomlengthsnews.com/blogs/Notebook/2012/10/how-monicagate-shaped-us/

Republicans impeached Clinton on perjury, and recently radio talk show host Mike Malloy commented about that, "Most legal experts have concluded Clinton didn't commit perjury.  A tiny minority argue he was entrapped into committing perjury."

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Get Your Japanese Boys Love On(line)

New manga reviews!

One of the cooler things about the Netcomics site (www.netcomics.com) is that it provides readers e-versions of every graphic novel the company publishes. First chapters are free. Just go to the page of whatever title interests you and next to “Chapter” click on “Vol. 1, Ch.1.” Then click the blue “view” button next to it. Subsequent chapters cost twenty-five cents each.

Although Netcomics specializes in Korean graphic novels (called manwha) they also offer several Japanese manga in the yaoi or Boys Love genre, where male-male relationships are depicted in graphic form, including:

  • Age Called Blue by Est Em, of particular interest to American readers as it follows two British rockers, Billy and Nick, in a multi-dimensional story that just happens to have gay overtones. Billy has been harboring feelings for Nick for some time, but hasn't yet found the nerve to try and move their relationship beyond the boundaries of normal friendship.
  •  Merry Family Plan is Sumitomo Morozumi's debut volume, featuring her whimsical and light-hearted romp through four stories in graphic form.
  •  Black Winged Dove, another collection of short stories ("one-shots"), this time by Tomoko Yamashita. Highlights include a protective sister trying to stop a group of homophobes from harassing her gay brother. Another teenager named Minori anguishes over whether to reveal his lifestyle to his family.
  •  Another Yamashita work and one of Netcomics’ more recent additions, Dining Bar Akira, where romantic passions battle behind kitchen doors. Akira Koji, manager of a busy bar and restaurant, gets a late-night confession from one of his employees. Akira has never considered a homosexual relationship before, but things start to change when he can't get the young man out of his head. Will the two of them be able to remain professional when things get serious?
  •  Love Full of Scars by Psyche Delico, follows some of the rougher, odder, and even taboo relationships of the yaoi genre. The stories tell of the physical and emotional marks tough love can leave.
  •  Honey Senior, Darling Junior by Chifumi Ochi is an endearing collection of four self-contained short stories about the inevitability of love. The title refers to the Japanese custom of upperclassmen and underclassmen addressing each other by formal titles.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lectures on Yaoi Anime

I've been doing some lectures on yaoi anime in recent months, and here are some of the titles I have to select from, provided that I'm working in an over-18 situation:

SAMPLES OF “BOY-BOY” ANIME AND MANGA FROM KITTY MEDIA

by Lyn Jensen

While shelf-browsing DVDs recently I found several manga—Japanese paperback graphic novels published by Kitty Media, including Dog Style and Skyscrapers of Oz and Crimson Spell—labeled “Boy-Boy” and packaged like DVDs. I discovered Kitty Media (part of Media Blasters) is marketing some of their yaoi (male-male romance) manga with a promotional DVD for yaoi anime (Japanese animation) tucked inside.

Purchase one and on that promotional DVD you’ll find brief but sexually explicit video previews for:
  • Embracing Love: Cherished Spring about a romance between two of Tokyo’s hottest actors and their on-going relationship struggles, their every move watched by the public and the press.
  • My Sexual Harassment depicting the rise of a young executive who prostitutes himself to his corporate superiors. It's notorious for a scene with an ear of corn.  The critic Charles Solomon once described it in the Los Angeles Times with, “the feeble plot is there just to provide a link to the animated sex scenes.”  Years ago DMI/DMP announced their intention to publish the manga and/or novel version, but nothing happened.
  • Kizuna is the animated version of a very popular breakthrough manga series begun by Kazuma Kodaka in the nineties, in which two half-brothers, sons of a yakuza boss, compete for the attentions of a handsome young athlete--a kendo swordsman, for those familiar with Japanese fencing terminology.
  • Level C is an erotic romantic comedy between a teenage male model and a handsome young executive, with the connotation being that “Level C” is the top of the corporate (and romantic) ladder.
  • Sensitive Pornograph features two stories, one about men who draw erotic comics, and the other about a pet-sitter who finds a different kind of pet.
  • No Money concerns the trafficking of a young biracial male sex slave to a man who may or may not be all business.
  • Legend of the Blue Wolves combines eye-popping homerotica with more typical plot lines commonly found in mainsteam anime, so be prepared for graphic sex intermingling with sci-fi martial arts battles over the fate of the world and even the universe.  Interestingly, I hear that this is one example of yaoi that was created at least party by a man.
  •  The DVD concludes with previews for Kitty Media yaoi manga including Scandalous Seiryu University, Incubus, Family and Dog Style.
  • As for the packaged manga, Skyscrapers is a complete story, the others are beginnings of series. All titles contained within these promo packages are recommended for adults only, and are hard to find in stores. If you find anything of further interest, I hope you'll recommend it to me for my lecture series.  If you can't attend a lecture or can't wait for one, shop online or request that your favorite DVD retailer make a special order.