English reading: Mythago Wood, Good Omens and Monsieur Beaucaire
Hatsu Akiko, The Chinese Bird
-such a civilized mangaka, Hatsu
Ima Ichiko, Memory of Nostalgic Flowers
--early fluff, pleasant enough; the 'fantasy' last story gives me the creeps because, well, it's utterly creepy. Mad kings, casual slaughters, extreme nastiness, seen through a child's uncomprehending eye. Also dwarfs. Also its real genre is a spoiler. Were it other than it is 'twere less brilliant; and I do not like it.
Ima Ichiko, Beyond the night and stars
--The obi says 'Is it a home drama? Is it a horror drama?' For once the Japanese are as confused as I am. Dragons and firebirds, one discovers, except incarnated as humans. Also various amphibians. Incarnated as humans. Possibly Ima stretching the possibilities of narrative; possibly a total mess. time will tell.
Vol 9 of the Gensou fantasy series of short stories, called Selections from the Blue Dragon. There are no blue dragons in it. Next vol is called Selections from the White Tiger. I should have guessed.
Makiko, Demon City.
--demon city is Shanghai in the 30's, and for the rest, it's Makiko.
Kisaragi Hirotaka, Gate 1+2
--and vol 3 arrived in the mail today
Minami Megumu, Lying Lover and Protect Me
Kanno Yuki, The Jade Sigh and The Beauty in the Tower
--oddity: Edwardian nobleman rescues Chinese boy from English opium den and takes him home to be assistant to his butler as well as his lover. Boy looks like girl. Boy still can't do one-to-one replacement as girl because while the Oh I love him blush blush trope will do for either sex, the Oh I will bring shame on his family if our relationship is found out trope will not. It's a fantasy, certainly, but the fantasy is more of the servant devoted to death than of the exotic Oriental. Especially because in the mind of the mangaka, it's the Englishman who's the exotic.
The aesthetic Edwardian Englishman reads indeed aesthetic Edwardian English ie lackadaisical and laissez faire and not given to otoko-rashii dust-ups. That he's a Japanese version of Clovis is incidental. Besides, he's much more sincere than Clovis: the surface may be laidback but the heart is junsui and sincere. He's also a twit. Volume 2 turns into The Perils of Liiyou as Twit keeps taking Liiyou to places where unmannerly men can do unmannerly things to him. This annoys me for various reasons, not least of which is that the trope is creeping into my current dragon plottings, with Pipang standing in for Liiyou. Goushou brings him to the Southern Ocean where he's set upon by visiting Kaiei. Goushou takes him to the Eastern Ocean where he's set upon by visiting Gouen. Etc etc bah humbug.