And over at fandom_wank there's a threnody thread (one should be able to portmanteau those words-- threadnody?) about Great Unfinished Manga Works. Not just YnM, actually. And much CLAMP bashing.
Rereading Kurotsubaki randomly. Why I love it:
- Detailed drawings of Kyoto
- Great washes of information about the geisha world, the kabuki world, Noh and Takarazaka, Kyoto history, Kyoto legend, Kyoto geography, Kyoto Japanese usage, and the Kyoto supernatural
- Kyoto-ben: read enough of it and, like male Japanese, it begins to make instinctive sense, at least to the point where you can hazard a guess as to whether that's really a negative or not.
- Casual incursion of supranatural beings into the everyday: guardian demon generals, tengu, bodhisattva, shinto deities, the occasional sake-swilling ghost. Possibly the way the world looked to people a century or so ago when these things were real.
- It has a female character who's as tall as I am, and has the same sense of Too Big as I do when I'm in Japan. And who becomes a geisha anyway.
- It has a hard-drinking doctor character who was the presumed heir to a geisha house but said 'The hell with it- I can't do the small talk bit and I can't dance to save my life. Give me a good exam any day of the week' and who goes off to the States to study medicine.
- The presentation of female sexuality-- cheerful, active, enthusiastic, and a bit larger than life. Love the scene where hair-still-in-plaits teenage heroine calls her geisha Mom and asks 'Look, how do you get a man?' and then calls her onnagata Dad-- 'Look, this is my one chance to get him, will you help me out?' Love the scene where heroine's danna cancels all her engagements for the week after New Year's and takes her away to a secluded country ryokan ('By introduction only'- you need to know someone who knows the owners or you can't get a reservation, and man does that sound like everything I've ever heard about Kyoto) so she and he can indulge in as much sex as they like without the constraints of half a dozen other people in the building. Because she's been so busy this last year with her own engagements and four maiko to train and under so much stress and that's how she relieves it. Um-- yeah.