Wallpaper: Yotsuba&! Noir

narutaki_icon_4040 I’ve decided to start posting some of the wallpapers I make. They are just for my personal use, but I figure hey why not share! I’ll be sharing them in three standard sizes, but if anyone requests a specific ratio I can probably make it for you without much of a problem.

This has been hands-down my favorite Yotsuba zaniness, I feel nothing could really unseat it for me.

~ kate

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Yotsuba&! makes life more exciting!

hisuiconCultural diffusion is a funny old thing. When ideas and products hop from one culture to another a strange alchemy can occur that can radically alter how they are seen. Words can gain new meanings, concepts can be reinterpreted, and products can gain new uses. The back and forth struggle over the use of the word otaku in English and Japanese easily shows how a word can have it’s meaning altered when it is borrowed by another language. In that same way a manga that has one target demographic can have a radically different demographic when it crosses over the Pacific Ocean. Often we see cartoons and comics marketed toward older audiences in the west due to their violence and sexual content despite being children’s material in Japan. For Yotsuba&! we have seen the reverse happen. In Japan Yotsuba&! is written and marketed almost exclusively for an adult audience. But in places like America Yotsuba&! is seen as a family friendly all ages title. The question is why do adults enjoy this title that gets an all ages seal of approval.

It wasn’t so long ago that I didn’t know the appeal of Yotsuba&! myself. Even the continued praise I saw it getting online didn’t persuade me. However, when the topic was broached about what Yotsuba&! offers to adults, its target audience, I became intrigued and had to pick it up. There area plenty of titles out their designed to be both enjoyable for kids and their elders but as Hisui mentioned creating a story for adults that captures the child’s imagination just as readily is something very different.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #072

Ah, Tachikoma, how I longed to have you for my own for so long. Okay, so he is a little far from having the real deal, but I’ll take what I can get. He is die-cast metal, I was a bit worried there would be a balance issue what with that huge back end, but no problem! The articulation in his legs is good and his feet and hands are fully poseable. As you can see his crouching position is quite nice. However, his arms don’t fair as well. If I try to give him a sort of excited yatta Tachi pose, they don’t really reach high enough and tend to pop off. But overall he is a good size and detailed making him one of the best I’ve seen avaliable. He also comes with software that allows his to say phrases and light-up and move a little. Though the CD is for Japanese PC only (which of course you can get around).

I recently got a copy of Stolen Hearts by Miku Sakamoto from CMX. Shinobu Okuma is a super short girl who accidentally spills milk all over an expensive kimono that the frightening Koguma brought to school with him. He shames her into working at his grandmother’s kimono shop where she slowly sees that he’s a sensitive guy and not the wannabe Yakuza everyone thinks he is. It is a cute story. I was a bit surprised that by the end of the first chapter Shinobu and Koguma are a couple. Part of me wonders if this was supposed to just be a one shot story that was popular enough to get turned into a series. The first chapter could so easily be self-contained. The characters are solid and entertaining. Everything works really well when Shinobu and Koguma are interacting. My main problem is the story tends to lean on shojo tropes too much and whenever it does so it is at its weakest. The story really shines when its characters are doing something a little outside the mold. It’s a fun read but it is not going to win over any new fans to the genre. I did find the teen rating on the back quite curious. This manga is super chaste. Maybe it gets racier down the line but so far the most anyone does is some hand holding. The only fan service is traditional Japanese clothing service.

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