Anime/Manga Recommendation: Meiji Hiiro Kitan and Meiji Melancholia

Another article in less than a week?

Is this for real? Yes it is, since you’ve all been so understanding and supportive 😀

You surely don’t want to miss this if you’ve been wondering about another series that has protagonists similar to Albert and Candy in Candy Candy. Yes, there’s Love So Life, and maybe Emma too to an extent. But I might have just found another one with a storyline that is more compelling than the other two. Well, I certainly think so 😀

Meiji Hiiro Kitan (明治緋色綺譚) and its sequel, Meiji Melancholia (明治メランコリア) are manga by Rikachi (リカチ). The two titles are serialized in Be Love, a manga magazine aimed for adult women (yes, such a thing exists :D).

The series was completely out of my radar until about a month ago, when one leisure browsing on a stressful night led to a stumble upon this hidden gem.

The art, as you can see from the cover images below, is very appealing. Rikachi sensei is obviously an amazing artist.

However, I must admit that it wasn’t the pretty art that first drew me to the series. Rather it was the two leads, Tsugaru and Suzuko, and that even upon a quick glance at the synopsis below, I just couldn’t stop imagining Albert & Candy in the same setting and scenario.

Synopsis from Aerandria Scans:
It’s the middle of the Meiji Era and our heroine, little Suzu, is sold to the red lights district. However, the rich heir of a dry goods store, Tsugaru, buys her freedom for no apparent reason. She is deeply grateful for being saved, but she doesn’t understand why he paid so much money for her and the only explanation he offers is “we have a bond.”

She tries to unravel the mystery of his feelings and gradually grows from a little girl to a young woman, always by his side. A gentle and slow-paced love story set in the Meiji Era.

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Tsugaru & Suzuko

From the synopsis you could probably tell this is yet another age-gap romance. The kind of trope that satisfies my guilty pleasure craving 😀

Actually, this isn’t the only series of this particular breed of romance manga I’m following. There are a few, but none had truly grabbed me as Meiji Hiiro Kitan had.

No doubt this manga has become my new obsession–which isn’t a bad thing, considering how this could spark more inspirations, in the same way an impulsive reread of Garasu no Kamen had reintroduced me to Candy Candy, which later had galvanized me into writing my first CC fic, and a brisk liaison with Emma had led me to pen Awakening.

As it turns out, the tradition still holds. I’ve regained a renewed determination to continue my ongoing stories, and I owe it all to Meiji.

So… Have I managed to rouse your curiosity yet?

If you’re slightly interested and want to know more about the series, or you’re just plain curious about Albert & Candy from the Meiji Era, read along 😀

Continue reading ->

 

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Sometimes I do crave a cheesy, cracky Asian Drama

It has been a long while since I’ve watched a Taiwanese drama, or any non-animated TV series for that matter. Nothing had managed to grab me. Not even the highly acclaimed, award-winning Downtown Abbey, Outlander, and Once Upon a Time. The interest and excitement were simply not there, that I didn’t bother to continue watching past the first two episodes.

That had been the case for a few years until last week. By pure accident, I discovered that Taiwanese actor Roy Chiu has teamed up with his previous leading lady from 小資女孩向前衝 (Office Girls), Alice Ke, in a new romantic comedy 必娶女人 (Marry Me or Not). When that happened, I literally squealed like a rabid fangirl. You don’t understand. I adored them to bits in the 2011 SETTV drama Office Girls, and I’ve been waiting for them to collaborate again for a long time, very long time. So obviously I just had to check out their new series.

A few promo stills with the pair looking stunning and oh so perfect together followed by a gorgeous MV clip that made me hum the tune for the entire day, and the deal was sealed.

3 episodes in, and I’m swooning from all the prettiness and sparkles.

Not only that Marry Me or Not has lived up to my expectations, but it has the potential to surpass Office Girls. It offers so much more, as it doesn’t shy away from showcasing Roy and Alice amazing onscreen chemistry, packing each episode with smile and sigh inducing scenes right from the start. And if the teasers for the upcoming episode 4 are anything to go by, there will be plenty of delicious scenes that will crank up the heat by more than a few notches ahead–something Office Girls fans were deprived of.

Marry Me or Not is definitely not another Office Girls. And the romance arc is not built upon the all too familiar, overused hate-turn-to-love trope either even though the synopsis might mislead one to think that way. On the contrary it distances itself from the cookie cutter cutesy Asian drama/shoujo manga/anime yet without losing the amusing quirks and wits that are unique to Asian shows.

The heroine is not the goody goody, self sacrificing, always-smiling-no-matter-what-dreadful-things-happen-to-her kind of woman–yep, I hear you, she’s not  like Candy 😉

Rather, she’s a cunning, manipulative, selfish woman, who will do anything and stop at nothing to get what she wants, a literal b–ch in every sense of the word–umm an Eliza perhaps 😀 Yet I can’t help but root for her–the heroine not Eliza, just so that you won’t misunderstand me. That’s because everything is an act, a mask to hide how vulnerable she truly is.

Yes. Many things in the series are not what they seem.

The hero isn’t immune to this condition either. While he projects the image of a capable, confident divorce lawyer who has sworn off love to perfection, inside he’s actually a softie, an eternal romantic longing for a true love, whose own naiveté and idealism turned him into a cynic.

I’m loving this setting, a departure from the done-to-death trope of alpha male meets a damsel in distress, well, sort of. The woman has more control and more experienced than the man, creating an interesting dynamic that can be both endearing and hilarious.

And I’m waiting for more hilarity to ensue when the heroine finally finds out that the hero, the man she thought her rival’s fiance and has been seducing, is actually her rival’s older brother.

But along with that I know there will be drama and loads of angst… With the BFF-turns-enemies-then-frenemies/rivals setup for the heroine and the second female lead as the underlying main conflict, drama is bound to come. And there’s also the second male lead, the very reason the besties became enemies, who has yet to make an appearance–and when he does finally appear onscreen, he will undoubtedly stir in troubles for the OTP, which spells angst for the hero.

I’m looking forward to that very moment. Roy displaying his many comical and silly expressions is cute and adorable, but an angsty Roy with his patented smoldering stare is simply impossible to resist.

I’m hopeful that since the series had finished filming it won’t be marred by lackluster filler episodes that achieve nothing but frustrate and irritate viewers. So far the pace has been kept constant and fast, and if the 15 episodes specified in the wiki is correct, I have nothing to worry about.

The one drawback, which has become a source of anxiety, Marry Me or Not is a currently airing drama in Taiwan. That means I have to wait one whole week for a new episode. One week is way too long!!! Yes it’s that good. After all, it managed what other series failed to do: hooked me completely to a point that I’m counting the days for a the new episode to air.

If you’re curious, check it out yourself, MV of the ending theme… I’m warning you though, the sparkles and prettiness might make you dizzy 😀

PS – that one scene with half of Roy’s face covered with shaving cream as he’s trying to smear it over Alice’s face does that remind you of one particular scene in Ninety Days? LOL. That makes you wonder whether the writers actually read Ninety Days, does it? 😉

Yumiko Igarashi’s Other (Less Known) Works: Recent Works

Are you aware that there is a long list of manga created by our very own Yumiko Igarashi other than Candy Candy, Georgie, and Mayme Angel? You can find the complete list here Quite impressive isn’t it? And versatile too. … Continue reading

Candy Candy Manga vs Anime Part 1: Annie, Pony Home, and Prince on the Hill

CC-Manga-collage-wpiWhen I decided to commence yet another round of reading the manga (while watching the anime), I didn’t think I would be heavily invested in the efforts nor did I think I would make any new observation/finding, considering how familiar I am with the story.

Let’s just say I couldn’t be more wrong. But this is what makes it interesting and gives me that little pull and tug to continue reading and watching (and scrutinizing and analyzing).

Continue reading ->

 

Candy Candy Episode 3: “A Good-Bye from the Carriage”

I finally had the time (and motivation) to continue my anime watching. I was stuck in episode 4 forever since last year or maybe even the year before. Yep. It was that bad. Lack of time and lack of motivation were the causes, I think.

At the same time, as I mentioned in another post, I began another round of reading of the manga and will blog about it in a different post. I welcome anyone to join me in my watching and reading so that we could have a (thought provoking) discussion, picking and dissecting the series to pieces to our hearts content. So don’t be shy. 😀

Back to episode 3…

Episode 3 is still focused on the friendship between Candy and Annie, but we see more characters development in this one.

CCAnime-Ep3-SC.38 AM-002Candy, Annie, and the rest of the children at Pony Home are surprised by Mr. Brighton’s sudden visit. He even prepares BBQ for the kids, something Candy and Annie were gushing about earlier as they relate their story of spending the time at Mr. Brighton’s place to their friends.

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Manga/Anime Recommendation: Library Wars (Toshokan Sensou)

Need a new series to read or watch?

I highly recommend Library Wars. There’ s even a reference to a prince, just like Candy & her prince of the Hill 😉

1660588_618296081592166_259475896_nSynopsis from mangaart:
During the 31st year of Seika, the battle between the Library Force and the Media Improvement Committee reached a new level of violence. Each group has armed itself for either the freedom of expression or the “protection” of society from the bad influences of media. Kasahara Iku joins the Library Force with the intent of finding her “Prince” who helped her during a censorship exercise by the Media Improvement Committee and with her strong will of protecting books.

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Anime/Manga Recommendation: Love So Life

Love So Life is a manga by Kouchi Kaede, which is still currently running in Japan. The story is adorable. I can’t stop smiling reading each chapter. The romance progresses slow but very realistic. The main couple, Shiharu and Seiji, is like the modern day Albert and Candy from Candy Candy. Shiharu is an orphan girl just like Candy, and Seiji is an adult man who works as a TV newscaster. The story starts with Seiji offering a babysitting job to Shiharu to care for his toddler twins nephew and niece. From there, their relationship develops.

I highly recommend the manga if you like fluffy and light-hearted story, a good diversion from the brunt of stress. The angst is almost non-existent. There is drama but the level of cuteness makes you forget about it easily. But don’t be deceived by the fluff – the story is not a cookie-cutter fairy tale with zero development. The author has done a good job in developing the characters (and plot), and everything is done in a realistic way. The one drawback is that the manga is still not finished yet, so this can lead to a long waiting period that can easily become a source of frustration.

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Candy Candy Episode 2: “Take off! Adventuring Together!”

I’m still motivated to continue watching the anime. But I have to say that episode 2 isn’t as moving as the first one – I was mostly annoyed with Candy to be able to enjoy the show.

The episode focuses on the friendship between Candy and Annie.

[Diclonius]_Candy_Candy_002_[A407EF0E]_Jun 25, 2013 10.07.58 PMNoticing Annie’s gloominess, Candy takes Annie to sneak out of the orphanage and go on a picnic.

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Candy Candy Episode 1: “A Pretty Lasso-Wielding Girl”

So I did it. I watched the first episode. And it’s not bad at all. Now I remember why I had been so taken by the series even right from the very beginning.

[Diclonius]_Candy_Candy_001_[B6B304BD]_Jun 24, 2013 10.06.39 PMPony’s home orphanage during winter. This is where the story begins.

[Diclonius]_Candy_Candy_001_[B6B304BD]_Jun 24, 2013 10.08.46 PMOutside the orphanage with the snow still falling, Sister Lane and Miss Pony find baby Annie and baby Candy tucked in bassinets, after hearing their loud cries.

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Yet Another Attempt to Watch Candy Candy Anime

CCanime1-edit CCanime2-edit CCanime3-edit

I finally decided to watch the anime adaptation of Candy Candy. I thought it’s about time. I have put off watching it long enough. Thanks to my tendency to want to know the ending of a story. I have this bad habit of watching/reading the last episode/chapter first. And Candy Candy is no exception; I did exactly that with the anime. That kinda ruined it for me, killing my desire to continue watching it.

Yep. I won’t lie. I hate the ending. It’s such a disappointment. It could’ve been better, if the production team had stuck to the manga, instead of creating their own storyline.

So why do I even bother with the anime at all now, knowing that the ending sucks?

Good question.

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