Friday, July 24, 2009

Review: Vampire Gigolo

Also known as Vampire Host, this 2004 Japanese drama is based off a one-shot by one of my favorite mangaka, Kaori Yuki.

The series begins by introducing us to one of the main characters, Rion. She is a sharp high school student that is diligently trying to find the whereabouts of her missing friend Shiho. The little clues that she finds ultimately lead her to a host club called "Kranken Haus" which is German for hospital. Though the German spelling would not have the two words separated it made me think she might have been playing with the English translation which would be "sick house." Somewhere my high school German teacher is beaming with pride that I actually remembered that :)

It is there that Rion runs into Kranken Haus' #2 host Suou. Though the other hosts masquerade around the club as vampires Suou is actually one. After Rion's interrogations and accusations lead her to nowhere she purposefully smashes an expensive bottle of Don Perignon. She uses it as a ploy to gain a part time position in the club to help pay off her debt.

Though the series is only 12 episodes long they managed to tell 6 different tales involving witches, shinigami, werewolves, and a creepy invisible stalker.

I wouldn't throw this into the horror genre mainly because of the silliness at times and the cheesy transformations Suou had throughout the series. Even Rion at times would think it was annoying which would add some comic relief during the seldom serious moments.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Like A Love Comedy"

Review: “Like A Love Comedy” by Aki Morimoto (yaoi novel)

Taking place in LA this light “boy’s love” novel makes for a nice and quick read. The author utilized the setting of television production as the main focus of the story as opposed to the budding romance of the two main characters; Biwa and Yamato. Biwa is the struggling screenwriter of the story that is trying to hone his writing skills to someday make it big in the entertainment business. Yamato is the famous actor from Japan trying to get his feet wet in the American entertainment industry. Their passion for American entertainment will be the thread that ties these two different personalities together in the bonds of friendship that will lead to much more.

The characters personal developments in the story did not come into focus till much later in the novel, if it was noticeable to the reader at all. The plot was stoic and predictable from the first page to the last; though if it was any other way I think it would have been an upset to the reader if Biwa and Yamato did not later reunite on American shores.

Though the title may be somewhat deceiving has “comedy” in it that does not mean it was full of slap stick humor. It was more lighthearted and ironic in a way that what Biwa thought of Yamato at first as being arrogant and dreading working as his personal Japanese speaking assistant later (much later) turns into a blossoming relationship between the seemingly unlikely couple.

If you are looking for a yaoi guilty pleasure look elsewhere as this book could be considered PG-13 (or lower) rating. The majority of the plot focused so much on the production sets that it seemed that the minor romance at the end was somewhat forced, without the last chapter it would be hard pressed to categorize this light novel as yaoi. It would be a good read for those that may want to get into the yaoi/ boy’s love genre and want to start off with something that is a light and easy read.

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