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Name: Yoshizawa, Eri (吉沢えり)
Alias: Eri (えり）
Relationship Status: Dating
Yoshizawa Eri is a member/current vice-president of the manga club at Ryouhoku High School, where she writes original doujin prose fiction and spends time with her best friends, Aoi Yuki and Satou Megumi. Ridiculed all her life for her overactive and eccentric imagination, her unusual but passionate stories were the catalyst for her friendship with Megumi in junior high. Extremely fashion-conscious with a large appetite, Eri views Megumi’s statuesque appearance with some envy, failing to realize that Megumi herself sees Eri’s round features and petite figure as much cuter than her own. Eri is a fan of many series, including Sengoku Basara and its hero, Date Masamune.
Eri is the last of her friends to enter a relationship, dating her younger brother Kenta’s friend and classmate, Mizoguchi Shigeyuki, though her initial reluctance to reveal her fujoshi side complicated matters. Though older than her boyfriend, Eri is also significantly shorter, creating a strong contrast between the two. She also has a very close, if at times typically raucous, relationship with her younger brother.
Eri gets easily lost in thought and fantasy while at “work,” the words flowing out of her fingertips with little effort. Though she is able to restrain her mindset in more general settings, she is most comfortable letting her imagination run wild along with her friends’.
Name: Aoi, Yuki (青井由起)
Alias: Yuki-kun (ユキ君）
Relationship Status: Dating
Aoi Yuki is a student at Ryouhoku High School, where she participates in the manga club. An avid cosplayer, With her boyish looks and tall frame. Yuki has a preference for dressing up as male characters, including Ryuuji from Toradora! and Tezuka Kunimitsu from The Prince of Tennis. Having spent junior high hiding her true nature, she met her best friends and fellow fujoshi Satou Megumi and Yoshizawa Eri in the beginning of high school while looking for people she could truly open up to. A self-professed shotacon, in terms of her passions, her love of cosplay seems to edge out her devotion to BL, though both are quite strong.
Yuki began dating her boyfriend and childhood friend Sawaguchi Masaki (whom she affectionately refers to as “Maa-bou”) before the start of her second year of high school, and is the first among her friends to be in a relationship. Masaki tries his best to understand and be supportive of her hobbies, but the fujoshi lifestyle is too foreign for him to truly understand. In spite of this, it is clear that Yuki cares for him; when given a choice between Masaki and a fellow cosplayer and friend, Yuki chose Masaki.
Yuki may be a cosplayer first and a fujoshi second, but still owns about 300 doujinshi, and is keen to “BL” moments in her everyday life. Her doujinshi preferences and her cosplay preferences overlap considerably.
Name: Satou, Megumi (佐藤めぐみ)
Aliases: Satou Gumi (さとうグミ）, Megumi (めぐみ)
Relationship Status: Dating
A student at Ryouhoku High, Satou Megumi is a member and eventual president of the school’s manga club. An amateur doujin artist and avid fan of yaoi, she attends conventions under the name “Satou Gumi.” Talented in her craft and possessing a sharp, practical mindset, Megumi has a tendency to overwork herself by juggling too many elements of both her fandom and real life obligations. Her best friends are Aoi Yuki and Yoshizawa Eri, whom she first met in junior high. Though their friendship can get rocky, they all firmly know that they have each others’ best interests in mind. In terms of yaoi preferences, she may have a thing for glasses.
Popular with boys yet initially giving no thought to relationships, Megumi wound up dating her now-boyfriend Yamada Kazuaki when he confessed his long-standing interest in her. Though at first unsure of her exact feelings towards Kazuaki (“Kazu-kun”), Megumi was eventually taken in by his cheerful personality and honest enthusiasm. As Kazuaki has little to no familiarity with anime and manga, let alone the world of fujoshi, Megumi tries to keep him separate from her BL activities, though not without a fair amount of trouble.
Though the thought of BL do not seem to overwhelm her mentally as much as it does other fujoshi, as an artist Megumi is always keenly aware of situations ripe for “adaptation” both in real life and in anime/manga. As such, she not only drew a (clean) BL doujinshi of her club’s president and vice-president but also gave it to them as a graduation gift.
Back in 2007 when I first posted about Mousou Shoujo Otakukei (aka Fujoshi Rumi), I complained about how the price difference between buying the Japanese language version from a Japanese bookstore was nearly at the point where it wasn’t actually worth it. At that point, it was about $8 or $9, very close to the typical $10 price of an English-translated manga.
Now it’s 2010 and six volumes in the problem is bigger than ever. Stopping by Kinokuniya the other day, the price for the current volume is about $10.50, compared to the English releases’ $12 per volume. What makes this sting extra hard is that the death of Asahiya last year means Kinokuniya basically has no competition and can sell its Japanese-language manga whatever price it wishes. Granted there’s Bookoff for low-price manga, but that consists entirely of used books, and I have this strange feeling I’m the only person in New York City buying Mousou Shoujo.
At this point you may be wondering why I’ve stuck with the series even after I said “meh” to its Volume 1, aside from keeping up with the Fujoshi Files. Well, after having read further, I realized that it’s not until Volume 2 that the series and its characters really begin to find their voices. It’s a fun series with nice developments, and I’m eager to see what happens next. Though out of all the fujoshi-themed manga I’ve read so far, I think I like Fujoshissu! best.
Though this post is being made one week after the event, it’s better late than never as they say, and I’d like to commemorate the life and times of the New York City branch of Asahiya Bookstores, which saw its last day on October 31st, 2009.
I did not become aware of Asahiya until many years after it opened, and even then I didn’t visit it very often, but for me it was a very special store. After I came back from Japan, the story in Genshiken was at its absolute climax with Ogiue at the forefront, and it was through Asahiya that I would buy issues of Monthly Afternoon so I could continue to keep up with the story, and it was also through them that I bought the remaining collected volumes that were not out when I was in Japan, namely volumes 7, 8, and 9. Since then, while I would also buy from Kinokuniya occasionally and Book Off especially, Asahiya was my go-to place for Genshiken-related goods, which included the first volume of Jigopuri that I reviewed. From a rational point of view, I know that Kinokuniya would have served the same function had I ordered from them, but that was not the choice I made, and call me silly or sentimental, but I had grown attached to Asahiya for that reason. It also didn’t hurt that they tended to have better prices on items compared to Kinokuniya.
So despite the paucity of hamburger and hamburger-related materials on Halloween, I made one last stop at Asahiya, where most of the manga had already been bought out, and everything remaining was either $1 or $2. I picked up a ton of manga, including another title about fujoshi.
It’s always a funny feeling when you’re at a Going Out of Business sale at a store you frequented (earlier in the year geeks in NYC saw the demise of gaming store Neutral Ground). You’re enjoying the really good deals you’re getting, but you’re doing so at the cost of having the store fold in the first place. I got a similar feeling from scooping up sweet DVD deals from the ashes of Geneon USA, and while the savings are nice I can’t help but feel we lose much more as a result.
The end of Asahiya NYC. The end of Geocities. It really does feel like the end of an era.