onBlue – Volume 01

I’m quite surprised onBlue anthology isn’t as well known as it probably should. This BL (boy love) anthology showcases quite a few well-known artists such as Est Em, Yamanaka Hiko and a Josei mangaka, Kawachi Haruka. In addition to reading drop dead gorgeous manga with pretty boys all over the place, this anthology features mangaka in every issue, detailing their works, personal life and background information. I love how they mix josei mangaka with BL mangaka in this anthology. It’s like an anthology catered for my taste buds!! *full of herself*

Anyway, the following post is image heavy so I’m forced to do a cut to the post…

Beautiful coloured pin-up by Kawachi Haruka. :D This is the colour page for her story in the anthology too.

The first issue’s feature artist and interview is with Yamanaka Hiko, one of my current favourite artist who’s behind the heart wrenching story, End Game. The interview, well more like talk, conducted between Yamanaka-sensei and another quite popular mangaka, Yoneda Kou goes on for 10 pages.


Then, we have Yamanaka-sensei’s feature article which talks about how she got into drawing manga in general and later on BL, her past experience, ideas for her current work and aspirations in the future. It’s quite an in-depth article and I’m very satisfied with the amount of information presented on the artist. Shodensha isn’t pulling their punches here.

For Est Em fans which I know there are quite a number of them, you’d be happy to know that sensei’s the next feature artist in onBlue Volume 2. Sensei’s interview/talk will be conducted with another one of my favourite mangaka, Yamashita Tomoko. They currently conducting the interview with Est Em and in their blog, the editors are collecting questionaires from fans. If you have any questions for sensei, write an email to the editors at onblue(dot)ed(at)gmail(dot)com. I think you can drop the questions off in twitter too?

Anyway back to this issue, there are also tribute manga panels to Yamanaka Hiko drawn by KUJIRA, Kuze Banko, Shoowa, Matsumoto Miecohouse, Miike Romuko and Yoneda Kou.

I’ve read some of the manga in the anthology and flipped through most that didn’t catch my interest. First up is Yamanaka Hiko‘s manga series that’s on going, 500-nen no Itonami (500 Years of Life/Work). Sensei didn’t disappoint with her whimsical story telling and with just this one chapter I am sorely hooked.

The relationship between Yamada and Oda family has been rather bad for the last 50 years. Sadly for our main character, Yamada Torao, he is head-over-heels in love with Oda Hikaru. After many years of unrequited love and despite many turbulence in the way between them, they’re finally together. But, an unfortunate train accident viciously tore them apart with the death of Hikaru. Unable to withstand the sadness and agony of the lost, Torao jumped off the building and killed himself.

Alas, it seems fate, being as cruel as she is, has another plan for Torao. Despite the fact that his relationship with Hikaru caused a rift between Torao’s family, his father wanted to reunite those two love birds and sent Torao into hibernation. 250 years later, Torao woke up to the face of Hikaru but realised that something was amidst. His beloved Hikaru is… an android *inserts cheesy bgm* whose name is so blooooooody long…

Sensei’s quite versatile with her genre, and it seems she’s going to jump in to Sci-fi this time around. I wonder what she has in store for our lovely couple? The first double page spread shows the end of the world or something like that… I WANT MORE!

After reading such a depressing manga, we have a steamy fluffy story by Kumota Haruko, Kuchibiru wa Nigai Aji (Bitter Tasting Lips). I love how cheeky her seme is. Poor uke got roped into watching porn and ended up having sex. One word for this story? “LOL!”

The next story, Sono Nochi wa by Nishi Tsurumi (who’s a new artist) is kinda disappointing. As much as I like guys in Kimono or ravish traditional outfit, the story’s kinda blend… meh.

Udakawa-machi de Matteteyo by Hideyoshiko is actually quite cute. While walking around the streets, Momose stumbled upon his classmate cross-dressing as a girl. Ever since then, he couldn’t help but to take notice of him in school… It’s funny to read about how Momose’s struggling to come into terms that one of his classmate, who seems like a regular guy, maybe homosexual and loves to dress up in skirts. But somehow, he ended up liking him too…

After reading such a happy, fluffy story, we’re smacked in the face with another depressing story filled with so much angst by Est Em, Karunjya- (I don’t know what this word means though…)

Here’s Alkali Denshi’s story which I haven’t read yet ’cause the characters don’t interest me… *runs*

What happens if you stumbled upon your yankee, bad-boy friend you’ve known since middle school having sex in class with some dude? Koiwazurai Shibito‘s Warera Seishun Massaichuu is the answer for you. I haven’t read Koiwazurai’s works before, but thanks to this story it’s not a oneshot, why!!, I think I’ll be adding her books to my wishlist now. :D

So far I’ve enjoyed most of the stories in onBlue. But, I  really disappointed with Asuo Mitsuaki‘s story ’cause it’s bland and none of her usual flair’s in the plot or character’s development. And one thing I’d love to point out is the character’s eyebrows, so expressive!

Yanagisawa Yukio‘s Yulusuna is a beautifully drawn oneshot and I believe this is her first work too? Men doing ballet is such a gorgeous feast for my eyes.

And attacking lil unsuspecting uke in his sleep’s a plus too.

Meiji Kanako, who doesn’t love her? Well… me! Mimurake no Musuko had so much room for development and volume one is looks really promising, but it all went down hill in volume 2… By the time we reach volume 3, all the deep misunderstanding and shit vanished. ARGH! I’m still a little pissed about it.

Trying not do be biased with her new work here in onBlue, so I shall leave you guys with just one screenshot.

Finally, the last mangaka to appear in volume 1 is one of my favourite josei mangaka, Kawachi Haruka. I’m kinda psyche about reading sensei’s work ’cause this is after all, a BL anthology. Sadly there isn’t any glaring “in your face” BL elements in her stories (yes, there 2!!) we’d just have to read between the lines to even get a wink.

Phew, that’s the end of the sneak peak into onBlue. You can see that I started slacking off right at the end… m(_ _)m Please forgive me!!

Conclusion, onBlue is sooooo worth the money and the fact that they feature mangaka in every issue makes me want to buy every single one of them!! Hope you enjoyed this lil failed review. :D

onBlue’s links:

Site – http://www.shodensha.co.jp/onblue/

Editor’s blog – http://ameblo.jp/onblue/

Twitter – http://twitter.com/#!/onBLUE_ed


7 thoughts on “onBlue – Volume 01

  1. Wooo~ Such a nice collection (a really high standard antho.) Haha, men doing ballet is something nice on the eyes ;D But that uke looks for like he is dead than asleep, (did the seme hit him over the head first??)I like how each book has a feature artist, makes it extra neat~

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  5. Hi~
    Really enjoyable review. :) I knew about onBlue anthology but i’ve never had an issue unfortunately. :/
    It’s like a heaven for my manga lover heart (i mean, all my favorite mangakas like Hideyoshiko, Est Em, Yoneda Kou, Kawachi Haruka,Tomoko Tamashita are there!!! @o@) and i always love covers of onBlue.

    Oh and I would like to explain a thing (I’m sure you already know this tho), for Est Em manga Karunjya, i think it’s Kushraru, so Kuslar/Kuşlar. It’s a turkish word and it means “birds” . Manga is set in Turkey and has turkish characters (yeah, i’m from Turkey. :P) i read raw version of it, (cuz unfortunately there is no eng. version. :/ ) and it tore me apart. looked very heart-wrenching story. Turkey is a very repressive state about sexual orientation and i can really feel the characters situation (even though i didn’t understand the story). Sensei did some good research about Turkey too (like tea cup shapes, suburb scenes, even emergency number on ambulance. :)

    Later I have found out that she has visited Turkey through her twitter!!!!! ;_; I’d really like to meet her. :/

    Anyway, thank you so much for this nice review (and sorry for my bad grammar). :P

  6. Btw, Udakawa-machi de Matteteyo is one of my favorite Hideyoshiko works. :D
    Its perverted but somehow sad and cute. :D And her art style is my very favorite kind of art.

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