Athena just finished reading Urakata (Bisco Hatori's newest series) yesterday, so now we want to talk about it!
We had gotten it into our heads that this was going to be a steampunk series. I think this comes from only half paying attention to what we were reading at Hatori-sensei's blog. We managed to catch snippets like, "I like steampunk" and, "Here are some steampunk goggles I used as a model for something in my newest series." And then the cover of volume one had gears and stuff like it was all steampunk, and since we didn't bother actually trying to find out a single thing about what this new series is all about (we like the author! what else do we need to know?), we were easily duped (by ourselves).
So we finally started reading it, and it wasn't steampunk at all! But it was at least as good as steampunk, because it's about people who make movies. And specifically not the actors or directors; it's about the people you don't hear about so much--the ones who make all the sets, props, and costumes. And it's fascinating! And it makes us want to make stuff. We have some projects in the works, but we so rarely make it past the planning stage. And work is getting ready to ramp itself back up again.
But anyway, the story is about Kurisu Ranmaru (normally we westernize the names, but for this series it doesn't quite work, for reasons I will explain later), who goes to a college that has four different movie-making clubs! And all those clubs are where the aspiring directors, actors, and writers go, but there's only one club for the behind-the-scenes stuff, and, somewhat like in Host Club, Ranmaru finds himself recruited. (In the sidebars, Hatori-sensei tells the story of how Urakata came to be, and the whole time, she was thinking, "I can't do a club series, it'll be too much like my last thing. Anything but another club series." But as she did the research on behind-the-scenes stuff, a club was the only way she could figure out to make it work, because, as one friend told her, when you deal with professionals, you don't have a lot of mishaps, and what's a manga without mishaps?)
And of course there's a lot more to it than that, but I can't go spoiling the whole story! I mean, Viz is sure to license it sooner or later, right? (And if anyone from Viz is reading this, we'd be happy to translate it for you!)
So for now, I'll just talk about the characters' names. All of the characters were named after movie directors. Ranmaru was named after her very favorite director, Chris Nolan. Right now my favorite character is Enjouji Luka (I spell it with an L because that's how I pronounce it; I'm too lazy to do the Japanese flip-tongue R, and besides, whenever anime or manga characters are named Ruka, it seems like the creator is going for Luka or Luca anyway), who is generally in charge of costumes, and is kind of the conscience of the club. She's also kind of your typical shoujo manga heroine, and so we're highly amused that she was named after George Lucas. (Hatori-sensei explains that she loves Star Wars, and the main thing she loves about it is the shoujo manga romance.)
I'm really interested in finding out how the directors would react to the characters that were named after them. There's also Samura Izumi, named after Sam Raimi, who is in charge of eye candy for the female audience, and Rokubu Maasa, named for Rob Marshall, who's in charge of special effects makeup and especially loves to do blood and gore. And Tenba Tomu, named for Tim Burton, who's basically the brawn of the group. And finally, there's the club president, Gouda Ryuji, who was named after a director we don't know. Something French or Italian or something.
But anyway, it's another fun series with more fun characters from the creator of Ouran High School Host Club, and it's about making movies! What's not to love?
Today I'm thankful for getting to read Urakata, our shiny package arriving from Amazon Japan, getting the Noragami soundtrack just in time for more Noragami to be added to our schedule (in a week or two), making decent progress on work today (especially important because we're quitting early(ish)), and chocolate.