Trompé Setsuled (setsuled) wrote,
Trompé Setsuled

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Getting Happy

Last night I dreamt a bar opened across the street from Tim's house, which is odd since Tim lives pretty deep into a residential area. The bar was between two houses, had an extremely phoney looking Arabian theme, and was called something like "The Drunken _____". I went in and ordered a scotch--all they had was Glenfiddich and it was served in a cup sized ceramic jar. I had to stop the bartender from putting raspberry juice in it, and every drink you ordered came with three tiny ceramic jars of the house's own brand of fruit flavoured rum. Tim was with me, and he ordered a tuna sandwich.

I actually haven't had any alcohol since a glass of wine I had on Sunday. Maybe I'm overdue. Tim keeps showing up in my dreams this week. I guess I oughta stop by his house to-night.

After uploading the new Venia's Travels chapter last night, I went to The Living Room and had a latte and a scone while reading the end of Moyoco Anno's Happy Mania, volume 1. It took me forever to read it, entirely because my own comic's been occupying a lot of my time in a lot of ways lately. Happy Mania's actually quite absorbing and, under normal circumstances, a quick read. It's also a fascinating deviation from nearly all anime and manga I've experienced--because both media are predominately aimed at male audiences, they tend to be told from the POV of one luckless guy and the beautiful girls he tries to forge relationships with, or who are wildly attracted to him without ever actually consummating the attraction in any way.

Happy Mania is josei, as in, deliberately aimed at an adult, female audience, but is enormously more intelligent and daring than the few other examples of josei I'm familiar with. Instead of the young man or woman unable to even begin a romantic relationship with someone, Kayoko Shigeta is constantly having sex with men she barely knows under the frenzied delusion that by doing so she's moving closer to the relationship of her dreams. The title of the comic, which is also in English in the Japanese edition, is perfectly appropriate, as is the artwork that gives Shigeta intensely large irises and lips that aren't necessarily pretty, but instead seem inclined to explode out of her face as her manic attempts to find satisfaction entirely through physical sensation pull her past her own reason. She's shallow, but so fascinatingly and endearingly crafted along with the other characters in the comic that she's not despicable, even when she steals someone's boyfriend, only to hate him immediately after they've had sex. Much as we feel for the young men in shounen or seinen manga who, because of some mental block, can't actually ask out the girl who clearly likes him, we feel for Shigeta for being so urgent that she can't even slow down to have a reasonable relationship.

When one character points out Shigeta might be unhappy because she doesn't like the men she has sex with, she barely seems to notice the comment, caught up as she is in her own internal schemes. It's a comedy, and situations both funny and heartbreaking continually arise, as when Shigeta feels utterly betrayed that a guy she had sex with before he knew her name was also sleeping with two other girls, revelations handled where he, Shigeta, and one of the other girls have automatic, awkward breakfasts together while everything goes unspoken.

Shigeta's fear of being with a man she's forged an actual connection with might not be so strange as it might seem--her string of shallow physical relationships pursued under the impulse to find something deeper may be a strange permutation of more traditional Japanese relationships that encouraged very little psychological intimacy between spouses. It's complexes borne of tradition conducted through modern sexual liberation on autopilot. Good stuff--I'm definitely getting volume 2.

And I watched the third episode of Battlestar Galactica's fourth season, wherein we learned Starbuck took most of the Galactica's pilots with her on the rogue sewer vessel mission to find Earth, including both Helo and Athena, neither of whom apparently wanted to stay home with their child. And, of course, the people Baltar's follower killed in the head continue to rot unnoticed.

But I did enjoy the fate of Callie and the brief flirtation with a return to the Baby Killing Well.
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