Tag Archives: handicrafts

Bring Em Back: V.B. Rose

As I was pulling together titles for my post update on crafting manga, I remembered I had a couple of volumes of V.B. Rose. I won volume 7 from a blog a few years ago. I remember there being a lot of hype for the series back in the day, and being ever curious, wanted to see what all the hoopla was about. Then found volume 1 on Paperback Swap and snatched it up.

vb rose 1V.B. Rose is about high school student Ageha Shiroi. Her older sister Hibari, who she idolizes, is getting married and Ageha doesn’t approve. But, Ageha loves weddings and can’t resist when she is invited to see the dress design with Hibari at the boutique Velvet Blue Rose. The boutique is run by two men, Yukari Arisawa and Mitsuya Kuromine. Ageha gets off on the wrong foot with Yukari when she explodes over the wedding, and Yukari literally throws her out of the shop. Ageha, with the help of her friend Mamoru, realizes she did wrong and goes back to apologize. Things go awry again, and Mitsuya hurts his hand. Ageha volunteers to help out in Mitsuya’s place. Yukari balks at first, but Ageha is very crafty, and already know for the handmade purses she makes for Hibari and her friends, so he relents. It becomes a race to get the Hibari’s dress done on time as Ageha has to learn bead embroidery and how to deal with Yukari’s strict management and Mitsuya’s constant glomping.

I read volume 7 first and at the time wasn’t too impressed. I passed on reviewing it since I didn’t have anything useful to say. For this re-read, I read volume 1 first and then volume 7 and found I liked the series a whole lot more. The first volume set up the characters and relationships really well,  so when I got to volume 7, it wasn’t difficult to see how they got there. I think when I first read volume 7, it just didn’t work as well without that context.

Ageha and Yukari are amusing characters. Ageha is rather hot-headed and speaks without thinking, or worse, saying things she doesn’t really mean. Yukari can be just as abrasive, saying exactly what he means, when he chooses to speak. He more often reacts first without full explaining why. This poor communication, or complete lack thereof, leads to misunderstandings between them. It’s not so bad at first, when the misunderstandings are Ageha getting the wrong impression about what Yukari thinks of her craftwork. When it gets into their budding relationship, it’s easy to see how this will only complicate things.

vb-rose-7Ageha and Yukari are the main couple, but Ageha seems to have plenty of suitors for Yukari to worry about. Mitsuya isn’t serious about his advances, but there are other men around who could be serious competition. Mamoru’s younger brother, Nagare has feelings for her and declares them over Christmas, while Ageha is talking to Yukari. His anxiety over Ageha being courted by other men is fun to watch. Ageha has her own things to worry about as she wonders if Yukari’s ex-girlfriend Kana, who he still works with, still has feelings for him.

Since the setting of this series is a wedding dress boutique, there are plenty of beautiful gowns. In volume 1, there is a gorgeous Chinese inspired gown I would have loved to have worn. The gown that Kana makes the corsage for in volume 7 is just elegant. Ageha’s handmade purses are both cute and useful. What I wouldn’t give for a friend that could make a custom bag.

V.B. Rose is a romantic comedy that is a lot of fun. Tokyopop originally licensed the series, and nearly published it complete. They released volume 13 the same month they shutdown, making this one of the most difficult volumes to find in English. The series was originally published by Hakusensha in Japan, a publisher that doesn’t have an established relationship with a US publisher. This title would be a perfect candidate for Viz Media’s Viz Select program. While I would prefer getting this series digitally, I do have to admit that Tokyopop’s early prints of the series were very nicely done with gold imprinting on the cover to make it extra sparkly! Viz Select has already picked up and published several of Tokyopop’s old titles digitally. V.B. Rose would be another great addition to this program. It is probably completely translated, and is a shojo title that would an ideal fit their Shojo Beat catalog.

Sewing Manga

March is National Craft Month (among other things). So being a crafty person, I thought I would do some features about crafts in manga. I already did one post back in 2009 about some handicrafts, but it was focused more on knitting. This time, I’m expanding to sewing and fashion.

vb rose 1V.B. Rose is about Ageha, a girl with a serious big sister complex. When her older sister announces she is getting married, Ageha is against it at first, but goes with her to the boutique where the dress is being made. There she meets Yukari and Mitsuya, the two-man team that run Velvet Blue Rose. But when Mitsuya’s hand it hurt, Ageha volunteers to help keep her sister’s marriage on track. V.B. Rose features several kinds of crafts. Dressmaking the main one, with wedding dresses being the main focus. There is plenty that goes into making a wedding gown, designing and sewing the gown, and making the accessories such as corsages, beadwork, and the veil. Ageha also has her own skills as she enjoys making purses and bags, impressing Yukari and Mitsuya enough with her work that they let her help at the shop when she offers. This series is 14 volumes long and was published nearly complete by Tokyopop. They got as far as vol 13 before they shut down. It is now out of print.

parakiss1Paradise Kiss follows the story of high school student Yukari who becomes tangled up with four college fashion designer students as they prepare for the fashion school final and want Yukari to model their gown for them. She is drawn into the world of fashion professionally and into the romantically into the arms of George, the charismatic leader of the group. Dressmaking is shown in detail, from the design, to choosing the fabric, to putting on the flourishes. The story is as much a romance as it is about fashion and dressmaking. This series was first published by Tokyopop, and was rescued by Vertical, Inc., that published it in three volumes. It is still in print, but it is unknown for how long.

Stolen Hearts v1Stolen Hearts is about Shinobu Okuma, a petite girl and Miharu Koguma, a boy who looks intimidating, but is really gentle. Koguma’s grandmother owns a kimono shop and needs models to wear the kimonos as advertisements for her shop, and Okuma is tricked into helping by Koguma. At Koguma’s grandmother’s shop, kimonos can be bought or custom-made, and Koguma’s other brothers help out with designing and making the garments. It was licensed by CMX, but only 2 volumes were released before CMX went under. The series went for six volumes and is now out of print.

Buruki no Kazume Buriki no Kanzume is about Nabiki Oukawa, a girl who dreams of being a stuffed toy maker. Itsuru Fukamachi wants to be a silverwork designer. They both join Kousei High’s Crafting Club, intent on working hard to become professionals in their chosen fields. They both have their obstacles to overcome. Fukamachi’s father opposes his choice of professions, while Nabiki’s grades threaten her club activities. Since it’s set in a crafting club, there more crafts that the main characters stuffed animal and silverwork. Beading, glass work, and woodworking also get shown. This series is complete in one volume and was published by Hakusensha. It is currently unlicensed.

Handmade PrinceHandmade Oujisama is about Michiru Asaba, a successful fashion magazine editor who is dumped by her boyfriend because she can’t even sew on a button. Lacking in sewing skills, she decides to make a change and goes to a sewing class run by Shou Igarashi, who has been given the nickname “Handmand Prince.” This title looks cute, and has an older lead, something that appeals to me. This is another one-shot volume. It is a josei, and was published by Shogakukan. It is currently unlicensed.

OsenOsen follows Sen Handa, nicknamed Osen. She is a popular hostess at the longstanding restaurant Isho-an. As well as being a good hostess, Osen is a “jill of all trades.” She is a master chef, entertainer, potter, and art connoisseur. She uses her many skills to solve the problems that pop up around Isho-an. While crafting isn’t the focus of this series, it still sounds really interesting, and has a cool-looking female lead. This series is 16 volumes long. It is a seinen and was published by Kodansha. It is currently unlicensed.

 

 

Wish List: Otokomae! Bead Club

Otokomae Bead ClubI love to do crafts and have dabbled in quite a few, including beading. I’ve made mostly earrings back when my eyes could see the tiny beads and my more nimble hands could hold them and string them on the needle and thread. Now, I am more content to read about it.

Otokomae! Bead Club is a one shot volume by Kyousuke Motomi. Her name is well-known among western shojo manga fans. Two of her titles, Beast Master and Dengeki Daisy were licensed and released in the US by Viz Media. Her newest title, QQ Sweeper has also just been picked up, with the first volume out later this year. This title is an earlier series first published in 2004 in Shogakukan’s Betsucomi magazine. It ran for three chapters, and the compiled volume includes a side story and extra.

The story follows Oikawa Ibuki, a high school girl who has just transferred schools so she can start over. She is very strong and versed in the martial arts, but she wants to be more gentile and feminine, and find a boy who is stronger than her. On her way to her first day, she meets Takumi Urabe, a mysterious boy who carries a shovel and seems able to command crows. In her introduction, she claims to like to do beading, and is then introduced to the beading club, an eccentric group of kids who all share a secret. And Ibuki has just been made a member!

I was drawn to Otokomae! Bead Club just because of the title, but when I learned who the mangaka was, this title became an instant want. I’m really surprised it hasn’t been licensed by Viz yet. It’s only one volume, and features a lot of elements that have proven popular in other titles; a boy who commands crows, a girl who is really tough be wants to be seen as gentle. Throw in Motomi’s fun characters and playful art, and it’s got to be a sure seller! Maybe if QQ Sweeper does well, we can get this title as well.

 

Handcrafting Manga

I’m a very crafty person.  Starting when I was young, my mother taught me to embroider in order to keep me busy when I had to go with her to help by Great, Great Aunt who was blind and lived in a retirement home.  From there, I moved to knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, sewing and finally cross stitch.  I also love to cross my interests, so when Katherine Farmar asked on Twitter if anyone knew of a manga about knitting, it got me thinking.  Were there any crafty manga out there?

Continue reading Handcrafting Manga