Sunday, April 17, 2011

Magazine review: commons & sense issue 40

Go figure- I like shopping and picking out nice outfits, but I generally don't read fashion magazines. commons & sense isn't challenging that inclination, even with its lesbian-themed issue, which includes a yuri one-shot.

Even though this issue is enormous,

it was a quick read since most of its pages feature photos of (pale, skinny) models wearing high fashion brands- and this magazine, which reads from left to right (aside from the manga, which comes with a how to read manga right to left guide; it's nice that c & s included that, but you'd figure that anyone who buys this magazine would already know how to read manga unflipped), provides English translations of all of its Japanese text.

A lot of the photos feature models acting like the two on the cover- moving next to each other suggestively or feeling each other up, looking more stoned than interested in each other.

Early in the issue, we get the yuri one-shot "Rose Bud" by Tanaka Rin. It's about Hinako, a shy blonde girl who has a crush on Tsukiko-sama (translated as "Lady Tsukiko") the tall, cool girl with long dark hair who everyone at their school admires. Because of an outfit Hinako designed for Tsukiko, she catches Tsukiko's eye. Tsukiko takes her shopping and gives her a make-over, and then they have sex. Now they're a couple and Hinako is cool and popular at school, and tells a shy girl who admires her that she can be beautiful too. (How appropriate for a fashion magazine.)

 A little farther along, there's a short article by Koyanagi Mika titled "New Age Travellers" that compares lesbian movies and hippie movies. It was stupid, but it was followed by a few pages of lesbian (and hippie?) movie screencaps and DVD covers (including Love My LifeThe Color PurpleRoom in RomeWater LiliesKakera, Imagine Me & YouManjiSpider LiliesFridaSaving Face (<3), ToplessLes Filles du BotanisteLesbian Vampire Killers (wtf), Kissing Jessica Stein, and Hu Die), some of which I didn't know about. (Maybe for a good reason?)

In Saito Ayako's short story "A Love Song," we meet...well, the protagonist doesn't get a name. She's temporarily living at her aunt's apartment, taking care of her aunt's cats while she's away, with a friend she briefly dated in college, Satoshi. They had sex once when they met again after college, but he's acted so disinterested in doing it again with her (or anyone else) since then, that she wonders if he's gay- he just helps her with housework and cooking. (As an aside, Satoshi points out that she's a fujoshi.) One day a neighbor who she mentally calls "the Goddess" helps her get a bag of trash to the garbage truck after it passes by her building. Later, she sees the Goddess at the local public bath, and they go to the protagonist's apartment since Satoshi's out for the night and have sex. Satoshi sees them in bed the next morning and isn't surprised, and the protagonist makes plans to see the Goddess again. The story ends with, "How I learned I was a bisexual able to go for men or women, the Goddess was a bona fide lesbian, and Satoshi had a fantasy of being held by a woman while he was dressed as one himself all became clear over time. But I'll tell you about that some other time." This story wasn't especially well written, but it wasn't bad either. It was much more readable than the other queer pieces in this magazine.

The last lesbian-related piece is Shinsan Nameko's "There Is Nothing But Good In This Beauty", about how she thinks that all lesbians (according to her description, butches) have beautiful skin based on one visit to a lesbian bar and some American celebrities like Jenny Shimizu and Samantha Ronson. Shinsan writes about why (butchy) lesbians supposedly have such pristine, silky smooth skin, including this gem: "And finally, by seeing one's own own sex as an object of love, women are no longer rivals, and the absence of jealousy and hostility alleviates stress on the skin."

And some more interviews, some other short throwaway articles, some unusual illustrations,

and more photos of expensive fashion, including a shoot by Miu Miu titled "All The Things She Said."

Overall: Could you tell that I didn't like it? lol

Until summer vacation starts on May 7, I'm only writing one post per week.

1 comment:

Erica Friedman said...

I felt the same on every count.