I like pi!

Yuureitou/The Ghost Tower

So this manga is a TRIP.

It's a gothic mystery/horror/romance set in 1950s Japan about an (arguably non-binary(*)) sad loser, Taichi, who gets dragged into a Mysterious Treasure Hunt in an Old Tower Full of Deadly Traps by Tetsuo, a cool and sexy trans man with Secrets. It has a whole bunch of queer characters, written with a lot of complexity and compassion.

It's also incredibly violent, has All The Triggers, and is really, really into contrasts between gender/body/presentation, especially ogling Tesuo's breasts (but also the cis women's breasts). It's a big mess of psychosexual gender issues, and the treatment of characters who are feminine and/or afab is...patchy, especially the Very Unfortunate Trans Woman.

Also the plot is increasingly batshit ridiculous, including a bunch of stuff I generally dislike, like it starts with an Implausibly Deadly Treasure Hunt and Bizarre Serial Killer and things just escalate from there.

But I also quite enjoyed it?? It's exciting, with lots of twists and turns, and also has that thing some horror has of just...finding peace and compassion in the grotesque, where everyone is a gross weirdo covered in (literal or metaphorical) blood and it doesn't judge. A lot of people suffer and die, but there's connection and kindness and happiness too, even between people who have done horrible things to each other. And while the treatment of the queer characters is certainly not Ideal, they get to be real complex people, and their sense of themselves is respected. Like, at one point Tetsuo has to wear a dress, and this is 100% drawn as sexy, but also as a horrifying violation. (I mostly found the art ugly and unsexy, but it's not subtle in it's aims) And Taichi is also forced to dress as a woman (which he finds way less violating than he expected, though he does experience some harsh lessons about sexism in 1950s Japan) and you get mild cheesecake chapter art of him like this.

The treatment of disability, when it comes up, is similar: the disabled chareacters are kinda freaky and horrific, but everyone's kinda freaky and horrific. People do go Violently Crazy, and it's not actively trying to talk about disability the way it is queerness, but it doesn't feel as ableist as a lot of horror.

And like...it's not really a story about being queer, it's a Tropey Adventure where a bunch of the characters happen to be queer. And that's rare.

So yeah. I saw a rec for this years ago, when it ended, and thought "I bet I'd enjoy that but only if I was in EXACTLY the right headspace", and happened to be reminded of it by torachan's review and sat down and read pretty much the whole thing in one sitting.

(*)This is less unambiguous than the binary trans characters, but it feels like that's just because people from the 1950s had nothing approaching a concept of what being non-binary would even mean. He's unambiguously not a straightforward cis man.

Spoilery content details/warnings and reactions under the cut.
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I like pi!

One Shot Club: Play By Post Tabletop RPGs

This month, One Shot Club, the roleplaying discord I'm on, is doing non-realtime "play by post" games. Normally time zones make it hard for me to match with the other (largely american) players, and I always find realtime voice a bit stressful. The games emphasise collaborative story-telling and involve a variety of interesting sounding scenarios. So this looks like fun, and I thought it might be relevant to some of you too.

The discord link.

The games for this month.

There isn't long to sign up so if you're interested don't wait too long. This entry was originally posted at https://alias-sqbr.dreamwidth.org/799025.html. There are comment count unavailable comments.
I like pi!

Samurai Love Ballad Party: Peerless in Love, Mitsuhide

Masterlist and guide

This game continues to give me new things to ship, this time combining a cute Mitsuhide/MC story with canonically mutual attraction between MC and... Yuki the evil lady ninja?? Sure, ok!

Also there was a lot of poetic sexy language that sometimes went over my head.
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genius!

My Latest Silly Game Idea I am Not Making

Every now and then, when playing dating sims about historical figures, I think about an Australian version, but get bogged down in (a) the genocidal nature of most Australian history(*) (b) my intense ignorance about history in general.

But today I realise I shouldn't be taking my inspiration from Hakuoki/Ikemen Sengoku etc. I should take it from Code Realise/Ikemen Revolution etc! OUT OF COPYRIGHT LITERARY FIGURES ARE FREE REAL ESTATE.

I mean, I haven't actually read that much early Australian literature, and it's basically all also super duper racist, but I feel more comfortable glossing over the flaws of fictional characters than real people.

I'm sticking to adults, and imagining characters being made human as necessary, though if you prefer the furry version I won't judge. After a little thought and googling I came up with:

The Sentimental Bloke
The Jolly Swagman
One of McCubbin's sad people
The Kangaroo from Dot and the Kangaroo
The Man From Snowy River
The Magic Pudding(**)

Child!me had a proto-crush on all the girls from Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, but while they live as adults they look like semi-naked children and I just don't want to go there. The characters from Ginger Meggs, Blinky Bill, and the Seven Little Australians are are also squickily young, but could be fun as unromanceable side characters.

Afaict Chesty Bond is too recent to be out of copyright, which is a tragedy.

What other sexified, out of copyright Australian fictional characters would you enjoy in a dating sim or other romance story? Assuming the answer isn't "None, and you are very odd" :D

(*)I mean it wasn't especially genocidal pre-1788, but I'm not the person to make that game.
(**)Bill Barnacle etc would be easier to make sexy, but this is funnier and has Brand Recognition. This entry was originally posted at https://alias-sqbr.dreamwidth.org/798300.html. There are comment count unavailable comments.
I like pi!

Swancon: ONLINE, and LOVE NEVER DIES

This ANZAC weekend was the local scifi con, Swancon. And like so many recent cons, it was online.

This was an interesting experience! I was unfortunately very sleepy this weekend so wasn't up for a bunch of content I'd been looking forward to, but participated in couple of Youtube chats via Watch2gether, which were super fun. I also submitted to and checked out the online art gallery, which was a cute virtual space you could wander around.

There were also video chats, online board games, etc. There's been a bunch of discord conversations leading up to Swancon, too, and the possibility of a bookclub etc following the con.

The first thing we watched on Youtube was the Australian production of the Phantom of the Opera Sequel musical, Love Never Dies. It was very entertainingly bad, and we all ended up shipping Meg/Christine and Phantom/Raoul more than any of the canon ships.
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I like pi!

Samurai Love Ballad Party: Peerless in Love, Saizo and Kojuro

Masterlist and guide. I rejigged this to be clearer and have a character guide.

This event seems to be set after Act 2, when MC and her love interest are married.

Kojuro and MC make a cute married couple! This was also a kinda interesting little story.

Yukimura and MC are also cute, but alas she's married to Saizo...

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I like pi!

Samurai Love Ballad Party: Perpetually Moonstruck: Hanzo and Hotaru

Masterlist and guide

Hanzo tries acting like a regular boyfriend, but decides he'd rather be mocking and controlling and talk about killing MC. It's cute!

Hotaru and MC do fun crafts for their friends. It's squicky as hell!

YMMV

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