JLPT, Japanese and Otomen

I have decided to take JLPT level 2 this year.

The table found on that page says that Level 2 can be reached with 600 hours of study. 150 hours of study is approximately a year’s worth of Japanese lessons for me. So 600 hours would be me taking it next year. But yes, because I am suicidal and only a little crazy, I will take it this year.

And now I have proved to everyone that I am even more insane than I already am by wanting to get a score of at least 350/400. Which is, quite frankly, an outstanding score, and that’s not yet taking into account the fact that I’m taking it a year early. I don’t think I can do this. But because I am not sane I will try anyway.

I got back my third Japanese paper today. I’m quite proud of my main paper, disgusted with my listening and horrified at my composition. My main paper, considering I still cannot apply ‘kureru’ and ‘ageru’ and ‘morau’ (rather, I attempt to remember what each one means but I always forget anyway) is amazingly good. I mugged a lot for that, luckily it paid off. My listening is disgusting only because of one section where somehow or other I must have been thinking of Soubi when writing down the answers, because I wrote ‘okukemasu’ instead of ‘okuremasu’, as in ‘to be able to send [an email]’, even though I am perfectly aware that it is okuremasu. Also somehow or another I wrote down ‘…wo miraremasu’ instead of the correct ‘…ga miraremasu’ even though I also know perfectly well that it is ga. I so hate myself.

My composition is terrible, terrible, terrible. My teacher’s markings and comments and scribbles on my paper threaten to stain my entire paper red. IT PULLED DOWN MY ENTIRE SCORE, DAMN YOU.

Boring things about Japanese aside.

My classmate lent me Otomen 5 in Japanese by Kanno Aya today. Otomen is a lovely cute sweet fluffy shoujo series about Masamune Asuka, a guy, who is considered the epitome of a man’s man. He’s good in studies, good in sports, chairman of the Kendo club, holder of First Dan in Judo, Second Dan in karate (or something like that) and he’s pretty rich too, because his mum’s the director of the school (or something like that.) But actually, he likes sewing, shoujo manga, pink and fluffy and cute things, and is a total romantic at heart.

What I like about this is that there aren’t half as many shoujo cliches as there are in most other shoujo series. Maybe it’s just because I always skip the pink-filled shoujo shelves in Kinokuniya, but I’ve never ever seen a shoujo manga where they chuck gender stereotypes and differences so wildly into the spotlight before. And certainly no shoujo manga with a manga-in-a-manga, and a mangaka-in-a-manga. And I have never, ever, seen a heroine of a manga do a flying kick to a falling spotlight while wearing a kimono, and going ‘Kega ga arimasen ka?’ (Are you hurt?) to another girl, while looking like the most amazing Prince Charming evarrrr. (And the next day, all the girls fangirled over her.)

Anyway I really like this. It’s more arc-ish style, without any proper plot, except maybe the relationship between the three main characters and other side characters who get added in as the manga goes on. Now it’s getting slightly more plot based, with (ZOMFG first time!) a cliffhanger. The characters are interesting, if not too realistically/emotionally developed. The art is crisp, clean and pretty likable, and angles, proportions, backgrounds etc are pretty good for a shoujo manga. (If that seems… prejudiced, well, I have to say I have been really really disappointed in the astoundingly bad angles and techinicalities in shoujo manga.)

What I like about Otomen is that it’s cute and sweet, and perfect for gloomy days where a spot of fluffy intensely pure romance cheers one up. It makes me feel happy. Although this is nowhere near high art of any sort the light-hearted blend of comedy, romance and gender stereotypes is really entertaining. Although I wouldn’t say I like this so much to spend $10 on the manga in Japanese, I gladly spend $8.50 for it in English.

Overall: 8.5/10
Story/Plot: 8/10 (arc style. Plot is pretty decent in each arc.)
Flow: 9/10 (wonderfully paced)
Art: 9/10
Dialogue etc: 8/10 (feels natural and smooth)
Characters: 9/10 (ALL SO LOVABLE, Ryou and Asuka and Tachibana and Kitora and – D:)(in Japanese)


~ by Someone in the Universe on May 9, 2008.

2 Responses to “JLPT, Japanese and Otomen”

  1. JLPT 2 is such a faraway and distant dream to me…

    Otomen is a really really really really really great series ~<3 BUT VIZ IS EXPENSIVE

    However I find myself getting hyper over series like Hatsukoi Limited by the same artist as Ichigo 100% (Kawashita Mizuki) as well. O Dear God, am I abnormal? (If you can’t bother reading Hatsukoi Limited/haven’t read it yet, it’s somewhere along the lines of Ichigo 100%, which I pretty much loved to bits too.)

    Yes, VK anime sucks but I’m still watching so I won’t have to read the manga, lazy as I am |D Macross F ftw

    Sadly I have little to no vested interest in Gundam 00 at the moment.

  2. It IS quite a faraway dream to me too. I can’t decide whether to take 2 or 3 because I rather take 3 if I’m not going to get above 300 for 2.

    I buy the ChuangYi one, my local publisher, for Otomen |D LOCAL PUBLISHERS OWN.

    I shall look at the things you suggested (: Macross F FTW!!!!!!! <3333 VK anime AND manga both suck really badly, but there are some five billion fangirls who would disagree with me and kill me. Gundam 00 is really awesome, everyone ought to try <_<

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