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We have entered an ultimate low here, ladies and gentlemen. My exams are over, and I  somehow have less time than ever, because I am working. I have one free day from work everyweek, and yet I'm bored. My life seems to be, at this point, a supremely (or not)complex paradox. And it's not a very nice boredom, the sort that inspires wonderful ways of putting one out of misery, but the sort where you sit and stare.

Creative juices are not flowing. I am not, in general, a very creative person to begin with, and any sort of fiction you might see flotaing around this wall of memories are likely either not to be mine, or not to be continued, because I am not very focused either. But if I cannot draw little stick figures getting eaten, or write about little stick figures getting eaten, then my life seems at this point very meaningless.

I suppose I could read, but my stock consists at this point of only that terrifyingly amusing barrister of law, one Horace Rumpole of the Bailey, by John Mortimer. It's an oxymoronical kind of book, if such a word exists. The author and character were or are, respectively barristers with a singular distaste for law, which makes everything so much more interesting. I would enjoy them immensely at this point, having nothing else to do, but I have also read the trial of Oscar Wilde, which sort of ruins everything by making one wonder how much the losing side suffers into being forced to submit to what we might call justice now, and our future descendants might call tyranny. It's worth a wonder.

If I do not want to read books, I might read, I suppose fanfiction, or manga. The latter is far more interesting to examine, being the foundation of fanfiction. But Canon Nazis are very irritating, and I suspect I am fast becoming one. My fandom can be referred to in the singular, the interest consisting of merely one manga, that being From Eroica With Love or Eroica Yori Ai Wo Komete. The mangaka is Aoike Yasuko, born in Yamaguchi,in the Shimonoseki prefect (or perhaps I have them mixed up. Mangakas, unlike manga, do not interest me muchly) and the manga in question had been running for about 34 years. I shall attempt to summarize in the following:

The story follows the path of Dorian Red Gloria, Earl of Gloria, and also known as Eroica, the Prince of Thieves. Dorian, blonde, often pointed out as strikingly beautiful and very gifted at stealing is one of those terribly classy thieves, but his interest do not lie in the monetary factor of the game. Instead, he is a virtuoso at recognizing the value and beauty of art, and regards stealing as his duty to pay homage to great works. Usually, they are depictions of young male beauties, either demure or teasingly sexual. Dorian is flamboyantly homosexual, and his tastes in paintings usually reflect his preference in lovers. Dorian has a personal policy of getting what he wants, without exception, and until he meets Caesar Gabriel and his other two sidekicks, everything is going along just spiffy.

I will punctuate this summary here to say- DO NOT READ VOLUME 1 FIRST IF YOU RESEMBLE EVEN VERY SLIGHTLY AN INTELLIGENT PERSON. The Terrible Trio make their appearance in the aforesaid volume, and since they are gotten rid of after the first two stories, you may save yourself the pain you might receive by banging your head against a desk. It's not that volume one is a bad volume, in fact, it's one of my favourites, but reading it first would be a mistake. I was lucky, and picked up volume eight first. But, to continue-

Caesar Gabriel is an absolutely ravishing genius, who, at eighteen, is the Professor of a London University, and can play every single musical instrument with skill enough to shame Mozart and is also psychic. He meets Dorian at a party where the latter is planning a lucrative heist (impressive names such as the Louvre and the Tate Gallery are on his list) and Dorian immediately takes Caesar to his fancy, promptly kidnapping the boy at their next meeting. Caesar faints, screams, cries, and does, in fact, everything that a wussy uke would do. His friends attempt to break him out, and all he does is choke over his sobs. In the end, Dorian concedes to let Caesar go, apparently in the goodness of his heart. I am of the opinion that he could see a future with this fainting ninny to be somewhat trying. Caesar returns to his university, and the last you see of him in that story is a picture of him crying (again), and you find out that he is in love with the Earl.

In the next story, Major Klaus Heinz von dem Eberbach, related to the German branch of the Hapburgs, is introduced to us as a NATO operative with a long line of successes. He is, in every, the opposite of Caesar Gabriel- he's dark-haired and strong, he's rude and terrifyingly efficient, and he thinks that art is for fops and everyone else is an idiot. He meets Dorian as he starts another mission, when Dorian is viewing the Eberbach collection. They immediately start insulting each other, at first very politely, then later on not quite as much. Dorian succeeds in unnerving the Major by making passes at him, and the Major unashamedly makes some Philistinian comments regarding art, designed to annoy Dorian. The Major, who thinks himself heterosexual, has a distinctly catty side to him; he also comments on Dorian's clothing scathingly.

Dorian, who isn't used to being snubbed or disliked, makes plans to maliciously get on the Major's (now dubbed his nemesis and ultimate enemy) nerves, by stealing a painting that the Major refused to sell to him. Meanwhile, the nemesis plays an unwittingly effective move- he has been ordered to abduct Caesar Gabriel, for his psychic powers, and does so. The fainting ninny doesn't catch on until much later, despite the warnings he receives, and can conceive of no way to escape. Dorian offers to trade painting for idiot, an offer the Major refuses. Dorian then kidnaps Caesar Gabriel back, and an incensed Major gives chase in a tank. They get stranded on an island, since the Major tank is breaks the bridge, and Dorian refuses to shoot his enemy, reason being that he 'hates the sight of blood'. Instead, he shoots the radio, so that the Major cannot call for help.

Caesar Gabriel further complicates matters by threatening to catch pneumonia, and he faints, conveniently leaving our two heroes to save his life. The Major takes off his coat at Dorian's insistence, making some snarky comments about the wimp that is Caesar Gabriel, and the Earl concedes several points. Then he tells the Major to come closer, so that they can warm up Caesar more effectively. The Major refuses to touch Dorian, but settles down with his arms over Caesar to sulk.

You would expect Dorian to begin conversation, but the real catalyst here is the Major, who thinks the silence is unnerving. Dorian volunteers to sing a love ballad, but the Major apparently can't stand them. He sings a song identified as the 'Panzer Marsch'. Dorian regards him for a moment in something likening to wonder, and in that moment, immediately switches attention from Caesar Gabriel to the Major, holding the opinion that the Major is infinitely more interesting. A rescue team later descends on them, after the two agree to a truce. One will also point out that before, the Major does not touch Dorian. However, after he sings and professes a love for the beauty of steel, which Dorian also realizes to an extent, he hugs Dorian closer to him. When he is returned to his men, the Major dons his professional mask once again, and takes Caesar along with him at the Earl's insistence, since there is only space for two more in the NATO helicopter. As they are about to leave, Dorian comments that the tank is actually rather likeable, and the Major delivers the famous last words, "Make sure a thief doesn't take it then. Though I doubt anyone would be interested."

Of course, Dorian promptly steals the tank, which begin a story of espionage, hilarious gay advaces and intricate heists. The KGB come later on, and the CIA ,and each time, Aoike Yasuko pens amusings comics about crazy terrorist attempts, sometimes involving underwear and horrifying prejudices every national security group has concerning their counterparts. There are missions gone awry because Eroica is involved, and heists that have to be abandones due to the not-so-subtle tread of the Major. But whatever it is, From Eroica With Love will remain always and forever, one of the best shojo mangas I have ever had the luck to pick up.

And that will conclude this post.

Comments

mprice
Jun. 27th, 2008 07:16 pm (UTC)
New draft uploads
I just uploaded book 2 and the corrected versions of book 1, if you want to look at those. They are all in --> HERE

Edited at 2008-06-27 07:17 pm (UTC)
jade_glow
Jun. 30th, 2008 07:50 am (UTC)
Re: New draft uploads
I've just finished doing the first volume, and I'm sorry it took so long. I'm really picky about punctuation and flow, and though I appreciate that some people aren't so concerned about stuff like that, the odd criticism might have escaped me. So anyway, I'll just mail this to you. (For lack of any better way of getting it done)
mprice
Jun. 30th, 2008 02:44 pm (UTC)
Re: New draft uploads
Thanks for... Um... For...

*loses concentration watching icon*

Oh, yeah. Thank-you for looking the drafts over! This project has been two years in the making, and I really want it to be right when I release it to the masses, as it were. ;-D

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