Author Spotlight: Mariko Nekono

For today’s author spotlight, we’re going to be looking at one of our favourite BL authors, Mariko Nekono (Japanese: 猫野まりこ)!

For today’s author spotlight, we’re going to be looking at one of our favourite BL authors, Mariko Nekono (Japanese: 猫野まりこ)!

One of my favourite things about Mariko Nekono is that they tend to focus on one volume stories, where you get a full story between two characters from start to finish, in a single 200~ page book. I always find that this way you get a really well rounded plot, that wraps up nicely at the end.

They also do quite a lot of sequels, where we get to see new story lines, or other sides to characters we already know very well. We all know how exciting it can be so see our favourite characters again! ヾ(´∀`)ノ

At Renta!, we’ve got two of Mariko Nekono’s longer running series available, so let’s take a look at them shall we!

Be sure to check out all of Mariko Nekono’s stuff on the Renta! store!

Series:
Drawn into Love
Titles:
Drawn into Love
Drawn into Dreams
Drawn with Feeling

The Drawn into Love series focuses on the relationship between Yoshifumi and Ichito, two guys who have been friends since high school. Although they stop talking when Ichito became a movie star after graduation, the two have always longed for the day that they’d be reunited once again! (n´v`n) And that day finally comes, when Ichito brings his Yoshifumi X Ichito yaoi manga to Yoshifumi’s printing company! Talk about an awkward reunion…

Ichito’s adoration for Yoshifumi is super cute right form the start, especially when he gets all small and teary eyed. The most surprising this about this series is probably just how funny it is, and although the approach to their relationship is serious when necessary, you’ll be laughing out loud the rest of the time. There’s also a fairly serious and realistic approach to the couple’s sex life, as they slowly build up to going the whole way together. Overall it’s a very well balanced series that we think anyone can enjoy! ( ´∀`)b

Series:
Drawn into Love: The Demanding Author Falls for the Loser
Titles:
The Demanding Author Falls for the Loser
The Demanding Author and the Fledgling’s One-sided Love

The Demanding Author series features one of the side characters from Drawn into Love, Jun Nanami, in his own romantic spin-off! After causing a whole world of problems for Yoshifumi and Ichito, Jun is being properly punished by being made to work… as a manga artist’s assistant? The last thing Jun wants to do is help some creep draw smut manga, but it just so happens that the artist he’ll be working with is none other than model Yudai Kase, Jun’s life-long idol!

Jun is not a particularly likeable character in the beginning, but that’s one of the real draws of this series. As much as it’s about hot model sex and nerdy jokes, Jun’s growth as a person is the central pillar of the story, with his relationship with Yudai being an important part of that. Yudai is an interesting character as well, and his possessiveness of Jun makes your heart skip a beat (´˘`)♡ The cherry on top for this series, is getting to see the guys from Drawn into Love every so often, getting involved in little side shenanigans!


Mariko Nekono’s ability to tie all their characters and stories together is truly impressive, and makes the world within the books feel full and real. We’re really looking forward to reading more of their stuff!

If you’re interested in seeing doodles and other stuff from Mariko Nekono, you can check them out on Twitter! (in Japanese)

A sketch of Ozaki and Akane, two side characters from Drawn into Love and The Demanding Author.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on Mariko Nekono, so let us know in the comments below!

And remember, be sure to check them out on the Renta! store!

Until next time~! ヴァ───ヾ(´ー`)ノ───イ

Kris’s Korner: Bands and Boys

It might just be me, but I feel like recently BL series are getting anime adaptations more than they used to. Not just BL series in fact, but bishounen series in general have been getting more love, with a lot of reverse harems and male idol shows popping up as well (*´Д`)θ~♪~

It might just be me, but I feel like recently BL series are getting anime adaptations more than they used to. Not just BL series in fact, but bishounen series in general have been getting more love, with a lot of reverse harems and male idol shows popping up as well (*´Д`)θ~♪~

Although I tend to prefer watching cute girls doing cute things, I think it’s great to see more balance in anime, and more series aimed at female viewers being released!

One such series that was recently brought to my attention was Given, a BL manga about four guys in a band, which has an anime adaptation airing this July.

Here’s hoping the anime is as well received as the manga! I’ll certainly be giving it a watch.

Quite a few fujoshi I’ve spoken to over here in Japan seem to be really excited for it, so I’d highly recommend checking it out next season (it airs on July 12th) ( ´∀`)b

Hah!

Music in anime and manga has long been a thing, from classics like Nana and Beck, to K-On!, and the recent Carole & Tuesday, which has been making waves online. Idol series have been thriving as well, for example Ensemble Stars! and IDOLiSH7 being a couple of the ones that seem to be getting a lot of attention recently.

Of course, with the copious amount of music themed manga and anime about, we’ve got you covered here at Renta! as well! So here are a couple of my recommendations (´▽`)

Title: I’m a Pop Star, Now Expose Me!
Author: Hokke Shima
Adult content: Yes
Link to store

Yukinari is searching for the scoop of his life, working as a paparazzo, but no good stories seem to be coming his way. That is, until he bumps into his old high school friend and idol super star, Subaru Nagare. Although Subaru’s been completely free of scandals for his whole career, one night of hot passion between the two old friends looks to change all of that in an instant. That is, if Yukinari publishes the story…

Although I’m not a big fan of voyeuristic stuff normally, there’s just a hint of it in this, and it gives me a bit of a thrill (*´Д`)=3 Subaru is an interesting character, as he has a lot of different sides to his personality. On stage, he’s a beautiful, brazen star, when he’s with Yukinari he’s sweet and fragile looking, and during the smut scenes he’s an absolute animal! It’s also really cute watching Yukinari trying to decide whether to expose Subaru and get his big story, or whether to protect him and keep him for himself!

Title: My Fickle Jaguar
Author: Unohana
Adult content: Yes
Link to store

Sojun Shiina used to be immensely famous in the Japanese music scene, as part of the band “Peg”. But in recent years he’s just been drifting around from place to place, doing whatever he feels like with no real sense of direction. Occasionally he’ll go back to his partner Arata’s house, so that he can ‘recharge’. While Arata really wishes Sojun was around more often, it’s hard to keep this fickle jaguar pinned down!

I really liked the character development in this series, and both Arata and Sojun feel like they could very much be real people. They’re both complex and flawed individuals, who’re trying to make their somewhat janky relationship work as best they can. This is not a smut-fest, but more of a slow-burner, with a really well put-together story.


Are you in the mood to pick up guitar!? ‘Cus I sure am! Maybe when I have more time anyway… (’  ̄3 ̄) ~

Until next time~! ヴァ───ヾ(´ー`)ノ───イ

Kris’s Korner: Thicc Thighs Save Lives

Although not a very well known video game series in the west, the Atelier series has been making waves online recently, with the announcement of their new game Atelier Ryza, and more importantly the main character Reisalin Stout, owner of thighs thicker than a shake left in the freezer overnight.

How the heck does she put her shorts on in the morning!? They’ve gotta have some serious stretch in them.

Although the Atelier series is normally known for it’s super cute art and characters, thicc thighs will always go down well on the internet. I have to say that they’ve lured me in as well (*´Д`)

This is how I want to go.

One thing that I do think is a little sad about the way the games are advertised though, is that they aren’t making use of the pretty, pretty boys that fight alongside the cute girls.

I think they’re pretty anyway… (Psst… Google “Sterkenburg Cranach”)

Oh well, more cute girls for me I guess (*ノ´∀`)ノ

One of the things I really like to see in our manga here at Renta! is these kind of fantasy settings, which sadly don’t get a lot of love in TL/BL series. They do tend to be a bit more common in shojo manga however, and so I’d like to introduce one that I’ve been enjoying recently!

Title: This Mage Desires Mediocrity
Author: Hiromi Taihei
Story: Ren Hirose
Adult Content: No
Link to store

Swept from our world into a world of magic, Mizuki is set on living her life by her own rules, and has settled into her new life in a quite country village quite nicely. Unfortunately her absurdly strong magic has been drawing attention from all the wrong sorts, and now knights have come from the capital requesting that she go with them to meet the prince! This is not turning out to be the kind of life she had in mind.

Mizuki really stands out as a girl who doesn’t take crap from anybody. Watching her take down arrogant nobles and the like is very satisfying, and there’s some video-game-like aspects to the fantasy world that make it really interesting. To top it all off there’s a constant flow of silly, comedy moments that will keep you laughing throughout each chapter! ( ゚∀゚)アハハ八八ノヽノヽノヽノ \ / \/ \


What kind of settings do you guys like? As always we’d love to hear your thoughts~

Until next time~! ヴァ───ヾ(´ー`)ノ───イ

Kris’s Korner: I’m a Straight Guy and I Like Pretty Boys

Over here in Japan, there’s quite a strong separation between male anime/manga otaku, and female otaku. Generally speaking male otaku here are into cute girls, and female otaku are into pretty boys. People looking from outside the fandoms often imagine that they have a lot in common, but actually the difference between liking cute girls and liking pretty boys, is something of an impassable chasm.

Over here in Japan, there’s quite a strong separation between male anime/manga otaku, and female otaku. Generally speaking male otaku here are into cute girls, and female otaku are into pretty boys. People looking from outside the fandoms often imagine that they have a lot in common, but actually the difference between liking cute girls and liking pretty boys, is something of an impassable chasm.

There are of course exceptions to this, which is a category I’ve realised that I fall into. In my case I’m a guy who’s into cute girls, and also really likes pretty boys! *:.。☆..。.(´∀`人)

Five points to anyone who can guess who that’s supposed to be.

In Japan, girls who are into pretty boys (and ship them) are labelled, fujoshi (腐女子, literally “rotten girl”). So in the same vein, guys who are into pretty boys are called fudanshi (腐男子), replacing the woman (女) character, with man (男).

As this appears to be a reasonably rare phenomenon, I thought I’d talk a little bit about how I’ve come to appreciate beautiful boys, as a straight guy.

1. I Can Identify With Them

The first real bishounen (beautiful boy) series I saw was the anime adaptation of the visual novel Amnesia (quite different to the horror game, I can assure you).

“Amnesia for Nintendo Switch. The official site is up♪”

My first thought was “Oh damn, these guys are edgy!” Because I mean, seriously, who wears clothes like that? (I actually want their wardrobe so much it physically hurts) (ノД`)ノ

But as I watched more of it I realised that I could identify with these characters far better than with what we, in the west, consider to be good, male role-models. We tend to idolise sporty, muscular, traditionally masculine looking guys, with short hair and simple clothes.

But that wasn’t me, I didn’t like sports, I was so skinny a strong wind could break me in half, and I wanted longer, exciting hair (although now it’s short again). So it was great not only seeing characters like that, but characters like that who were designed to be cool. They weren’t some “weirdo” being laughed at in a TV show for being different, they were the protagonists.

Not long after that I stated to get really into Japanese fashion and got a proper hair cut!

2. The Character Designs Are Amazing

As much as I like cute girls, I have to confess that I think characters from pretty boy series often have more interesting designs. More interesting might not be quite the right phrasing, but bishounen character designs do tend to be very detailed (and again, fantastic hair).

Recently I’ve been really into the online game Toukenranbu, which features anthropomorphised Japanese swords as pretty boys, and I can really get behind the amount of detail that goes into the character designs.

A new sword released recently, Hakusan Yoshimitsu.
Okay, I’ll admit, this one just looks like a beautiful girl.

As someone who’s into fashion and cosplay as well, these kind of designs make for some really interesting outfits and inspiration! Obviously it’s hard to look as beautiful as them in real life, but we can try! ヾ(´Д`)ノ

3. Gender isn’t the Most Important Thing in a Series/Prejudice is Hard to Overcome

I had some trouble phrasing this point, but basically, gender is not what makes a character or series good, there’s so much more to it than that.

I often find that I don’t enjoy bishounen works because of the pretty boys, but rather because I really like the characters’ personalities, or because the story is very well written.

I always like to use Yuri!!! on Ice to demonstrate this point, as I’ve never seen my guy friends get so excited about a gay romance before. It’s often not the content itself that audiences have a real aversion to, but rather the way it’s written and portrayed, along with their own preconceived expectations and assumptions.

A special illustration, celebrating the “ISU World Team Trophy 2019”.

My friends genuinely didn’t know what they were getting into with Yuri!!! on Ice, they had only heard that it had great animation, and was very popular online. They basically had no reason not to watch it, so they did… and they loved it. On the other hand, if I’d introduced it to them as a “gay ice skating anime”, I’m not sure how they’d have felt. Maybe they’d have surprised me, who knows?

To put it simply, I think a lot of guys have an aversion to pretty boys (and BL) because they just expect it to not be interesting to them. As someone who went in blind myself, I never had this issue, but often I see it with male otaku who won’t touch anything lacking cute girls.


That just about covers everything for me really. I’m sure if you meet other guys that are into pretty boy series, they might have some other good reasons to give you.

Regarding the last point about the importance of good characterisation and story writing, one series that helped me get into the more adult, BL side of things was The Subway Dog, which just went up on Renta! recently. So if you fancy something slow-burning and more mature, I really recommend checking it out!

The Subway Dog Cover
Title: The Subway Dog
Author: Sakae Kusama
Adult Content: Yes
Link to store

If there are any other guys out there reading this who’re into BL or pretty boys, I’d love to hear about your experiences!

Until next time~! ヴァ───ヾ(´ー`)ノ───イ

Author Spotlight: neco

Today, we’re going to be looking at neco, who’s ongoing series “Bee-Sting Babe and the Gorgeous Guy” has been a huge hit!ヽ(*´∀`)ノ☆ Although each of neco’s series are different in substance and tone, they’re fantastic at building up relatable characters within a few short chapters, and using different art styles to set the mood.

Hello! (´∀`)ノシ

At Renta!, we’re fortunate enough to have some really amazing work from some really amazing authors, so we thought it was about time that we showcased some of our favourites. So from now on you’ll be seeing some of our “Author Spotlight” posts from time to time, showing off some of the best work, from our best authors!

Today, we’re going to be looking at neco, who’s ongoing series “Bee-Sting Babe and the Gorgeous Guy” has been a huge hit!ヽ(*´∀`)ノ☆ Although each of neco‘s series are different in substance and tone, they’re fantastic at building up relatable characters within a few short chapters, and using different art styles to set the mood.

Be sure to check out all of neco’s stuff on the Renta! store!

Title: Bee-Sting Babe and the Gorgeous Guy
Author: neco
Link to store

“Bee-Sting Babe and the Gorgeous Guy” stars Iori Ayase, a cute 25 year old tom-boy who works at a cafe, and her co-worker Sota Seto, a pastry chef who’s beautiful enough to be mistaken for a girl! Although she’s had a crush on Sota for a long time, Iori is hung-up on her tiny breasts and can’t even imagine getting a boyfriend, let alone one as gorgeous as Sota! But as it turns out, tiny breasts is exactly what this chef is into…

This is one of neco‘s cutest series by far, as Iori is just adorable, and Sota is really sweet when he’s worrying about her! Their relationship is super wholesome and there’s a lot of focus on Iori getting more confident in herself and her petite body. As this a long running series, we’re really looking forward to seeing what happens next for the two of them!ヾ(´ー`)ノ

Title: My Boyfriend’s a Love-Zombie -The Pleasure Won’t Stop!-
Author: neco
Link to store

After her boyfriend passed away in a car accident years ago, Yuri has never been able to get over him. No one else feels right to her. But when she gets harassed by some guys on her way home from a night out, a handsome young man saves her, and something clicks. Being with him is just like being with her old boyfriend again. She’s even more surprised when it turns out this handsome guy and her ex have the same name!

In this series, the story is told mostly from the guy’s point of view, which isn’t as common in TL, but works really nicely. We get to see how much he loves Yuri and how important she is to him, which is the main focus of the story. Yuri is super cute, in a very feminine way, almost like a doll, and knowing what happened to her in the past makes you really want to root for her happiness! ٩(๑˃̵ᴗ˂̵๑)۶ Another very wholesome series by neco, we’d recommend this if you’re after a feel-good-read!

Title: Bondage, Discipline, and the Seductive Young Man
Author: neco
Link to store

A talented businesswoman by day, Minato Kashiwagi turns into a dominatrix at night, unleashing her whip and sharp tongue on her masochistic co-workers. So when a young, docile looking boy, Towa, joins her company, obviously she’s excited to have another toy boy to add to her collection. But when she tries to wrap him around her little finger, he turns the tables on her and brings out her inner masochist! Now that she’s become the toy, what will happen next?

And now for something completely different, “Bondage, Discipline, and the Seductive Young Man” is all about S&M play and a great read for anyone who’s ever wanted to be toyed with (*´Д`) Unlike neco‘s other work, Minato and Towa aren’t cute, but rather beautiful and mature looking, which captures their more adult, obscene relationship perfectly.


We hoped that you like neco‘s work, and if you’ve read any of their stuff before we highly recommend checking out their other series!

You can also follow neco on twitter! It’s all in Japanese, but they sometimes post art, updates, and delicious food and stuff too(’┓`*)

“As it’s Maid Day… A maid for Iori’s eyes only.”

We’d love to hear what you think about the author so feel free to leave us a comment below! And of course be sure to check out neco on the Renta! store!

Until next time~! ヴァ───ヾ(´ー`)ノ───イ

Kris’s Korner: Final Fantasy, Edgy Demons, and Pretty Ninjas

So everyone I know has been talking about nothing but E3 this week, to a point where I feel like I know everything that happened, despite not actually watching a minute of it ( ・_・) Though I’ve promised myself I’ll watch some this weekend.

Hello again! (´∀`)ノシ

So everyone I know has been talking about nothing but E3 this week, to a point where I feel like I know everything that happened, despite not actually watching a minute of it ( ・_・) Though I’ve promised myself I’ll watch some this weekend!

From Cyberpunk 2077, to Animal Crossing, there’s been a lot of great new titles and information coming out, but one thing that’s been a bit of a topic of conversation here in the office is the new FF7 Remake trailer, with Tifa and Sephiroth’s new designs making an appearance at last! ((´∀`))

There’s been a bit of online debate over Tifa’s new design (read: boobs), but all in all it sounds like people are pretty pleased with how the game is looking. Which is good news for me, as I never actually played the original FF7 (I’m sorry) and am looking forward to being able to experience the story with shiny, shiny HD graphics!

I imagine the dialogue in Final Fantasy 7 is kind of like this.

Regardless of whether or not you’ve played the game though, the characters are so popular that at this point anyone who’s spent any length of time in gaming communities knows them by face, if not by name. As someone who’s into cute girls, I often see Aerith and Tifa talked about, drawn, and cosplayed, even more so now that the remake is coming out.

How am I going to link this all into recommending manga? How indeed. Let’s see… when I think of Aerith, my first thought is flowers, and when I think of Tifa, I think ass whooping (o ̄∇ ̄)=◯)`ν゜)・; So let’s go with those ideas and see what comes up!

Title: Dream Demon -Come Give Me Your Sweet Nectar-
Author: Show Izumi
Genre: TL/Love Manga
Adult Content: Yes
Link to store

I present, cute, sexy florist and crazy demon guy: the manga. The premise is simple, Chisa works at a flower shop, and Kyoya is a kind of lust demon drawn to this world by Chisa’s underlying sexual desires. Man, if I had a penny for every time I summoned sex demons by accident… (;´∀`)

This series is tremendously fast paced, so I’d recommend it for anyone who likes to just get straight to the action. Chisa is pretty cute, and Kyoka is edgy as heck. In a sexy red eyed demon kind of way ψ(`∇´)ψ

Title: To Ninja Love is to Ninja Live
Genre: TL/Love Manga
Adult Content: Yes
Link to store Coming soon!

Sadly, there is a distinct lack of ass whooping in TL manga ヽ( ´ー`)ノ However we do have one title coming out soon that I’d like to recommend (and I’ll be sure to update this post when it’s released)!

This is a story about a ninja, Ayame, who is unnaturally strong, but not great at doing…ninja stuff. Although she’s liked her village’s top ninja, Shoma, since she was a child, he’s always been out of reach for someone like her. But, after learning that Shoma is going to become the next village head and take a wife, she decides to give up on him and devote herself to special “intelligence gathering” training. So imagine her surprise, when Shoma himself turns up to “train” her!

The art for this series is what really got me, as it has a light, soft feeling to it, and is very pleasant to look at (´ω`*) The story itself is great as well and between the humorous moments, feels like it’s actually going somewhere. I’d recommend this is you’re looking for a relaxing read, with an interesting main character!


I hope everyone’s had a great E3 and has found some releases to look forward to in the next year or so! Be sure to let us know if you’ve got any recommendations~

Until next time~! ヴァ───ヾ(´ー`)ノ───イ

Kris’s Korner: Cute and Fuzzy Stuff Fuels Me

Today I want to talk a little bit about fluffy warm stuff that saves you from a bad day, or the overwhelming grief you feel when you break that beautiful figure that you bought at that event and it cost you, like, $100 and…(´;ω;`)ウッ…

Hello! (´∀`)ノシ I’m Kris and I work here at the Renta! office in Tokyo alongside Nate. As an self-proclaimed otaku and fudanshi, I’m going to be writing about anime, manga, games, and hopefully recommend you guys some good series along the way!

Today I want to talk a little bit about fluffy warm stuff that saves you from a bad day, or the overwhelming grief you feel when you break that beautiful figure that you bought at that event and it cost you, like, £100 and…(´;ω;`)ウッ…

In Japan, this kind of stuff is often referred to as, iyashi (癒し), literally “healing”. Personally, I get my “healing” from slice-of-life anime, because cute girls are like sugar, straight to the veins(☆ω☆*)If you’re the kind of person that keeps up with recently airing series, you might have come across Sewayaki Kitsune no Senko-san (The Helpful Fox Senko-san), a series about a cute fox girl that decides to look after a tired office worker because she’s lovely like that.

Look at that adorable thing. She’s holding bubbles. Why is she holding bubbles? Are they a present? For me? Oh Senko-san, I love them (*´∀`*)

Anyway, I was sat here in the office thinking about her fluffy, fluffy tail (which is important (and I was on break so it’s fine don’t worry(;;´・ω・))), and I thought, “What kind of warm, fuzzy stuff do we have here?”

Artist’s impression of Senko-san learning about BL while she cooks you dinner.
How does she turn the pages without opposable thumbs? How does she reach the boiling pot? These are the questions.

So I asked the gang for some recommendations, had a read, and thought I’d let you guys know a couple of my favourites!

Title: The Guy I’m into Is a You-Know-What!
Genre: Love Manga
Adult Content: Yes
Link to store

A really cute story about Sakiko Kotohira, a diehard fujoshi, and Masayuki Utazu, a 30 year-old virgin that looks like a playboy, and their sudden office romance.

Sakiko often wakes up to the voice of her fantasy husbando, “Reiji”, in the form of steamy yaoi drama CDs. Although this is normally about as close as a fangirl can get to getting her dream boy, it just so happens that Masayuki, who works at her office, is the perfect Reiji look-a-like. There are two problems however: she’s worried about anyone finding out about her hobby, and he is terrified of women. Fortunately, the two are finally brought together when he choke-slams her into the freaking ground, by accident.

To quote the main guy, Masayuki, “She’s so tiny! And soft! And cute!!” I honestly found Sakiko to be simply adorable, and her interactions with Masayuki are super sweet too, largely due to his level of innocence. The art is really comfy, switching between a cute and comical style for the regular interactions, and a more detailed, high quality feel for the erotic scenes. Both relatable and very funny, this series will really cheer you up at the end of a long day.

Title: My Dearest Cop
Genre: BL
Adult Content: Yes
Link to store

My Dearest Cop is about two friends, forty-something-year-old ex-cop and shop owner Seiji Tajima, and 30 year-old cop Shin Nakamoto, and how they make the jump from friends, to something more.

Now running his family’s store, despite his best attempts, Seiji is having trouble finding a girlfriend. Shin often stops by while out on patrol for tea and a chat, but probably more so because of the romantic feelings he’s been harbouring for Seiji. When Seiji makes an off-hand comment about trying his luck with guys, Shin takes the opportunity to make Seiji his!

Oh my God look at that cat (=´∇`=) It’s adorable! Besides the cat, I really loved the pacing of this manga. The author has taken the time to set the scene, introduce the characters, and show us their relationships. This more gentle start is very relaxing and gives the characters a warmth that will put a smile on your face!


I really hope one of these series can brighten up your day and provide the “healing” that you need ( ´∀`)b And if you’re into anime I highly recommend checking out Senko-san too! Lastly I’d love to hear of any iyashi series that you guys enjoyed!

Until next time~! ヴァ───ヾ(´ー`)ノ───イ