K-On! is a simple, 12 episode (with a special) high school girls anime from Kyoto Animation (AIR, Lucky Star, Haruhi). A lot of people raved about this show, and it is a cute little thing, but there are other things to spend your time on. It is VERY cute, charming, and funny. I think it's a fantastic show for girls, and for guys who like this sort of show (like Azumanga Daioh, Lucky Star, Sasami Magical Girls Club). There's nary a boy to be seen in this one; it's pretty much all girls, all the time. But don't expect a lot of fan service. There's some (the girls dress up in costumes on a couple occasions, and go to the beach twice), but it's not cluttered with pantie shots and the like (though there is the rare camera focusing on a boob shot of the more well-endowed characters). It's good, clean fun for the most part.

K-On! follows four (and later 5 with freshman Azusa) high school girls who form a Light Music Club at their school. The club is started by bass player Mio and drummer Ritsu, and keyboardist Tsumugi (Mugi) joins soon after. Desperately in search of another member, or else their club will be disbanded, the group eagerly welcomes straggler (and often times slacker) Yui into their fold, not knowing that she can't actually play any instruments. Miraculously Yui is rather adept at guitar, and the group bands together to find her her own instrument, and teach her how to play.

The show is less about the music and the band than it is about the girls' friendships, so don't watch it expecting Beck Mongolian Chop Squad for girls. There's no mysterious story here (like Haruhi), no romance (like AIR), no otaku humor (like Lucky Star). It's just a group of cute and rather silly girls goofing off, having tea and cakes, and occasionally playing some music. So, it's more like Azumanga Daioh with guitars. There's even a fantastically entertaining teacher who becomes their club advisor.

A lot of people seemed to have compared the show to Lucky Star, and for good reason, though I personally likened it more to Azumanga Daioh (with guitars, complete with a girl who likes cats, a rich smart girl, a loud tom boy, and a goofy teacher). Although, when I saw Lucky Star, my first impression was "Oh, it's like AD," so.... Take that how you will, I guess.

The show is well animated (wouldn't expect anything less from KyoAni), and the girls are irresistibly adorable (especially Mio and Mugi), though somewhat archetypal/cliche. I wouldn't rush out to watch it, but I wouldn't disregard it either. Jay-san has some good images/wallpapers from the show over in his K-ON post. The title of the show comes from the name of their club, the Light Music Club (which is more like light pop, not orchestrations).


Flowers of Evil

Flowers of Evil is a 7 volume manhwa from Korea. The most important thing to note about this series is that it features twin incest (twincest). So decide right now how much that bothers you before continuing.

Can you stomach it? I'm not asking if you like it, or agree with it, or think it's disgusting. It's central to the story, but that's not all that's there. And I'm talking incest like Angel Sanctuary, not Ouran High School Host Club. Can you push past that and just look at the story as a whole? If your answer is either "Yes, I can put up with it," or "Yes, I enjoy it," then continue reading. If not, then this is not going to be for you, end of story. See you next time.

Now let's get started.
This 7- volume manhwa by Lee Hyeon-Sook is pretty dark and twisted. Twins Se-Joon and Se-Wa are extremely close. For most of her life, Se-Wa has had no one but Se-Joon there for her, he's been her only friend, and he has spoiled and protected her all her life. As a result of their closeness, her preference of shutting herself away from all others, and the naivety that has developed as a result, Se-Wa cannot distinguish between sibling love and romantic love. She doesn't really understand what "love" means, and so she has fallen in love with her brother. Se-Wa thinks this is perfectly natural, but Se-Joon seems to have more mixed feelings. Se-Wa throws herself at him at every given opportunity, crawling into bed with him at night, hanging on him, and becomes exceedingly jealous as an upperclassman tries to date her brother. Se-Joon allows Se-Wa to do these things, but often doesn't instigate them himself, and is even a little embarrassed about it all. Where Se-Wa believe it's innocent and natural, Se-Joon seems to realize it isn't. He tries to push his sister away by dating another girl, and shoving the relationship in Se-Wa's face. This in turn drives Se-Wa toward a new man, a classmate from their old elementary school, Gi-Hoon. A move which doesn't thrill Se-Joon like it should.

The problem is that at the same time Se-Joon tries to push Se-Wa away, he's also doing things to drag her back in again. Even if she wanted to, he makes it near impossible for her to separate herself from him. He messes with her head on purpose, and it's driving her insane. It doesn't help that Gi-Hoon appears to have some secret, ulterior motives for befriending the twins once again (he hasn't seen or talked to them in years), and his true feelings remain unclear for most of the story. It's worth noting that nothing in this manhwa is really as it appears. The story is well-written, if a little confusing at times (the pacing of the few Korean books (and by few, I mean like, 3 or 4) I've read has always felt a little off to me, in terms of pacing and frame staging). It's good at keeping the suspense going, and at keeping you totally fooled up until the very end. It's also very sad, because the relationship between the twins is just so warped and troubling, and you desperately want for them (Se-Wa in particular) to grow and change on their own. So if you don't mind the incest themes (or actual acts of), the story there is touching, heartbreaking, and bittersweet.

The fact that the title for the story comes from Charles Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du mal is not a nonsensical connection. Currently this has no English version, so if you're interested, you're going to have to dig it up online. The art is decent, but I've seen better; though these Korean artists really have a different artistic feel than their Japanese counterparts, which is nice. Good facial expressions for the most part. I should also note, that while this story does contain incest, it's not glorified in any way. These kids live a messed up life, and it doesn't end pretty.