Spotted Flower chs 27.5 – 29.5
Kio Shimoku, Thrice yearly manga in Rakuen Le Paradis magazine
Free web extra chapter 29.5 Dec 30, 2018:
Rakuen Le Paradis magazine on Amazon Japan (kindle) #29 Feb 28, 2019
Rakuen Le Paradis magazine on Amazon Japan (kindle) #28 Oct 31, 2018
WARNING: Spoilers and lewdz ensue.
Horny on Main:
English language fan-translations of Kio Shimoku’s follow-up to his Genshiken saga have fallen way behind, leaving only
rabid determined readers to search out other language scans and try their hands with phone translation apps. As well, a vocal number of the old-guard Genshiken fans have walked away from Spotted Flower as sequel, bitter that the author slammed his two most prized creations together for a few pages of furtive guy-secks. Much powder was burnt discussing if Spotted Flower can even be considered a sequel to the Genshiken, or even if it was all a dream, or a doujin-within-a-manga, penned by a 29 year old Ogiue.
I think we all missed something. Slow on the uptake. Sensei pulls out the bamboo cane and starts doing emphasis whacks, as if at some crusty zazen class.
Spotted Flower is here for the lewdz!
There used to be a heck of a lot less sex in the Genshiken. Think back. Horny virgins. Much allusion to sex and desire and “enjoyment” and DIY doujin porn yet no sight of it. Three eventual couples but even among them, intimacy treated like murder in Greek tragedies. Performed off-stage. Saki in the original Genshiken letting slip that Kousaka did her while gaming, Ohno’s famous “This is what I…” as well as one vague reference to cosplay fun with Tanaka. Ogiue cheesed that Sasahara doesn’t act more “forceful’. Otherwise it was teasing allusions all the way down, even with Angela and Keiko underfoot.
Rakuen LeParadis has a completely different readership demographic and Spotted Flower is a different property but perhaps we all were thrown by Saki/The Wife’s pregnancy. The characters are all grown up now. They get to do sex but somehow adult married sex feels disenchanted, less than as if they were still bright and shiny young things. Boring adults are boring as they get bored. They have nothing but their old otaku hobbies to do any more except fuck, and then fuck around. And thence back to work. Perhaps we were tricked into considering awkward married intimacy as somehow less lewd than???
By the time Kio-sensei was ready to go on a tear, we had all been properly set up.
One IRL year ago – the pace of Spotted Flower time crawls with its thrice yearly releases – Madarame was trying to get Sasahara to stand as alibi for Hato’s scent on a housecoat and was doing a damn poor job of it; turning the meetup into a brag session about some definitely-not-boring married 30-somethings’ sex. At the same time, Sue had come upon her napping boss Ogiue having a mildly hawt dream and had snapped; not merely stealing a waking kiss, but grabbing Ogiue’s boobs and vowing (in an echo of their first meeting) to steal her panties.
Editor Endou attempts to gain more information from Ogiue about Asaska-sensei (Hato’s pen-name – possibly Hato/Yajima as a ‘circle’) and ends up going out drinking with Ogiue’s group plus Hato and Yajima after a day of convention doujin selling. Endou does her best to put aside her questions as to why Hato/ Asaka-sensei had a boner under her dress that one time, telling herself that her job is to encourage creativity. She then proceeds to get blind drunk and has to be carried by Yajima back to Hato and Yajima’s place – where it appears festivities continued. The next morning, Endou wakes foggy and hung over and bolts into the shower/ bath room (typically the toilet bowl has its own separate “water closet” in Japanese homes) where she gets a full-monty nekkid reveal of a just-showered Hato. Endou screams…
Sue continues to sexually harass Ogiue with her big boobs. Ogiue ends up with her head under Sue’s top and decides to turn around and go for it.
Ohno visits Saki, bringing her own baby and nurses both kids. Saki nods off from exhaustion. When she wakes, she tells Ohno that she suspects that her husband has cheated on her. Unsaid is that we all know that Saki knows damn well with who.
Sasahara is at Ogiue’s and Sue is sitting next to Ogiue. As Sue gets overenthusiastic, perhaps in an effort to spite the boyfriend, Sasahara acts as if he he is enjoying the show then lets slip that he has heard big gossip. Ogiue, guessing what he is thinking about Sue’s antics, proposes a threesome in exchange for spilling the goods. Sue goes into shock, visibly traumatized as Sasahara is left speechless.
In a final panel, Mada is heading home from work.
Chapter 29.5 (free web extra)
It is immediately after the hangover morning naked shower reveal. Hato had been thinking about a newly acquired naughty doujin while showering and was sporting an erection when Endou bumbled in. Endou-san is traumatized. Yajimacci angrily shoos Hato to the bedroom and tries to calm/ explain matters to their editor. Yajima even tries to sell Endou on the idea of Hato/ Asaka-sensei coming out as a fujoshi trans woman but this flips Endou’s ‘pro’ switch: the idea is shot down as likely to be taken as a stunt. Yajima senses that she is on the verge of losing their editor and plays her ace. Yes, sensei and her are a couple but sensei has had an “it’s only him” male crush since their university club days. Endou goggle mode to %110, coolant pressure rising, editor re-captured. When Hato is fetched back into the living room, Endou-san is fully dazzled.
The next issue of Rakuen LeParadis is due out at the end of February 2019.
A few points of note. Props again to the earlier correspondent who characterised Merei Yajima’s management and in-relationship style as “policing Hato’s gender and sexuality”. Merei policing mode at max. At least the cursed demotion to fudanshi status was avoided; fujoshi-dom instead advanced as the main reason/explanation for Hato’s presentation and top surgery. Even then the women’s’ fan homosocial/ magic circle that is BL threatens to evaporate for Endou-san:
“Yajima: So, you’re still willing to continue working with us, right?
Endou: I- I guess… I guess it would be fine, but… / I’m not sure if I can talk about BL as freely as before… But it should be okay…?”
— Spotted Flower, chapter 29.5, pps 10-11 Translated script by athrun_chan
…Which forces Merei to play her ace.
Wait for the sneaky self-satisfied-author kicker. The last words in the chapter mumbled by the now-fascinated Endou are in the nature of:
“You like BL, but that’s not quite it. I thought that…”
— ibid p14
Kio-sensei is slipping us the notion that the neat little indeterminate-Hato puzzle he built for his Genshiken Nidaime readership has now hooked an in-story bystander. Once again Hato becomes both fujoshi creator/ consumer/ fangirl and male remainder whose same-sex desires can be offered up as bounty to the fujoshi collective. Can Endou make the conceptual leap? She had already granted tentative lesbian couple status to Yajima and Hato (a not unheard-of judgement as acknowledged by Yajima) but lesbian fujoshi are no big deal in their fandom. What is missing is the usual “heart-of-a-girl” placeholder-ism for a trans* /genderqueer identity. Only the unique trans-fujoshi conceit remains. There will be no table manned by CYAN publishing reps (Endou’s company. I’ve seen that logo before; is it a call out to one of Spotted Flower’s publishing company Hakusensha’s IRL divisions?) at any future Tokyo Pride parade. Not yet. Then again, Kio Shimoku’s critical view of fujoshi socials tracks with a 2000’s era (and earlier) apolitical/ socially disengaged view of BL fandom. Some suggest that this is changing.
However Japanese publishers, even in 2019 remain known for their cautious, conservative incrementalism (backed, tested and proven with sales figures). Endou-san’s division might anthologise select Asaka-sensei doujins but their bread and butter appears to be work-safe properties that ‘pro’ mangaka like Ogiue churn out. Ogiue’s circle might still whomp up some ‘good stuff” for big conventions but that’s a special treat for hardcore fans. Asaka-sensei must remain a trade secret for now.
I never completely got the existential shock that drove a significant number of Genshiken and even Genshiken Nidaime fans to make such a big deal out of whether Spotted Flower was a ‘true’, voice-of-god, cannon sequel. From the beginning, Kio-sensei’s pro-forma denials, wrapped in legal and industry rituals for an author two-timing different publishing companies made any final and definite pronouncement impossible. From a Schrödinger’s Spotted Flower, the obvious resolution, a wink and a nod toward the fannish conceit of the AU (alternate universe) seemed an inevitable step, especially since Japanese pop fiction is jammed to the rafters with time looping and probability shifting stories.
Spotted Flower ch 35:
Drunk Hato, Yajima and Endou garbage-pick an ancient IBN laptop and a microwave oven on the way home from a post-convention piss-up.
Few hardcore Spotted Flower detractors were ready to make the conceptual leap. Most who wouldn’t seemed to be guys. I might be wandering into wild speculation-land but guys don’t generally immerse as much in fanfiction culture. Even if aware of the lore, could the AU trope possibly be too ‘gendered’ for serious manly-fan consideration? Or the consideration of a subtype of guy fan? Give stuff like that a chance to get loose and next thing, it’s all multiple probability rotten fangirl shipping fic all the time. All the way down. Rinse, repeat.
Only a dream? Ok. A doujinshi-fied roman-a-clef that turns out to be authored by the “real” Ogiue. Cool Story Bro!. Kio Shimoku wanting to wreak misery and heartbreak upon the Old-boy Genshiken fandom, using his insidiously powerful ball-crushing attention-whoring gender-bent Hato creation as a 10-ton shithammer? Always suspected as much. Everything Hato Touches Dies!
What sad lack of imagination! Kio Shimoku got to the laptop and microwave oven first. If the author does it, it is no longer an AU. It took a bit of effort but he created a probability line where everyone lives, gets bored with their riajuu lives and starts fucking around. Then they really go at it. A lot!
Behold! Kio Shimoku’s ecchi adult ensemble rom-com achieves a stable divergence value.
Hijinx ensue! Who gets threesomed first?
Also; never stop reading or scanlating Spotted Flower.
Can I ask you where are you finding the sources for the raw manga? like the ones, you used in this post.
And also I agree with you that it seems most of the fans (I’m a Chinese fan so I’m also aware that this applies to the Chinese fans as well) are focusing their energy on whether this is an “official” sequel or alternative universe, and too busy announcing their dissatisfaction with the cheating twist that had somehow, “ruined” their favourite manga series and characters forever.
I’m personally intrigued with the development the author is pulling as I’m aware that Spotted Flower ignored a lot of the Second Generation story, only taken the characters and some established relationships into account. Depends on what happened between the Spotted Flower and the first-gen Genshiken story, it could still make sense, character-wise. (personally, I can already accept the husband’s actions based on established character development)
The Chinese translation is still going by a very enthusiastic college attending translator and has reached 26.5, with 27 soon to be published. But if what I heard (most are speculations I would assume) about the English translator dropping translation out of the disgust of the “twist.” It would truly be a shame.
The English translator stopped after MadaXHato turned into HatoXMada. As they have in the past been pissed-off at me, I hesitate to speculate as to why. Perhaps 4chan/a archives would offer an answer; the EN translator would sometimes post there. The “European language” translator (their work appeared on a major cooperative site) stopped at the end of 2019(?) I was worried that the EU group ran into some serious problems (Covid, publisher warnings, ???) but one of the members might have secured a -real- localization gig on another property (manga? LN?) and it seems to be best practice to hang up your scanlation hat when you “graduate”. This is all wild speculation. I hope everyone is in good health.
This means that the ONLY Spotted Flower I get to see are the short LeParadis “web extras” 3X a year and the one time the Japanese version of the web-manga reader that carries Spotted Flower ran a free reading week. Finding the JP version of the reader app and getting it to install was a challenge, then the freebie was over. Sometimes the web extras +/or the LeParadis site are region-locked and need a VPN to load. Then I point my cell phone translation app at them.
I have given up on ever seeing a full Spotted Flower chapter again until I make it back to Japan and hit some used bookstores for the volumes. Then I will point my cell phone at the panels and start guessing what the translate app comes up with. This works for buying cuts of meat in Japan but sucks for reading manga. I have all the original Japanese volumes of Nidaime – One day I might try to puzzle out the last 2 volumes’ “extras” — which were never scanlated — except for the one temple walk-about with Mada and Hato where Hato brings up intimacy and trust. As this is right out of any number of reddit AMAs as well as BL lore, it probably made no friends among more conservative readers.
Happy to hear that a Chinese effort is still ongoing, as I fear Spotted Flower will never get an official English localization contract. No EN group is leeching Kio-sensei’s new main thing and the only way I even know it exists is the coverage from a senior Genshiken blogger — it likely will never develop an English-language fan-base either.
I believe that I have grasped the broad generalities of what Kio-sensei is presently doing with Spotted Flower; bored 30-something fans screwing around and having minor existential moments, class/ status frictions, girls vs boys and “time to be an adult” dramas. I stand by my claim that Nidaime and Spotted are at least as good, if not better than the characterizations in an average Murakami novel. The current issue of LeParadis appears to have a big Spotted Flower chapter but I have never been able to find any site with current raws. If I stumble upon any recent chapters, I will of course try to post some kind of summary of them.
Thanks for dropping by and commenting!