Posted by: 紺月明 | January 7, 2009


Happy belated New Year! Tokyo was quite a blast, though I spent the entire time sick. T-T I still rallied like a trooper and didn’t hold anyone back. There were so many places I went to, like Akihabara, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ikebukuro, just to name a few. It was a fun-filled 5 days, but now I feel as if I need to be fiscally conservative if I want to survive the rest of my 3 and 1/2 months in Japan…

So in Ikebukuro (which I went to on my own the same day I was coming back to Kyoto), I got to shop in an Animate store. It was 9 floors chock-full of anime goodness! So this is where I went a little crazy and bought a bit of One Piece and DBZ merchandise, then hooked to see if I could find the yuri manga I’ve wanted to buy and, lo and behold, I found Girl Friends (vols. 1 and 2!), Voiceful, and Strawberry Shake Sweet. I spent about $30 on all of ’em. >.< Though I didn’t finish going through any of them as of yet, I got to read scanlations for Strawberry Shake Sweet and Voiceful to get an idea before I fully plunge in and completely read them.

I guess I’ll start with Strawberry Shake Sweet since I have more to say about this one. So, we start off with Tachibana Julia, 16 years old, who’s an idol (タレント) and is trying to be convinced by her boss to take a newbie as her apprentice. She declines, knowing that this new girl may end up stealing her light! But when she opens the door and comes face-to-face with good-looking, cute Ran, she urges her boss to let her mentor the 16 yr. old. Laughter and craziness ensues. There are other characters, such as Saeki (Julia’s manager), Ryouko (beautician/make-up artist), and the band Zlay (sound familiar, anyone?). I love their characterizations and the frequent gags throughout the course of the story, as well as Julia and Ran’s aliases, ‘the airhead’ and ‘the idiot,’ respectively. I think a 2nd volume for Strawberry Shake Sweet is going to be released soon, and even though I haven’t finished the 1st volume, I know I’m going to run out and get it before I return to the ‘States. That’s for sure.

Voiceful, on the other hand, is a bit more mellow and serious. The main character, Kanae, is an introverted high school girl who doesn’t leave the house much and doesn’t really have any friends. Her only solace, her ‘god,’ is Hina, a singer who puts out music on the Internet. One day while Kanae is out, she gets a haircut in Hina’s fashion and runs into her, saying she likes her and wishes her all the happiness in the world, shoving a box of sweets into her hands. She then proceeds to run off in embarrassment. Hina, in turn, is affected deeply by this, and tries to reach out to Kanae, asking to meet with her. We get to see more flashes into the pasts of the girls as the story goes on. They become very close and a source of inspiration for one another throughout the course of the volume.

With all the yuri I’ve been able to buy so far, I’m like, wtf? Why does yuri seem to be released much more slowly, to the point that it is nearly non-existent, in the U.S.? I know there’s Yuricon’s Monogatari releases and, while there are a few stories by Japanese manga-ka, it still isn’t the same. I’m a big Japanophile, so all I want is the real stuff. The fact that I won’t be able to purchase original yuri in Japanese once I return to the United States is really starting to depress me… Ah well. I should feel grateful I know enough Japanese to be able to read/appreciate it in it’s original language.

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  1. […] of others since then. You can get an idea of what I’ve written in the past here, here, here, here, here, here, here and, most recently, here. Looking back on those posts, except the two most recent […]

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