Yuri Manga: MURCIÉLAGO, Volume 10 (English)

June 18th, 2019

MURCIÉLAGO, Volume 10 almost seems relaxing when it’s compared with the mayhem of previous volumes. When a giant shark yacks up a human arm, it sets Kuroko into the middle of a religious boondoggle, but that’s only what gets the gang to the location they need to be in.

More than anything else, this volume is almost wholly about Hinako and her multiple obsessive pursuits. What is the deal with Hinako? So far, we’ve only had portents and implications, but here in Volume 10 we can say with absolute confidence…that we have no idea. ^_^; She is obsessed with food, beetles, is a competent, if bizarre, ninja and she drives like she’s in Crazy Taxi and otherwise who or what they fuck is going on with her is unknown.

Almost shockingly, we get a genuine moment of sincere affection between Chiyo-chan and Kuroko. That’s almost immediately supplanted by arm-yakking giant shark and Kuroko perving on a girl with a large chest, so all remains normal in this volume.

But seriously, if we are reading Volume 10 of this “violence Yuri” series, we don’t need to be convinced to show up. Giant sharks are nice, but we’re here for the dead bodies and predatory lesbians.

Ratings:

Art – Well, it’s not getting worse
Story – 8
Characters – 8, although Hinako has been given an extra helping of weird along with her maguro
Service – 4 Shockingly low for this series
Yuri – 7 Chiyo and Kuroko’s moment was so sweet…until the shark yacked up the hand and died.

Overall – 8

As I said in my review of this volume in Japanese, “[n]ot *quite* as awesome as Giant Snakes, but Giant Sharks are cool too. ^_^”

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Yuri Manga: I Married My Best Friend to Shut My Parents Up (English)

June 17th, 2019

Let’s start this week off with a manga that veered closeish to addressing LGBTQ life. That’s right, we’re talking Kodama Naoko’s I Married My Best Friend to Shut My Parents Up.

Machi’s parents are pressuring her to get married – because that is what should be done. And she’s just not interested. Her friend Hana needs a place to live while her apartment is renovated and she thinks she’s got a good idea – she and Machi will pretend to be a married couple. Surely that will get Machi’s parents off her back, one way or the other. Machi agrees, with significant reservations, while Hana gleefully starts playing house with the woman she clearly loves.

As I said in my review of the Japanese edition,(the title of which I read as I Fake Married my (Female) Friend Because of My Annoying Parents,)  “But if the idea of a fake same-sex marriage of convenience isn’t going to bother us, then the idea that the actual relationship between Hana and Machi is horribly unfair, is just fine. (-_-) ”  Hana is happy enough, but Machi, a character uncomfortable with herself her whole life, has no idea how to be a good friend to Hana, much less a good partner.

Machi’s character has a lot of developing to do, and we’re happy for her that she does it. Hana is there not just as a catalyst, although to call Machi’s development an “awakening” might be going a step too far. The end result is that Machi and Hana build a relationship that works for them and the Japanese readership learn (presuming they didn’t already know) about the Shibuya same-sex relationship certificates. As I say, this story veered cloeseish to addressing some real issues as Machi faces down derision and homophobia from her parents.

The last part of the book is a separate short about two girls on track team, their emotions around their own abilities…and each other. I think this story would have benefited from being longer and more nuanced, but “nuanced” is not Kodama’-sensei’s strong point.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 7
Characters – 9 for Hana
Service – 2 Some light romance/sexual discomfort
Yuri – 7
LGBTQ – 4 Mention of the real-world same-sex partnership certificates, but no discussion around it

Overall – 7

One could consider this a LGBTQ manga, but I’m still disposed to thinking of it as Yuri. I’m not sure why exactly – perhaps because it doesn’t feel like a sincere attempt to address those issues or that the issues were exposed only as a byproduct of a gag plot complication or maybe my discomfort with the artist’s take on relationships has colored my opinion. I cannot put my finger on it, and I’ve been thinking about it since I read this in Japanese the first time, last year.

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100 Years of Yuri Events Schedule Update

June 16th, 2019

I’ve updated my 100th Anniversary of the Yuri Genre speaking schedule. I’ll be at the following events:

Yurithon, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. August 16-18, 2019, Palais des congrès de Montréal.

Crunchyroll Expo, San Jose, CA, USA. August 30 – September 1, 2019. San Jose Convention Center

100 Years of Yuri Tour, Tokyo Japan – September 8-16, 2019. Sign-up deadline is July 9th. We hope you can join us for this historical event!

Michigan State University, Michigan. October 14-16, 2019.

AnimeNYC, New York City. November 15-17, 2019. Javits Convention Center

If you wish to have me talk at your event, school or organization, please contact me!

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Yuri Network News – (百合ネットワークニュース) – June 15, 2019

June 15th, 2019

Special News

For Pride Month, Seven Seas is teaming up with Yuricon & ALC Publishing to give away prize packs of LGBTQ books to libraries! Three library systems PLUS three individual libraries will win free books. Library staff need to fill out this form by June 30 to enter! Please share this news with your local library. Let’s get some great LGBTQ manga on your library’s shelves!

There are 3 weeks to sign up for the 100th Anniversary Yuri Tour of Japan. We need 4 more people to join this tour to make it happen. Okazu Patrons will get a discount off the deposit and a special 100th anniversary design T-shirt! I’ve made you a (really) short video to try and convince you to sign up!

 

Yuri Anime

ANN reports on the upcoming Yuri Theatrical OVA Fragtime teaser video, main visuals and staff and that it will have a November debut.

 

LGBTQ Cartoon

The team behind Steven Universe posted a tweet that sent my heart all a-flutter, with the announcement of the folks working on music for the Steven Universe Movie. Chance the Rapper is co-producing. How awesome is that? It also leaves me with questions. Is Bismuth getting a song? Will we see Opal again? When will I get a Peridot x Lapis fusion?! ^_^

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic debuted a same-sex couple this month! Aunty Holiday and Auntie Lofty are Scootaloo’s guardians. Taimur Dar writes about this, Arthur, Doc McStuffins and LGBTQ representation in kids cartoons on The Comics Beat.

 

Yuri Manga

Nikurashii hodo Aishiteru  (憎らしいほど愛してる) is a story about an office affair between a married woman and a woman who loves her maybe too possessively?

Hayakawa publishing (publisher of the popular Yuri issue of SF magazine) is about to release a Yuri science fiction short story anthology, Asterism ni Hataba o Yuri (アステリズムに花束を 百合).

 

Yuri Doujinshi

DMP’s Lilyka imprint has a bunch of new Yuri doujinshi including SHWD an action Yuri series full of beefy women that I picked up last winter at Comiket!

 

Yuri VN

Mangagamers has released Yuri VN Amrilato: The Expression. Enjoy Yuri romance and learn Esperanto at the same time!

 

LGBTQ Comics

Comixology has added LGBTQ superhero comic series The Pride Season Two.

Over on School Library Journal, Brigid Alverson looks at LGBTQIA+ Graphic Novels for Young Readers.

 

Yuri Event Reports

I just wanted to take a quick look back and thank all of our intrepid YNN Correspondents reporting from spring 2019’s Yuriten events in Osaka, Sendai and Fukuoka! Thanks Zoey, Mercedez and Jenn!

Here’s a lovely account from Takashima Hiromi-sensei’s panel at the Japan Foundation in Toronto in conjunction with TCAF.  I can’t see it when I’m in it, so it was really nice to see what the impression from the audience was. ^_^

I’ll be posting a new appearance schedule this week on Yuricon, so look out for that!

 

Other News

I’ll now put myself out of business when I point you to Yuri Times, a Twitter feed that covers Yuri news in English. ^_^

Comic Historian Carol Tilley presents this brilliant history piece – Jane Krom Grammer: A Golden-Age Comic Book Artist Finally Receives Credit for Her Work.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC’s Tale of Genji : A Japanese Classic Illuminated was very interesting! In effect, it was Muromachi and Edo period fanart and fanfic of Genji. ^_^

Gentleman Jack’s Finale Was One of the Finest Hours in Lesbian Cinematic History article by Heather Hogan on Autostraddle neatly summarizes everything I thought and felt about the end of the first season of this terrific show.

 

Do you have questions about Yuri? Write in and ask and I’ll do my best to address them on the Okazu YNN Podcast (I know I owe you all one!) Become a YNN Correspondent by reporting any Yuri-related news with your name and an email I can reply to!

Thanks to all of you – you make this a great Yuri Network!

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LGBTQ Comic: Kiss Number 8 (English)

June 14th, 2019

Kiss Number 8 by Colleen AF Venable and Ellen T. Crenshaw is the last of the books I brought home from TCAF, in this case thanks to Johanna Draper Carlson of Comics Worth Reading. Johanna and I agree on almost nothing, but I love conversing with her is terrific and I  almost always learn something I did not know when I do. ^_^

I know I talk about TCAF a lot, but one of the things about that I particularly like about it is the proximity to so many reviewers who recommend excellent books to me that I might not otherwise know about. And this year, as the Ladies in a Hotel Room occupied the corner table at the lobby bar, we had a great number of amazingly talented, passionate and interesting people join us. So I actually met Colleen and Ellen before having had a chance to read this book.

Kiss Number 8 follows Mads, a high school girl from a family in a community that is strongly, even strictly, Christian. Church and age-appropriate dances and the like fill her life. Her friend’s brother is into her though she’s not into him, although she tries to be, for a while. And in the meantime, she’s dealing with a pile of normalish growing up things, and a family secret that she’s just kinda pissed about. She’ not pissed that they have a family secret, or, when she learns what it is, but she is seriously pissed at her Dad, who is her best friend, being a dick about it.

Speaking of best friends, Mads has some friend issues of her own. Her one best friend is in love with her, which was kinda obvious to me, but not to Mads and Mads is in love with a different friend, which is obvious to everyone, except Mads.  Mads is trying to be the good (straight) girl her community and family want her to be. So when she has kiss number 8, drama ensues, but not for the reason you might expect.The story isn’t a “coming out” narrative, although that does happen. When Mads and we finally learn her family secret, it’s not at all what we -or she – think it is.

Everything about Mads’ life as it is presented, is alien to me.  But the mass amounts of drama around friendship and dating…that was all as I remember it. So it was both entirely realistic and also oddly foreign, the way going over to dinner at a friend’s house was when you were 12 and finding that all the things you had on the table and thought were normal are nowhere to be seen on your friend’s table and if you ask for Worcestershire sauce they just stared uncomrehendingly…it was like that.

Although the art isn’t photorealistic, it conveys a very realistic feel to the story, with a single-camera perspective. It’s an easy read, even though it can be emotionally heavy.  The story, the characters, the art all combine to tell a poignant tale of learning about life, about one’s self and the people around one.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 6 I only really liked Laura
Service – Not really
LGBTQ – 9

Overall – 8

Like Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me, this is a solid YA book that would make a great pride gift for your family member who needs help understanding themselves or others, or the local library. ^_^

 

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