Miserable Classics of Shoujoai
Futte Mo Harrete Mo (Rain or Shine) – Fujimura Mari, 1993
Yet another Margaret “Yuri” manga. I had a copy of this series, but was so annoyed at the ending that I sold it. Now I don’t remember the protagonist’s names. I guess I’ll just have to get another copy of it, for the ol’ collection. One day.
This 5-volume series starts off *so* hot, that it’s a wonder the pages don’t curl from the heat. Two girls, inexplicably attracted to one another, can’t stop themselves from wanting to be in each other’s presence. There is a hair-brushing scene in the first few pages which had me panting. Unfortunately, from that point on, the story goes downhill. Terrified of their reactions to the other, both girls desperately seek to distance themselves from each other, each ultimately ending up with a boyfriend, and vowing to be good friends. What a waste.
It isn’t a happy story, but to be fair, the concept of a “happy ending” at *all* in Japanese literature of any kind is a very, very modern concept. It’s not just Yaoi and Yuri that end with melancholy longing and unfulfilled sexual tension – in fact, it’s perhaps the single strongest theme, historically, in Japanese writing.
When considered in that context, FmHm is much less of a disappointing read. It is about ephemeral youth and overwhelming feelings. If Romeo and Juliet had been a Japanese narrative, the protagonists, instead of running off together (happy ending) or killing themselves (tragic ending), would have parted with tears and gone back to their families, then married the partners their parents chose for them (Japanese ending.)