Now that you know what it takes to publish a doujinshi, I want to introduce you to ALC Publishing’snewest translated Yuri manga, WORKS, by Eriko Tadeno. Tadeno-san was one of the Guests of Honor at Yuricon 2003, and has already told us that she is planning on being there for Yuricon 2005 in Tokyo, so we’re very glad to be able to introduce her book to Yuri manga fans around the world!
Ever since I first saw it, I felt that WORKS exemplified the kind of Yuri manga I wanted people to be able to read in English. Yes, it can easily be seen as Yuri hentai, or lesbian erotica, or what have you, but to my mind, it’s simply top-notch Yuri manga.
WORKS is an anthology of four stories and three short gag comics that were published in Phryne, Anise and MIST magazines over a period of several years. All of these magazines are now defunct, and the Japanese-language version of WORKS is sold out – so right now the only place you can find these stories are in ALC’s translated version.
As I mentioned in an earlier entry, I define “pure” Yuri as manga with a lesbian storylne, written by a lesbian, for an audience of women. By this definition, WORKS is “pure” Yuri. As Tadeno-san says in her “Freetalk” (written especially for the English-language edition) when she began drawing these types of stories, there wasn’t even any kind of name for what she was doing, and she was one of very few women doing it. And, along wth Rica Takashima and Yamaji Ebine, I think that Tadeno-san is *still* one of the few women out there drawing “pure” Yuri manga.
The stories in WORKS range from the usual sempai-kohai romance, to coming out, to my personal favorite – a two-part office romance, which I particularly like because one of the characters is middle-aged. Look, Ma, lesbians DO live to be older than 25! (And, in fact, Tadeno-san has drawn many stories with older couples, middle-aged characters, and the usual, younger ages…one more thing I like about her work. It’s *not* all schoolgirls, all the time.)
The art is clean, the stories are fun, the sex is nice – the positives in WORKS are very positive. There are few negatives, however. One of the big problems with anthologies is the feeling that the story stops as soon as it gets started, so the characters can have sex. Well, depending on who you are, that might be seen as a positive. :-) In this case, I began to like some of the characters and would have liked to see more – particularly Takako-san from the “My Sister’s Wedding” and Yuka-san from “I Love You The Way You Are” and “My Sweet One”.
The only other real negative, IMHO, is that the gag comics are really not very funny. But that happens. The guest comic, on the other hand, *is* very funny, but you have to have really read the last two stories closely to get the jokes. No skimming through to the sexy bits. ^_^
My obvious bias aside, I genuinely think that this, along with Yamaji Ebine and Rica Takashima’s works, can be seen as genuinely lesbian Yuri – a rare and precious thing that should be spread through Yuri fandom. ;-)