Back in December 2004 I wrote a review of the first volume, which was fairly lukewarm. This is certainly a Yuri story – with a happy ending and everything, and after reading it, I can now definitely suggest it to those who like the “cute and sweet” kind of Yuri.
If you remember, Pure Marionation is the story of Anon, a “marionette” or android cute girl. Ostensibly, she is enrolled in Waffle High (no, seriously, that’s the name) to test out her AI, codenamed ALIS. Immediately, Anon’s secret is discovered by classmate Miamo, who is sworn to secrecy and determines to protect Anon from…I’m not sure what.
Anon meets and befriends Aina, and the story, what there is of it, begins. The entire second volume is given over to their growing love for one another. The crises they face are small, and seem to involved an inordinate amount of undressing. But mostly, it’s all about Aina becoming more and more aware that she doesn’t just love Anon as a friend, but wants to do things with her which one doesn’t do with other girls.
I’m going to make two small comments before I get to the good part. One: the setup with Anon’s ALIS being tested sort of fall apart when it turns out that there are like a gazillion marionettes already at Waffle HS. So…what are we “testing” if the system already works so well that we’ve got half a dozen of these things walking around without being discovered? And the introduction of an even *cuter* next generation ALIS to be Anon’s little sister did not make me happy. It was Usagi and Chibi-Usa all over again. The new marionette falls for, of course Aina, and a war of affection ensues, which was at least resolved quickly.
My second comment…so often, when guys tell me that a story is a “cute” Yuri story I see a lolicon story…and I wonder why they don’t see that. It worries me, it really does. These characters are 15-16, but they are drawn to look way younger and it just really, honestly creeps me out. I think that 15-16 is way too freakin’ young as it is. Give me 25 and I’ll be a happy person.
Second and a half complaint, erm, comment – Dengeki also does quite a bit of “not quite real Yuri” with girls who are not human or not really girls. Yes, its still Yuri, because the character who falls in love with the protagonist is still in love with a girl…but for some bizarro reason, probably because I’m a lesbian, I’d really much rather see two girls (preferably women, thank you) who are both actual girls (or women) fall in love with each other. I appear to be in a minority in the manga world. Maybe real women just aren’t cute enough.
Okay, all that having been whined, Pure Marionation DOES have a really romantic and happy ending! :-)
Anon comes to realize that she is really in love with Aina. She decides to confess to Aina that she is a marionette and, that she is in love with her. At which point Aina pulls away from the object of her desire completely. The school festival is coming up – Aina is on the organizing committee, which affords her a gazillion excuses to avoid Anon. Anon’s little marionette heart breaks and she chalks it up to the heartbreak of first love, but she’s one unhappy little AI.
Meanwhile, every single other girl in the school is rooting for Anon and Aina to get together, which is kinda nice. They seem to be planning something, but have the good graces to not be obvious.
The school festival finally arrives – the highlight of the which is going to be a fashion show of wedding dresses (can you see where this is going?) and Anon and Aina are both supposed to be in the show.
Anon is all kitted out, but Aina is nowhere to be found. JUST as Anon is supposed to go out, Aina comes in late, is shoved into a tux(!) just in time to walk out on Anon’s arm.
From out of nowhere a girl dressed like a nun shows up and performs a marriage ceremony and tells the two to kiss…which they do. The entire school bursts into “Waaaah” and applause for them.
Okay, despite my earlier complaints, this was a *really* cute ending.
The epilogue tapers away in a small bout of painfully happy embarrassment and the promise of a future together.
So, yes this is Yuri – Aina is human and she definitely falls in love with a person she thinks is a girl – and she physically desires her, so there is no question about the nature of their love. And Anon is a female marionette, so it’s not like she was a guy or partly a guy or anything, even if she isn’t really human.
If either loli-ish, moe art or the not-entirely-human-girl thing bothers you, then this is probably not your cup of tea (and I would recommend avoiding Kashimashi Girl Meets Girl and most other current Dengeki Yuri, as well.)
I did enjoy Pure Marionation, but it doesn’t stop me from wishing that Dengeki went back to the old Battle Athletes model of high-school love, with girls who look older, rather than younger, than their ages.
Art – 7 well done, just not to my taste
Story – 7
Characters – 8
Service – 9
Yuri – 10
Overall – 8, but your mileage may vary.