When you think of great Yuri love affairs, you tend to think of Michiru following Haruka in hopes of a ride in her car, or Anthy and Utena breaking through the world’s shell to gain the outside world. Or maybe you think of Sei falling hard for Shiori as she prays in the church at Lillian.
You probably *don’t* think of Yohko snidely commenting to a wounded Asuka that she wouldn’t be able to fight effectively with a broken hand.
But you should.
The second Hana no Asuka-gumi OVA is really quiet remarkably sexy for an old series that has no sex, and really no affection, at all. Because in this case the sexual tension is all sublimated into physical beatings – consider it the ultimate in “love taps.”
The full title of this untranslated OVA is Hana no Asuka-gumi Lonely Cats Battle Royale and it is the animated version of one of the “extra” volumes of the manga. It’s a rather complex tale that weaves in threads of a current (well, current in the mid-80s) gambling ring that involves people without their consent and a damsel in distress with a serious food allergy, and the backstory between Asuka and Yohko.
Let me mostly ignore the plot in favor of the backstory. ^_^
So, way back Asuka was a badly bullied kid in school. She tried to kill herself, but was saved, both physically and emotionally. She learned to channel her rage at others rather than herself and determined to become stronger than anyone so she could kick their bully asses. When we see the current Asuka, she has done just that – she’s the strongest fighter in all of Tokyo, bar maybe one or two people. (And Yohko, but that’s a different thing).
But between here and there, there was a time when Asuka was getting into a lot of fights – and losing. This is where Yohko found her, huddled up on the street nursing that broken hand. Yohko was nasty to her, derisive, and Asuka followed her more to annoy Yohko as much as anything else. Yohko had saved her previously from a false charge of shoplifting, only to thrust her into a seriously dangerous situation. When Asuka follows Yohko, the older girl knows that she’s found the perfect dupe.
Asuka falls hard in love with her tor/mentor.
The rest of the story is taken up with Asuka’s tough love rescue of the damsel in distress and the break up of the Ichigo Milk gambling scheme, but it ends up, as all Asuka/ Yohko interactions do, with the two of them fighting. I mean, really beating the daylights out of each other. This is rough sex without the kissing, and its *really* obvious – even to Yohko, who knows perfectly well what Asuka feels for her. Ultimately (although not in this OVA and not for many years) Asuka realizes, as well.
Of the two Hana no Asuka-gumi OVAs, this one is the win, because you get so much of Asuka’s backstory and alot of Yohko-Asuka interaction. The animation is still pretty “bleah” and the music is excruciating, but as girl gang OVAs go, this has a Yuri quotient right up there with the Sukeban Deka OVA.
Art – 6
Characters – 8
Story – 8
Music – 5
Yuri – 7
Overall – 7
No lovey-dovey here – Asuka and Yohko’s love is a violent and dysfunctional love. But it is definitely love.