Yuri Manga: Amazoness no Matsuei

July 18th, 2005

Time for another hugely obscure manga review! I found this series at Book-Off, where all bad manga series go to die. ^_^

The cover of Amazoness no Matsuei (Amazoness’ Descendants) states, in English, ” ‘I have the reason to fight for!’ This is the success story of Amazoness Akari searching for her own answer in the world of women’s professional wrestling.” And that’s just exactly what this short two-part manga series is about.

Akari is a kid who wants to be the women’s wrestling champion. She’s got the stuff, so we watch her work hard and practice and move up the ranks, facing ever tougher opponents, but always triumphing. Eventually she falls in love with a blind guy, and in the end, not only does she become a champion, the guy gets his sight back! Happy endings all around! ^_^

Seriously, its a gentle romance with action – no real high drama that lasts too long, some fun fights and, in the tradition of all fighting stories, Akari becomes friends with all her defeated opponents, including the hugely gay current world champion Kanzaki Yuu. (Pictured on the right-hand cover – the bishounen looking character. Yes, that’s meant to be a girl.)

In the beginning, Yuu is someone to admire and attain the level of. But early on, after seeing Akari seriously injure her opponent in a rough match, Yuu becomes mightily interested in Akari, and asks to room with the newcomer. Yuu does put the moves on Akari, but is soundly rejected. Yuu subsequently behaves, but starts to genuinely fall in love with Akari, even as Akari is falling in love with her blind boyfriend – and moving up the ranks as a wrestler.

In the second volume two things come to a head with Yuu. First, Yuu had made Akari promise not to get involved with any guy, because it would take away from her training. Yuu learns that Akari has reneged on this promise and is both upset for Akari and jealous about her. Akari and Yuu fight and Akari moves out.

Secondly, a reporter takes a picture of Akari with a male wrestler that, taken out of context, looks like they are intimate. (In fact, its a very innocent picture and I really don’t get the fuss, but, okay…) Yuu sleeps with the female reporter in order to suppress the picture. When Yuu rejects the reporter because she’s not Akari, the reporter not only releases the picture, but she tells Akari that she and Yuu slept together. She goes on to leak the obvious information that Yuu is in love with Akari, which Akari cannot believe.

And here’s where the series begins to suck because, of course, Yuu and Akari have to face one another in the ring for the championship. Obviously. In the end, Akari wins, obviously, and they finally have it out about the whole situation, obviously. Yuu forgives Akari for falling in love with a guy. And Akari, hugging Yuu in front of the audience, tells Yuu that she doesn’t believe Yuu is a lesbian and she’s not in love with her, right? Because they are like sisters to one another.

Yuu can only hold Akari and grunt noncommittally. I really felt for Yuu there. Not only can’t she admit she loves Akari, Akari won’t even see that Yuu is a lesbian. A decidedly unsatisfactory ending for Yuu all the way around. Yuu just happened to be written in the “bleak period” for lesbians in manga between the early shoujo of the 70’s and 80’s and the Sailor Moon renaissance of the 90’s. Poor Yuu.

One of the high points of the manga is that Akari’s opponents are drawn realistically – sometimes really masculine, sometimes crazy, sometimes in costume, etc. It’s obvious that the mangaka spent time researching actual women’s wrestling. One of the psycho crazy opponents, who turns out to be a real nice gal out of the ring and one of the butchiest women Akari fights (and who has a female companion all the time) ends up as a good friend. So there’s a nice real-feel to the characters and situations.

Ratings:

Art – 7
Story – 8
Characters – 8
Yuri – 7
Overall – 7

Disclaimer: Despite the fact that I reviewed this manga, and that Japanese women’s professional wrestling has appeared in both my fanfic and original fiction and that my cousin is a professional wrestler in Japan, that I actually have a favorite fighter in the GAEA league of Japanese professional female wrestling, I am not in any way obsessed with wrestling, professional, female or not. I have never even seen a bout and have no desire to do so. My research into Tiger Mask and Thunder Liger was purely professional and the fact that Ogata Megumi did a death metal version of Tiger Mask’s theme has affected me in no way whatsoever. :-D

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