Yuri Manga: Iono The Fanatics, Manga, Vol. 1

November 11th, 2005

To put it simply, Iono the Fanatics, aka Iono-sama Fanatics is an excellent yuri manga and everyone who enjoys Yuri really needs to run out and buy it now.

To start with, the artist is Fujieda Miyabi of Miyabi’s Moonphase, the same artist who does Kotonoha no Miko to Kotodama no Majyo to, the cute miko/witch story for Yuri Hime. And a bunch of other stuff you may recognize if you are in the habit of trawling the Japanese Yuri blogs and boards.

The story is, simply, a love comedy starring Iono-sama, the queen of a small country, who happens to love women with long, black hair. She comes to Japan to hit on girls and try to convince them to join her as a sobame, a lady-in-waiting.

Iono is rejected by one girl – and this same girl keeps coming back like a bad penny as a running gag – and runs into our heroine, Eto. Eto agrees to be a sobame, but insists she’s only joking, when a crazy woman attacks her and the Queen. The Queen takes off, carrying Eto with her. They end up at an onsen, where the Queen convinces Eto to join her and, incidentally mentions that the crazy lady who attacked is one of her staff. ^_^

We learn that Eto was, in fact, in love with her kouhai in high school, but the younger girl left her for someone else. Now she’s in college, but she thought she was past this kind of thing – but Iono is *very* convincing. Iono goes super cool and hits Eto with her magical lesbian powers and classy style and Eto falls into her arms, happily.

Iono is very, deeply and personally, in love with all her sobame. There’s Cass, the blonde crazy who attacked them earlier. She’s Iono-sama’s personal secretary and insanely jealous. She wants Iono to love her exclusively. Which Iono does, when it’s Cass’ turn. ^_^

Aida Bloomer is the Queen’s costumer. She seems to understand the Queen – and Cass – way better than they do themselves. I’d say Aida has a thing for Cass, but as Cass is obsessed, Aida just plays with it a bit and doesn’t stress.

Freshi is the Queen’s security chief and her daughter Argent acts as the Queen’s security force. Freshi is the black-suited G-man type, while Argent, who everyone calls Arugi or Aru, is a little goth-loli girl. With a sword.

Eto is a little depressed when she meets the other sobame, because they all have specific roles, while she’s sort of a free agent. The Queen convinces her that her role is to “be there” and that’s enough and invites her to debate various topics with her in the evenings (to which Aru comments that Iono probably means ero-topics…). But Aida helps Eto decide on the role of Tour Guide (complete with cute costume) to Japan, in order for Iono-sama to find more cute girls. Eto gets to show Iono-sama her favorite place in the world. Iono comments that this is no longer her job – this is now a date, and they spend quality time together.

Iono determines to hold auditions for more sobame, which drives Cass crazy – and into disguise. But Iono-sama knows all the women she loves, in disguise or out and Cass is found out. Cass gets some quality Iono-sama time, this chapter.

My personal favorite is the last round of auditions. One of the candidates, an adorable girl named Arata, misunderstands “sobame” to mean a woman who makes soba noodles. :-) Arata is initially unsure whther she can do the job, but she decides to go for it, after Freshi meets her in the hall and gives her encouragement. Arata does make delicious noodles. After an attempt on the Queen’s life, leaves Freshi wounded, when Arata and Freshi are staring deeply into each other’s eyes, Argent just gives her mother the old “Gambatte, Mom” and Iono-sama gives her blessing to them. They are impossibly cute together, especially as Freshi is a tough as nails, black glasses, gun slinging kind of gal, and Arata is a little soba maker. All I can say is “squee!”. ^_^

I recommend “Iono-sama Fanatics” highly for Yuri that makes you smile. For Yuri that is sexy without explicit sex, and funny and cute – this is an excellent example of the breed. I know that I personally am looking forward to more.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 9
Yuri – 10

Overall – 9

2005 has been abysmal for yuri anime, but the manga has been exceptional. Let’s all support Iono, Yuri Hime, Hayate Cross Blade, and of course all the 100% yuri from ALC Publishing! If we buy good Yuri manga, they’ll make *more* good Yuri manga…

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18 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    *sigh* I always get depressed when you describe some cool new manga and end with “now go out and buy it,” because you almost always really mean “now go out and buy it in Japanese which you can’t read but I can hahahahahaha!” (note: my interpretation may contain more gloating than strictly necessary). Oh well, I can always hope that Lililicious is reading and feels like adding to their already over-burdened workload.

  2. Ad I always get depressed when people say, “I don’t read Japanese, and have no plans to learn it, even though Japanese manga is what I say I enjoy, so I’ll wait until other people scan it, translate and give it to me for free.”

    I don’t really care if you ever read it – you should BUY it, because that is the way the authors get paid, and the publishers make enough money to publish more – and know that people want good Yuri instead of crap.

    Waiting for scanlations does exactly nothing to support Yuri in any sense. It’s basically freeloading.

  3. Anonymous says:

    “I don’t really care if you ever read it – you should BUY it, because that is the way the authors get paid, and the publishers make enough money to publish more”

    Wow, nevermind, I take back what I said about my interpretation containing more gloating than necessary. So, what you’re saying is that I should spend my money on something I can’t understand so that publishers will make more things that I STILL won’t understand? Oh, wait, you’ll understand it, so it’s okay.

    I guess I didn’t really understand your (totally unselfish) position in my first post, sorry about that. However could I have been so selfcentered- I mean, silly.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hi, to the anonymous poster:
    It looks like you maybe missed a part of Erica’s argument here. Though people who can read Japanese will be the first to read new Yuri manga, Lililicious and other groups can’t scanlate manga that doesn’t exist. By helping to support the market, we can increase the possibility that more great Yuri will be created, which we can then scanlate, license, fantranslate or what have you to share with other English-speaking Yuri fans.
    If there is selfishness on Erica’s part here, it’s her desire to see more Yuri manga created, not just for herself and others able to read Japanese, but for an English-language audience that will be able to read the manga when it gets translated.
    By the way, Lililicious IS reading, and is aware of the existence of Iono the fanatics, but we have a lot on our plate right now and will not be taking it on as a project at this time; that may change someday in the future when we’re further along with the things we’re working on (don’t want to spread ourselves too thin and not be able to handle all the projects we’ve taken on). :)

    -Erin S. (aka Sailor Avalon, Rosa Chinensis, and what have you)

  5. I spend many hours trying to learn Japanese, and many dollars buying anime and manga and many *more* hours writing reviews, and even more hours than that running Yuricon events and publishing English-language books through ALCPublishing. I do all this to promote Yuri in America and in Japan, because I genuinely love it. I am frankly shocked that you can see some kind of gloating in this. But luckily for you, reading Okazu is not mandatory. :-)

  6. (To the original commenter): And then again, there’s always the third option. You don’t want to go out and buy something that’s useless to you, and this, I think, is perfectly reasonable. It’d be like going out and buying a big T.V. when you have no electric sockets in your house. So you just wait, and bookmark the amazon.co.jp page for it, and then when someone does start translating it, then you go and buy it. That way you get to enjoy the manga, the creator gets paid, and everybody’s happy. Unless, of course, you really don’t care about supporting the industry you profess to enjoy, and really are just looking for a free ride, in which case, well, I can’t help ya.

    (To Erin): Yes, I think many of your fans (speaking as one) would appriciate it if you folks didn’t pick up any more projects until you finish some of the ones you’ve already got. I swear, y’all have got to be the worst group I’ve ever seen about that. ;D

  7. Anonymous says:

    First off, let me apologize, my last post was more rude than I intended. With that out of the way, onward:

    “By the way, Lililicious IS reading, and is aware of the existence of Iono the fanatics, but we have a lot on our plate right now and will not be taking it on as a project at this time”

    I think I mentioned something about an already over-burdened workload… maybe I should have mentioned that I treat Lililicious’ releases the same way I treat the work of every fansubber/scanlator/etc.: as unexpected but welcome gifts. I make it a point to never take the work done by sub/scaning groups for granted, and I don’t think I’ve done so here.

    “I spend many hours trying to learn Japanese, and many dollars buying anime and manga and many *more* hours writing reviews, and even more hours than that running Yuricon events and publishing English-language books through ALCPublishing. I do all this to promote Yuri in America and in Japan, because I genuinely love it. I am frankly shocked that you can see some kind of gloating in this.”

    Okay, ‘gloating’ was a poor word choice, granted. Also, being a poor college student with about thirty dollars to my name, I may be a little overzealous when it comes to denouncing frivolous expenditures at the moment. That said, I hope you can see my point of view here as well: ‘promoting Yuri’ is a great goal and I’m glad someone (ie, you) is doing it (see above, ‘unexpected but welcome gifts’), but it’s not the same as, say, ‘promoting the Red Cross.’ By which I mean, Yuri is a leisure activity (please ignore the unintended second meaning), whereas the Red Cross saves lives. Putting money into one is a charitable act that should net you no return but a warm fuzzy feeling; the other should give you something fun to read.

    Please note that my analogy isn’t meant to insult you by saying that your work is useless and we should all just give charity instead. I’m just saying that, basically, you’re asking me to buy the book out of charity, not out of a desire to read it, and that doesn’t sit well with me. Honestly, I’d much rather just donate the cost of the book to Lililicious or you. Of course, that raises other quandries of economics and morality (Is supporting people who support Yuri at all equivalent to supporting Yuri directly? How about the fact that buying the book is already two or three degrees removed (shipping, printing, store markup, etc.) from directly supporting the author/publisher of the work? Etc.), but I’ve babbled for too long as it is.

  8. Naturalistic says:

    my personal opinion abt this book

    artwork: 9
    lvl of interest: 9
    storyline: 9.5
    Yuri lvl: 10

    overall: 9.5

    this book is one of my fav, not because of the Yuri lvl, but the way this author draws; clean, neat and interesting.

    this author also knows how and when to exggerate areas, making the story less boring

  9. Anonymous says:

    I’m interested in buying this series but I can’t find where to purchase Vol. 2. It says that it is a 2 book series on Wikipedia…so where’s the other book? I think I’ve missed something important… that happens sometimes. Can anybody tell me what’s up? Please?

    Thank you,
    Leah

  10. The 2nd volume has not been translated. You can find it on the Yuricon Shop through Amazon JP in Japanese: http://www.Yuricon.org/shop/jmanga.html

  11. Anonymous says:

    Thank you! I will be looking out for it in English for now as I can’t yet read Japanese very well. I did go and check out the cover on JP amazon it looks very interesting especially since they’re dressed in all white hehe. I can’t wait to read it!!

    Thanks again,
    Leah

  12. Nika says:

    …learning japanese, brought a book on learning it so I can buy awesome managas, looks fabulous.

  13. Zefie Kirasagi says:

    I just recently discovered this series, and after reading through the entire thing on OneManga.com, and loving it to death, I readily purchased the first volume that has been released in the USA. This story perfectly balances the comedy with sexual innuendo and fun, and I love it to death. I personally believe that this would make an excellent 8-10 episode anime series, and that it would be very popular if executed properly. Anyone with me on that?

  14. xX777Xx says:

    I really love all of Fujieda Miyabi’s work. It’s totally nice, filled with the gentle and kind atmosphere. Not like any other Yuri manga that usually rushed and tend to focus on the sex scene. But sadly I can’t buy his manga in my country or buy online (buying online in here is not safe for some reasons geez -____-) I wish I can learn Japanese someday so I can enjoy Yuri manga, VN, anime etc to the fullest X3. Thank you so much for the the reviews, interviews (especially with Fujieda Miyabi XD) and any other things Erica ^ ^.

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