Plica-chan, written and drawn by Amamiya Sae, is the bittersweet, realistic story of Plica, a young lesbian looking for love in modern Japan. Emphasis on the bitter, rather than the sweet – not because Plica doesn’t find love, don’t get me wrong! Bitter ’cause she’s just a bitter kind of gal.
The manga, which is written in 4-panel strip style, originally ran in Anise magazine, and now runs in the LOUD News, the newsletter for the LOUD organization. Youcan find the comic archive here. Plica’s comments are often on the nature of sexuality, the relationships between men and women, and between women and women. Erin S. has a section of her Yurizuki site dedicated to synopsizing some of the Plica strips, so you can get an idea of what’s going on.
The whole strip starts on a low note, as Plica returns from an ex-lover’s wedding. But not too long into it, Plica meets Mari, for whom she starts to have feelings pretty soon. But, like most butches, Plica is too unsure to try anything. (I have a theory about most butch women actually being really neko/uke…which begs for an essay on the perception and reality of butch/femme, neko/tachi and uke/seme. But I digress.) Thank goodness femme Mari is, like so many femmes, perfectly willing to go after what she wants. She and Plica have been together since. As I said, it’s a bittersweet comic – rather more real than fanciful, so don’t expect roses and lillies. ^_^
There was one collected volume of Plica-chan, with a section translated into English by none other than internationally known BL scholar Mizoguchi Akiko (a lesbian herself, and one of our guests at Yuricon in Tokyo.)
The art takes some getting used to if you’re used to the more traditional manga style but it’s good to take a break from the usual now and then. :-)
I particularly liked the comic posted on Feb. 21, 2006, where Plica comments that she finds Mari very sexy in a suit, but doesn’t want to tell her, yet, because it sounds so dirty old man that she’s afraid Mari will stop wearing them. ^_^
Art – 6 (minimalist, but not unpleasant)
Story – 7 (more bitter than sweet)
Characters – 7 (like real people, they are sometimes very annoying)
Yuri – 10
Service – 1
Overall – 7
Plica-chan is the almost exact opposite of yesterday’s Shoujo Sect – substance over style. If you’re looking for a more realistic look at lesbian life, take a look at Plica-chan.