From Takemoto Izumi, the same artist who created Transistor ni Venus, comes an entirely different, yet no less quirky, series – Sakura no Kiwa/Sakura’s Boundaries – as in personal boundaries. Because this is a story about how one girl, Sakura, has her personal boundaries gently pushed and kneaded and shaped until she finds herself living with and taking care of two other girls and fourteen cats.
Sakura’s parents spring the sudden news that they are transferring to Brazil for work, so Sakura will be going to live with an aunt. The aunt, a lazy, kind of lovable dope, lives with fourteen cats. Sakura moves in and quickly finds herself cleaning and cooking not only for her aunts, but for the cats.
In school she meets tall, attractive Uesakura Futako, a neighbor of her aunt Tamako’s. Sakura mistakenly assumes Futako’s sister to be younger, but in fact, Ichiko is the older. They have several unnamed younger brothers, as well. Ichiko tells Sakura to call her Ii-chan, and Nii-chan for Futako (another number joke like the one in Nanami to Misuzu in Yuri Hime 4.)
When Tamako quite suddenly announces that she’ll be gone for a few months, Futako and Ichiko offer to stay with Sakura and help her take care of the cats and the house – and keep her company. It’s a good deal all around – they get out of their crowded house and Sakura has some human company.
The rest of the manga is gags about the cats, and the continual, quiet, and kind of dopey, sweet descruction of Sakura’s personal boundaries by Futako. First she shares a room with Sakura, then a bed, then manages to get hugs, and finally, kisses. Sakura keeps giving in, until she and Futako look and act awfully like a couple – only it has happened so gradually that Sakura doesn’t realize it, even when other people comment that “friends” do not give each other good morning and good night kisses. When Aunt Tamako comes back she’s a bit surprised, naturally, but as Sakura seems to find it all normal and strangely justifiable, she doesn’t take any action. For instance, Tamako asks if Sakura and Futako always take a bath togther. Yes…does it seem strange? Sakura wonders, then remembers that she thought it was kind of strange at first. Then Futako asks for a goodnight kiss in front of Tamako. Sakura blushes, but gives her the kiss.
The final chapter is a mix of Sakura being concerned that there is a cat missing and her slowly growing concern that Futako is awfully popular at school…in the end it turns out that two of the cats have the same coloring and she’s the one going to bed with Futako so, all’s well that ends Volume 1.
The whole multiple cats things makes me gag a bit, but this manga is otherwise so adorable that it’s not only Sakura’s boundaries that got pushed, but this reader’s, as well. One just has to hope that Futako isn’t as feckless as she appears and that this has been a clever, subtle war on Sakura’s resistance. Probably not. lol
This isn’t Transistor ni Venus. There’s no action, no shapely spies, no spaceships, no aliens. But for fun, sweet and slightly dopey yuri, and for way too many cats, Sakura no Kiwa fills the bill.
Art – 7
Story – 7
Characters – 8
Yuri – 7
Service – 0
Overall – 7
A fun read, a silly, original story and lots of cute kisses. And cats.