There are many ways in which I gain information about interesting Yuri manga titles. Some of them involve trawling Japanese sites for news. Sometimes I just read the English-language news sites, or get heads up from folks who are in the know. One of the most random ways I ID series of interest is to go through the order reports on the Yuricon account on Amazon JP and simply see what people are buying. It’s gives me a good idea of what’s popular and sometimes gets me an interesting title I otherwise would not read. Rakka Ryuusui is one of those titles.
Like Tori Koro or Azumanga Daioh, Rakka Ryuusui runs in a 4-panel comic strip format. Also like the above series, the plot is more a running series of gags, rather than strong character- or action-driven plots. This series runs in the magazine Mangatime Kirara whose primary intended audience is guys and which has, on the whole, rather more of what I consider loli than not. Because of these things, I did not rush out to get this manga. After a little while, swayed by the fact that the characters appear to do Kyudo (Japanese archery – and we all know my weakness for chicks with weapons,) I gave in and picked up the damn book.
I admit to being pleasantly surprised.
Yes, the characters are given that little-girl face which I find so irksome in general. That just seems to be the fashion of the times and it has that in common with both Strawberry Panic and Hatsukoi Shimai. I just keep looking forward to the day when the trend reverses again and young women are drawn to be sexy and cool, rather than cute.
Rakka Ryuusui, which means “Mutual Love,” starts as Hayama Akiho visits a potential high school and is wowed by the Kyudo skills of Hokaze Minatsu, which decides her on the spot – she will come to this school and join Minatsu’s Kyudo club!
When Akiho gets there, she meets fellow first-year and complete whackjob, Kusaba Haruka. She learns that her beloved club is really quite,erm, poor. But Minatsu-sempai is still cool.
And eventually, our seasons are completed by the unlikely appearance of the club advisor, Shimotsuki Mafuyu-sensei, who just happens to look 7 years old, even though she is an adult. (Honestly, I just pretend she’s a Little Person, because otherwise it’s too stupid for words.)
Art – 6
Story – 7
Characters – 6
Yuri – 6
Service – 4 (some nudity and breast gags)
Overall – 6
The comics are light-hearted, goofy and Akiho definitely, positively has a crush/desire thing going for Minatsu-sempai. Much, again, like Niwa-chan’s thing for Yae in Tori Koro. And basically that’s the same audience it will appeal to. If you like 4-panel silly comics with a slightly whacked perspective, flavored with a little Yuri, you’ll like Rakka Ryuusui.