All three of these things I am reviewing today – one a drama CD, one an anime, and one a manga – were things I wanted to talk about. But none of them are Yuri, so I thought I’d lump them together in one mashup post, going from the worst to the best, in quick succession.
Starting with the bottom of the pile.
Onegai Friends is a Drama CD-only side story in the Onegai Teacher/Onegai Twins world. As you may or may not know, the Onegai Teacher manga was drawn, although not written, by popular Yuri manga artist Hayashiya Shizuru. That was the best thing about the series. It’s otherwise tripe. It’s one of those things I can benchmark people on. Anyone who loves this series will never be invited over for lunch. ^_^
There was some rumor on both Japanese and American forums that Onegai Friends was going to be a story with lesbian characters – that the friends are, in fact, in love with one another. Well…no. They aren’t. They are both in love with the same guy. THAT is the ENTIRE story. Just, they are both in love with the same guy. Guy shows up, one falls in love with him, the other, her friend, pretends to not be in love with him, so her friend can have him, only he’s in love with the friend who is giving him up. Until the friend who loves him, but loves her as a friend more, gives him up so her friend can have him. They are very good friends, and this story is so dull I wanted to cry. I’m only glad that “PLEASE!”, the production company that writes the “Onegai” series, stopped. They suck at writing. Did we mention that they are friends? Because they do about 145,798 times in the CD.
Art – N/A
Story – N/A
Characters – 4
Yuri – 0
Service – 5 (how many baths do people have to take a day to make it a fetish?)
Overall – 2
Second up: Venus Versus Virus is a new anime that has one of the worst titles in the world, ever. ^_^; I know that some Yuri is reported to exist in the manga, although I have not yet read it – I expect it to be thin to non-existent, and there are so many better things to spend my time on. The anime has fake-y yuri in the opening and ending sequences – you know the drill, the two female leads curled up near, maybe slightly touching one another, one sitting in front of the other…. I know this may come as a surprise, nay shock, to some of my less socially developed readers, but women touch each other all the time without it meaning that they are lovers. In short…this is a kiddy-version of Kiddy Grade (Two female leads, lots of action, tears, possible death-like sequences, some belabored grieving over the fact that the other didn’t understand how much she meant to me, but no real deaths – and no Yuri. ). This is a classic case of the “Newtype Effect” in which two otherwise straight women are deployed draped over one another to play the Yuri-service card, when there is no Yuri and neither character is remotely lesbian. Not that this will stop fans from insisting.
…Yesterday, I answered a questionnaire about the genre of “Yuri” and one thing I pointed out was that, when I first began pioneering calling all of this Yuri, it was hard to get people to recognize that two characters were a couple at all, even when they were explicitly shown to be so. Now it’s all I can do to keep Loser Fans from calling every two girls who stand next to one another, a “couple.” Sheesh…!
Art – 5
Story – 5
Characters – 5
Yuri – 1
Service – (OMG! They are so a couple!) 4
Overall – 5
Lastly, a manga that is so good, that I really felt kind of uncomfortable about covering it in this post – it so richly deserves a post of its own. But it’s not yuri, and many, many, many people are writing paeans to Ode to Kirihito. So I’ll keep this short.
Ode to Kirihito was incredible. I honestly felt a bit intimidated by the 800-page book. But it was at my library and I thought, “If not now, when?” So I grabbed it, went home and read. And oh, my god. I actually feel *honored* to have been able to read such an incredible book. It is big, but it’s a page-turner of a story. I read it through in one sitting, and could not have put it down if I had wanted to.
I went into Ode with no expectations, or any knowledge of the story – I strongly recommend doing that, therefore I won’t say a word about the story. I think it’s safe to warn that there is violence, some sexual violence, and nudity. This is not a book for kids – and really, not too many kids will be interested in this tale of human nature.
But oh my god, what a tale.
Quick technical thing: the book reads left to right and has been flipped in that old-fashioned way that make people shake hands left-handed. Despite that, and because the story *is* all that, I barely noticed.
Art – 7
Story – 9
Characters – 9
Yuri – 0
Service – 2
Overall – 8