Yuri Manga: Steady Beat 2

February 12th, 2007

Steady Beat, Volume 2, is a continuation of the story from Steady Beat, Volume 1 (well, duh…). At the end of my review of the first volume, I wrote, “…I think it might be worth emailing the author Rivkah and asking her to make sure the girl gets the girl, as a preventative measure.”^_^

Well, after reading Volume 2, I went ahead and emailed the author. And here is why.

Volume 2 continues to be “wackiness ensues” as Leah tries to learn the gasp-making truth about her “perfect” sister, Sarai. (I will return to this in a second.)

During the course of this wackiness, we follow Leah as she becomes closer to a possible new love interest, Eli. Who would be extremely fine as a love interest if he weren’t seventy different minorities all rolled into one. That is to say, he *is* a fine love interest and kind of cute, if he shut up once in a while. But, I found it a tad exhausting that he’s a half-Jewish, half-black son of a gay Dad. The only thing he’s missing is being wheelchair bound. And part Native American. It was a just a bit of too much.

Which is pretty much the major weakness of the entire series so far – Rivkah is working so hard at making it celebration of diversity and love, that it comes off as trying a *wee* too hard throughout.

But let us return to the plot – the great mystery of whether Sarai is gay or not.

(Wait a second, something just occurred to me. Isn’t Sarai the Student Council president? Somehow I remember that she is. Score another for the stereotype! Boo-yah! )

…Anyway, when Leah finally catches up to Sarai, the truth appears to be exactly what she thought/feared – her perfect, flawless, overacheiving older sister is in fact…gay! Shock! This wouldn’t be much of a plot if Leah and Sarai didn’t belong to a strict Christian family in the middle of Texas. Except that, as we’re given a travelogue of Austin, we learn that it’s really pretty collegiate and liberal for a Texas city. So we’re back to it not being much of a plot complication…unless it *isn’t* the plot complication. So by the time I finshed the book, because I have a chronic case of “advanced student syndrome” and can’t take things at face value, I broke down and wrote the author.

I can’t tell you what she told me without spoilers. ^_^ Which is it? Do you want to know what she said? Or not? Write in – the majority vote wins.

The series is not bad, really. The art, while manga-informed, has as much in common with Archie as it does with manga. The characters are likeable, if a teeny bit preachy. The tone lacks condescension, but has a bit of that “Look, this is a teen book, for teens, starring a teen!” feel that occasionally inhabits teen lit. But I also think that the tone is a fairly natural one for the author, who seems like a genuinely happy sort of person.  Maybe it’s just that I’m naturally more, erm, pragmatic…or east coastern, or just plain jaded. ^_^

Ratings:

Art – 6
Story – 6
Characters – 6
Yuri – 6
Service – 1

Overall – 6

If I did have a teen who was in a situation regarding the question of alternative sexuality, I would have no trouble suggesting this book. That having been said, if I was a teen in that situation, I might find the book a bit silly. As I neither have a teen, nor am a teen, it’s a cute enough read for a cold winter’s curl up.

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5 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    I guess I’m the only one who wants to know so far:D

  2. Emma says:

    me too, me too!

    Tell us. DX

  3. Serge says:

    Since, I’m a huge spoiler whore anyway . . . .

  4. Okay – sorry for the delay…here’s some spoiler space, then I’ll tell you what Rivkah said:

    I emailed Rivkah and asked that, if Sarai is, indeed gay, that she get the girl.

    Almost immediately, I got a reply that, in fact, Sarai *is* gay and the much of Volume 3 will be devoted to her story. And she gets the girl. :-)

  5. Eli. Who would be extremely fine as a love interest if he weren’t seventy different minorities all rolled into one. That is to say, he *is* a fine love interest and kind of cute, if he shut up once in a while. But, I found it a tad exhausting that he’s a half-Jewish, half-black son of a gay Dad. The only thing he’s missing is being wheelchair bound. And part Native American. It was a just a bit of too much.

    Which is pretty much the major weakness of the entire series so far – Rivkah is working so hard at making it celebration of diversity and love, that it comes off as trying a *wee* too hard throughout.

    from the livejournal of lilrivkah
    Re: Steady Beat volume 2
    2007-04-16 03:46 am UTC

    I was just reading an article the other day about an adopted asian girl raised by two lesbian women who was having her bat mitzvah.

    The days where people fit into one or two categories are long since past. And if anything . . . having only one ethnic background has become something of a rarity, especially in big cities like New York–which is where the character in question is from.

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