Back in February of 2006, I reviewed a 4-panel comic called Plica-chan. Plica-chan is a serialized comic that currently runs on the Love Piece Club website and in the newsletter for the LOUD organization. Unlike Yuri manga, Plica-chan is a realistic, bitter and funny take on actual lesbian life in Japan – complete with closet and internal and external homophobia and cluelessness.
Last year, Plica-chan was animated. The result is not an anime, but an animated version of the 4-panel strip with voice overs. It’s more like a Flash animation than an anime. The movie is available for purchase on the Love Piece Club website, but I don’t think they ship outside Japan. I used a buyer to get my copy.
The movie has several chapters: Blue Sky in the Window, Useless “How to Sex” Tips For Lesbians, Stop Multiplying Machiko, Please, One Day Next Summer and an additional short about the Lesbian and Gay Parade in Tokyo – Let’s Go to the Parade. Each chapter covers some random daily situations from Plica-chan’s point of view and those of very closeted Machiko. Each chapter is supplemented by Q & As about life as a lesbian in Japan today. Some of the answers make you want to cry from joy, others from sadness and others are just really odd. ^_^
The scenarios in Plica-chan are thought-provoking, many are pointed and a little bitter and some are pretty funny – even when they are being thought-provoking and bitter. I imagine that most Yuri fans will be shocked when they see this movie as neither animation, story nor characters are anything at all like what one comes to expect from “Yuri.” There are no Shizurus here, or Harukas. These women are struggling against an overwhelming tide. The fact that *any* women manage to carve out a life as “a lesbian” in Japan is worth celebrating, I have to think.
Technically, the movie is very nicely done; it comes complete with English subtitles. The music and animation are both very decent and credits are in Japanese and English. (Unfortunately, they run one after the other, while the end theme sort of lingers unnecessarily.) The voice acting is much better than I expected – Mari’s voice was deeper than I would have guessed, while Plica-chan sounded exactly the way I hear her in my head. ^_^
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
Because saying you understand lesbian life in Japan because you read Yuri manga is like saying you’re good at hand-to-hand combat because you play RPGs, I very much hope to be able to show Plica-chan at Yuricon’s 2007 “Yurisai” event. If we can show it, it’ll be this movie’s US Premiere. ^_^
Post event note: We did show it. The reception was interesting, as many people found it sad, rather than funny.