Today I’m going to crack open the covers of Yuri Monogatari 5 once again and let you see the “East” side of the equation – 6 stories by some of my favorite Japanese artists. This was exactly the kind of stuff I wanted to bring to the western world – stories by women about women who love women. When Rica Takashima and I had that first discussion over lunch that eventually led to the creation of ALC Publishing, we both agreed that what had originally motivated us to create our own work, was that we wanted to tell silly yet real, fun to read stories about life as a lesbian. I genuinely think we hit paydirt this volume. Yesterday you saw that the “western” stories have such immense variety in tone, art, style, story…and today, you’ll see some of the “eastern” stories that broaden our book in both scope and style. Now is a really good time to thank our translator Erin for doing such a spectacular job with all these stories.
“The Last Day” is our first story, by one of the pair that makes up one of my favorite circles, Sakuraike Taki of Sakuraike. Her work is loose, full of movement and emotional swings. She does “cutely embarrassed” so well, that I find myself staring at those panels in her work for prolonged periods of time. As an aside note, this story was incredibly difficult to adapt to a left-to-right format. There is, in this story, a panel that took me a whole day to work on, but damn, I think it looks GREAT! With luck – you’ll never even notice. “Last Day” is a story about choices, about learning to face life – and love – head on, without running away.
Allow me to gush for one second. When I first read “Until The Sun Rises, Then Sets Again” I absolutely knew I had to get this story into a volume of Yuri Monogatari. There is nothing about this story I don’t love. The art, the story, the characters (who are part of an ongoing series that I would love to bring out as a collection,) everything. I was pleased as punch to meet the artist, Nishi UKO, last winter at Comiket and she was as delightful as her work. This story follows two teachers who have to get past a rather large misunderstanding at the beginning of their relationship. It’s simply wonderful.
This is the second Sakuraike offering, “On the Road Where the White Flowers Bloom.” It’s a goofy look at the life of the straight half of a Yuri doujinshi circle. There’s a lot of doujinshi world jargon, which we’ve attempted to make clear to the non-otaku audience, but I think that the general forehead-slapping silliness will communicate just fine. Sakuraike Kana’s stories often have a goofiness to them that appeals to me, even when she’s doing a “serious” love story. (This, btw, is not a serious love story. ^_^)
I am so excited to once again be publishing something by Tadeno Eriko. This story is a bit of a gamble, though. “The Everyday Adventures of Two Women in Love” is the story of an older couple who have long ago gotten used to each other’s foibles. Because one of those foibles is an obsession with name brands and shopping, this story has a zillion footnotes. I hope you all don’t get distracted by them, because the actual story itself is really sweet. (The wife suggests that you just read the story first, without worrying about the notes, so you’re not distracted. Then go back to learn what the heck she’s talking about.) I chose this story, because there is one panel in it that I adore with all my heart – when you read the story, you’ll probably guess the panel right away. It’s a totally long-term couple thing. :-)
One of the best things about Yuri Monogatari is that I’ve been able to guilt Rica Takashima into drawing more Rica and Miho for us! LOL We get a lot of requests for sequels to Rica ‘tte Kanji!? and nothing would make me happier than to be able to put together a second collection of stories about them. This time, Miho has to face a rather troubling question about their relationship. This story was clearly drawn with a sequel in mind – and I want to know what’s going to happen, so we’ll just have to nag Rica for more! Rica will be our Guest of Honor at the 2007 “Yurisai” event, so make sure you come and ask her about it. ^_^
The end of the book is a story about beginnings. “The Beginning of the Beggining” tells the story of…please don’t make me say it. lol I love Houjou KOZ’s clean art and bare storytelling style that allows for maximum reader participation. Her stories are so much about internal monologues and self-realizations, that this makes a great introduction to her work.
And there you have it – 14 stories, with a tremendous amount of variety. From school girls to old women, from first loves to old couples, from endings to beginnings and from harsh reality to freakish fantasy, Yuri Monogatari 5 has what *I* think is a brilliant variety of stories by incredibly talented artists.
Once again – pre-orders for Yuri Monogatari 5 are currently available on the Yuricon shop, at your local comic shop through the August Diamond Previews, through you local chain bookstore through Diamond and on Amazon.com.