Sasamekikoto, Volume 2 (ささめきこと) does something quite interesting with some of our more familiar rehashed conventions – in a sort of meta-Yuri manga, we get several layers of Yuri convention running on top of one another, each at a different angle to the others.
Sumika, a girl in love with her best friend Ushio – who loves cute girls, but not Sumi – has been blackmailed to join a club that consists of women who love women (and their friend Kyori who is just a member to make the requisite number.)
But first! A “funny” chapter about Sumi on a date with the guy, Masaki, who likes her, who has a side career cross-dressing as internet idol and model Akemi-chan, and whose little sister is extremely creepy.
After that, the story settles down a bit into something that looks like this:
Classmates ask Sumi whether Tomoe and Miyako are lesbian, but Sumi avoids answering. The two come back and tell the classmates that they shouldn’t be asking other people about their identity. The classmates get all riled, calling them “rezu” and “hentai” when quiet Aoi-san stands up and tells them all to be quiet – that one, the classroom is for studying, not this, and two, real love between women looks like these novels that she obsesses about. lol The novel covers look *awfully* familiar. (And, btw, the novels are penned by Ushio’s brother, something that both Ushio and Sumi don’t want Aoi-san learning. lol)
When Aoi-san runs out after having been emotionally brutalized, Sumi goes after her to see of she’s okay. Aoi-san instantly forms a crush on Sumi and assumes that she too is a fan of the novels. Ushio walks in on them at a touchy moment, which sends her into tears, not so much because Sumi might like the other girl – she’s more worried that Sumi isn’t a fan of those damn novels!
Tomoe, as club president of the jyoshibu, decides that the club should go on a club overnight. However, a misunderstanding forces Sumi into helping Aoi-san with her doujinshi for “Yuri Fest,” a summer doujinshi event. So instead of going with Ushio to the beach, Sumika finds herself helping her new friend making a doujinshi and selling it at this Yuri otaku event. Sumi’s day is made when Ushio ditches her summer vacation, and comes to the event to visit her.
Then, everyone goes to the pool, tickets courtesy of Aoi-san’s thankful parents. Kyori, in a moment of epic genius, separates Aoi-san, Miyako and herself into the “kids” team – basing this on relative size – and leaves Tomoe, Ushio and Sumika to be together. Tomoe gets the drift immediately and goes off on her own, so Sumi and Ushio finally get some alone time. Aoi-san spends the entire time trying to escape to be together with Sumi, but finally sees what we have seen since the beginning, that Sumika and Ushio are in love with one another. And sad as she is, she backs off. On the train, Tomoe talks about how beautiful their love is – especially because they can’t see each other’s feelings. She calls it “delicious.”
The final chapter follows Sumi and Ushio just missing one another at a local festival but, when they finally do connect, the relief and joy on their respective faces speak volumes.
So the trick here is that were have a 1) girl who loves another girl 2) who loves her, 3) but they don’t recognize it yet, and who is the 4) object of a crush of a girl 5) who likes Yuri light novels, and they are in a 5) club for girls who love girls, and hang with a 6) lesbian couple. You see what they did there – the creator layered several “Yuri” tropes on top of one another for a reasonably effective comedy.
And it is quite funny. My favorite moments are when Sumi and Ushio fall into a visually wacky private language that’s basically not describable, but is lol funny.
Art – 8
Story – 7
Characters – 8
Yuri – 7
Service – 4
Overall – 8
I wasn’t sure if the whole “best friend who loves her best friend from a distance thing” was going to work for me, but in Sasamekikoto, it absolutely does work.