Lesbian Novel: Sempai to Watashi

July 16th, 2008

Mori Natsuko-sensei is a well-known and well respected author in Japan. She got her start in speculative fiction/horror, and built up quite a following. She happens to be a lesbian and also writes lesbian and gay stories, many of which are extremely explicit and often, in my meager experience with her work, to have at least mild bondage.

Mori-sensei currently writes the “Yuri doujou” advice column for Yuri Hime magazine, in which she fields the same three questions over and over ad nauseum, but does it with the kind of humor and flair I would never be able to muster about someone else’s tedious relationship problems. Mori-sensei also happened to be a guest at Yuricon 2005 in Tokyo, where I found her to be a sophisticated and cultured woman.

Previously, I reviwed her book, Himeyuri-tachi no Houkago, which was a hilarious collection of exceptionally filthy short stories, almost all of which were so bonkers that my shrieks of laughter disturbed many an Acela passenger that weekend.

So of course when I learned about Sempai to Watashi I ordered it right away. ^_^

The story is pretty much identical to the setup in Hitohira and just as realistic. At T. Women’s University, there is an erotic novel writer’s club. There is also a competing club, which for argument’s sake I’ll call the erotic novel appreciation society, because I never bothered translating the long names for each club. The ENWC has five members and puts out a beautifully printed, perfect-bound anthology called the “Monthly Gomorrah.” The ENAS, which consists of two members, our protagonist Mitsue and her sempai Amari, puts out a copy book called the “Monthly Amazon.”

Both publications focus on lesbian sex, but where the members of the ENWC are self-admitted lesbians and to gain ideas for their monthly stories engage in free sex together, Amari-sempai is adamant about *not* being a lesbian herself, but rather being interested in erotica only for masturbation. Mitsue is head over heels in love and lust with Amari-sempai, so pretends to agree with her so she can remain by Amari’s side. However, after Mitsue is approached by Hanayo, the leader of the ENWC, she finds herself drawn into an ever deepening and widening circle of BDSM lesbian sex. Some of these chapters are not for the faint of heart. No lesbians were harmed by the making of these chapters, unless you like your lesbian sex to be sweet and cute and not involve tape over the mouth and the creative use of vegetables, in which case you’ll really want to avoid this book like the plague. LOL

(At some point I couldn’t help but wonder why it is that in my recent anime/manga/novel perusals, I keep coming up against so many things with the same style of ball gag? I have no opinion either way about BDSM., although I do believe strongly that it can be a lot more beautiful in text than it ever is in real life.)

In any case, after being the bottom to Hanayo’s top, and the bottom to evil loli Ruri and Jinko’s top, and the top to Hanayo’s bottom (a very nice bottom I gather, from the book,) and a voyeur as Hanayo is pleasured by her Vice President and adoring lover Eri and any number of other combinations, Mitsue defects to the ENWC, partially because sex is better than no sex and partially because Ruri blackmails her into doing so.

Of course, when the tables are turned and Ruri, who had during the course of the book kidnapped Hanayo and was keepng her as a pet (please don’t make me explain that…) is finally defeated by Eri, and both Hanayo and Mitsue are set free.

Mitsue immediately runs back to Amari, gives her the newest chapter of her erotic series “The Secret Adventures of Princess Karen” and is stunned to be told to get out by Amari-sempai. Predictably, the reason Amari wants Mitsue to go is that her new story is really hot and Amari is getting horny. Mitsue applies a *teeny* bit of physical coercion and bondage and convinces Amari that she is, in fact, a lesbian, and that lesbian sex is way better than masturbating alone.

And they all live happily ever after…except for Ruri, who is now the punching bag for everyone in the ENWC.

The End.

It wasn’t as funny as Hime Yuri-tachi and some of the extended BDSM scenes got a little tiresome (“You want this don’t you?” Nod. “Say it.” “I want that.” “Want what? Say it.” etc, etc…) but overall it was just a big, creatively executed pile of porn, in which a few scenes were really standout and occasionally quite sexy.

You know what I always say about this kind of thing – why else would you study a foreign language except to read porn on the train, while no one around you can tell. :-)

Ratings:

Art – 4
Story – 6
Characters – 6
Yuri – 10000000000000
Service – 10000000000000 (Yuri fanboys would hate it. It is neither cute, nor sweet, nor loli, nor that “Story A” type Yuri that they all love so much.)

Overall – 7

I wonder what the reaction to me reading it on a Japanese train would be…. ;-)

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9 Responses

  1. Sarah says:

    why else would you study a foreign language except to read porn on the train, while no one around you can tell. :-)

    So, so true. XD

  2. Jen says:

    My goodness!! I laughed so hard reading your blog that … well, you don’t want to know what happened to the water I was drinking at the time. Thanks for another entertaining read :)

  3. kieli says:

    Oh my bloody hells! I laughed hysterically in spite of myself….especially after the “Please don’t make me explain that..”. I think your review is probably more funny than the book. Guess I’m one of those truly boring lesbians who blushes madly at porn…especially the whips and chains kind of porn. >_>

  4. grace says:

    This novel is more than enough motivation for me to pursue my Japanese studies more diligently and seriously! Thanks for a wonderful review…I’m still smiling.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Huh? Isn’t this kinda what LFBs actually want to read? Lesbian BDSM groupsex with abduction sounds exactly like their kind of thing.

    Which doesn’t make this novel bad, though.

  6. anon – Not really. For one thing, they don’t want to read lesbian sex – they want to *see* it. And Yuri LFBs tend to prefer something like a “Story A” story, where the love, they believe, is pure and innocent and perfect – and the characters are 14. Blushing cheeks and barely holding hands and whispered declarations of affection. That kind of thing.

    Most of the LFBs I know – and all of the Japanese ones, find this kind of story much too explicit to deal with.

    Lastly, there is no guy in the equation. A good Yuri to most lFBs is a harem story, where they can mask themseleves in so that even if two of the girls around the man character are together, they are still “his” women.

    This is a bluntly lesbian novel. No men are needed, no cute breathy affirmations of like, no cute anything, nothing that appeals to the usual LFB.

  7. jaymiemizuno says:

    Heh, find myself posting again. Both Lesbian and BDSMer, and it really depends on how you do it. Through in sensuality and it can be really good; don’t use it and the acts can be really mechanical. Everyone has a little kink in them; Anyone who loved Chapter 3 of the Strawberry Panic! manga, you just loved a major D/S scene. Heh heh.

  8. Senbei says:

    I have found a couple of Mori-sensei’s books, but I’ve been putting them off (I think I may have given one to Youko). I want to develop my kanji-reading just a little more. Any idea why her new books are so expensive? They’re listed at 4 times the price of a normal Japanese book. With international shipping charges the way they are, I think I’m better off to just keep a look out at the used bookstore here.

  9. @senbei – I don’t know what you mean by 4 times as much, really. There are a few collections that are more expensive.
    http://tinyurl.com/7k8xar – this is a list of her books on Amazon.co.jp. You can see that “Yurihime-tachi no houkago” is just 735 yen, this book – which is hardcover – is 1680.

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