Last Friends Manga, Malika Magazine

August 29th, 2008

Some months ago, we reported a new josei magazine called Malika. Malika has a lot of the same artists as Feel Young, Sakurazawa Erica, Yamaji Ebine, Ikaring, etc. And it seemed, in theory to be very Yuri-friendly, with the first issue including a story about Yoshiya Nobuko, and with picking up the manga adaptation of the live-action drama Last Friends and all. But somewhere between the concept and the execution, the Yuri kind of just…never showed up.

The story about Yoshiya Nobuko took a look at the piece of her life just after she left home and went off to the big city, when she met a female writer and was wowed at the idea of being an independent female writer. That pretty much covered it. She did indeed leave home, pissing her father off royally, btw, to become a famous writer – which she did. She also fell in love with her companion for the entirety of her life, Monma Chiyo, just a few years later. But the manga didn’t cover that, or her involvement with the “S” movement. Just the “wow, I can be a writer,” part.

Last Friends is equally thin. Each chapter of the manga covers some three episodes of the drama and pretty much everything other than Michiru’s abusive relationship is sort of watered down. Yes, we get about a panel dealing with Ruka’s possible gender dysphoria, and about the same for Takeru’s issues, but those are shoved to the back. We don’t actually see Sousuke beat Michiru, but we do see the ugly results. Ruka’s feelings for Michiru were compressed into “wanting to protect her,” while Takeru’s confession of like for Ruka remained. And Sousuke’s terror attack on Ruka’s family was likewise watered down from “she is trying to get surgery to become a man,” to “she’s a man in a woman’s body, a monster.” Sadly, we also don’t get the same ending for Sousuke at all that we got in the drama, which was immensely satisfying due to large quantities of Sousuke’s blood involved.

It was disappointing in a lot of ways. There were so many ways it could have been good, but they took the easy way out on all of them. I was truly amazed when I realized that the live-action drama was going to be the version that was realer, rawer and more daring – I mean how bizarro is that, when you consider it?

So, a big ole boo to Malika and it’s incredibly uninspired and uninspiring manga adaptations of things that *ought* to be of great interest to Yuri fans.

Ratings:

Art – 7
Story – 6
Characters – 6
Yuri – 2
Service – 0

Overall – 6

Next month a new Yamaji Ebine series is starting up, but based on recent past performance I have exactly no hope that it will contain anything that might even vaguely hint at Yuri.

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5 Responses

  1. Hafl says:

    Completely off-topic, but in the renewed Marimite web radio, there is a dramatization of “Chocolate Portrait” from Variety Gift. Since it’s first time Shouko appears in the novels, I thought I should mention it. There is a link on the official Japanese Marimite site.

  2. potatoko says:

    . . . I can’t tell. Is that sarcasm? Internet text is a-tonal, you know, and Yamaji Ebine might have done 200 het works for every Yuri work for all I know. :D

    That totally sucks about Last Friends, though. I mean, I never really watched the series, but it is indicative of a piss-poor mentality.

  3. Not saecasm – Yamaji’s last five stories have ranged from mildly sort of (male) gayish to entirely straight, but the one thing they all have in common is that they have been totally lifeless.

  4. hafl – thanks, a couple of folks have told me that. It’s a great story. :-)

    If I were doing a news report tomorrown, I’d stick it in, but it will have to wait ’til I get back.

  5. Smithie says:

    I hope Yamaji Ebine returns to making her own excellent/unique brand of Yuri at some point. (Hopefully soon!) I like all of the Yuri manga by her that I’ve read (my favorite being Free Soul XD ), but I haven’t read her other stories. Are they really that bland? And I haven’t finished Last Friends (I’m dying to know how it finishes!), but I’m glad to vaguely know that Sousuke receives a fitting ending. :) Too bad the manga wasn’t as good. This entire magazine sounds like an armload of dropped balls! -_-;; At least we have Yuri Hime, Comic Young (Girl Friends), and whichever magazine runs Aoi Hana, among other Yuri I’m sure I don’t know about.

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