Yuri Manga: Octave, Volume 1

October 29th, 2008

One more for the file of stories with adult female leads, Octave, Volume 1, (オクターヴ) has many admirable qualities that make it a series to keep an eye on.

Miyashita Yukino wanted, more than anything else, to become an idol. In defiance of the odds, she actually did manage to accomplish her dream only to find that being an idol is not enough to make one a celebrity. The idol group Yukino was part of failed to sell. Yukino went back to school, spending the remainder of her time there wading through jealousy and curiosity from the girls and a mix of sexual interest and disrespect from the guys.

Now 20, Yukino lives in Tokyo, far from her remaining friends and family, trying to forge a new life on her own as a talent manager. But she’s not really having any fun at it. Her life lacks purpose and rhythm and, even now, she has a nagging sensation that she should be that girl on the pedestal.

Yukino finds herself befriended by Setsuko, the sister of the guy who runs the laundromat she uses. Suddenly, Yukino feels that maybe Tokyo isn’t such a lonely place. She’s finally found someone she can relate to – Setsuko was a member of a small musical group that, like her own, only released one album. Setsuko now barely makes a living writing songs for singers who don’t even know who she is.

One night, as they eat mabutofu, Yukino finds herself telling Setsuko about her encounter with failure, and about her desire for a boyfriend, maybe marriage – a normal life. Setsuko responds by sitting much too close and forcing Yukino to face some of her own fears. That night they end up making love.

Yukino’s found what she thinks is a little happiness, but of course nothing stays the same forever. As she tries to find a place for her feelings for Setsuko, Yukino will encounter situations that wrap her in jealousy over Setsuko (who is bisexual,) over the paths her former partners in the idol group have taken, over everything everyone thinks of as a normal life.

Octave is not melodramatic, it’s not overwrought, it’s not full of love affairs going horribly tragic, or violent, or a life in crisis. It’s not WEtv. Thank *heavens.* It’s a grown up manga for grown ups, who like to read grown up stories about grown up women who like grown up women.


Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 9
Yuri – 8
Service – 4

Overall – 8

I definitely recommend it for realistic, non-ridiculous Yuri narrative and sincerely hope that someone will consider picking it up for translation here.

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11 Responses

  1. grace says:

    “It’s a grown up manga for grown ups, who like to read grown up stories about grown up women who like grown up women.”

    Amen to that! Thanks for the review, I’m ordering it for sure.

  2. Anonymous says:

    thanks for the review, I was waiting for it. Octave is an amazing manga.

  3. Katherine says:

    Wow. Now this sounds like a title I’d like to see published here! ^^ It definitely sounds different from most of the Yuri titles that have been brought to the U.S., and it has more plot elements to sell it than just the Yuri, should any publisher license it. Do you know which magazine Octave runs in?

  4. Katherine – Looks like Kodansha’s Octave.

  5. Bell says:

    I really hope that none american editor pick this series so I can continue to read the scanlator´s one. The chance of this manga be published in my country is near zero T_T

  6. kielisan says:

    I think shijima has already started scanlating this one. I ordered it after reading her translations of the first two chapters. You all are rough on my credit card *chuckle*

  7. Anonymous says:

    No, Shijima’s not scanlating this. She was interested but Tranquil Spring took the project in the end.

  8. wildeny says:

    Just a small correction. Yukino is not yet 19, and would be in the 12th grade if she didn’t drop out.

    I really enjoy reading this comic.

  9. Second that–Yukino said it a few times that she’s still eighteen years old. A very old, weary eighteen. It’s almost painful to read Octave. That loneliness, the confusion, the latent anger with the world, the boredom… she’s far too young to be experiencing these things, but so many people do and it’s rather fascinating to have a manga show us all these things.

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