Nemurubaka Manga (ネムルバカ ), Volume 1

November 3rd, 2008

Kujirai Ruka, the lead singer for the band Peat Moth, is living at college with her kouhai Irisu Yumi. They are the typical Odd Couple-style pair, the stars of Nemurubaka. Ruka is vulgar, sloppy, yet obviously talented. Yumi is neat, organized and takes care of Ruka.

Peat Moth is on the rise with their newest tune, “Nemurubaka.” The tune is catchy and the lyrics are strange, but kind of charming. Yumi likes to see Ruka perform at live houses.

And Yumi is very surprised and disconcerted to find that the source of the catchy tune and strange lyrics of “Nemurubaka” is herself. Apparently, she sings in her sleep. Thus, the song’s name, “sleeping idiot.”

The first half of this volume covers a few “day in the life” chapters of Yumi and Ruka’s life and their symbiotic, and affectionate, relationship.

But. (Of course there is a “but.” Without “but” there would be no plot.)

A music producer approaches Ruka and says that he’s interested in her – but only her. She’d have to leave her band behind if she wants the contract.

Surprisingly, Ruka takes the contract. She packs up her stuff and leaves both Yumi and Peat Moth behind. She’s repurposed as “Girl A” and her tagline becomes “Who is Girl A?”

Yumi can’t help but see the advertising barrage and she also wonders who “Girl A” is, since she’s clearly no longer the Ruka she cared about. When a ticket to Ruka’s concert arrives in the mail, she decides to go and see what has become of her sempai. As the concert progresses, Yumi thinks that she liked the old live house shows better. She begins to scream “Sempai” to get Ruka’s attention, but can’t be heard over the crowd noise. But Ruka sees her. She finishes her set and gets ready to do an encore. Leaving band and back up singers behind, Ruka announces that her name is Kujirai Ruka and the writer of the song is Peat Moth and Irisu Yumi, then breaks into a solo version of “Nemurubaka.”

Finally, Yumi’s voice reaches Ruka and they lock eyes. Ruka finishes the song and runs off the stage and out of the theater into the night.

Back in the dorm, Yumi is now a sempai to a new kouhai, who finds the Peat Moth CD in the room. The kouhai asks if she can play it, but Yumi says no.

There is no Yuri in this story, as you can see. But for a deep friendship – the kind that surpasses words – and genuine affection between two women, I haven’t read too much better than this recently.

Ratings:

Art – 6
Characters – 8
Story – 8
Yuri – 1 Shinyuu – 9
Service – 1 (Ruka gets a solid ass grab on Yumi at some point)

Overall – 8

Aria may be nice, but I guess I’m hankering for a bit of realism in my slice-of-life these days. First Octave and now this. Stories of grownup idols…hmm…sounds vaguely familiar. ;-)

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