Yuri Manga: Maka-Maka, Volume 2 (English)

February 6th, 2009

makamaka2In Volume 2 of Maka-Maka, Jun and Nene continue on their happy adventure together having intimate contact in public places, and becoming closer on emotional level.

Nene and Jun are happiest together, although they both have boyfriends. These, we are told repeatedly, suck as lovers. (We can probably take for granted that they suck as human beings, as well.) But that’s okay, because they have each other. And in between getting fondled at a restaurant or in a clothes store changing room, Nene is letting Jun touch even more intimate parts of her emotional life. Jun, very much the tachi of this couple acts, from time to time like she takes Nene for granted, but she also opens up to the other woman in a way she would probably never do with a boyfriend.

We learn about their respective childhoods, their first time with a man, their hopes and dreams, their fears and weaknesses.

But mostly, we watch them have sex. ^_^

Depending on your particular set of turn-ons, very hot sex.

As with the first volume, the reproduction is top notch. Color covers, protective obis that hide secret covers on both sides (hint: in the shower, they’re nekkid) double-sided insert poster and excellent reproduction of the internal color pages – all reproduced beautifully – with metallic inks on the cover even. The translation is smooth, makes perfect sense and gives each character a voice of her own. Phew.

Interestingly, Maka-Maka was listed on the manga.about.com poll for best josei series. I spoke to Deb about it because it is not really josei at all. It was drawn by a man, for a men’s magazine as an adult comic for men. You know – the whole lesbian sex/male gaze thing. But let’s face it, the distinctions of genre that are absolutely rigid in Japan (god help you as an adult male buying a magazine for young women, or vice versa) fail completely when manga reaches the market here. At least half the people who bought this book were women, likely more than half. It’s being sold as a “Yuri” manga here, not an “adult manga for men,” which makes me think that if the western manga market survives this economy, I *strongly* recommend rethinking the whole shoujo/shounen/josei/seinen genre scheme completely. I think western publishers should focus on subject genre (scifi/fantasy/mecha/guns/romance/sex) and age appropriateness, which is bollocks but necessary here. In any case, I agree with Deb – list it on the josei list because here in the west, at least, it’s a manga as much for woman as it for men.

The end of this volume is particularly Yuri-fan friendly, as Nene and Jun make a very public statement about Sex. Life. And Communication.

I can’t tell you why exactly, but for whatever reason I like the English adaptation better than the original. Frank, you did a fabulous job. If there were an adult manga award, I’d give it to Media Blasters for Maka-Maka. ^_^

Ratings:

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

Overall – 9

When I read this volume originally, I remember being turned off by the excess of bodily fluids, but reading it this time, it didn’t strike me that way at all. No idea why.

And let me once again thank Media Blasters for the first copy of this book off the printer. It doesn’t mean I’ll give you a better review, but you do get a bigger smile of thanks!

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14 Responses

  1. Dirk Deppey says:

    The interesting thing about Maka Maka is that I actually tried to convince Eros Comix editor Michael Dowers to license this series, and gave him the Lililicious scanlations. A couple of days later, he came back to me and told me that it couldn’t possibly sell as straight porn manga, since there wasn’t enough sex and too much “emotional stuff.”

  2. @Dirk – Wow, that really is interesting. So it fails to be a good f/f porn title for the west, but *is* an excellent adult Yuri title.

    We tend to just skim over the differences in sensibilities between Japan and the west, but clearly they are pretty deep. Another good reason to lose Japanese distinctions for translated work and focus on our own “genres”.

  3. ArcaJ says:

    Thanks for the review, Erica! I’d seen a scanlation of the first chapter a while back but was turned off without reading it. However, after reading your first review (and armed with crisp New Year’s money ^_^) I decided to give it a go.

    I was pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed the art (women who look like women. What will they think of next?) and I found myself getting to like Jun and Nene as characters. Their relationship–while odd–apparently works for them. Though I wonder what the future holds for them. Thanks for the review.

    ::HUGS::

    Arca Jeth

  4. Anonymous says:

    I really enjoyed Maka-Maka. The sexuality is realistic and hot, the characters are realistic and fairly nuanced, and as you say, the ending is an optimistic one for Yuri fans. Thanks for the review. ^_^

  5. GregC says:

    I liked this series because it wasn’t just sex. There was a lot of emotion to it. I didn’t realize it was written as porn for guys. I read it as a romance with two female characters.

    You’re correct about the shoujo/shonen/etc. distinction not carrying over the the US exactly. My current favorite series is Suzuka, which in Japan is a shonen series. (It ran in Shonen Weekly.) The requisite fanservice is very out of place with the the story though.

    So it’s a romance, but for guys to read. There is a lot that can be learned in this culture-swap.

  6. grace says:

    buy it, buy it, buy it. Maka-Maka (both vol. 1 and 2) are excellent – quality in terms of the content but also the book itself. good paper, vivid colors, artwork – MB didn’t skimp out. great job!

    i had voted for Maka-Maka on Deb’s blog and at first was surprised to find it under the josei category but your explanation/thoughts make a lot of sense. always insightful, thanks.

  7. Moe-Idol says:

    I am a girl and I liked the maka very much-maka.
    Altogether not like that than a hentai, we could enter for a shock rather eroge-mang.

  8. Jeff Flowers says:

    I have to say that I like Maki-Maki. I bought it because I collect sexually explicit comics but the stories and characterizations are very good. I really enjoyed reading it.

  9. Ophelein says:

    Yuri tends to go in two different directions, either it’s blatantly written by men for men who want to “watch hot chicks get it on” and shows no interest in how enjoyable it would be for the women or it’s overloaded with scary, posessive butch women. Maka-Maka is almost the only Yuri I have ever found in which neither of the women were scary and posessive and they acted like real women who have relationships with other women. Maka-Maka also acknowledges the fact that emotions come into play in sexual relationships and that dominance is not always important in relationships. At the end of the first chapter it has an explaination of how Nene and Jun feel about sex which I think is very beautiful and much more relaxed than the rigid rules of society. Even though Maka-Maka is told in one-shot kind of stories, Jun and Nene are so much more deep and well developed than a lot of characters in books with narrative storylines. I would love to meet Nene and Jun, they seem so facinating and realistic. The sex is tender, sensual, realistic, creative, sweet, plentiful… I could keep going. Oh yeah, and extremely hot. And not to leave out anything important, The art is beautiful, ridiculously beautiful, and Nene and Jun look like real women which I think is even sexier than idealized body types.

  10. Anonymous says:

    “I think western publishers should focus on subject genre (scifi/fantasy/mecha/guns/romance/sex) and age appropriateness, which is bollocks but necessary here”

    What’s bollocks about publishers sorting books by age appropriateness?

    When I was a little kid I got a lot out of the public library by going to the children’s section and finding tons of books I could read, all in the same area! :D Same went for bookstores! ;) Likewise, by the end of 5th grade I could read anything and everything in my elementary school library :) The stuff I still couldn’t read well was over in the middle school library, the high school library, and the adult and teen sections of the public library instead (like, Stephen Hawking and Virginia Woolf’s stuff have *some* value for teaching a 4th grader more reading comprehension, but Judy Blume and Gordon Korman’s stuff have *more*, so guess which books get shelved where…).

    If all those books had *not* been sorted by age appropriateness, I’d have had to wade through a whole bunch of books I didn’t yet have the reading skills for in order to find stuff I could enjoy reading. That would have taken a lot of fun out of bookstores and libraries, and I’d have become a bookworm years later (if at all). :(

  11. @Anonymous- Just that very often the age ratings are entirely wrong. :-)

  12. Anonymous says:

    “@Anonymous- Just that very often the age ratings are entirely wrong. :-)”

    Ah, age-inappropriate “age appropriateness” ratings then. I agree, *those* are bollocks. ;)

  13. Anonymous says:

    “…Nene and Jun are happiest together, although they both have boyfriends. These, we are told repeatedly, suck as lovers. (We can probably take for granted that they suck as human beings, as well.) But that’s okay, because they have each other…”

    That’s a good point to include in the review.

    I’m straight myself and I tried reading Maka-Maka for the story and “emotional stuff” as Dirk puts it (hey, it’s manga about adults!) but the sex scenes with those guys *nauseated* me.

    For this one reader (moi), it wasn’t “okay, because they have each other” enough since seeing the poor main characters keep put up with getting fucked badly by bad people was *that bad.* :/

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