Yuri Manga: Octave, Volume 2

April 23rd, 2009

In Volume 2 of Octave (オクターヴ) Yukino continues to deal with the hole in her life left by the absence of everything she thinks she wants. In doing so, she really pissed me off. ^_^;

On the one hand, Yukino is an ex-pop idol, studying to be a manager, living a life that is a poor reflection of what she strived for. She longs for adulation, for recognition, for hordes of fans to tell her how wonderful she is so she can see herself in the reflection of their adoration.

On the other hand, she is a hard-working young woman, trying to build a career for herself, living on her own in the big city, with an older lover and a decent life.

Unfortunately for Yukino the former weighs much more heavily on her than the latter. And her expectations of herself and her life weigh even more heavily. Her weaknesses far outweigh her strengths in her own mind.

In this volume, Yukino visits her hometown, bringing Setsuko along, but is not strong enough to acknowledge her. She meets her old friend, who is getting a second chance as an idol, but her envy makes her vulerable. Above all, her desperate need for recognition and “normality” (as she defines it) leads Yukino to do something that will stick in the craw of every reader who likes Setsuko.

This volume was a little rough on me. I wanted to like Yukino, to sympathize with her, to support her. But…I couldn’t. By the end of the book I was ready to slap her and then she does something that really pissed me off. The thing she does doesn’t bother me at all – it was *why* she does it that gagged me. There is nothing I respect less than people who only feel validated when it comes from an external source.

Whether Octave has a Yuri ending – or even any kind of happy ending – is of no concern to me. Right now, I really don’t care much what happens to Yukino. I’m more concerned about Setsuko, because she seems like a pretty decent person and I don’t want her to be hurt by Yukino’s selfishness.

Ratings:

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

Overall – 8

Because of my strong feelings against Yukino and for Setsuko I have to admit that this is a good book. It’s got me giving a crap what happens.

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8 Responses

  1. Rinu says:

    Yukino’s selfishness… Ah, so that’s the thing which have made me dislike her. Thanks for the label. I am very aware how cool a presence of this adult story is but it’s really hard to surpress the feeling of oddness. Despite the fact that the plot of Octave is built by her emotions, Yukino is someone really shallow :/.

  2. Katherine says:

    I really like Setsuko also, but Yukino’s whiny waffling personality really did start to grate after chapter after chapter of essentially the same thing from her. It was nice to see her more confident and happy when she visited her hometown, but it was pretty annoying (if believable) when her hard-earned character growth collapsed like a house of cards because of a few words from Kamo. T_T;; Hopefully she’ll change for the better as the series goes on. Still, Setsuko rocks. ^^

  3. Steve says:

    I feel kind of bad about this (and also for posting a wall of text), but I have to dsagree with some of your character analysis of Yukino. I do agree that she’s needy and prone to making stupid desicions for terrible reasons – I personally think that it’s understandable why, given her past, although I understand why other people think differently. But this bit:

    ‘She longs for adulation, for recognition, for hordes of fans to tell her how wonderful she is so she can see herself in the reflection of their adoration.’

    I don’t get. I can’t recall anything in either volume so far that suggests that she wants that. She never even hints that she wants to go back to showbiz, she’s very upfront about how her group bombed, and she chose working in an office over some backdoor route into being famous and adored, like her ex-bandmate who became a porn star. Even the flashbacks show her being uneasy in the presence of adoring fans.

    Maybe it was true when she first went off to be an idol, but now? I think it’s like it says on the cover “But now.. all I want is to be beloved by someone.” She wants the love and trust, not of adoring fans, but one person who’ll love her, not a personality they see on a stage. And the problem is, her ideas about human relationships are so messed up from her previous experiences that she can’t see that that person is Setsuko.

  4. @Steve – Thanks for your comments. You’re a more generous person than I am. In volume 1, Yukino does in fact, tell us that she still wants this life, when she is tending to the young idol’s wardrobe and says about her, “That should be me.”

    In the case of my assumption that she needs adulation to feel real, that was based on 1) experience with the type of person and 2) the fact that she repeatedly mentions how she wants to be told she’s prtty, and although Setsuko does, she does something pretty dumb when a complete stranger also does. It’s not a stated need – it’s a need expressed through actions.

  5. Senbei says:

    I think it’s pretty amusing that you gave this a LFB rating. By the end of the first volume I wasn’t very into any of the characters (least of all the bizarre brother). I think that if the purpose of the story is to represent maintaining a spark of life in an otherwise gray world, none of them really manage it. Setsuko is provocative, but doesn’t get her own section in the first book so it’s difficult to see who she really is. I will probably keep reading this but it is pretty depressing.

  6. GregC says:

    “She longs for adulation, for recognition, for hordes of fans to tell her how wonderful she is…”

    It seems worse than that to me. Yukino used to have big dreams and want those things but has convinced herself she doesn’t deserve them. So she’s narrowed her dream to one person to love her and give her that attention. And she can’t even accept that when Satsuko comes along.

    It’s like Yukino went into arrested development when she became an idol. Cutoff from the usual school-age socializing while away, and then shutting herself out when she returns, emotionally she’s still 15 (she may have been immature for that age even). She’s letting her insecurities win. How Setsuko puts up with her is beyond me.

    As annoying as Yukino is, I’m rooting for her to grow up and gain some lasting confidence before she destroys the relationship. Not sure there will be a “happily ever after” at the end. I’m totally hooked on this story and can’t wait to find out.

  7. j.c. says:

    I’ve read most of the second volume.. but i’m not as passionate about it. the “thing” that yukino does. i felt the explanation later on was quite fitting… it’s almost like it helped clarify things for her.. and made her realise “normalness” wasnt what it was all hyped up to be. although it was quite selfish…
    im looking forward to what happens later with those two girls =)

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