Yuri Drama CD: Ame-iro Kouchakan Kandan ~ White Engage

August 5th, 2009

It has been previously established that the Ame-iro Kouchakan rates very high on the ‘ole Yuri-o-meter. In fact, it seems to draw female couples like bees to lilies and yes, I’m mixing my metaphors, thank you.

So, it will come as no surprise that Mana-chan-sensei from the earlier mini DCD, “Pink Princess” has taken to doing her work at the Amber Teahouse. The Yuri atmosphere is perfect for her to get in the St. Lotecia groove. She loves watching Seriho and Sarasa dance around each other, She loves to love/hate her devoted editor Shiko and she just loves Yuri. And so we find ourselves in “White Engage,” the Drama CD that comes with the deluxe edition of Volume 1.

The conflict here is small. And predictable. A sudden wrench is thrown in Mana-chan’s and Shiko’s working relationship that causes a crisis between them. Seriho and Sarasa are able to help the two of them work it out. They do work it out, rather creatively, I thought. And with a wonderfully voice acted kiss. Tamura Yukari gets extra super-duper shiny stars from me for making it sound like a good kiss.

Their reconciliation brings about a conversation on weddings. Which in turn brings about a conversation about Sarasa and Seriho being engaged. Sarasa is speechless and Seriho is puzzled, until Mana-chan calmly points out that Seriho *did* ask Sarasa to stay by her side for 50 years and what do ya call that if not a proposal? Seriho is surprised, but not at all unpleased to think of it that way. Okay, then. They are officially engaged. ^_^

Haru is tortured by just about everyone when they learn that an underclassman has confessed to Hinoka. “Yosh, yosh,” they all pat her shoulder to comfort her, completely ignoring her protestations of really not caring at all. Even Seriho pats her comfortingly and they all laugh at her when she insists on this facade that is probably totally true.

The bonus talk track was win. Mizuki Nana and Yukana sound crazy blushy embarrassed as they discuss how crazy, blushy embarrassed this whole script made them. This is followed by the other actresses talking about the whole love-love atmosphere, and how the girls-only love story made them feel. Since they have all now done this a number of times, it wasn’t possible to fall back on the usual trope-y comments, so there’s an air of yes, well, we have to actually talk about this a bit, this time. It was fun.

The packaging for the CD is quite lovely – and includes a nice little extra manga. The CD is once again decorated to look like a lace doily. I do have an issue with the lack of stability in the packaging – the CD keeps falling out. Not a huge thing. Also, there’s was an odd glitch when I first listened to the CD, in which the tracks played in reverse order. I took it out and put it back in and it was fine but still…totally surreal there for a bit. Oh, and the end of the extra manga had the most lovely picture of Mana-chan-sensei and Shiko, so I added it here. Click the pic for the full size version. (This is in part for my wife who wanted a copy.)

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 9
Yuri – 9
Service – 1 (For all the Fujieda fans who are all REALLY nice guys who like cute things.)

Overall – 9

And there you have it. An hour of Yuri fun at the Amber Teahouse. What more could we ask for, really? ^_^

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10 Responses

  1. Katherine says:

    This drama CD sounds adorable!! <3 ^^ I can't wait to get it in my next shipment of Amazon manga goods!! The Pink Princess CD was lovely, so I'm definitely looking forward to this. (It seems to be out of stock right now, but I'll wait for it to re−stock; and if it doesn't re−stock, somehow, then viva la Amazon Marketplace. ^^)

  2. darkchibi07 says:

    Hmmm, drama CDs. It’s one of those things that has far, far little chance of coming here nor will most fans be interested in. Unless they’re dubbed into English, or someone converts the drama CD into a “drama DVD” which includes a slideshow of relevant manga scans and subtitles.

  3. redfish says:

    I’m a fan of Amber Teahouse, but I think I can also see in it the same kind of “naive” depiction of same-gender relationships of the opposite gender (wrt the author) as I think are often seen in yaoi manga by women. Do you think this quality affects the series’s popularity with girl couples?

    (I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, it actually makes reading a pleasant, fairy-tale like escape. I think Fujieda manages to manage the naivete kind of like how Saint-Exupéry managed to tread a very fine line between excellence and falling over into cheesiness in The Little Prince.)

  4. Anonymous says:

    The limited edition was really worth getting for this drama CD. It was excellent. I hope Otome-iro Stay Tuned will get one too, when the first volume is released.
    By the way, do you have any idea how Ichijinsha decides which series will get a drama CD ? It doesn’t seem to be entirely because of popularity (or Strawberry Shake Sweet would have gotten one), so could it be by the mangaka’s request, if the series if popular?

  5. Anonymous says:

    I can also see in it the same kind of “naive” depiction of same-gender relationships

    Well, once Fujieda does a sex scene and manages to get guys so wrong that even I can spot the errors, I’d agree.

    Until then no, don’t really think so. It’s nice and cute, yeah, but that’s a good thing, a story doesn’t need a ton of depression to be non-naive.

    I wonder if we’d even have that argument if people knew about Fujieda’s gender. Nobody argues like this about, oh, every other Yuri hime story. It probably has very little to do with naivity, and simply with the general theme of Yuri Hime as a whole ;)

    It’s why I consider Yh readable, and a lot of other Yuri mangas not. You know, that depression and self loathing stuff gets on my nerves.

  6. BruceMcF says:

    darkchibi07 said…
    Unless they’re dubbed into English, or someone converts the drama CD into a “drama DVD” which includes a slideshow of relevant manga scans and subtitles.

    One of the reasons I was not happy to hear that Crunchy Roll was dropping sales of downloads, since that is precisely the kind of enterprise that requires cutting the non-content fixed costs of the release as low as possible if it is going to have any prospect of being viable.

    Someone uploading anime content to something like Crunchyroll could use subbed slideshows of drama CD’s as teaser material before a series starts, or a coda to the end of a series, or bridging material between two seasons of a series … but the prospects of defraying the production cost would seem to be substantially lower without the ability to sell the individual release on an “on demand” basis.

  7. @Anonymous – Yuri, by its nature, is in that “naive” space where there are few physical urges beyond a chaste kiss and certainly none of those nasty hard feelings beyond a desire to be together forever. There are , of course, no lesbians. Fujieda draws what hos audience loves to read – a fantasy world of girls love. His fanbase, by and large is mostly men. So, no, I don’t think it affects how his audience reads the stories.

    I don’t object to it – it’s not Gunjo, it’s “St. Lotecia”.

  8. verilix says:

    Who doesn’t love Yuri? xD

  9. Anonymous says:

    Erica, I’m sorry, but no. I’m sure the audience part isn’t as clear cut as you make it to be (Ameiro is still in YH, for example, even though they could move it, as they did for that horrible nanami-catgirl drek), unless you got any proof for your assertion?
    It seems to run contraire to what the publisher is thinking – they’re even using it for cover art. Odd choice, if your assertion is true.

    But never mind that. I’m writing due to the other thing you wrote.
    The claim that there are “no lesbians” in Fujieda work is completely ridiculous

    -Iono and Eto are married post series, which is explicitely stated. Not just that, even Eto isn’t ashamed of it, and tells it at the grave of her parents.
    -Iono repeatedly states she is interested only into women, not men.
    -Two of the sobame have at least one child together by utilizing All-Female Conception
    -The ending of The Witches Words uses marriage iconography again, which you very well know
    -Decades-old couple in Amber Teahouse, plus Seriho’s old friend. The main characters of course aren’t doing anything couply. That’s because this is a romance story, and the characters are not together yet.

    Several of these characters do the very things homophobes all over the world are afraid that we can do them some day. This includes same-sex marriage, which is currently not legal in japan . It took to march of this year until the first step towards allowing gay marriage was taken, which means that several of his stories happen to be ahead in attitude of his society. And yet, he portrays it as a good thing to be happy about.

    You know, while you’re here asking for completely meaningless descriptions that are made superfluous by the story, Fujieda is already going ahead and portraying women in relationships his own country doesn’t yet allow, unashamed even in the memory of their parents.

    I suppose I need to rework my stories and somehow have characters say they’re lesbian, else people like you will argue that they aren’t… The only question remains is why you’re taking up the arguments of homophobes, who sometimes use this argument to claim gay characters aren’t actually gay. Sigh…

  10. @Anonymous – Yes, I’m well know for promoting a homophobic agenda.

    There simply is little lesbian identity to be found in Fujieda’s work. Which is why it comes under “Girls Love” in Japanese bookstores. It’s not written for the out lesbians in Japan – all three of them.

    As for audience – I’ve stood on the line for his circle at Comiket. There was an hour wait, I estmated something like 500 people in line and I could see 5 women. I’m not saying that that’s representative of his *entire* audience, because of course YH has a 70% female audience. But in Japan, Yuri manga and Yuri-related things have a larger male than female audience. I’m sorry, but that is reality.

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