Yuri Manga: Tenbin ha Hana to Asobu, Volume 1

September 1st, 2009

In Volume 1 of Tenbin ha Hana to Asobu (天秤は花と遊ぶ), Yohko is a transfer student into the elite Lotus Girls High School. She’s tremendously energetic and, it turns out, athletic, but she’s not clueless or clumsy. She’s just not elegant. Certainly, not as elegant as Shuu, the lavender-haired beauty who takes Yohko on a tour of the school.

Upon meeting Shuu, Yohko’s reaction is rather unusual – she claims to smell blood and asks Shuu if she’s hurt. No, Shuu answers, but looks like there’s something more to behind it.

Shuu shows Yohko around, but after hours Yohko realizes she’s forgotten something, and runs off to the the infirmary where she comes in on Shuu apparently drinking the blood from the school doctor’s neck. The school doctor confirms what Yohko thinks she just saw – Shuu is a vampire. Not only is she a vampire, but at the moment she is genderless. Depending on whether she drinks more male or female blood, when she turns 18 she will become male or female.

Yohko promises to protect Shuu’s secret and with it, Shuu. She attaches herself to Shuu’s hip, despite Shuu’s protests. The next time Shuu starts to feel weak from lack of blood, Yohko offers herself without reserve.

Now Yohko and Shuu are inseparable, even when rumors start to spread through the school. There’s something going on, the students whisper to one another between Shuu and the school doctor. And there is – he’s her older brother.

There’s a short story in which we learn that of the many girls who fawn over Shuu, there is at least one whose feelings go deeper than just admiration. But it is Yohko that Shuu relies on and it is Yohko she misses when she’s not around. And, she confesses to her brother, something weird is happening – recently, Yohko’s blood is starting to taste…good. Her brother reassures her that that is normal for someone she loves. Loves? Loves?! Shuu is very concerned but, as the book draws to a close, that may not be her worst trial – it appears that someone has learned her secret. Oh no, Volume 2 where are you?

When I mentioned this book a few weeks ago in the “Snatches of Yuri” section of the news report, I said I wasn’t sure whether I liked it or not. Honestly, I’m still not sure. It’s not that surprising that the Next Big Thing, i.e., vampires, appeared in Yuri. (In fact, I’m reading *another* Yuri title right now with a Goth-Loli loli schoolgirl vampire and as you can imagine I’m just loving it….) I neither like nor dislike vampires, so that isn’t helping. The first time around, I was leaning more towards dislike and this time around I’m leaning more towards like, I guess.
If you like both vampires and schoolgirl Yuri, this would probably be an okay mix.

I’m still on the fence. I guess I’ll see what Volume 2 brings.

Ratings:

Art – 7. Typical moe.
Story – 6
Characters – 7 Yohko is a little atypical – smart and energetic and competent
Yuri – 3, with potential
Service – A surprising 1 Hardly any underwear at all, Poor FanBoys

Overall – 7

I do think it’s interesting that “Story A” has been done so many ways now that Yuri is starting to branch out past it, and bring in other ways to tell the same story differently.

The title is really odd, btw. “Tenbin” is scales or a shoulder pole used to carry heavy things. The image I get is a scale or shoulder pole with two baskets overflowing with flowers. I assume it is some literary reference I am not getting.

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One Response

  1. Mara says:

    That looks almost generic enough to be licensed. Goody.

    It is still confusing they way you use moe as an attribute of a thing rather than the other school of thought: where moe is something that is brought into people by a thing.

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