Yuri Manga Hall of Shame

September 28th, 2009

Last week Kate Dacey wrote a very interesting Manga Hall of Shame post (a post that was picked up by the New Yorker, so a round of applause to Kate!). It inspired me to write one of my own. (The wife says, “In the *hopes* of getting picked up by the New Yorker.” lol)

Kate’s list dealt with English language manga only and I decided to do the same for myself. I’m a little challenged by my own brain’s self-preservation tactic of wiping away memories of emotionally scarringly bad reading material. So here’s the ground rules I chose for this list.

1) No hentai.

Hentai is almost always awful. Either laughably bad or repulsively bad. Yes, there’s a couple of decent titles, but it’s not hard to find really awful hentai. The trick is to find *not* awful hentai.

2) Translated titles only.

I read *so* much manga that it would be an enormous list if I included Japanese-language titles.

3) Titles with Yuri.

Because I can’t remember most of the really truly awful stuff I’ve read, I’m relying on my reviews here to serve as my external memory.

Therefore, without further ado, I am going to steal Kate’s schtick and present my Yuri Manga Hall of Shame.

Dishonorable Mention
Tantric Stripfighter Trina

I don’t have the vaguest clue what possessed Tokyopop to publish this. Books cost money and I can think of dozens of writers and artists off the top of my head who are more talented than these. The story was a lame parody, if it was meant to be parody, it was an ill-conceived mess if it wasn’t meant to be parody.

Senseless, cliched, tedious, with tortured sentences, really average art and a plot that belittled women with every panel. Tokyopop should have paid us to read it.

5. Shin Megami Tensei Kahn

It’s almost not fair to make fun of this book. The story is turgid, the characters unlikable, the genre is guro and horror and the art is detailed without being good.

This series has so many cliches that words like “bad” don’t even apply. It’s hard to get really upset about the predatory lesbian demon teacher seducing a student when *everyone* in the book is so thoroughly unlikeable that in doing so, she becomes the only character with a personality at all. My father’s summation of “It stinks” is not only brutally accurate, it again calls into question *why* (WHY!?!) any company would spend money on this piece of excrement. If it was because it was bundled with a good title, I really feel for Tokyopop. If it’s just that someone there thought it would sell, then that reorg they went through could not have come fast enough.

4. Alice on Deadlines

Unfocused narrative, unfollowable art, loads of “funny” sexual harrassment and an obsession with women’s underwear that borders on the pathological. The story is about a pile of really awful people with a lot of power doing really awful things to ordinary humans with no power. That’s nasty, but not really objectionable. What’s objectionable is that the “romance” is a great example of Stochkholm syndrome. Instead of loathing Lappan for all the pain and suffering he causes, Alice rewards this kind of unacceptable behavior with her affection.

It really worries me that people buy and enjoy this kind of thing. If this is “entertainment,” I fear for humanity.

3. Suzunari

Let’s set aside the loli catgirl twincest thing for a second. Seriously.

This is a story about a girl who obsessed about her cat and, when the cat dies, it comes back to life as a clone of the girl it was always hiding from and is now obsessed with wanting to be loved, both physically and emotionally, by her.

I’m sorry but, that simply does not make *any* sense. None whatsoever.

In fact, I don’t know how any reader can make it make sense in their head – unless that reader simply really likes loli catgirl twincest and is retro-justifying this by pretending it’s a cute and sweet story about love.

2. Eternal Alice Rondo: Key Princess.

Kate’s Hall of Shame had a common thread. The stories were really just thinly veiled vehicles of hatred of women, with accompanying violence and sexual violence. My list also has a unifying theme – the stories make no sense.

Alice combines truly atrocious art and one of the very worst stories I’ve ever read. It meanders between past and present, reality and fantasy and all of the plot complications are ignored for service. The ending is ridiculous, ham-handed and inexplicable, but is acceptable because it stops everyone from talking any more.

The only thing that could have made the end good is if everyone in the book died.

Painfully.

And, finally, in the number one spot – the *worst* translated manga with even a smidgen of Yuri that I have read is….

1. My Hime

I liked the anime. I loved My Otome the anime. But oh my goodness, what an utter piece of crap the manga was. Again, a terrible story, poorly executed. The hardly-even thinly veiled hatred of women was galling; the men in this series were weak, spineless, grasping and repulsive.

The art was crowded and hard to follow, but that was all right because we really didn’t want to know the details anyway. I feel bad for the translator, because it’s not their fault that the dialogue was senseless.

The original was not good, translation into English did not add any positive qualities to what I consider the absolute worst translated manga I have ever read.

And now, I open the floor to you, my dear readers. What is your candidate for the worst translated manga you’ve ever read? Share your nominations!

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17 Responses

  1. Mara says:

    I feel terrible, I have never bought any of the manga on either of those lists! I’m a terrible excuse for a LFB.

    I do buy every Code Geass manga available though. They are all crap in increasingly varied ways. Still buying them.

    Gantz: I like but I can’t help but feel like I should be spending the money on another Black Lagoon volume instead.

    Eden: I’m sure every one enjoys Eden, and I do too but I cannot feel good about buying a world story where every man is a drug dealer and every woman a prostitute. Buying each new volume is the manga equivalent buying a 20 pack of cigarettes.

  2. Erica, this was brilliant! I almost snarfed my tea while reading the list. I’m definitely going to update my list with a reference to yours, and count my blessings that I’ve only read Alice on Deadlines.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I ratify your choice of the god-awful Mai Hime manga a thousand times over. It makes my soul ache. It is utterly terrible. It is the worst kind of terrible where you can dimly sense some ideas that in the hands of some other person might have been good, but which the author can only ruin.

    I have not read your other choices, but they sound awful.

    John Biles

  4. Cryssoberyl says:

    I liked Suzunari, although I recognize it for what it is. Eternal Alice Rondo was crap though. :P

    The domestic Yuri manga I liked least was probably Voiceful. A not-realy-Yuri Yuri story about two angsty teenagers who “lessen each other’s pain”. I’m usually quick to empathize with unhappy characters, but for some reason these just annoyed me. Maybe because they don’t actually have much reason to be so miserable…

  5. @Mara – I totally externally validate of your purchasing crappy titles to enjoy. Good or bad, if you enjoy it, you enjoy it. ;-)

    @Katherine Dacey – Kate, so glad you enjoyed it! If you ever get on my bad side, I’m so sending you My Hime… :-)

    @John – Thank you. I feel externally validated. You and Jason Thompson both agree. :-)

    @Cryssoberyl – I liked Voiceful, for what it was, it was a nice story and I think of it every time I see Strawberry Daifuku. :-)

  6. How hilarious, your number one pick also has Shizuru and Natsuki, and we all know ShizNat fandom is just nuts. I know the manga doesn’t feature them in this light, I just find it terribly ironic *giggle* Yes, I have heard that the Mai HiME manga was horrible, so I’ve not read it. This only gives me more reason not to!

  7. shanejayell says:

    The only redeeming factor Mai Hime has is in making Haruka & Yukino canon. Other than that, no.

  8. angelronin says:

    I agree on the Mai-Hime manga because of the stupid love triangle between Tate, Natsuki, and Mai (Even I’m the few like Tate in the Mai-Hime fandom), Takumi being the Obsidian Lord, and other general stupidity

  9. DezoPenguin says:

    What a list! Luckily, by the time I ever got interested in My-HiME I’d been thoroughly warned off the manga, but unfortunately I purchased a volume each of Alice on Deadlines and Eternal Alice Rondo and was forced to suffer through a volume of each before giving them up in disgust.

    …I actually enjoyed Suzunari for goofball 4-koma fun, though I think that the ending swerved into “somebody woke up today and Decided To Get Serious for no apparent reason” territory. The premise would have made more sense in a genre that didn’t presume to make sense…if that makes any sense. ^_-

  10. sarcastic_weasel says:

    Ah, yes, the My-Hime manga. I accidentally bought volume 1 of that atrocity when I was too stupid to know any better.

    I was going through my boxes of manga to get rid of, and I found a few stinkers– yes, Seraphic Feather (ugh), Psychic Academy was another incomprehensible one that when I look at, I just wonder if I was on cold meds when I bought it, or was my judgment really *that* bad?

    But my favorite bad manga title is still Taimashin. I only have one volume, but it’s about an acupuncturist who fights evil. I swear in one scene he was doing acupuncture on the Earth to fight monsters. I couldn’t stop laughing. (But they were dead serious about it.) It was an ADV title, of course, so I don’t think volume 2 ever came out.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Out of all of those the one I actually tried to read was Suzunari. I didn’t get far, I’m pretty sure I didn’t get past the first 10 pages before I put it down. I don’t even know what possesed me to want to read it. I’ve been going with lasps of insanity. I will admit I saw the My Hime manga sitting there, but for some reason the cover told me not to.

  12. Pocky-san says:

    OH DEAR GOD

    I hated the Mai-HIME manga…

    This list brings back a few bad memories =__=

    To be honest though, not all of them could be classified as the worst of the worst, but then again, it’s your opinion.

    If I were to make a list, I’d definitely put the Mai-Hime manga.

    I agree fully on Eternal Alice Rondo too. Reading that manga was painful.

    I’d rather watch all the episodes of DBZ, where they talk and nothing happens, then read that trash again.

  13. Entropic says:

    I managed to drag my way through the My-HiME manga, with a little bit of kicking and screaming, but I could not bring myself to keep reading the My-Otome manga. That was too much like swallowing broken glass.

  14. James Moar says:

    Shin Megami Tensei Kahn was likely translated because of the link to the (often very good) video game series. Though that’s no defense if the title is that bad.

  15. Ledde says:

    *piles the Mai Otome manga up there along with the Mai Hime manga*

    =D

  16. Anonymous says:

    I like the anime of my-hime, so I got the bright idea to read the manga… I got about half way through the first one and wanted to beat myself senseless just to forget.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Seems a bit late to leave a comment, but it’s depressing that an SMT manga we get overseas is a crappy one. I’m a big fan of the games.

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