In Volume 2 of Manga no Tsukurikata, it’s been a year and Morishita and Kawaguchi are still going out. They haven’t moved past the occasional hand-holding, but hey, that’s okay Kawaguchi’s manga is progressing, so…yay?
Kawaguchi’s plan appears to be working; by going out with Morishita, she has stimulated her creativity and her new manga series has debuted. She is thankful, she is kind, she gives Morishita a one-year anniversary present. Morishita is appreciative, but this prolonged strain on her one-sided feelings is starting to show. She has a crisis of faith about her own manga, and about her relationship with Kawaguchi.
I can’t blame Morishita – in a year, they still aren’t calling each other by their given names, a sign that they haven’t truly moved into any kind of intimate relationship at all. Kawaguchi is supportive and encouraging – everything a sempai ought to be, but still, is failing at the lover part.
For my part as a reader, I’m having a hard time understanding this manga. (“Understanding” as in, “why the heck am I reading this?”) It’s so barely Yuri that it’s almost unfair to give it that label, but it *is* Yuri. Morishita’s feelings are real. I’m having a lot of trouble coping with Kawaguchi’s attitude – a year is a loooooong time to string someone along when you don’t really love them. Her affection for the younger woman is undeniable, but that’s it – it’s affection. Like a sister, a friend, a sempai for her beloved kouhai. It’s annoying to watch Morishita hanging on the hook with no worm in sight.
And then there’s the real plot. The real plot has nothing whatsoever to do with any real or imagined relationship – it’s a meta-story about drawing a Yuri manga. Here I am, the mangaka says to us in each chapter, flailing around trying to write a Yuri manga when I don’t really “get” the whole thing. Which is exactly what the series feels like – a Yuri manga written by someone who doesn’t “get” the whole thing.
The issue of honesty that I brought up in Volume 1 is not addressed at all in Volume 2, and I feel like the mangaka has abdicated authority on the story, The potential is slipping away as chapter after chapter of not hardly anything glides by. As a story of a woman drawing manga, it’s not bad, but there’s this whole issue of her completely fake relationship in the way of my enjoying it. It’s not just Morishita who is being cheated out of a good experience, it’s the reader, as well.
Art – 7
Story – 6
Characters – 6
Yuri – 3
Service – 1
Overall – 6
Best chapter of this volume was when Kawaguchi’s fan/assistant arrives and spends the entire chapter cluelessly dissing Morishita’s art, not realizing she’s a popular mangaka in her own right.