In Have His Carcass, Dorothy L. Sayers has Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane discussing Harriet’s popular mystery series. She’s come to realize that there’s a point at which even the most superficial character has to either develop some depth or go away. The crisis was that, as a writer of popular novels, it was tempting to just let her character string along 2-dimensionally until everyone got tired of him. But if you’re any kind of real writer, you know that that’s just not really sustainable for either you – or the character.
It’s easy to write a “Story A” – girl meets girl, they fall in love, the end. Or Girl Confesses to Girl. Or something equally thin and non-committal. But now you’re trying to tell that same story for the third time and frankly, it’s getting harder. You either add some character to your characters and succeed…or you don’t and you fail hard. This is what I’m seeing in Volume 3 of Comic Lily (Comic リリィ). Creators are pushing a bit and making it work – or they are so not.
As with previous volumes, the first story is the strongest. Arare used to really admire Tsubasa – for her feminine figure, long hair, popularity – but these days, she thinks Tsubasa’s become a total dork. After she confessed to Arare and was rejected, Tsubasa cut her hair, started taking shop in high school and generally isn’t the woman Arare admired. But she’s still there all the time by Arare’s side and it’s pissing Arare off. When Arare’s birthday comes around, Tsubasa begins to avoid her, and Arare starts to realize what Tsubasa really means to her. When it turns out that Tsubasa was making her a ring in shop, Arare says she’ll think about accepting Tsubasa’s feelings at last.
The continuing series are starting to develop some personality (with the exception of the story that obsesses about bloomers. That one’s just bad from beginning to end) and I find myself actually wondering if/when/what something might happen.
Again, as with the rest of these volumes – and indeed with most anthologies – there is a wide range of art and story-telling skill, but for whatever reason, Volume 3 felt stronger than the previous two to me. So, not quite as forgettable as the first two volumes, with a moment or two of something approaching quite decent. Not world shaking, no, but I don’t feel bad about getting the next one.
Overall – 7
Unlike Tsubomi, which got progressively less good as I read it, I will happily give this series another volume or two, because it’s starting to grow on me.