Pickings for Yuri Light Novels are surprisingly thin this year. I’m not quite done with the Light Novel, Samurai Age – Koiseyo Ikusa Otome-tachi~!, (サムライエイジ―恋せよ戦乙女たちっ!) but I don’t think that’s going to be a problem. It’s not great literature or anything.
To synopsize, this Light Novel is about the week of summer vacation at Suou Academy, a school in which the students fight with live swords. We are never told why, nor are we told anything about any of the students’ backgrounds, their families, anything. They all manifest at this school in the middle of summer break and will presumably disappear again into oblivion the moment I stop reading.
The heroine is Mitsuki Yayo, who wields a family heirloom (about which we learn nothing) and whose roommate, the ethereal beauty Jougasaki Sen, is deeply and passionately in love with Yayo. They, and their friend Kisaragi Natsu are part of the dorm/group/association “Juumonji” (about which we learn nothing.) The other dorm/association we learn nothing about is “Kurenai,” headed up by the hyper masculine and hirsute Yama Tadashi-sempai. Juumonji is headed by the princely Teikokuji Hijiri-sempai and the banana-curled beauty Sarashina Souju (on whom Natsu has a crush.)
So far, they have all gone to the pool, had a barbecue, drunk, smoked, danced and even fought a few times. A fine summer vacation, in my opinion. They also talk a lot. About stuff. Yayo talks about the things she wants to do but feels she can’t, although she’s not sure what they are. It’s riveting, I assure you.
This story is from Yayo’s point of view, so for us Yuri fans it’s a tad frustrating. Sen, whose childlike personality does not preclude her from a raging passion for Yayo, is completely honest about her desire for her roommate, and she tries many times to get what she wants, but in a non-invasive way. She tells Yayo she loves her before kissing her; tells her she wants her before embracing her. Unfortunately, Yayo, although she feels flattered – and a little doki-doki when Sen is holding her – is really quite straight and has the hots for Yama-sempai. She feels bad for not returning Sen’s feelings but, she can’t help that, really. In effect, this is a story from the point of view of the straight friend the girl is in love with. It’s a little painful for us, but Yayo isn’t a jerk or anything about it. There is unlikely to be a girl-gets-the-girl end, because that’s not where the story is going.
Natsu also contributes to the Yuri factor. The first time we see her at the pool, she is suddenly referring to Sarashina-sempai as onee-sama and looks her over with obvious desire. Sarashina-sempai, blowing the curve for all banana curled-hair characters is nice, smart, and sensitive to Natsu’s needs, as she provides the poor girl with a little service. Sadly, Sarashina-sempai is also straight and in love with Teikokuiji-sempai.
Will Juumonji defeat Kurenai in the great battle? Who cares…? In the end, Yayo will get Yama-sempai and if Sen was smart she’d nab Natsu on the rebound. But, she probably won’t. (Update: Finished it – not such a bad end as I anticipated. Yayo is named the new dorm/group/association leader by Yama-sempai and Teikokuji-sempai and she, Sen, Natsu and Sarashina head out for parfaits. Oh and the loser in the battle was the teacher who brought a gun to a swordfight and was killed for her efforts.)
Art – 6 Yama-sempai’s eyebrows worry me.
Story – 5
Characters – 6 If we knew anything about them, I’d probably like them more.
Yuri – 5 It’s all service, but it’s not too bad
Service – 7
Overall – 5
If this is a franchise-extender for a game or something I wouldn’t be surprised. It very much seems as if I’m supposed to know all the “why”s already.