Shoujo Manga MagazineYuri Watch: Maria-sama ga Miteru

September 5th, 2010

Calling The Margaret (ザ マーガレット)”shoujo” is not correct, I know. I’m just too lazy to come up with another title for this series of “I’m reading magazines for teen and tween girls that have Yuri stories.” Technically, The Margaret is actually josei, as it’s marketed to older teen girls, but since Sean and I are the only ones who care, I won’t belabor the point.(Wait,. yes I will – here’s a fool-proof method to know if a magazine is shoujo or not – does it come with awesome giveaways of bags and jewelry and stationary and stuff? If  you said, “Yes!” – it’s shoujo. If the answer is, “uh, no, all there is is an insert of a mini comic,” it’s josei. Got it? good.)

The real point of today’s review is not to talk about The Margaret, but the newly re-started serialization of the Maria-sama Ga Miteru manga which had ceased publication after Volume 8. The original serialization ended with the graduation of Youko, Sei and Eriko.

The story picks up in what will become Volume 9, in the new term. Yumi, Yoshino and Shimako are all second-years. Sachiko, Rei and Shimako are now the Rosas…and there’s something up with Shimako. She’s been “strange” recently, they all notice. And they have to assume that it is at least in part because of the first-year she’s been hanging around with, Nijou Noriko.

The first thing, Sachiko and Rei decide, is that Shimako needs to cough up her one last secret, because it’s bothering her. And so they concoct an annoying plan to “out” Shimako as the daughter of a Buddhist Priest.

The plan they create is still ham-handed after all this time. But I’m reminded of something as I read it. A “year” later in story time, Shimako will be sitting with Yumi and Yoshino, cheerfully telling her friends the very, very last piece of her incredibly complicated family situation. She’ll be smiling and laughing – and enjoying the carpish gaping of the other two as she spills the beans. So heavy-handed, yes, and obnoxious, yes, but now looking back, I think Rei and Sachiko may have been *right.*

The manga shifts from Noriko’s point of view right to Yumi’s and we get to relive the whole irritating thing over again, this time knowing full well that Yumi, at least, thought they were sandblasting a cracker.

Also in The Margaret magazine is “Bushido Sixteen,” a girls’ kendo sports drama, which has all the requisite sweat and tears and guts and rivalries and good stuff. And there’s way less non-con than there was the last time I picked up an issue. So, while not as Yuri-fied as Nobara no Mori no Otome-tachi – which has gotten very Yuri indeed, there in Nakayoshi – The Margaret has some lovely platonic romance and rivalry between girls. All good.

Overall – 9

I think that’s it for girls’s manga and Yuri. For now. Here’s hoping that there’s more on the horizon. For one thing, the girl’s magazines have the best furoku!

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7 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    On the topic of Margaret’s target audience, Wikipedia claims that it is “primarily for girls from 11 to 15 years old, although some stories are read by adult women.”

  2. @Anonymous – Yes. Wikipedia is in this, as with all other things, written by random people. “Although some stories are read by older women” is a laughably pointless phrase. It would be like saying “some stories are read by older men” about Shounen Jump.” Really? No duh! ^_^

  3. DezoPenguin says:

    “Sandblasting a cracker”…yes, that would cover it. Not exactly Sachiko and Rei’s finest moment…(regardless of their intentions, which actually make sense, because watching a friend walk around angsty over something silly that no one else would hold against her is the kind of thing that would motivate me to want to do something to help, too). But honestly, the plan in question is completely in-character for both of them. This is, after all, pre-Rainy Blue Sachiko, who has not yet learned how to sit down with people and have simple conversations about feelings, but instead must surround everything in melodramatic scenes to get anything out (I can almost see her thinking, “Now, what would get *me* to open up about all this…aha! I’ll stage a big scene in front of the entire student body and threaten her new friend, because that would be the kind of thing it’d take!”) and Rei hasn’t yet grown into her leadership skills. Comparing this to “Operation OK” really highlights how the cast members grow and change as time passes in the story.

  4. @DezoPenguin – And the plan is, in part, Touko’s creation as well, which explains the dramatic staging.

    I also would like to chalk it up to Sachiko being 17, because as cool and adult 17 seems at 14, from my perspective, she’s still a child.

  5. BruceMcF says:

    And a small twist of irony in Drill-chan using dramatic staging to bring Shimako out of her shell, when its an integral part of Touko’s own much thicker shell.

  6. JRBrown says:

    The Japanese Magazine Publishers’ Association lists Margaret as shoujo, which may be where Wikipedia got its information. Does it have furigana?

  7. BruceMcF says:

    Not really on topic, but vaguely …

    … don’t know if its a pre-order special leftovers or included with each one, but the Maria-sama ga Miteru 4th Season boxset came with the Marimite writing pad.

    Just the thing for … uhh, sketching bicycle camping trailer designs? Hmmm, not sure if its going to be used or just saved with the Yellow Rose cellphone charm.

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