Ebisu-san to Hotei-san is one of the several Tsubomi series that have made it to a collected volume. Unfortunately for me, I felt it was full of “sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
Hotei-san is a woman working in a largish company. Not as a OL, she’s a regular worker bee. Also working for the company is Ebisu-san, a woman who has lofty career goals. Because she is focused and driven – and because she leaves every day at 5 o’clock on the dot – the other women in the office are, predictably, resentful and bitchy about Ebisu-san.
At first, Hotei is convinced that she too can’t stand Ebisu, but as she gets to know more about the other woman, she finds herself admiring her. And, as Hotei is sort of accidentally drawn into Ebisu’s personal life and learns about the niece she raises when her sister doesn’t feel like being a mother (which is all the time,) she starts to have totally unprofessional feelings for her.
The end of the book is more implication than explication. We understand that Hotei and Ebisu are a couple now, but there’s a certain coyness in the way it’s handled. As an omake, we see the relationship a few years later from Ebisu’s niece’s point of view, trying to explain that she has three mothers – her mother, her aunt and her aunt’s “friend.” It was sweet, but left me just as unsatisfied as the rest of the book with the coy “I just can’t explain it” thing.
The other problem I had with this book was *utterly* absurd. (You might see the above as absurd, especially if you love this series. This next thing *I* see as absurd too.) I was entirely vexed by the pointless puns in the characters’ names.
Ebisu-san’s full name was Ebisu Mayo. The word for “shrimp” in Japanese is Ebi, so Ebi Mayo – Shrimp Mayo. That’s just dumb. I know parents give their kids horrible names all the time. Why do writers do that to their characters?!?
The other pun is just…. Ebisu and Hotei are 2 of the 7 “lucky gods,” the shichifukujin . I’d say I draw the line at slashing the gods, but I’ve done it, so forget that. I dunno, I just think you have to draw a line – you don’t write Arjuna x Krishna BL and you don’t slash the Shichifukujin. ^_^
The book itself is attractive enough and if you either like the art, or this particular spin on “Story A” the content is good. I happen to feel that it’s a lot of something over nothing and all handled extra super delicately and coyly as if the topic was really too hot to actually touch. I like me my “love between adult women” but this really just lacked substance for all the tears that were shed.
My favorite scene was when Hotei was asking herself, if this person was the opposite sex, and older by a few years, what would I be calling these feelings? I thought this a nice, concise way of summarizing the whole story.
Art – I wasn’t terribly impressed. YMMV, but I say 5
Story – 5 There’s this woman, and she likes another woman. And the other woman likes her back. The End.
Characters – 5 “Evil bitch”- i.e., woman focused on her work – has backstory that makes her lovable. How original
Yuri – 5 Breast grope /= Yuri
Service – Given the character design for Hotei, I’m going with 7
Overall – 5
Now, having sat through all that, here’s the good part! Today’s review was sponsored by the lovely and generous AudioErotica, who not only bought a copy for me to review, she donated extras! So, along with my review copy, we have *3* copies of this book to give away!
In the comment you’ll find entries for a previous contest in which contestants came up with the most horribly punny one-line Yuri story they can manage. Enjoy. ^_^