Yuri Manga: Octave, Volume 5

October 14th, 2010

Octave, Volume 5 (オクターヴ) is a deceptively subtle volume.

On the surface, it appears to be a similar formula to the previous 4 volumes – Yukino and Setsuko have a disagreement stemming from their disparate worldviews about their relationship and we watch Yukino assimilate, deal, integrate and grow.

Only…it’s not the same. Not this time.

In previous volumes the driver of the disagreements has always been Yukino’s lack of confidence in herself, in their relationship – even in her perception of what a future *ought* to be. And it is apparently Yukino who causes this disagreement again. But this time, it’s *not* because she lacks confidence, or trust, or anything like that. This time it’s less philosophical – she was completely blindsided.

In Volume 5, Setsuko suddenly asks Yukino to move in with her. Yukino asks for time to think about it – and Setsuko has the hissy fit. “You could have at least said, ‘Yay!’ or something.” But Setsuko has had time to think about it…and Yukino has not. I can’t tell you how I cringe when I see people propose publicly for this very reason. Dude, you’ve been thinking about this and planning it for ages…what if she says no? Ugh.

Anyway, in this case, in this volume, I am 100% behind Yukino on this. She’s *just* finally become truly independent. Give her a chance to think about it! And she still has some work to do, too. Yukino has been given yet another idol to manage – and therefore, yet another girl who wants to know more about her private life than she’s willing to share and more professional contacts who don’t know when to stop “teasing” and she has to deal with a best friend who wants to drag her back to being the person she was, instead of allowing her to be the person she’s become.

She does deal with all these things. We can see that she’s become more confident, that the little white lies don’t torture her anymore, because sheesh, it’s none of their business anyway!

The entertainment world is nice and incestuous for us, so when Setsuko gets a job writing for Yukino’s former idol groupmate, now relaunched idol, we can smile at the realization of just how much everyone knows everyone else.

At this point, I am completely, totally entranced by this series. It’s soap-opera-y in a Shoujoai ni Bouken way – totally real people doing totally real things in a just-more-than-slightly-unreal setting.

Volume 5 was *excellent.* I hope to get 5 more volumes of this, and a live-action series, and a pony named Ruffles.


Art – 8
Story – 9
Characters – 9
Yuri – 9
Service – 4

Overall – 9

My *only* complaint is Kamo-chan dropping the ball on being a good friend. That irks, but is not unrealistic. Here’s hoping Yukino finds a new, better, best friend. I’m going to re-read this volume tonight, because it was that good.

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8 Responses

  1. GregC says:

    This and Echo by Terry Moore are far and away my two favorite comics being made right now. And Octave is up there with my all-time faves. This volume takes the routine Yukino and Setsuko have gotten into and gives it a good tweak. I absolutely love this series.

  2. EndlessD says:

    I love Octave so much. It’s one of my favorite Yuri series. (I wish it would get licensed…not that I expect it to0


  3. C. Banana says:

    If this series does get a live action TV series adaptation, what do you think is the likelihood of the TV series becoming commercially available and subtitled for the English market?

  4. Judy Justice says:

    I can’t agree more with you. I never read something as good, Yuri wise.

    I’ve been thinking about the chances to get this published and I even wrote to Asuka, the french company publishing Aoi Hana…

    What would it cost to pay publishing rights and translator/editing then set up a pre paid subscription and print the pre sold copies when the number of subscriptions reaches the amount calculated for the operation to be possible.

    How many copies should we sell for that to work. Could it be achieved under existing publishing lanws?
    Is it possible to pay the publishing rights for a precise amount of copies?

    I’m not a business woman so I may say stupid things without even knowing I do. But hey.. here semmed the best place to ask about it.

    Thank you for all the nice reviews, Erica.


  5. The Denominator says:

    I agree with you totally– 100% behind Yukino. I’ve seen people argue that her actions were uncalled for, that she’s being unfair to Setsuko, if she really loved her she’d just respond quickly with a “Yes! Of course I’ll move in with you!”

    Perhaps my mind lacks the romanticism in favour of pragmatism; I think a lot of manga fans are romantics and for that, they can’t comprehend the magnitude of agreeing to live with someone. Or even better– agreeing to uproot and live with someone when you’ve finally got your feet planted on the ground.

    In any case, I’m happy to see that I wasn’t the only person who thought Yukino (in spite of her numerous flaws) wasn’t totally at fault for the issues of Vol. 5.

  6. oneplusme says:

    I have to agree with you, both on the proposing-in-public thing and on the utter excellence of this series. Long may it continue.

    Obviously I’d love to see an official English translation, although I’m not holding my breath. Unless, perhaps, one of the coming-real-soon-now digital-only platforms manages to pick it up…

    I’m not sure I can see it working as a live-action series, though. Partly that’s just my own experience of one too many clunky and awkwardly-acted live-action films/shows (it may be heresy, but I’m very unsure about the Marimite live-action as well); partly it’s that I suspect it would take a fairly brave TV executive to put on something as… edgy? explicit? niche? as Octave. (Obviously a show about two normal people in love isn’t “edgy” by the standards of anyone sane, but much of the world has yet to catch up to the 21st century…)

  7. Anonymous says:

    @ C. Banana

    Chances of even having a single, regular Japanese live-action TV series being licensed here in the U.S. is already ridiculously slim due to the pain of negotiating with every committee member. They tend to be delusional that their actors have the same power status as Hollywood actors so they ask for a large licensing fee.

  8. wildeny says:

    Vol. 6 will be the last of this series. I can’t wait to see it but also feel sad that the story is near the end.

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