You know how it is – you join a club, start a new hobby or take lessons in something, and find that there’s a whole freaking mythology attached to it. Rituals, jargon of course, and all these unwritten rules that no one tells you, but you gotta know.
In Sayonara Folklore, (さよならフォークロア) Hayase has gone to this school for years, so she knows that you do *not* touch anyone on Monday, and if you do, there’s a little incantation that must be recited. But Mashiro has just transferred in, and does not know these things. Hayase explains – we do not touch on Monday, because not too long ago two girls did – and they fell in love, became lovers and tried to die together. Therefore, if you don’t recite the charm, you might fall in love with whomever touched you…and that would be bad. Of course Hayase explains this after Mashiro has touched her…on a Monday.
At first Mashiro is amused, then annoyed and finally, frightened by this stupid ritual that forces Hayase to continually reject her touch.
By the time the rumors have traveled through the school and the teachers find out, it’s too late for Hayase and Mashiro – they have indeed fallen in love. The “Monday curse” has come to pass. When Hayase refuses to deny the relationship, they are separated. Hayase is left in an attic room to reflect on her behavior. In that room, she find letters from one girl to another… Mashiro, never one to play by the rules, climbs to the dormer room to be reunited with Hayase, who has now learned the truth about the two girls who originated the Monday curse.
This story and a short omake about a woman and her animal-eared maid, are by Kowo Kazuma, one of my current favorite artists. Kowo-sensei just manages to reach into my chest and squeeze my heart. I never really understand why, but her work always touches me. Something about the art makes me *care* about the characters in a way that few other artist’s work does, and this feeling extends to her non-Yuri work, as well. I love Kowo-sensei’s story in Rakuen le Paradis, “Dear Tear”.
More objectively, this is a nice little Story A with a silly setup that manages to remain sustainable through the volume (unlike, say, Zettai Shoujo Astoria, in which the zOMG thing just gets left behind, then picked up again later and explained away badly.) This is not a major work of literature, but it is a good solid read, especially if you like stories of schoolgirls in love, with a teeny “human tribes create ritual and taboo” driver.
Art – 7, but I like it 9
Story – 7
Characters – 7, but I like them 9
Yuri – 8
Service – 1
Overall – 9 for me, but your mileage may vary, depending on how you feel about Kowo’s work.