Kyoumei Suru Echo (共鳴するエコー), by Kigi Tatsumi, is a collection of shorts from Tsubomi magazine, that are intertwined by mutual acquaintance but otherwise don’t intersect. In this case, the connections have very little impact on the story and serve only as a thread that links them.
In “Runner’s High,” a horrible trauma turns out to be less of an issue than we might have expected, and once Yuki faces the truth, she’s able to move on.
Yuki’s coach Ayami deals with life and love when she was in high school in the second story. Nothing new, but cute nonetheless.
The third story covers a day in the life of the Yuki and her twin sister Hibiki, their older sister and the drama that makes a family a family.
It is the final, multi-part story that sets this collect a little apart from others of its kind. In “Lonesome Echo” Yuki and Hibiki’s older sister, Ritsuko joins the staff of a school as a new teacher. Ritsuko encounters a strange slacker student Yohko, who lounges around the music room and asks embarrassing questions of the new teacher.
As time passes, Yohko learns that some thing is not at all right with Ritsuko. She is being abused by her lover. A lover who, Yohko finds out, is female, older and Ritsuko’s former music teacher. Yohko stands up for Ritsuko, only to be brushed off by the arrogant, abusive lover. But Yohko is not a shrinking violet – she is the granddaughter of the school chancellor and has strings she can pull and the clout to protect Ritsuko. The end of the story is a handwave, but a perfectly acceptable one.
I thought this last story was interesting – if pat – because it illustrates a trend I notice in any maturing genre. Once every possible iteration of “Story A” is told, writers start to branch out. Depending on the genre, they may reach into more and more extreme perspectives, which why “suspense” novels are now filled with serial kidnappers/torturers/killers. In the case of Yuri, it means that along with some silly fantasy scenarios, we’re getting some looks at “lesbian life” outside the romance part. In the case of “Lonesome Echo” we got a glimpse of a real issue, abusive relationships. Yes, it’s true that the ending was not realistic, but the expression on Ritsuko’s face and the words she spoke about how her lover is really a good person, it’s her fault…those were real.
Art – 7 (I wish, in collections like these, that authors would include a cast of characters page, so I don’t have to guess at names and relationships)
Story – 7 overall, but 8 for Lonesome Echo
Characters – 7
Yuri – quite low, until Lonesome Echo, in which we see an actual couple in crisis – 6
Service – 1
Overall – 7, Lonesome Echo – 8
If we want Yuri to mature as a genre, we must be willing to take a look at the bad along with the good. This was a reasonably gentle entrée’ to a topic that would be distasteful to some and inexplicable to other readers of Yuri. The audience of Tsubomi magazine are used to their Yuri being dished up in palatably sweet flavors of schoolgirl crushes. A story like this would have a sour taste for many. And for that, I applaud it.