Yuri Manga: Kyoumei Suru Echo

March 1st, 2011

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.

Ratings:

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.

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8 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    I remember the last story; it really stood out for me because of the abusive relationship. I’ve never seen another manga handle such an issue and it was sort of refreshing to see.

  2. Anonymous says:

    “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…

    “… A story like this would have a sour taste for many. And for that, I applaud it.”

    Right on!

    I once saw a straight female yaoi fan say that bara manga shouldn’t exist. Now I wonder how many straight male Yuri fans, and how many lolicon and shotacon fans, are offended by “Lonesome Echo.”

  3. @Anonymous – There’s absolutely no reason to assume that loli or shota, especially, fans would have any contact with, or interest in, this book.

    Yuri LFBs have been saying to me for ages that I should get out of the way of their mastubatory Yuri fantasies. Even though my work has made it possible for them to have more of that, rather than less.

    We shouldn’t judge a fandom by it’s lowest common denominator…but we all do. ^_^

  4. Anonymous says:

    “@Anonymous – There’s absolutely no reason to assume that loli or shota, especially, fans would have any contact with, or interest in, this book.”

    …apart from the ones who hear that it involves an adult who fucks a kid and buy it before finding out more about it…

    “We shouldn’t judge a fandom by it’s lowest common denominator…but we all do. ^_^”

    That’s why I wondered *how many( wold instead of assuming all manga fans are like that. ;)

  5. @Anonymous – I believe you’re thinking of some other series altogether. There’s no sex at all in this series, much less underage sex.

    (Perhaps you’re thinking of Hoshikawa Ginza Yonchoume” which also does not have any sex in it, but does feature a intergenerational relationship?)

    That still doesn’t explain your generalization to shota, which doesn’t apply at all here, as there are hardly an male characters, except for a few adult men in cameos (co-workers, Yohko’s grandfather, the cops who drag the abusive woman away.)

  6. Anonymous says:

    Eh, I just figured that someone with a Lolita Complex or a Shota Complex who finds out as little about the book as the description “A lover who, Yohko finds out, is female, older and Ritsuko’s former music teacher.” implies could buy it up in the *hopes* of reading something that reflects his (or maybe her) “isn’t it sexy for adults to fuck girls?” (or at least “isn’t it sexy for adults to fuck kids?”) values and then get offended upon opening the book and reading far enough to discover that the author shows it as a problem instead of a happy fantasy.

    I know some people IRL who don’t do much research on a book (sometimes barely skimming the blurb on the cover instead of actually reading it!) before buying it and who don’t have a Lolita complex or a Shota complex. Why jump to the conclusion that everyone who does have a Lolita complex or a Shota complex does do more research on a book before buying it?

  7. @Anonymous – That story synopsis begins, “…Ritsuko joins the staff of a school as a new teacher.”

    If they missed the fact that Ritsuko is an *adult* and somehow worked as hard as you did to presume that Ritsuko was a child, then yes.

    Also, you worked pretty hard to create a case where that fictitious person imagines sex in a story where there is no mention of any.

    So, if that fictitious person is about as good as you at review comprehension (and understanding of what “shota” means) then yes, you are right.

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