Dare Ni Mo Ienai Manga

March 7th, 2011

Dare ni mo Ienai (誰にも言えない) is a manga that follows the lives and love affairs of three women.

Midori had a traumatic experience when she was young and has not been able to move past it. It does not appear to be an actual trauma per se, but more a situation in which she found herself with a man she could not have – and no other man has really stacked up since. Midori doesn’t make it all that easy, to be honest. She’s a recluse, not outgoing, or friendly…and she doesn’t get along all that well with her sister, Minae.

Minae is, if anything, even *more* tactiturn and ill-tempered than Midori. She’s seeing this total goofball of a guy and is completely in denial about her feelings for him. It’s not until he falls from the 19th story of a building (down to the 18th story) that she realizes that she’d really miss the big lug if he were gone.

The final story follows two women, Meh-chan and Tsugumi, who live together, are lovers, but somehow don’t seem to be doing a good job of communicating. The fact that they work together actually makes it harder, rather than easier, for them to communicate properly. When Meh-chan falls apart at the idea of losing Tsugumi, for one brief moment, their hearts are in synch. But that turns out to be only a brief moment, as Tsugumi does leave to marry a man as her parents want. Meh-chan is able to find a generous thought for her ex, as she gazes on the “Just Married” announcement she’s received.

Shigizawa Kaya’s art was, at first, a little hard for me to parse. Midori and Minae are not twins, but looked so much like one another it took me a moment to realize that they were not the same person, as I had assumed at first glance. Tsugumi was also the same type. The three also shared the same expressions of dissatisfaction and grumpiness which contributed to the problem.

The final story “Ending” – which is the Yuri story – is that old-school, “I love you, but we can’t be together,” story, which really isn’t wearing all that well. To my eyes, at this point, there’s just something pathetic about someone who can walk away from a viable, passionate relationship for some kind of abstract duty. Yes, I know it still happens, but it makes me sad that we’re still stuck in this same space. 20 years from now, I really don’t want to be reading this same story anymore. Right now, I can’t stop myself from thinking that Meh-chan is better off without Tsugumi.

The stories in this collection are not awful, but given the unlikability of the main characters, it was hard to really get involved in them. The best of the three was Minae’s story, and the only character I could really sympathize with was her boyfriend, who seemed like a genuinely fun guy. That’s kind of deathly for a book about three women.

Ratings:

Art – 6
Story – 6
Characters – 5
Yuri – 9 in “Ending”
Service – 4

Overall – 6

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9 Responses

  1. Pocky says:

    You’re not the only one who has gotten pretty tired of the “we can’t be together because the world won’t let us” story.

    It’s understandable that they are still around, since a lot of very fundamentalist countries and households downright forbid same-sex relations (unless it’s some kind of hidden priest fiddling, but that’s for another time), at the same time, I feel it’s odd to have these stories, when a lot of the world is progressing away from that nonsense.

    I kind of get the same impression with school stories, they’ve been done, and usually result in the same overused ending of the characters getting together for an unknown future. It’s creative blocking, and just a sign of either the writer not wanting to show us what lesbian couples do after hooking up (here’s a shock, it’s like everyone else), and so they cap off most their stories with that ending. But these stories are probably worse, as the all come off the same message of “lesbians can’t be happy together”. And this day and age, where we have Yuri stories about the after-coming-out, it’s strange to still have these stories pop up, when it’s becoming less the norm in their respective societies. Maybe it’s a easy-write, or it’s a call back to older series, where the couples HAD to end in some heartbreak, because real life lesbians can never get married or be happy, right?

    Now I think I’m just yammering on, so I’ll end with saying; I don’t see much of a need for these stories in this day and age, at least not as much as stories about the ongoing relationships of women. I would really like to see more stories about women who love women.

  2. Anonymous says:

    “…And this day and age, where we have Yuri stories about the after-coming-out, it’s strange to still have these stories pop up, when it’s becoming less the norm in their respective societies. Maybe it’s a easy-write, or it’s a call back to older series, where the couples HAD to end in some heartbreak, because real life lesbians can never get married or be happy, right?

    “Now I think I’m just yammering on, so I’ll end with saying; I don’t see much of a need for these stories in this day and age, at least not as much as stories about the ongoing relationships of women. I would really like to see more stories about women who love women.”

    You made lots of good points!

    You might also like these links:
    http://www.hindustantimes.com/Nepal-SC-approves-same-sex-marriage/Article1-352722.aspx
    http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2010/08/30/Nepal_Hosts_First_Foreign_Same_sex_Marriage/

    True, Nepal’s not Japan, but it’s closer to Japan than Spain or South Africa is…

  3. Anonymous says:

    “…Maybe it’s a easy-write, or it’s a call back to older series, where the couples HAD to end in some heartbreak, because real life lesbians can never get married or be happy, right?”

    and never have parenmts who are complicated people who start off homophobic then come to their senses and their love for their daughters after their daughters come out to them, right? Easier to write one-note traditionbots, I guess…

  4. I’m fascinated that no one has suggested the reason that I think is the most likely for this kind of story – the creator thinks it’s very original.

    Every writer/artists does this. They recreate ideas that have been written and rewritten a zillion times all over again because they have 1) never heard or seen it before; 2) have heard or seen it before and were either inspired to do it themselves or think they can do it better or; 3) Both or neither of the above, but more importantly they got this great idea and just went ahead and drew it.

    I very much doubt that the mangaka was making a political or social point here. It seems far more likely to me that they just drew a story they had in their head that they wanted to get down on paper.

  5. Anonymous says:

    “…To my eyes, at this point, there’s just something pathetic about someone who can walk away from a viable, passionate relationship for some kind of abstract duty. Yes, I know it still happens, but it makes me sad that we’re still stuck in this same space…”

    I wonder how many mothers and grandmothers (and gay or bi fathers and grandfathers) of lesbians are similarly sad.

    If there are any manga or other books out there in which, after a lesbian walks away from her viable, passionate relationship for abstract duty to her elders, *at least one of those elders* straight-up *tells* her how pathetic it is (with something like “I wish I’d have had the freedoms you have today, I’d stayed with *my* love instead of having to marry your grandfather!” or “WTF?! I’m with your mother because I’m bi, not straight!”) and orders her to walk back and apologize and it doesn’t turn out to be too late (no dumpee committing suicide before the dumper learns how accepting her family is, please)…

    …then I would really like to read that in English! ;)

  6. @Anonymous – There are none of those in any language that I am aware of. Why not write the first one?

  7. Anonymous says:

    “I’m fascinated that no one has suggested the reason that I think is the most likely for this kind of story – the creator thinks it’s very original.”

    Now that leaves me gobsmacked. Shouldn’t the creator have read enough in the genre to realize how unoriginal it is?

    “Every writer/artists does this. They recreate ideas that have been written and rewritten a zillion times all over again because they have 1) never heard or seen it before; 2) have heard or seen it before and were either inspired to do it themselves or think they can do it better or; 3) Both or neither of the above, but more importantly they got this great idea and just went ahead and drew it.

    ” I very much doubt that the mangaka was making a political or social point here. It seems far more likely to me that they just drew a story they had in their head that they wanted to get down on paper.”

    OK, less gobsmacked now, thanks! Still annoyed by the *relative* lack of more realistic stuff becoming tropes in manga about lesbians, gaysm, bi folks (bis for a plural seems awkward), straights, etc. :/

  8. @Anonymous:

    You say, ” Shouldn’t the creator have read enough in the genre to realize how unoriginal it is?”

    I presume you are unfamiliar with how writing/drawing for a living works.

    You get a job, someone tells you to write/draw a thing, you do it. The end.

    No, it is very unlikely that every professional mangaka immerses themselves in every genre that they write within.

    Or, if they are young and/or unexperienced, like all young people, they presume that every awesome story idea they ever have has NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE! They are a GENIUS!

    If you read comments here, you will frequently see people argue about the originality of series that are highly unoriginal but they don’t know that because they have never see it before. Just as the first convention/anime series/whatever you encountered was the best and they don’t make ’em like that anymore (even if, yes they do, really) people just aren’t that good at doing what you think they ought to do.

    So, when I say “Strawberry Panic” is broad, coarse parody of other series, I get email screaming that I don’t know what I’m talking about it’s the greatest series *ever* – because those people have not seen the series it is parodying and/or they do not understand or care what I am saying.

    Reality – everyone thinks they are smart and original even when they are only one, or neither. ^_^

  9. Anonymous says:

    “…I presume you are unfamiliar with how writing/drawing for a living works.

    “You get a job, someone tells you to write/draw a thing, you do it. The end…”

    What about all the advice-for-writers-and-other-artists I’ve read about how tough it is to get paying work because of how much competition there is to get published among writers and other artists who are passionately interested in a genre, more than interested enough to be well-read in that genre? And about how this happens in every genre of writing and art from how-to books to comics and manga to acting to music and so forth?

    Why on Earth would anyone who *isn’t* even interested enough in a genre to become well-read in it jump into that fray, instead of trying to earn a living some other way like becoming an accountant or a plumber?

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