Yuri Manga: Sasamekikoto, Volume 8 (ささめきこと)

March 11th, 2011

Here we are at Volume 8 of Sasamekikoto (ささめきこと). And we are just about as far from where we started as we can be. Instead of layering Yuri tropes and riffing on fan expectations, Volume 8 is a straightforward look at what happens when two people decide to be more honest with their feelings, with the strong subtext of “taking responsibility.”

We left Sumi on the cusp of running for Student Council President and facing a smear campaign about her sexuality. To counter this, she is set up on a date with Akemiya-kun as a beard, but when he shows up as Akemi-chan, the more important message becomes one of personal responsibility for one’s choices. This is brought front and center when Mayu punches out a classmate for her unkind words and Sumi, as Karate team captain has to bear the responsibility. Ultimately, to save the Karate team from being disbanded, Sumi pulls herself from the election…only to have Ushio step in to replace her. Ushio, determined to be as responsible a member of the Student Body as Sumi is, wins. The Karate team remains intact, and Ushio does not back down from her own new responsibilities.

Throughout this volume, Ushio’s brother is being pressured by their grandmother to take responsibility for his own future and for Ushio. After she falls and is injured, he bites the bullet and confronts Kinuta-san about his responsibility to his grandmother and Ushio. The scene where he asks Kinuta to marry him was, IMHO, one of the funniest, most realistic scenes we’ve had in the series (and the reactions of the people around them remind me strongly of a night in a restaurant in England during which everyone in the room was visibly listening in on a breakup at a table in the center of the room.)

And then there’s Sumika. Sumi has been under a tremendous amount of stress recently. She’s pulled herself from the election, but had attention focused on her personal life in a rather unnerving way. Then she had to deal with Mayu’s situation. But what pushes her to the point of breaking is Ushio saying that she’s leaving to go take care of her grandmother. Smear her, blame her, make her the brunt of what you will…the one thing Sumika cannot tolerate is the loss of Ushio.

And that brings us to the end of a very excellent volume of a manga that is not what we could have expected, but has become everything it could be.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Characters – 9
Story – 9
Yuri – 7
Service – 1

Overall – 9

Where will Volume 9 lead us? I don’t know, but I can’t wait to find out!

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9 Responses

  1. Oliver says:

    I like your English reviews of the original unlicensed Japanese manga. It leaves a tiny imprint on my mind until I learn enough Japanese to read them, I’ll have something to go on.

  2. ladyjanegray says:

    I really appreciate your summary of the manga. Most of Volume 8 is out in RAW, none of it translated. So, your summary is the only light in my illiterate darkness.

    It could be argued we’ve been waiting for this since Volume 5, Ch29, when Ushio-chan asks ‘what about me?’

  3. Anonymous says:

    Do you know if there will be a Vol.9 and will you review it? My friends have told me 3 different versions of the ending but I’d like to hear what you have to say very much.

  4. When Volume 9 comes out, yes, I will review it.

  5. Nagaoka Dani says:

    Erica, I know you’re not a big fan of Yuri anime… or at least you’re of the opinion that good Yuri isn’t likely to become anime.

    ささめきこと is, in my humble opinion, spectacularly awesome and totally deserves a 2nd season. I’ve watched the 1st (and maybe the only) season like, 4 times, and am completely in love with this series.

    I want to see it in colors. I want to see it live. I want to hear Takagaki Ayahi’s voice crying cause she’s not going to become any cuter or smaller… I want to see Mayu, Koino, and Lotte-chan. I want to see Ushio in despair, realizing how much she loves and needs Sumi… and find out by accident that Sumi actually loves her in secret.

    I WANT IT SO BAD (TT_TT)! Let’s make a global petition for a second season, FFS!

  6. I am also a fan of the Sasamekikoto manga and I promoted the anime quite heavily (which is still available on Crunchyroll, btw.)

    I am a fan of Yuri anime but not a fan of delusion.

    Who are you targeting your petition to? Is it in Japanese or English? Are you arranging for funding for a studio or merely expecting them to magically whip up a second season at their expense for you?

    In Japan, Sasamekikoto is done. Over. History. There will be no second season.

    Create your petition in English, on a western site, without any targeting of a Japanese company that might even be remotely interested. Best of luck to you.

  7. Nagaoka Dani says:

    Nah, I didn’t mean it like that. Now that I’ve read it again, I think it might have seemed I wanted a particularly influent personality in the Yuri scene (in that case, you, at least as a critic) to help me promote a silly petition of which I came up with yesterday.

    Well, it ain’t. It was just a normal rant aimed at a Yuri fan, not a Yuri personality.

    In no ways I was expecting you to say ‘HEY, K, I’LL HOIST FLAGS IN SOME EVENT’, or anything like that. Instead, I was expecting something like ‘Hey, sure would be lovely but very unlikely… they probably let it aside already, but well, hoping wouldn’t hurt’.

    Just so that things are clear, my past post wasn’t meant as a petition or some kinda request, so you don’t need to be so harsh.

    Also, I’d like to stress that english isn’t my mother tongue, so if I sound like I’m imposing on you, I’m really sorry, I didn’t mean it. I understand you must get this kinda requests from loser fanboys all over the world, but again, I was just expressing my particular opinion, I apologize if it seemed otherwise.

    Also, I inteded to post this on your most recent SK post, but ended up posting here by mistake. Oh, well.

  8. @Nagaoka Dani – No worries. I just wanted to be plain that I do like Yuri Anime quite a bit, but I’m a realist. I waste no time wanting things that will never happen. Strawberry Panic and Sasamekikoto are over. Petition all you want, but it’s done. Japan has moved on. Enjoy Bodacious Space Pirates(also on Crunchyroll and with a Yuri couple!) or buy the new Nanoha movie that will come out this spring. ^_^

  9. Nagaoka Dani says:

    Oh I read your review about Bodacious Space Pirates already and I’m really looking forward to see it, and surely will do when I get the oportunity.

    (Yes, I do realize this isn’t IM, sorry for making this such a casual talk)

    To be honest, I never did have my hopes up high for a 2nd season, but curiously what brought me here to ask your opinion was exactly a small petition someone is spreading on FB, aimed at Fuji TV.

    I felt it was kind of hopeless, but since I don’t have any friends that share the same interest in Yuri, it sure felt good to see people promoting my favorite anime series, which always just seemed ‘not popular enough’ to me.

    I’m sorry to drag this on for so long, I promise I’ll let this post die after that.

    Since the subject is up, I’d like to end with a single and basic question, pretty much you’ve answered this many times too. What’s your all time favorite Yuri anime? You don’t need to take your time explaining me why, I’ll search your reviews afterwards (I can’t help the feeling that you’ll pick an early 90’s series as your answer).

    Interpret this question as an admirer of your work trying to know your tastes better :) I admit that besides these messages, I was a ghost, occasional reader of your blog, with just an anon post now and then. I’ll be sure to comment ever so often (I’ll promise they’ll be shorter as well). You’re very considerate for reading my comments thoroughly like you did.

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