Before I get on a pedestal and start declaiming the wonderfulness of Octave, Volume 6, (オクターヴ), I hope you’ll indulge me. I promise not to name names or rip anyone specific up, but I really need to get this off my chest.
I write reviews here for several reasons. To share good titles with you, to give you all links to places to buy these good titles, to motivate you to learn a little Japanese, for entertainment and, obviously, because it pleases me to do so – that’s the entertainment I get from it.
So, when I saw a forum post recently written by a long-time reader of Okazu that linked to a review here with the comment, “Ooh, I can’t wait to read the scans!” it made me sad. Because that person feels its okay to take the hard work of the artists, writers, their assistants, editors, and printers and basically not care that all that is not worth anything more to them than what they can get for free.
I know this does not apply to all of you, or even to most of you. I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again – I think I have the *greatest readers in the world.* But for those who do think that way, let me assure you that that is not why I write Okazu. I do not do it for those of you who would rather construct rationalizations about why you just can not support people who do this for a living. I do it for the many of you who do buy the manga, the magazines, the DVDs, the novels, etc. To all of you who support the industry, I do it for you. Thank you.
So, when I write today about how great Octave is, what I *hope* is that you’ll finally be motivated to buy it, to sacrifice some of your time and learn a little Japanese, to show support in the only way that has any meaning in our world – with your money. That’s why I write Okazu and I very much hope that’s why you read Okazu – to be motivated.
Let me sum up by saying this to those long time readers – had you started learning Japanese when you started reading this blog, you’d be able to read Octave in the original by now.
Now, on to our regularly scheduled review:
Octave is the story I have always wanted to read. Octave has the ending I’ve always wanted to read. Octave is…just right. (Read that as you might Goldilocks talking about the middle bed.)
It’s about two adult women who fall in love with one another and have to navigate a very complicated path in between coworkers, friends, family and, trickiest of all, their own expectations.
Yukino in this final volume is still Yukino. She has not radically altered. No magic power has granted her the ability to handle things without getting hurt. She’s had to figure out what to do on her own, even sometimes ignoring perfectly sound advice by people who love her, in order to become the woman she wants to be.
Setsuko in the final volume is not quite the Setsuko we first met. She’s more serious now, she has something to lose. But it has given her a depth she lacked and a perspective that now keeps one eye on the future.
They are both flawed, sometimes annoying because they are realistic, but I’d gladly have them over for lunch anytime.
Yukino and Setsuko go shopping for food. They buy home goods together. They walk down the street holding hands. They say things like “I’m so happy, I could die,” and “Don’t say that, not even as a joke.” They live, they love.
This story does not end happily ever after in a fairytale way. It ends with a realistic, rather stressful situation ahead, that they’ll face together.
This is, absolutely, the evolution of Yuri I have been waiting for and have been working for – a story about two adult women in love with one another, living their lives. The only thing that could make it better would be more chapters about those lives.
Art – 7
Story – 10
Characters – 10
Yuri/Lesbian – 10
Service – 2
Overall – 10
I still hope that one day DMP decides to bite the bullet and license a real Yuri series. This is the one I’d suggest for them.