Honnou to Senshokutai, Instinct and a Chromosome

June 5th, 2011

KC Dessert is a very interesting manga imprint. A broad definition would be that it tells josei stories for older teen or college age women.This means that the stories often detail relationships, with the slight feel of “things young women have to deal with.” In the past, I reviewed KOOLS, a collection that included a story about a young woman learning to be comfortable with herself as a lesbian, a story about rape and one about relationship abuse. They were overall all well told, and well executed. KOOLS, the story about the lesbian was a particularly well-done story. Think of KC Dessert as for girls too old to read 17 magazine (meaning 17 and up) and too young to read Cosmo. That’s the closest I can come to what audience this imprint reaches.

In Hyaku-Oku Nengo no Kimi no Koe Mo, there are two such stories. Both stories feel exactly like soap operas to me. The first follows a girl as she makes her way through conflicting relationships with men, but the second, “Honnou to Senshokutai,” (translated in the book as Instinct and a Chromosome) tells the story of Nanako, who confesses her love to a schoolmate in high school only to be told that she’s disgusting and should just die already. Nanako does not die, but does take herself off to the big city, where she attends a woman’s trade college. Almost from the first second, she starts to fall for one of the lecturers, Yuri.

With just a little awkwardness at the start, they two become a couple and begin making a life together but, as happy as Nanako is, she knows that Yuri is bisexual, and cannot relax. She is positive that Yuri will walk away from her one day. After a few weeks during which Yuri is continually busy, so  they have not seen one another, Nanako tracks her lover down…only to be told that Yuri is breaking up with her to marry a man from her father’s company. She’s an only child, she explains, as she hand Nanako the key to her apartment. “Do you *want* to get married?” Nanako asks. Yuri says that she does.

Nanako grieves, of course and, when a nice-looking guy tries to pick her up she falls apart. She tells him she’s a lesbian, to which he replies, “Yay! I like women too!” It’s all so unpredictable and goofy that she pretty much tells him the whole deal. He takes her for some food and a ride and she decides that she’ll try to have sex with him. Unfortunately for him, Nanako is wholly skeeved by the process. The guy is really quite nice and understanding about it, but eventually she has to stop him, because she just can’t do it. She leaves him, sleeping, and walks home, miserable at her loss, and realizing that she really loves Yuri.

When Nanako arrives  home, she finds a tearful Yuri curled up in front of the apartment. “I lied!” Yuri says, “I don’t want to get married. I love you!” And so they reunite, joyfully, with more promises of ever after.

Like KOOLS, “Honnou to Senshokutai” was a relatively straightforward, unadorned look at love between women, This was not a Yuri story, it is about a woman who is a lesbian and a woman who is bisexual who are in love with each other. And they live…okay, let’s just go there and say we’ll presume they live happily-ever-after. ^_^

In one sense it is a much-more realistic look at what Story A would look like. In another, it’s a great story to ‘splain a little bit about being lesbian to the clueless. Ultimately, it’s a nice soap opera where the girl gets the girl.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 6
Characters – 7
Lesbian – 10
Service – .5

Overall – 7

Many, many thanks to today’s sponsor, Okazu Superhero Katherine H for allowing me the chance to read this worthy story!

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2 Responses

  1. Cryssoberyl says:

    Instinct and a Chromosome is one of my favorite Yuri stories, but that’s mostly due to the main character Nanako and – ironically – the guy, who as you say is a gentleman, stopping when she tells him to stop (imagine that!) and finding common ground with her feelings and situation through the lens of his own.

    However, I can’t help but feel that if it had been me walking up to the crying Yuri at the end of the story, I would’ve told her to go away and shut the door in her face.

    I am not biphobic, I understand the societal pressure she was under, and I do believe that people should be excused for making insensitive but ultimately harmless mistakes if they do their best to remedy them, but still…the amount of lying and hiding that she must’ve done over an extended period, and the callously casual manner in which she revealed her betrayal to Nanako really angered me. Even if it did lead to a happy ending, I’m not sure Nanako should’ve forgiven her so easily.

    Of course, that I could feel all that means it’s a very well-done story of dealing with relationships. It is, and it’s certainly one that I often re-read.

  2. @Cryssoberyl – That’s a totally valid take on it. I guess I looked at it through the lens of it being a rather short story, so at least a half or more was cut out. Parental pressure, in a society that values parental fidelity to the exclusion of all personal desire and the time that Yuri and Nanako take after the reunion to work through the real issues.

    The presumed fact that Yuri has or intends to reject that parental pressure would be a key point in whether the rest of the story is indeed happily-ever-after. ^_^

    I look at it as this was the first step – Yuri admitted to herself what she was not admitting previously. Then she admitted it to Nanako. The next step really has to be the faceoff with thr parents. I’ll pretend that it isn’t a nightmare, since both Yuri and Nanako seem like relatively nice people, and hopefully have nice parents, too. ^_^

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