Yuri Manga: Kimi no Tame Nara Shineru (姫のためなら死ねる)

July 20th, 2011

When you think of Heian period literature, two names come instantly to mind, Murasaki Shikibu, creator of the Tale of Genji and Sei Shonagon, writer of the Pillow Book.

What may not come to mind is the image of Shonagon as a 27-year old NEET, blogger, Twitterer and…well, perv.

That is, it may not come to mind, until after you’ve finished reading Kimi no Tame Nara Shineru (姫のためなら死ねる). After that, you’re just about guaranteed to think of her that way. ^_^

This book is a series of exceptionally silly 4-koma gags set in the Chuugushiki, the residence of 13-year old Empress Teishi. A mutual friend, sick of Shonagon’s shut-in, slacking ways, suggests she apply for the position of Teishi-sama’s lady-in-waiting. Teishi is moved by Shonagon’s handwriting and Shonagon, in turn, falls head over heels for the Empress.

Nothing happens in this volume, really. Yuri is limited to heavily overplayed service, in which nearly every woman is nearly in some Yuri-ish position with nearly every other, but it’s all gags, no substance. Nonetheless, Shonagon is pervy about Teishi-sama, and Teishi-sama seems to return the feeling, in her own, immature way.

Of course Murasaki Shikibu is a character, as is her charge, the Second Empress Shoushi.

Honestly, I should probably have hated this book. It’s got all the annoying qualities of 4-koma gag comics. But, I didn’t. The story turns historical luminaries into jokes, and relates behaviors of the past to unlikely, but accurate analogies of the present with historically inaccurate, but nevertheless amusing, conviction. Shonagon as a blogger rings pretty true to me, anyway.

I’m reminded by my wife of a passage by Sei Shonagon, about the annoyance she felt when the snow slipped from the roofs of the buildings and covered the paths, making it difficult to walk. The Shonagon of this book is not that woman, but I think I might prefer this silly Shonagon to the real one. ^_^


Art – 6
Story – 8
Characters – 8
Yuri – 4
Service – 4, for the gags about Murasaki’s breasts and all the almost-Yuri

Overall – 8

Remember how I always say that no research is necessary to form an opinion of a manga? Well, in this case, I’m wrong. I actually had to do a fair bit of research. ^_^

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7 Responses

  1. N says:

    I agree that no research is necessary, but it is fun…

  2. kongetsume says:

    This manga is a partial amalgamation of some of my academic and personal interests: Japanese classical history/literature and Yuri. Biased as I am in this regard, it was an instant hit with me, haha.

  3. Frea says:

    When I found this manga, I was giddy with silly fangirlness over the two amazing writers and historical(ish) manga. I had no idea they were even contemporaries let alone rivals. Although the actual writings are pretty sparse, it’s great that they wrote about each other. I can only hope for great things for this manga.

  4. Zefiris says:

    I, too, originally expected to dislike this manga. Thankfully I read it anyway.

    Later on it even ramps up the Yuri, with the introduction of Teishi’s mom and other hijinks going on.

    Poor Teishi’s dad, whatever his name was.

    Kimonos, historical references and nearly no fanservice make this Loser Me 9. ^^ I gladly bought it twice.

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