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. ^_^