In Takemiya Jin’s Omoi no Kakera (想いの欠片) Mika is that rarest of all manga characters, a confident, out (to herself and a few important people in her life, at least) and together young lesbian. There’s a cafe in town that she likes to frequent, because she’s interested in the owner – she likes the oneesama type. Mika doesn’t like bullies, though, so the day she sees an attractive older woman being emotionally proked and prodded into tears by two aunty-types, she pours water over their heads, tells them off and ends up involved with the other woman’s life.
Mika must be a drama magnet, because she’s leaving the lesbian bar she frequents and runs into a lover’s quarrel in the hallway. This is merely annoying because they are blocking her egress, but it becomes downright weird when it turns out that a schoolmate of hers, Harada, is one of the participants. Mutually outed, they become friends, until that creates *more drama* when Harada’s little sister tries to warn Mika off her brother. After some random accusations and drama, Mika finally has a chance to put things straight between her and Mayu, that she’s got no interest – no, really, none – in her brother except as a friend. Things might have calmed down, except that Mayu finds herself interested in Mika. She doesn’t quite admit to it, but Mika’s no one’s fool.
In her downtime, Mika learns more about the cafe owner’s life and her relationship with her roommate, a story so complicated that Mika sums up with “I don’t get adults!”
Throughout Mika is a fun, smart, self-assured young woman, who I would be honored to have over for lunch.
This series has been running in Hakusensha’s Rakuen Le Paradis, and it has been one of my favorite series since the very first chapter. It’s ongoing, so hopefully we’ll have much more of Mika and her friends. If you’re looking for a character who isn’t coming out, isn’t falling in love and going all gooey, but is participating in life fully as a lesbian, with some meaningful discussion of gay and lesbian life thrown in for good measure, this is an absolute must-get. In this collection, Takemiya Jin-sensei pushes the boundaries of “Yuri” right dead into “lesbian,” and makes it smart, funny, well-constructed with characters you care about. You know, the kind of Yuri we actually want to read.
Art – 9 I’m a total fangirl for Takemiya-sensei’s art
Story – 9
Characters – 8
Yuri – 9
Service – 1
Overall – 9
If I awarded awards for Yuri, Omoi no Kakera would be a shoo-in. I can definitely call this a Top Ten for the year.