Yuri Manga: Otome Ranbu (乙女×乱舞)

October 31st, 2011

Tsubomi has never been popular. In fact, she’s always been alone, slightly set apart from others. She really doesn’t know why, but no one seems to ever want to be her friend. Except for handsome Kurozawa, one of the class stars. He and Tsubomi are childhood friends and he doesn’t care that the girls who cling to him see Tsubomi as a nuisance.

Then one day, silver-haired aristocrat Yuuji transfers into class, kisses Tsubomi and pronounced her her servant.

And Tsubomi’s life changes forever.

How many times have we seen this story, huh? But here in Otome Ranbu (乙女×乱舞), by Imamura Youko, there’s a few sticks in the spokes.

Tsubomi, it turns out, is the head of a family that did indeed serve Yuuji’s family, and together they fought and sealed Shikigami, beings that possess things and people. Now that Tsubomi has had her power unsealed, she begins to remember her childhood, and why she feels such a closeness with Yuuji.

Kurozawa turns out to be a magical creature and a servant of Tsubomi’s. He lives in her garden in his beast form, and takes care of her, cooking and cleaning for her (until she insists he live in the house like a human.)

Now that her memory is unsealed, Tsubomi suddenly finds herself being treated more normally by the other kids in the class, but still, she has genuine feelings for Yuuji, which she wants to communicate.This is complicated by Chitose, Yuuji’s older brother – the rightful heir of the line and, presumably, Tsubomi’s real master. As he points out, when he kisses her to release the seal.

But, despite the fact that Tsubomi now remembers it was Chitose she met as a child, it’s Yuuji she loves, and she makes the point plainly and clearly.

At the end of the volume, the four, Chitose, Yuuji, Tsubomi and Kurozawa all are able to be happy and comfortable with each other…and the girl gets the girl.

The narrative here was a tad messy, but the art was very appealing. I had to read the volume through very carefully to follow the story, but in the end, I thought it was worth it. The art was somewhat typical, with flowing magical scenes that countered the semi-realistic line art of the everday well. The entire time I read this book, I kept thinking it would make a terrific anime – lots of action scenes, supernatural fights, girls transforming…ish, two pretty boys, a solid love quadrangle. All they’d have to do is imply a potential romance between Chitose and Kurozawa, and it has all the bells and whistles needed to make this a raging success.

Ratings:

Art- 8
Story – 7
Characters – 8
Yuri – 6
Service – 3

Overall – 8

If you like the supernatural/exorcist type tale, and would like it better with some Yuri, Otome Ranbu is definitely worth a read.

My sincere thanks to Okazu superhero Dan P. who sponsored today’s review from my Amazon JP Yuri wishlist!

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