The End of GUNJO (羣青)

March 4th, 2012

I finally had a chance to read the final chapter of GUNJO, in the March issue of IKKI magazine.

I do not know what to say about it, really. It left me quite literally gasping for air. I sat there and panted for about two minutes, as I stared at the last page.

The ending was not what I feared it might be, it was not what I hoped it might be. It was infinitely better than I imagined, both happier and sadder that I expected. It contained something I wished desperately for and never truly believed could happen.

If you too have read it, please feel free to tell me your impressions in the comments. No spoilers, please. I do not wish to ruin anyone’s experience of the ending.

The third and final volume of Gunjo will be slightly delayed. According to her Twitter feed, Nakamura-sensei entered the hospital recently and, while she is back home recovering, her work will be slowed or suspended for some time until she is feeling better. I know I am not alone in wishing her a speedy recovery.

「羣青」ありがとうございます。Thank you, Sensei, for GUNJO.

It’s been a hell of a ride.

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9 Responses

  1. Does this mean it ends in a “friendly stalemate”…? [sigh]

  2. @Delicious Vodka DeBlair – I won’t tell you how it ends. Not even a hint. You’ll have to buy it when it comes out and find out for yourself. ^_^

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’ve only read the first volume, and while it’s good in some parts, I find it hard to care for the characters as they’ve put themselves in those situations rather stupidly.

    Also, not into gratuitous unnecessary lesbian-has-sex-with-a-man scenes (as both scenes were 100% avoidable by the character if she so chooses – and why wouldn’t she? ..oh, right..) Not to mention the only-happens-in-porn scene after the run in with the taxi driver (sperm does not drip out of the vagina after intercourse).

    Honestly, some moments are quite good, but when I’m reminded about everything else, it’s hard to enjoy. I don’t have a problem its portrayal of lesbians so much as how it portrays women – foolish, stupid and emotional.

  4. @Anonymous – I’m going to be fannish for a moment, and suggest that, perhaps, you didn’t understand it. ^_^

    The choices were made consciously, knowing that they were terrible choices, but driven by a despair and loneliness so profound that there didn’t seem to be any other course.

    It’s not a portrayal of lesbians at all. One character is a lesbian who is desperately in love with a desperate woman. The other is a straight woman who has never once in her life been cared for or shown kindness. These are not women making bad choices these are women for whom no choice is a good one.

  5. Mary says:

    I’m not the anon earlir, by the way.

    Personally, the “conscious bad choices” that we are clearly “too stupid to understand” ruined the manga for me. I get bombarded with this crap every time I try to watch lesbian stuff in western media (or just leave the house and dare to rebuff a guy), and it’s a large reason why I read Yuri instead because Yuri doesn’t tend to have it, thank God(dess/pantheon/noodly appendage).

    That said, there WERE good scenes in there, here and there. The scene with her father, for example. I adored that one. Including the way he was drawn, because you don’t often see male characters drawn that way.

    I’m very much in Gunjo’s hatedom (and I am pretty sure I understood the scenes alright, thank you), but credit where credit is due.

  6. @Mary – I didn’t say anyone was too stupid to understand. I do think fans have a tendency to read manga with expectations, in some cases, expectations that the manga may not match. GUNJO was never meant as a story of a lesbian couple or even of the lesbian character, so if that’s what someone went in expecting, then they are likely to not be happy with the story.

    Nonetheless, you’re of course allowed to not like it. All opinions are valid. ^_^

  7. Anonymous says:

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. I never felt disappointment because I expected a lesbian feel-good manga (or whatever). As you seem to imply, I did not enjoy this manga not because I thought they were about lesbians or I was expected a good lesbian couple/ending. (This is the same anon as above, btw). I very explicitly said the opposite – I have no problem with darker manga, I understand very much one character was a lesbian and another was a straight female (I didn’t state both were lesbians, just people might feel the portrayal of the main lesbian character gave lesbians a bad name – I simply hated the portrayal of _women_, which incl the main straight female character). And notice the only male-female sex scenes included the lesbian character??

    The bad decisions I mentioned were not exclusive to those done during times of desperation, such as the murder, and the running away. Even how they got into the situation, the main straight female character marries a rich man to pay back the lesbian character, who was barely in her life at the time, was not threatening, etc. It was shortsighted and foolish. The main lesbian character drops her life to kill a strangers husband – another stupid decision that _got_ them into the situation. They got themselves into those situations because they were stupid, not because they had no choice. They did. That’s the point of my frustration. If it was better written, if the plot was stronger, if the characters had redeeming qualities, maybe I would have felt like I cared.

  8. @Anonymous – Yes, I understand. You didn’t like it. I did. Because these are opinions, we can both be right. ^_^

  9. Anonymous says:

    Well, my issue was that your response was implying that I did not ‘get it’. If you agree we simply have a difference of opinion, I can respect that. If you accuse me of mistaken this for a feel-good Yuri manga, then I will defend my opinion.

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