Yuri Manga: Sasamekikoto, (ささめきこと) Volume 9

April 16th, 2012

Just about a year ago, I reviewed Octave, Volume 6. It was the final volume and of it I said, “Octave is the story I have always wanted to read.”

I say this once again, this time about Sasamekikoto, Volume 9 (ささめきこと).

The series began as a comedy, a ramshackle combination of Yuri tropes, all played for laughs and a little bittersweet drama. Slowly, but surely, it became a real story, a story that hits right in the heart of what lesbian Yuri readers want to see. What we want to see is not always about “coming out,” it’s about “becoming whole.”

And here, in the final volume, Sumi and Ushio become whole. It was a remarkable, fantastic, magnificent ending. I did not expect an ending of this caliber – I never even hoped for it. I would have been content with a “happily ever after” where we see Ushio and Sumika walk off, without having yet faced their community, their friends and their family, and we all pretend it will be all right.

I didn’t get that ending at all. Instead, miraculously, I got an ending where Ushio and Sumi face their community, their friends and their family head on and tell them that they are lovers. Good heavens, really? And still – it was funny. It was still a comedy, less bittersweet than we ever could have imagined. This is the decade Yuri has changed, irrevocably. This is the decade where Yuri becomes “any manga, anime (or related media) that shows intense emotional connection, romantic love or physical desire between women.” Just like we wanted.

I am flabbergasted. I rejoice. I celebrate.

Congratulations Sumi and Ushio – we love you.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

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Ratings:

Art – 9
Story – 10
Characters – 10
Yuri – 10
Service – 1

Overall – 10

I can already see that 2012’s #1 slot for Yuri Manga is going to be a tough race. Awesome. ^_^

What a great ending.

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11 Responses

  1. Mandy says:

    The chalkboard message from their friends and many more moments were just SO good in this final volume. It managed to hit all my happy buttons. I laid on my bed for five minutes just hugging the book after I was done, I felt so content.

    *squees* I’m all grinning just thinking about it. :D

  2. JIN H. says:

    But…wait. I agree with everything you said (I do) but I got that they were not going to get to be together due to the grandmother angle which is still Yuri misery (esp Sumi in tears – no way she will deal with indefinite separation and she didn’t have to, there were other possible alternatives; Ushio the serene suddenly reminded me of Yoda or something). And then the church bell part was thrown in as sugar sprinkled on the wound. Now I’m very confused. Or not. Set me straight?

  3. @JIN H- They pay a visit to the grandmother and deal with that pretty well, I thought. Sumi wasn’t *quite* able to say what she had to say, but I definitely felt that the grandmother understood plainly. And a few years apart, as Sumi studies in college won’t kill them.

  4. JIN H. says:

    Okay. I think sometimes I get too emotionally invested in a couple (like these two!) and I NEED them to be happy, together, la la la. What we usually get from Yuri doesn’t help those feelings. I think I also need to not listen to friends who read english scans because I question my interpretation when they give me at least three different versions of what I’m trying to read (third language not my first). Do you know what I mean? Anyway, Thanks again!

  5. @JIN H – I believe the scanlators stalled out a few volumes ago, and yes, THAT volume ended with them facing a possible separation. The real end of the series is *wonderful*. ^_^

  6. The (Hopefully Not A Loser) Yuri Fanboy says:

    Well, I have to say, the ending to this series has made me very happy. I’ve bought all of the Japanese volumes, despite not being able to read more than one or two sentences on each page, and I’ve had to read this series mostly on scanlations. This is truly awful, because as you said, they stopped a few volumes ago, right at one of the more dramatic moments. Flipping through my copies, I got the gist of the ending, but it’s still nice to see confirmation of a happy ending. Keep up the good work, I look forward to reading more posts!

  7. That chalkboard image made me tear up a bit- really. lol I can’t wait to read this volume.

  8. Anonymous says:

    “@JIN H- They pay a visit to the grandmother and deal with that pretty well, I thought. Sumi wasn’t *quite* able to say what she had to say, but I definitely felt that the grandmother understood plainly. And a few years apart, as Sumi studies in college won’t kill them.”

    WORD. Life goes on after graduation… ;)

    (actually reminds me a bit of the webcomic Penny and Aggie. Without spoiling anything by telling you who, one of the lesbian couples together in 11th grade has separated at some point between then and the 5th year class reunion but the authors put a clear possibility of reuniting as adults in there…)

  9. Anonymous says:

    Oh my..
    I cried the instant I saw that picture.

  10. @Anonymous – My eyes got a little hot and maybe a trickle of moisture formed in the corners, when I saw it, too. ^_^

  11. Nya says:

    I just raced through the 9 volumes and I’m so glad I noticed this one only now, when it’s already over. If i couldn’t have read it to the end, I might have lost interest or forgot about it.

    End result : One Of The Best Love Story Ever.

    The message of the ending is crystal clear and utterly *right*. A message of tolerance and hope. There’s nothing special about Ushio and Sumika, as stated by Aoi. They are just two human beings in love. And that’s how “society” should view it. The author just makes us witness of their struggle to become “whole” and makes us root for them. And then the final message is that, one day, they may be able to marry.

    This frigging story scored a critical hit on my heart. The face of Sumika crying for to not be able to be smaller or cuter, the fit of Ushio struggling with herself to the point of breaking her hand, the race of Sumika running to the hospital, will stay forever amongst the most intense and memorable pieces of reading of my life.

    And then, the end puts all of this at rest and it feels *right*

    I cannot thank enough the author for writing this story. It renewed a bit my faith in humanity. He clearly deserves more recognition.

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