Yuri Manga: Fujiyuu Sekai (不自由セカイ)

December 9th, 2012

No no no no no no no.

That is the bulk of my reaction to Kodama Naoko’s Fujiyuu Sekai (不自由セカイ).

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Reo befriended Meiko back in high school when Meiko was not treated well by her classmates. Popular and attractive, Reo drew Meiko into society. Meiko joined the tennis club in order to be closer to Reo and, as a result, hurt her ankle during practice. One day not long after, Reo offered to walk Meiko home, but she refused because she was getting better. Reo went off and unknown to her, Meiko was attacked and raped.

Now, years later, Meiko is still making Reo pay for it.

Meiko refers to Reo as her slave, emotionally manipulates Reo and forces the other woman to run when she calls, keeping her from completing her coursework or having a life.

Into this tightly wound relationship comes one of Reo’s classmates, Hayase, who Meiko sees as a rival. Reo and Hayase get enough time together for Reo to draw some courage and tell Meiko that she will no longer be at her beck and call. When Reo tries to get in touch with Meiko, she finds that she no longer can.

Up to this point I was okay with the story, then it just went horribly wrong. Instead of Reo moving on, realizing that Hayase was awesome and the two of them getting together, Reo goes running back to Meiko…who tells her she was not answering the phone, because she was trying to be independent. The two of them kiss and live …what? Happily ever after? I doubt it.

Ladies – particularly if you’re younger and have not yet found someone you think might be “the one” – under no circumstances should you follow the lesson of this manga. Do not choose a broken, controlling lover over the empowering one. This is the wrong lesson. You deserve better than that. Don’t be Reo.

Ratings:

Art – 8 (I had high hopes)
Story – Could have been an 8, instead 5
Characters – Hayase – 8, everyone else 5
Yuri – 7
Service – 4

Overall – 5

It really could have been good, but it wasn’t.

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10 Responses

  1. Rakki says:

    Your review — and I believe most all of your reviews — elicits a point that is too often missing from manga: that lesbian relationships do not stop with falling in love, but are as complex — and often destructive — as any other relationship, despite the massive hurdles we have to overcome merely to exist together. And what sustains a life and its meaning if not the lasting relationships we share with others?

  2. @Rakki – That’s exactly right. Falling in love is merely the first step of many. ^_^

  3. Rakki says:

    Well, this might not be the time or place, but I wanted to thank you for everything you do. I’ve been reading your blog for at least seven years, before I knew I was gay. And I continued reading through my first of many loves, and even though I’ve somewhat outgrown my love for manga, I continue to read your blog because I think you elucidate ideas that transcend the media, which is really a testament to your abilities as a writer. So, for many reasons that I cannot quite convey, thank you for creating this space to give expression to all the myriad ways we love one another and find meaning in those relationships. n___n;

  4. @Rakki Thank you so very much for the kind words! I am deeply moved – and very appreciative of your continued readership. Rest assured, I write for you – and all the yous and mes out there.

    Thank you.

  5. Judy J. says:

    It reminds me of Kimi Koi Limit.
    Thanks for the review, at least, every bad story turns into a good laugh thanks to you.

    Judy

  6. Hi Judy! It is like “Kimi Koi Limit” in that the characters are mopey and annoying. ^_^ I’m glad you had fun reading my shredding of this poor woman’s book.

  7. Denise I. says:

    Firstly, most of the things you said were subjective. Well, of course you will want your opinion to be heard as this is your “review” of the story. First of all, Meiko is forced (by herself) to manipulate Reo, the reason being she likes her. I know it is wrong of her to do so, but what can she do? She likes the person. Reo on the other hand should know that it wasn’t her fault that meiko got harassed as Meiko was the one who insisted she walked home alone. Reo is a dumbass. It’s not her fault yet she still acts at meiko’s every beck and call. This story is really pretty messed up. But for you to say that this isn’t a good story (and I quote: it really could’ve been good. But it wasn’t.) just because it didn’t have a “happy” ending like you wanted it to have, was a low blow. Just because this Yuri in particular didn’t have a “disney” ending, it’s bad? Puh lease. I very much agree. Lol :)

    • Yes, reviews are subjective. All opinions are. The reason I felt this was a bad book had nothing to do with whether it had a happy ending – it had to do with the fact that Reo went back to Meiko, who had been thus far manipulative. In real life manipulative people do not suddenly change. As a plot turn, it made the story less strong and made Reo less sympathetic. (It’s very typical for people to be unsympathetic to abused women who keep returning to their abuser.)

      I was concerned that young women might see this as a happy, romantic ending, when it is not. Meiko is an abuser, Reo has been abused. Clearly you bought into it. That, specifically, was what I was concerned with happening. This ending is a very bad lesson. No one should go back to an abuser.

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