In Volume 2 of est em’s Golondrina (ゴロンドリナ), Chika comes face to face with the several possible outcomes of bullfighting. Yes, the bull might die (and the odds are that it will) but equally the matador might die or be wounded or maimed.
She learns that a matador is not unyielding, he must in fact work with the bull, to lead it. And yet there is a moment, when it is either the matador or the bull. One must lose. In the end, bullfighting is just another game of chicken.
In an internal monologue, Chika tells us in more detail about her childhood, about the losses and neglect she suffered, the life she built for herself and the life she was led into by a woman admirably suited to be matador to her bull. And then loss again, and despair. And now she is the matador, and the bull is both a bull and a symbol for the forces that have buffeted her.
Chika also learns that the only woman welcome in the bullfighter’s space is Maria-sama. We learn that Chika’s real name is Maria and are left to ponder the irony.
The book takes its stance at the end when Chika faces down her first bull, makes her first kill and is given her matador’s name – Golondrina. This story cannot be (and really, should not have been from the beginning) for the faint of heart.
Art – 9
Story – 8
Characters – 7
Yuri – 4
Service – 1
Overall – 8
Quick reminder – pictures of bullfighting are not bullfighting any more than pictures of sex are actual sex.