Yuri Manga: Collectors, Volume 1 (コレクターズ)

February 14th, 2013

In honor of Valentine’s Day I can think of no better candidate for review than Nishi UKO’s Collectors, from the pages of Rakuen Le Paradis magazine.

Nito Shinobu collects books. Kanzaki Takako is interested in fashion and collects clothes. The two of them love each other very much but, as they both consider their future together, their competing use of space could make living together awkward. ^_^;

With their friend Naomi and “the other one,” the unnamed friend who makes up the fourth in their group, Shinobu and Takako’s life together is detailed in amusingly realistic 4-koma strips or chapter-long stories.

From how they met, to Shinobu hiding from her students at a book store, to going away with friends, to bickering and moments of intimacy, their lives look remarkably like a real life that a real couple might have, rather than the melodramatic extremes of so much manga. For me, Collectors is a refreshing, realistic, fun look at a relationship between women who love each other. Weird huh? I mean really weird. Because there is hardly any manga like this.

Here’s my favorite scene – Shinobu, standing with Naomi and the other one (Okay, let’s just pick a name for her. Put your suggestions in the comments section and I’ll pick one, and send it to Nishi UKO-sensei as a suggestion. ^_^) waiting for Takako to arrive, when  Shinobu says Takako is heading towards them. Naomi asks where, as a woman walks up to them. Takako’s changed her hair color, but Shinobu knows it’s her from meters away. ^_^

They snipe at one another about each other’s collection habits, they have tender moments with hands entwined in each other’s hair, they live and they love. Just like me and my wife, just like you and your girlfriend, just like lesbians whose relationship does not end with a kiss or graduation. This is what after the happily-ever-after really looks like.

Whether you collect glasses, boyfriends, books or clothes, Happy Valentine’s Day from myself and everyone at Yuricon & ALC Publishing!

Ratings:

Art – 10
Story – 10 Life. What could be funnier, more poignant or more interesting?
Characters – 10
Yuri – 10
Service – 1

Overall – 10

As I read this book before bed, I look fondly over the multiple piles of books-to-read next to my bed and smile. I’m on Team Shinobu. ^_^

Go ahead and put your suggestions for Takako’s friend’s name in the comments. ^_^

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12 Responses

  1. Netbrian says:

    My nomination for her friends’ name is “Kimiko”. :)

    Thanks for the review — very intrigued by this series and anxious to check it out!

  2. Mara says:

    Damn. My reading is still terrible so I cannot tell which of them is Naomi…

    If the glasses friend has no name then ‘Shoukou’ written as 孫尚香.

    If the non-glasses friend has no name then ‘Yim Soon-rye’.

    Any Japanese ethnic minority would be nice in a manga can’t blame me for trying…

    Do love this book got it in my last big order and it was worth it all by itself.

  3. @Mara – The character names are in English and Japanese on the interstitial pages. Naomi is Shinobu’s friend, the tall, boyish one with glasses who go married in the early part of the book.

    The unnamed one is the pale mid-length hair woman, the one who was Takako’s friend in college. Her character page reads “Mo hitori” in Japanese, and “The Other One” in English. She collects boyfriends.

  4. Mara says:

    @Erica

    Ah! Thank you.

    …Guess it is ‘Yim Soon-rye’ for me then.

  5. Netbrian says:

    Oh! Yim Soon-Rye is a great idea! I change my vote to that. ^-^

  6. Anonymous says:

    ” For me, Collectors is a refreshing, realistic, fun look at a relationship between women who love each other. Weird huh? I mean really weird. Because there is hardly any manga like this.”

    This so totally has to be translated into English! And marketed to people who like good reads in general instead of targeted to only people who are fans of Japanese!

    For example, from http://comics212.net/2008/07/16/flipping-splicing-and-mutilating-manga/#comment-81585 :

    “…I also think that, should someone like D+Q release a manga unflipped, the commercial possibilities of the work are practically halved. Any time a prominent blogger talks about a new manga release, Ed Brubaker (love ya Ed!) pops up in the comments to mention that he can’t read unflipped [backwards] manga. Just can’t read it. And he’s not alone… it’s one of the things that makes unflipped manga so attractive to younger readers by the way… it’s like visual pig-latin. So yeah, I mean, we get the Tatsumi books rearranged (“translated”) for Western audiences and the sales are great because the older, not-necessarily-manga-reading crowd that the books are aimed at can actually read them…”

    “Any Japanese ethnic minority would be nice in a manga can’t blame me for trying…”

    I hear ya. :D

    Anyone know of other manga that already have ethnic minorities in them and/or are written by mangaka who are ethnic minorities?

  7. That’s pretty much asking a lot of my meager Japanese, to suggest that my readers decided an ethnic minority name was suitable. I neither know Korean, nor do I know how to render it in Japanese.

    It’s a nice name and I have no objection to it, but I have no idea how to communicate it to Nishi-sensei.

  8. Mara says:

    @Netbrian
    Thank you very much. It is a tremendous boon to my ego.

    @Erica
    Ah. I am really sorry I truly thought someone else would send a more acceptable suggestion in and mine would be passed over. Even the other name I suggested was the Japanese pronunciation of Shangxiang.

    Quickly rushing though my katakana tables comes up with: イェム・スーン・ライ but don’t hold me to that. A very brief search also shows that there are ways of writing a Korean name in Kanji but you need katakana after it anyway because of the different pronunciation.

    Very sorry for the trouble again.

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