In 2011, I reviewed a Light Novel, Book Girl and the Famished Spirit. In that review, I noted that there was a character who had all the signs of being a classic anime/manga lesbian. Attractive, smart, accomplished and far more mature than the characters around her, Maki was a perfect candidate for the “Yuri” character. Her apparent obsession with Tohko, the Book Girl of the title, clinched the deal for me.
In the first volumes of the series, Maki is a peripheral character, half deus ex machina, half Mephistopheles. And while she appears from time to time just enough to torment Tohko, her existence has not been a major presence. Until now.
Book Girl and the Undine Who Bore a Moonflower revolves around Maki, her family history and a curse and a duty that she bears and would very much like to be rid of.
As in the other Book Girl books, we are introduced to the “book” around which the entire narrative is built, given the true history behind the relationship of that book to the story and a new, alternate ending to the historical narrative and the current matter at hand. If that sounds a little complicated, it’s only because it is – and that is exactly why it’s worth reading the series. The lead character is a bit of a carp, but he and everyone around him are fleshed out to a considerable extent in these first 6 volumes.
Which is both good and bad. One hopes that the characters do what we want them to do, rather than what they do do. For us, that would mea, Tohko letting her apparent tsundere facade drop and allowing Maki to paint her nude, a meeting of hearts and minds, followed by… Yeah, but that’s not happening here. ^_^;
Once again, I agree with the age rating on the back. There’s some adult concepts, themes and scenes that I could have handled at 11, but your mileage – or the mileage of a YA you’re giving the book to – may vary.
Art – 6 I wish the pictures were of scenes I wanted illustrated
Story – 8
Characters – 8
Yuri – 1
Fanservice – 4, for the ultra-coy way the end was presented
Overall – 8
If you don’t mind that Maki is not really a lesbian, but she may be bisexual, that Tohko reads a lot, but doesn’t learn much about human nature, and that Inoue is more naive than anyone ought to be at his age, this series is well worth your time for the sheer love of books and storytelling in which it revels.