Secondly, Hayashiya-sensei does something that I’ve seen rarely, but that I really like. Way back, when Rakuen Le Paradis had her in for a test run, she did a one-shot Yuri manga about two women who are reunited as adults on a celebrity cooking show. While they discover that they were mutually interested in one another in school (which they attended together when they were young) the other host is forced to frenetically cook today’s dish, all the while rooting the two women on in her head. It’s zany and romantic and silly as hell.
In another issue, Hayashiya-sensei drew a really nice color picture of a female bodyguard and her charge. On Twitter she and I talked about how we’d both like to see her draw the story behind that picture. ^_^
And then she began Shishunki Seimeitai Vega, a story about an alien and the Earthling she loves – with all the slapstick wackiness ensues, drama and bloody noses one expects from her work. And here it is, collected into a single volume, in which she’s included – and integrated – the two one-shots in a way that is both highly amusing and gratifying.
The cooking show becomes the first chapter, which turns out to be something Arisa is watching on TV. Arisa heads to school and is met by her kouhai, Vegako – Vega, for short.Vega is an alien who protects this little seaside town from encroaching giant monsters. Her power recharges when Arisa kisses her. Unfortunately for Vega, Arisa doesn’t like to be asked to kiss her. Vega starves herself for power, trying to avoid annoying “sempai” until her lack of power threatens the town and herself. While Arisa runs to recharge Vega, she finds the girl being soundly kissed by an older woman. So soundly, in fact, that Vega transforms into her original giant alien form, one that Arisa and the town people haven’t seen in years.
The older woman is Ariide Swan, a Hollywood celebrity, who has come to town for the Japanese premiere her sci-fi movie “Deneb.” Ariide clearly knows Vega – and claims to possess her. Arisa instantly becomes jealous, but has no idea how to express it. After denying Vega kisses for so long, she just starts avoiding Vega who, predictably, feels rejected.
Their inability to discuss the issues and Ariide’s possessiveness has them all in a tizzy until a monster targets Arisa, specifically. Vega remembers how sempai glowed when they first met and Arisa realizes that Vega will glad sacrifice herself to save her…and they kiss. Vega blasts the giant monster to kingdom come, while Ariide (and poor Tanabe – a club member with Arisa and Vega – who wonders, not for the first time, why she’s suddenly hanging out with a famous Hollywood actress?) watches.
In the epilogue, Ariide is telling Arisa about her reasons for running from Hollywood, when Reason #1 shows up at the door. Abby Albireo is another actress, much younger than Ariide, with whom she fell in lust, while working on “The Bodyguard 2029.” (Hence the smexy picture of her as a bodyguard…) The epilogue ends with typical Hayashiya-style – comedy, i.e., punches and bloody noses all around.
The extras are a comic about the characters reacting to the news of a Drama CD (with more blood) and and an interview with the actresses for the Drama CD, which I haven’t had a chance to read. ^_^
The final nice touch on this book is that it has silver edging for a really sharp look. (No pun intended.) The book is complete experience – visually, emotionally and professionally.
Art – 9
Characters – 8
Story – 9
Yuri – 8
Service – 3 (+1 for Ariide being my “type.” ^_^)
Overall – 9
Reading Seijukuki Jinmei Vega was the manga equivalent of a really excellent meal. With dessert.
BTW, Vega is a star in Lyra, Ariide is (I’m guessing) short for Aldeberan, a star in Taurus, “Deneb” is a star in Cygnus, the Swan, hence Ariide’s family name. And Abby’s family name Albireo is also a star in Cygnus. Just a bit of star-spotting in the pages of what was in every way a great read. ^_^