One of the three titles I chose for 2011’s Top Yuri Manga was Omoi no Kakera, Volume 1 by Takemiya Jin. Specifically, I very much enjoyed our introduction to Mika, a confident, self-aware young lesbian.
In Omoi no Kakera, Volume 2, Mika’s relationship with underclassman Mayu develops significantly. Where in Volume 1, Mayu begins with distaste that develops into a crush, in Volume 2, Mayu starts to genuinely care about Mika…and Mika learns that she’s developed some affection for the younger girl. After the coffee house owner lays it out to Mika, that her insistence that she prefers older women is merely a way of clinging to her past, Mika tells Mayu the whole story of her first love. Mayu’s reaction is very sweet. And for the first time, I have some confidence that they could, possibly, become a healthy couple, maybe. Just as they reach this place, it appears that Mika’s past has indeed caught up with her.
The main story has a few Intermissions. Under “not really a couple and, so, not unhealthy, but wtf?” comes the coffee shop owner and her roommate. I have no idea what the deal is with them. ^_^;
The Intermissions include a short, really cute story about Mayu’s brother (who we know from the early chapters of Volume 1, is gay) and his crush, a male classmate.
The book also contains a short story called “Love & Piece,” which has a rough start in some hideous stereotypes and a really bad set of choices, but ends in a good place.
I have saved the best/worst story for last.
As Mayu has manages to get closer to Mika, her best friend Saki has taken a lot of hits over the years. When Mayu expressed disgust for gays, Saki was unable to admit that she was a lesbian. But when Mayu needed her, she was always there. Now Mayu is falling for Mika, and Saki’s lonelier than she ever thought possible. Saki’s story is heartbreaking, but very well told. I can only hope that Volume 3 brings her some happiness.
I love this story. It is full of the hormonal, irrational, high/lows of teenage life, and full of gay kids who are still finding themselves. Mika, Harada-kun and Saki are not alone, but we all have to reinvent the wheel for ourselves to some extent.
Art – 9
Story – 10
Characters – 10
Yuri – 9 / Lesbian – 9
Service – 4 for “Love & Piece”
Overall – 10
Takemiya-sensei tells a damn good story.