Before I begin today’s review, I would like to take a moment to thank every one of you who purchased and read ALC translations on JManga. It was such a pleasure to be able to bring you all fun Yuri manga in a digital environment. Of all the books we worked on, the hands-down most difficult was Kuzushiro’s Kimi no Tamenara Shineru (姫のためなら死ねる). Erin S. did amazing work translating it, and both of us ended up doing quite a bit of research for it. It was a challenge and a pleasure. Thanks to Erin and thank you all for your support. I’m sorry we’re not going to have the opportunity to bring you Volume 3, but I’m pleased to be able to review it, at least. ^_^
As established in Volume 1 (reviewed here in 2011) and Volume 2 of this series, famous Heian period diarist Sei Shonagon is a slacker, blogger and…crazy. If we take a moment to think about life in the Heian Imperial Court without any idealism , we can guess that it would have pretty much been life at any dorm anywhere – politics, backstabbing, crushes, affairs and pranks. This is exactly what we see in this manga.
Speaking of pranks, we are introduced to Ichijou Tennou, the Emperor to whom Teishi and Shoushi are Consort. In reality, Ichijou’s reign is emblematic of the Heian period at its finest, with an Emperor who loved and encouraged art and literature. In this comic, he is 12 years old and as tsundere as possible.
The rest of the volume plays out as usual. Shonagon swings back and forth between ecstasy and misery as she is the focus of Teishi’s attention. When Teishi’s mother suggests her daughter use her wiles to control the distance between her and her lady in waiting, we almost get to see Shonagon proclaim the title oath all the way through, until she is interrupted.
Yuri is, as it always is in a gag series, is a mixed bag of misunderstanding, silly set-ups and other things that make people pant and get red in the face, like illness and sports. Which brings me to Kemari, which is the hackeysack-like, non-competitive sport played as early in Japan as 644 CE. One of the funniest set of gags in the manga is Shonagon, who has no idea how to play, teaching Teishi, who also has no idea what she’s doing.
As a goofball look at Heian court life, Kimi no Tamenara Shineru remains a highly amusing manga that is totally worth the effort it takes to read. ^_^
Art – 6
Story – 8
Characters – 8
Yuri – 4
Service – 4 (And a weird 4, too. Having a cold is really not that sexy.)
Overall – 8
I admit, I hope that life in the Heian Kyo looked more like this, than Tale of Genji.