I have this really weird, tenuous relationship with FEEL YOUNG (フィールヤング) magazine . I’m not subscribing to it, but apart from an off issue or three, I’ve been reading it regularly for years, probably around a decade. First, it brought back Hana no Asuka-gumi, then it kept running Yamaji Ebine’s work. On and off, it had Yuri/lesbian stories, on and off it had something else I wanted to be reading. Now that Ohana Holoholo is winding down, I wondered if it was going to find a way to keep me coming back. Well…yup. The September issue had another one-shot by Yamaji Ebine that I like a gazillion times more than most of her recent stuff.
In a on-going series of “Lyrical” manga, Yamaji Ebine’s contribution is kind of sadly sweet. “Rira to Shion: Story of the contrastive girls” [sic] tells the story of Shion, a young woman who wants to be a photographer and Rira, a girl she meets by accident when Rira comes into Shion’s aunt’s doll shop.
Shion, it turns out, has not quite embraced adult life. She was betrayed by an adult when she was young – a man who used her photographs without her permission or credit. She’s been hovering on the edge of life, not graduating, not moving on, working with her aunt.
Rira also has not moved into adult life. After being traumatized by the sight of her older brother and girlfriend having sex, Rira is clinging to childhood. She only feels like her “true self” when she dresses like a doll among her dolls.
Shion and Rira recognize something similar in each other. And, as Shion puts it plainly, Rira becomes her Muse, bringing her photography to a whole new level. Motivated by Rira, Shion applies for graduation – but only if Rira is credited properly for her role.
The two women step forward into a new, adult life ready to support each other’s true selves.
Overall, this was a really feel-good story. There’s nothing Yuri or lesbian about it, but watching the two help each other to grow and embrace their own lives, was just really nice.
I’ll hope that this is a swing back for Yamaji-sensei away from exploring they way people hide from the world and towards how they grow in it.
And I guess I’ll still be picking up Feel Young a little while longer. ^_^