Many of you know the name Anastasia Moreno. She’s been the translator for some of your favorite Yuri titles: GIRL FRIENDS, Strawberry Panic! and Kisses, Sighs and Cherry Blossoms Pink. It’s because of SP! that Ana I and became friends, in fact. We met up with her in Tokyo this month and we discussed her exciting new project.
Together with Nogami Takeshi-sensei of Strike Witches doujinshi fame, Ana is writing a new comic Marine Corps Yumi (まりんこゆみ). This is a totally loopy, but completely truthy story about boot camp for the Marine Corps of the United States of Amerigo.
Young “Nipponian” Nagumo Yumi, upon graduating high school, finds herself with two criteria for adult life – she’d like to continue to wear her school uniform and she wants to become the President of the United States. Her friends argue that neither criteria will fly, but Yumi takes herself off to Amerigo anyway, where she runs into a bunch of elderly veterans who convince her that she should become a Marine.
Joined by Linda Crawford, a milk-fed freckled, busty blonde who wants to get away from her white trash parents and her moldering town; African-American Donna King who turned down a job at “Boldman Sachs” (and who is a fujoshi); and fam-trad Marine and all around competent Rita Fernandez, whose dad is a decorated NCO, our Nipponian doofus Yumi introduces us and other military otaku to life at Marine Corps boot camp. From Birth Control Glasses (boot camp issued glasses that are as ugly as possible) to Box Nasties (the “high calorie, low motivation” meals provided) we get to experience the lingo and in-jokes, without having to do a 10 mile morning run.
Nogami-sensei’s art style suits the gags well. There is a fair bit of service, but it’s expected and acceptable. Gags about Linda’s build, and Donna’s underwear are a nice break from Yumi’s general doofusyness. ^_^
I want to draw your attention to the cast, for a moment. Generally speaking, manga does not do “diversity,” as we in the west see it (for what I think is obvious reasons.) In this case, the primary cast is indeed diverse. A Latina, an African-American woman, an Asian and a Caucasian make up the four boots we follow. Meyers, Joiner, Garza and Dillinger are the DIs. Notably, Rita Fernandez is the most competent of the recruits, and Donna King the most elite. Yumi is, of course, a doofus and a klutz, while Linda Crawford, who in any other manga might be seen as the princess type, is the lowest class and trying to better her options. Even in 4-koma goofball gags, every character gets a story and a personality.
There is basically no Yuri, except for a brief moment in which Yumi strips happily, presuming a bath is at hand, when everyone else is hesitant. Linda sees Yumi’s dreamy expression and wonders if she’s gay. I hold out hope that one of the characters is in fact gay – preferably Rita, since she’s competent and you know what we say about anime and manga lesbians. ^_^
Marine Corps Yumi strikes a deep personal note for me – when I was a child I wanted to be a Marine more than anything else in the whole while world. I was too sickly, then I was too gay. ^_^ So while in my next life I’ll hope to come back as a Marine, for this one, I’ll stick to Marine Corps Yumi, which comes out online (in English, too) weekly.
Art – 8
Story – 8, if you’re into it, silly otherwise. ^_^
Characters – 8
Yuri – 0
Service – 3 All the characters are adult women, which may be a downer for some
Overall – 8
Thanks to Ana’s generosity we have three copies of Marine Corps Yumi to give away!
Put your name, rank and serial number in the comments and I’ll pick three winners. (Consider logging in to post, so I have your email.)