In the February volume of Feel Young (フィール・ヤング) magazine, Yamaji Ebine has a new series starting that, at least at first glance, warrants our attention. “Binetsu no you na” (微熱のような), which I’d translate as “Like a Mild Fever” begins rather abruptly, in the middle of a conversation between Nao, a typical Yamaji-esque protagonist, and Mifuyu, an acquaintance at university, on their way to discuss a book with the author.
During the discussion, Nao finds herself suddenly quite tired. She wakes up in Sensei’s home, wearing a negligee, with no memory of how she got there or what happened. Sensei says that it was Mifuyu who undressed her and put her to bed.
Nao confronts Mifuyu, who thinks it all quite funny. After a conversation about Nao’s best friend in high school, Taki, who has gone to college in England, so Nao is feeling a bit lonely, Mifuyu also contrives to get Nao alone with her boyfriend, Yoshiaki. Yoshiaki hits on Nao, not in a bad way and, lonely, disappointed in her friend Taki, for becoming “just another normal woman and getting a boyfriend,” Nao sleeps with him. Again, Mifuyu find this very amusing.
But it isn’t until Mifuyu hugs her that Nao feels anything. She’s suddenly aware of the electricity between her and Mifuyu, even as she is completely aware that there is something quite broken in the other woman.
In chapter two, things become even more complicated. Mifuyu still positions herself as Nao’s friend and it’s increasingly obvious that Nao is attracted to her, even as she’s leery of her. But Mifuyu is setting Yoshiaki and Nao up more and more…and we learn, (perhaps not surprisingly) that she’s watching when they have sex. The second chapter comes to an end with Nao visiting Sensei and having her work critiqued. She asks not to be sent home that night, and Sensei obliges.
So far this story is, as many of Yamaji’s recent stories have been, uncomfortable. The attraction Nao is feeling and the actions she’s taking are in pulling in two opposite directions. And I can’t help but feel that Mifuyu is pulling the strings for some reason of her own. I wonder where this story will go, but I’m kind of not willing to think about it, either. ^_^;
Art – If you like her bare style, then 9
Story – Longer chapters and more direction that recent Yamaji works, but still kind of “uhhmmm”
Characters – I couldn’t begin to tell you yet, waiting for the boot to drop
Yuri – 3, maybe
Service – 4
Overall – Big ole, “I’ll wait and see”
The last few Yamaji works have felt more like her working something out than actual stories. This one feels more like a story, but imbued with a struggle I’m not able to understand.