The subject of today’s review is not the manga itself so much, as how and why I bought it. ^_^
Those of you following me on Twitter and Facebook, saw a series of pictures I stealth shot while in the Toranoana and Comic Zin stores in Akihabara. They had something I had never ever seen before in Japan and I wanted to share it with you all.
For the first time ever, Toranoana in Akihabara had a real, multi-publisher “Yuri” section! Here are my crappy cell phone shots of this phenomenon.
I’m not sure if you can really see what’s going on in these shots unless you are familiar with Japanese bookstores and the way they shelve books. Books are basically split by whether they are targeted to men or women, then by publisher and imprint. So if I’m looking for a Kodansha book, I look at the spine to see if it’s KDX, KC, or another imprint. You have to look at for the Rakuen Le Paradis comics in one place, the MangaTime KR comics in another, Comic Yuri Hime in a third, etc. Sometimes those aren’t even shelved in the same section of the store. Comic Yuri Hime might be in the women’s comics, they might be in the men’s. You don’t really know for sure until you look. I’ve seen them in both.
What you are seeing here is practically a miracle…books from different publishers, different imprints nestled side by side in a kind of “Yuri’ section I’d only ever dreamed of. Dengeki side by side with Comic Yuri, next to Hakusensha’s Rakuen comics. I was so busy trying to snap a few shots, I barely even looked at the shelves. ^_^
Later, we walked over to the Comic Zin store back up the street, and found that they also had a smaller, but also multi-publisher Yuri section, and a number of Yuri doujinshi. (I knew about the doujinshi, that was why I wanted to go to the store, but the books were a surprise.)
The thing I thought, and shared on Twitter, was this – it was really nice to see them all together in one place. In Toranoana, it took up two or three shelf-widths, and the counter in front of them, so it felt substantial. In Zin it was one shelf width, but hey, it was there!
So, the point here is, because the Yuri books were shelved together, I was able to find a few things I’d never even heard of, from imprints I was unfamiliar with, or hadn’t seen any Yuri from before – which is the whole point of having Genre sections in a book store in the first place! ^_^
I picked up the subject of today’s review because I’d never heard of the series or seen that imprint in the Yuri section before. Mamiya-san to Issho (間宮さんといっしょ) begins with a girl, Sasara, being asked out by a boy in her school. She says, sure, she’d go out with him, if he died for her. Not surprisingly, he bails instantly.
Her friends are jealous, because she receives so much attention, but Sasara is unimpressed. Until she is asked up to the roof by the mysterious Mamiya Ryou, a beautiful female upperclassman. When Sasara states her requirements for love, Ryou agrees and leaves.
Sasara asks her classmates about this Mamiya Ryou, and is told that Mamiya Ryou is whereabouts unknown and presumed dead. Ryou confirms that dead it is, and asks Sasara if she’ll go out with her now? Sasara agrees.
The book immediately falls into a kind of talky chaos, that indicates to this reader that nothing had been sketched out beyond the premise. A classmate of Ryou’s who has some impulse-control issues first attacks Sasara for having the nerve to even ask about Ryou, but then becomes convinced that Sasara knows where Ryou is. She brings in her younger sister, who can see ghosts, to meet Sasara (and Ryou,) but Ryou convinces her not to say anything. And then the book, um, ends.
The relationship pretty much goes nowhere, because Ryou is dead and so is the plot. ^_^;
Art – 6 Trying to be better than it was, but not bad
Story – 4
Characters – 5
Yuri – 4
Service – 2
Overall – 6
SO, while it was really super cool to get a Yuri manga from Shounen Sunday, it wasn’t a terribly compelling one, beyond the plot idea. ^_^
But yay for Yuri sections!