I’m finally getting to sit down with a few of the wrap-up of the Pure Yuri Anthology Hirari volumes (before setting out to read the new -yay! – volumes Hirari is putting out). The first one I picked up was Wakemonaku Kurushikunaruno (理由(わけ)もなく悲しくなるの), a collection of stories by Hakamada Mera.
As is sort of typical for me, I didn’t really grasp the continuity of these stories in the quarterly anthology releases. It’s not that I didn’t know it was a series, it’s just that I tend to read magazine chapters in a vacuum and if there is a continuity, the collection will make that plain to me. As it did here.
Tsubaki doesn’t really quite fit in with her group of friends at school, and she’s put off by their meanness towards a half-Japanese classmate, Kikuka. Kikuka wears earphones all the time, and Tsubaki wonders if she ever hears their snark. She gets to know Kikuka, and finds that, of course she hears what they say. Tsubaki and Kikuka become closer, forcing a blowout confrontation with Tsubaki’s circle of friends…she chooses Kikuka over them.
Tsubaki is starting to have un-friend-like feelings for Kikuka, and complicating this, it turns out that Kikuka is a fashion model. The girls who once ostracized her now gather around. Tsubaki is torn between jealousy and desire and she and Kikuka have to have it out between themslves in order to repair their friendship.
We then turn towards an unnamed classmate who is clearly meant to be seen as overweight and dumpy. We see the birth of a fetish and an unrequited attraction when she sees a sweaty Kikuka changing out of her gym clothes. The fact that she is not named bugs me – she might as well be called “plot complication girl.” She apologizes, the chapter ends with nothing more than a heavy girl with a sweat fetish, what?
Moving our gaze back to Tsubaki and Kikuka, they kiss one day, then stress about it, for a while. Kikuka admits that she’s going to be leaving school for modeling, which makes Tsubaki mightily unhappy. It is our unnamed heavy girl who forces Tsubaki to deal with her feelings. She tells Tsubaki that she envies her, being able to be close to Kikuka. Tsubaki realizes that the “pain for no real reason” (the title of the book) she’s been feeling has a reason after all and suddenly makes a decision about Kikuka. They decide to be happy, together, while they can be.
The final chapter of the book once again turns to the heavy girl – I looked long and hard for a name, and she really never gets one. But after facing herself, her unfulfillable desires and living a life full of nothing, she decides she’ll go to school after all.
One hopes that she will find herself in years to come – and I’d actually kinda like a volume about her, now that I think about it. Perhaps, starting with a name.
So this series began with an outsider…then caved on that and made her popular, so it added another outsider. The end feeling is that the intent was well-meaning, but the execution lacked conviction.
Art – 7 Still Hakamada -sensei’s signature style, but so much better than the carnival heads from days of yore.
Characters – 5 The characters were set up to be in some other story and never really fit this one.
Story – 5 It had postential. I blame her editor for not forcing it to fulfill it.
Service – The fetish chapter, so 4?
Yuri – 6
Overall – 6
This was a chapter that became a story, but it needed to have been planned out better. And it might have been, for all we know, had Hirari continued.