In Volume 5 of Golondrina, (now available on the Yuricon Store along with the rest of the series) Chika finds herself doing well enough as a matador. She’s regularly being awarded by the crowd, but she’s hit an emotional wall that seems insurmountable. She no longer wishes to seek death, but she’s not finding any joy in life, either.
Not able to find herself, Chika ends up in Madrid, at an anti-bullfighting rally, run by a famous singer, Jora. Jora is…Amazonian. Tall and physically dominant, Jora is a presence both on the musical and political stage. She invites Chika to a live show and to join her afterwards. Chika does, losing herself in this strong presence.
Her lack of drive is noticeable to those around her. Sechuu confronts her. If she doesn’t respect herself and the task she’s undertaken, he’s outta here. She pulls herself together, a little, but now she’s living a double life – matador by day, Jora’s paramour at night and neither role truly suits her.
It’s Vincenze, after all, who helps her find the will she’s been lacking. His right side is still paralyzed, but there he is in the ring, practicing. The sight galvanizes Chika, making her realize that there is something about this life that is worth living for. She returns to Jora, during a rally against bullfighting and confesses to the crowd who she is and what she’s learned. The crowd boos, Jora slaps her, admits she’s been sure that Chika was a bullfighter and they part. When Jora and Chika first slept together, Jora asks for Chika’s real name – Chika tells her that everyone calls her Chika. As they part for the last time, Jora asks her name once more, and Chika, smiling, says “La Golondrina”.
I’ve had a complicated reaction to this series. I love the art and the storytelling, but not so much the subject matter. It’s not the violence that bothers me, but the lack of consent. Two people fighting is one thing – they both know why they are here. But I feel as if I am a hypocrite if I dislike bullfighting as much as if I like it. I can see the art and the beauty in it, just as in any sport. I just wish the ball one kicked around weren’t alive. While I’m glad to watch two humans fight, you won’t catch me near a bullfighting ring ever.
On the minus side, Chika never got fangirls in the audience, but on the plus side, she had a lover who wasn’t a jerk to her and helped her discover something important in herself, so I consider that an overall win for Yuri readers and for this series.
Art – 9
Story – 8
Characters – 9
Yuri – 1
Service – 4 Nudity and sexual situations, subtly rendered
Overall – 9
I’m fully a est em fan now. I’ve even started picking up some of her BL series just to have the pleasure of looking at her art.