Ohsawa Yayoi’s 2DK, G Pen, Mezamashidokei (2DK、Gペン、目覚まし時計。) is a sweetly cheerful version of the worst story ever written.
Here is the summary of the worst story: A woman who is smart, attractive and has dreams for her life, finds herself involved with a lazy, sloppy artist who is bad with money, and ends up becoming their live in house-keeper/girlfriend, while her dreams die.
Doesn’t it sound dire? Every single version of this story ever has been sold as a romance and every single version of this story I have read makes me want to go out and stab something. This is not love, it’s Stockholm syndrome.
Nanami is engaged to Yuuji, and is sharing an apartment with Kaede, an aspiring manga artist. I will give her this – Kaede works very, very hard at her manga. And, she is cute and appreciative, not at all like Kimi Koi Limit‘s Sono. So you can’t really hate her. Nanami is tightly wound, a weird, uncomfortable balance between over- and under-achieving. No one asked her to cook dinner, but it’s nice that she does, and any sense of obligation she feels is hers alone, but you can see that if she didn’t, they’d be eating combini food every night. So, yeah, you get her sense of frustration.
In the first chapter Yuuji breaks up with Nanami, after she’s ranted one more time (we can guess) about Kaede’s lack of responsibility. He uses that as an excuse, accusing Nanami of being a lesbian (or so he has heard from an old sempai of hers), but we later learn that he has another girlfriend. But none of that is the point of that whole conversation. The point is to get Nanami to think about how she thinks about Kaede. And so, now we have been seeded to see interest where initially there was only irritation. I object strenuously to this manipulation.
And I’m gonna say this flat out – I think Ohzawa-sensei has written herself into a corner here. This has to be a Yuri manga, but it ought to be a story about self-realization and owning one’s own life. Bridget Jones’s Diary, not Pride and Prejudice. Kaede is cute and sweet, but Nanami could surely do wayyyyyyy better than the slob who shares an apartment with her. What kind of message does that send? “Ladies, just give up. If you can’t find a nice person almost immediately, just fall in love with your sibling or roommate and that’ll work out fine.” Blecch.
As of the end of Volume 1, there has been no Yuri and no love, and no lesbian content, but there’s been an insidious disintegration of Nanami’s goals and dreams. Hell, she’ll probably be 25 any day, life is practically over, she’d better hop in bed with Kaede.
Far more interestingly, a rival type girl was inflated for Kaede, and suddenly she developed gumption as a manga artist. Maybe she’ll take over the protagonist role, too.
I generally love Ohzawa-sensei’s work, so I really hope she injects some oomph into this story. I want to want to root for Kaede and Nanami.
Art – 9
Story – 5
Characters – 6
Yuri – 1ish in a “flailing to make it fit way”
Service – 1
Overall – 6
Here’s hoping this thing gels a bit.