2DK, G Pen, Mezamashidokei Manga, Volume 1 (2DK、Gペン、目覚まし時計。)

September 14th, 2015

2dkgpen-e1435708971188Ohsawa 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.

Ratings:

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.

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12 Responses

  1. DezoPenguin says:

    Here’s a cynical thought about why the Worst Story in the World keeps getting written: authors and manga artists are in fact artists. People like Nanami don’t have “dreams” and “goals” in their pre-romance lives; they’re “shackled to a treadmill that will kill their self-actualization and crush their human spirit” and they need to “break free from that and live true to themselves.”

    I mean, seriously, how often do you see a story about somebody who does well at college, is placed at a fast-track job at a large corporation, and achieves excellence on their own terms in a white-collar job? At best, you see that person quit their job and use their same skills with the same excellence at a small-scale boutique firm that pays less but offers more emotional/ethical/moral fulfillment.

    (Even more bitterly cynical, I’d say that that person isn’t the target audience for the story, so the publisher isn’t interested in selling that as a valid protagonist goal.)

    • just me says:

      I wonder if the target audience is lazy, sloppy people who are bad with money and the Worst Story is wish-fulfillment for *them*, especially the type who are

      1. happy with their mothers cleaning up after them
      2. unhappy wit the way their mothers aren’t likely to live long enough to *keep* cleaning up after them for the rest of their lives
      3. maybe even unhappy that they can’t also fuck the females already in their homes no matter how much they argue “your saying no is emotional so it must be irrational and not count!!!”

      No wonder these audience members enjoy “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.” – they don’t read it as “*you* should give up”, they read it as “ladies should give up and serve *you*”

      • Hrm, maybe. I’m less inclined to see wish fulfillment, as lazy writing, but perhaps because *I* am not an artist, but the office worker (thankfully freed from the office environment), it seems less like a dream than a nightmare. ^_^ Good thoughts, thanks!

    • Some very good points here. Japan is, in particular, flailing at the end of the white collar job as the ideal. Food for thought, thanks.

  2. Jye Nicolson says:

    As usual I’m way more optimistic about this series :)

    It seems like YH is really pushing this, a LOT of pages have been printed in a short time. I feel like Oosawa-sensei will get the room to do character growth, which is exciting for adult characters in YH.

    I’m guessing the respective work-sphere characters will provide serious romantic tension too. We get a lot of focus on those relationships relative to the relationship at home.

  3. Red says:

    I have a lot of high hopes for this one too. Finding quality yuri manga with adults is so rare.

    I don’t like Kaede either, but there is something that always gets me about seeing a responsible character show some kindness towards the one that’s bugging them. I guess it is just the old Odd Couple/Bert & Ernie thing at play.

    You know what I mean? I remember old anime had them in spades, like Kiyone and Mihoshi from Tenchi Muyo, or Minamo and Yukari from Azumanga Daioh. One character puts up with a lot and is still nice to the “bad” one when it comes down to it.

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